Concerns about the quality of building work have been raised recently in New Zealand’s two biggest councils, Christchurch and Auckland.
In the case of Christchurch, that might be partly explained by the massive increase in building activity over the past few years.
We know that when there are large increases in building work, quality issues start to arise with less experienced workers entering the industry.
In the case of Auckland, while there has been an increase in building activity, it is not to the same level of that experienced in Christchurch.
But Auckland reports that it has up to 40% failure rates in inspections.
Reason for concern
There is not a lot of data on what the key issues are, but this level of failure gives reason to be concerned.
Registered Master Builders has started discussions with Auckland Council on the joint development of a quality assurance approach.
This should allow builders who have good quality assurance processes in place a smoother ride through the consenting process.
From the council’s perspective, if they have building companies that they know have good systems in place — along with a good track record of work — then they reduce the number of inspections they undertake, and are able to focus more on the builders they are worried about.
Less down time
That should, in turn, mean less down time from having to book and wait for inspections for builders who have entered the scheme.
This may not suit everyone, but it is a good initiative that we support, and hope that the Government, through the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, will also get behind the scheme.
We will need to make sure it is not over the top in the way it is designed, and that there are real benefits to builders who invest their time in taking this approach.
We will keep you informed as we make progress.