Extrapolate that over the rest of the year and, well, you get a very sorry picture — a far cry from the 20,000 to 25,000 we should be building per annum.
So when will this turn around? Most commentators are expecting a 5% drop on the 2010 numbers but quite rapid improvement from 2012 and beyond.
This is based on the rebuilding work in Canterbury, the under-supply of housing in Auckland, which is considered the only city that has an underlying housing shortage (apart from Christchurch now), and the leaky homes that will have funding available from the Government and councils.
The rest of the country may lag these centres, but as the economy recovers we should expect activity to pick up more widely as well.
We know we are experiencing greater enquiry since the ORC dropped half a point, but that has yet to manifest itself in actual contracts.
Another drop would potentially kick start things but we will not see that from the Reserve Bank. The Auckland housing market is showing signs of life, with improved house sales and higher rents.
One of the dynamics we are uncertain about is the timing of workflows. As a result, we may well see tradespeople moving around the country to where the work is if it is not available at home. This means Christchurch and maybe Auckland.
If that is so, are we then also likely to see tradespeople moving back home should the work pick up there again?
If yes, then this will have an impact on the capability in the region they have just left.
So there are interesting times ahead, and something of a redistribution of human capital for a period until a longer term balance is reached.
One thing is for certain — we must exhaust all our internal spare capacity and resources before we import help from offshore.
From a consumer’s perspective, there has never been a better time to build. Prices are sharp, mortgages are cheap and builders are aplenty.
It will never be cheaper, and the window may close quite rapidly next year on them, so our message to the consumer is to get in now before it is too late.
Also, you need to ensure you have all your licenses in place for the introduction of the Licensed Builders Practitioner regime which is compulsory for restricted building work from March 2012.
This is not just yourself or those working with you, but all of your subbies in the other LBP areas outside of carpentry.
The Department of Building and Housing has launched a media campaign to alert the wider non-aligned members, and will shortly be doing the same for the public to educate them. So your clients may start asking if you have a licence, if they haven’t already.
Financial Assistance Package Bill
Work is also being undertaken in readiness for the passing of the Financial Assistance Package Bill, aka leaky homes funding.
If a home owner elects to enter the scheme and take the 25% from Government and 25% from council contributions towards fixing the home, then the builder that is engaged should have completed an induction/training session.
This is important as it provides all the information necessary to work within the scheme, as the process will be quite different from a normal contract.
We also want to ensure these repairs are done once and done right, and we do not want unskilled people doing the work.
We have been working with the Government on the programme and running a pilot to hone it, but it will be available in time for when the work starts.