Well, the year is almost over and it hasn’t been an easy one. Many of you will be looking forward to the Christmas break, taking a big breath and thinking thank heavens 2009 is now behind me. 2010 is looking promising but we will certainly not see the heady days of pre-2007 for some time to come.
Nearly all of you have probably had to cut costs, reduce staff numbers and fight for work. It can be hard releasing staff, particularly if they have worked for you for many years, and I feel for you, them and their families.
But you have indeed survived, and the bottom of the cycle seems to be behind us after new building consent figures hit an all-time low earlier this year.
They have been slowly picking up and the mood is more optimistic, but we are predicting a slow recovery so 2010, while better than 2009, will still be tough.
That will mean having to continue being cautious, not losing the ground you’ve made, and remembering the lessons you have learned from the past couple of years.
The Federation has also had to “cut its cloth” to react to the difficult times, but is now well placed going forward to respond to an improving and ever-changing market.
What do we see on the horizon for 2010? Well, clearly the announcement of the Licensed Builder Practitioner scheme by the Government in August 2009 will be high on the agenda.
We understand our submissions to simplify and streamline the process have been well received, but we await the final outcome of Cabinet deliberations.
We expect to have decisions early in the New Year, and we are talking with the Government about how we can best interact with them so that you, our members, can have a simple, straightforward application process.
Once this is completed we will let you know, as the public will start to pick up on the fact that there are licensed builders and may insist their builder be one — and we don’t want you to miss out on work because of that.
The Building Act review will be well advanced next year and, potentially, has some significant impacts on the residential construction sector with regard to:
compulsory home warranties,
streamlined consenting and inspections,
implementation of multi-use approvals,
definition of major and minor variations (minors will not require a consent),
removal of non-productive regulations, and many more.
We will continue to be heavily involved in all of these, and to advocate on your behalf.
We will be working hard next year to improve our membership benefits and services now that we have reorganised ourselves into like membership categories.
We are looking forward to identifying and developing the “naked solutions” that everyone wants, and the “discretionary options” unique to each segment.
Finally, from me and everyone at the Federation, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and enjoyable New Year. See you in 2010.