By RMBA chief executive David Kelly
New Zealand’s building and construction industry came together in August at the second “all-of-industry” Constructive Forum. While last year’s Forum resulted in a mandate for change, this year’s Forum was about progressing that change.
With an election only weeks away, the conversation could not have been more timely, with housing and construction still some of the country’s key issues.
However, the Forum put this into a global context. The issues we are facing in New Zealand are international issues. Around 200,000 people move to the world’s cities every day, bringing the need for large scale, quality construction and infrastructure.
Globally, the construction industry is responsible for 30% of total greenhouse gas emissions. In the United States 40% of all solid waste comes from demolition. New Zealand is also in line with these statistics.
The opportunities for our economy, the environment and our social well-being are massive if we get this right.
The Forum recognised that there is no silver bullet. There are multiple levers we need to pull to respond meaningfully to our industry’s needs.
Collaboration and innovation were recognised as important themes for us as an industry right now. Keynote speaker, Mr Simon Miller, Managing Director and Partner from the Boston Consulting Group, spoke of how technology and innovation are at the core of addressing these issues.
Our industry needs to start thinking about how to use certain technologies to move our industry forward. These include cloud/real-time collaboration, Business Information Modelling (BIM), pre-fabrication, wireless monitoring/sensing, and artificial intelligence.
These are technologies that Mr Miller discussed as being consistently considered most impactful globally.
At Constructive, we also discussed an Industry Transformation Agenda (ITA) for New Zealand. This was initiated by BRANZ, and is based on the Boston Consulting Group and World Economic Forum’s work to develop a comprehensive approach to address the industry’s challenges.
The ITA challenged the industry to work together to focus on practical projects to achieve system-wide change.
Participants at Constructive universally agreed that there is an urgent need to address the challenges confronting the industry, and for the sector to get in front of changes and trends making an impact globally. The sector must meet the challenge now or risk letting New Zealand down.
There was a strong willingness by participants to be involved in the ITA, with 71% of the industry willing to give their own time, skills and/or resources to build a better New Zealand.
Constructive 2017 provided the sector with a plan for transformation to change the way companies, the sector and government collaborate to meet New Zealand’s building and construction needs. We look forward to Constructive 2018.