Survey reveals red tape is strangling the building industry

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A recent survey of leading industry participants has revealed that a full 80% of all respondents see bureaucratic regulation and “red tape” as having the most significant impact on the New Zealand building sector.

Respondents described this constraint as either “critical” or “very important” to the construction sector.

The findings come from a survey conducted in March 2019 by Construction Marketing Services, supported by the Registered Master Builders Association.

The survey sought the views of the specifier community across New Zealand on key issues facing the construction sector.

Nearly 500 responses were received from architects, designers, draughtsmen, builders, tradesmen and others.

Construction Marketing Services general manager Ian Watt says the survey results were surprisingly emphatic as to what the industry saw as their biggest obstacle.

“The survey suggests that the new Government/construction industry accord needs to urgently address local and central Government red tape as a priority,” Mr Watt says.

“The Construction Marketing Services network is a very good cross-section of the industry, so we believe this survey speaks volumes about how frustrated the industry has become,” he says.

Concern about instances of labour skills and shortages, and the impact of shoddy building practices and poor material quality, were also revealed as major worries for around three-quarters of the industry.

The issue of skills shortages is seen to have several facets, including a need for better apprentice training, and a clearer understanding of where skills gaps lie.

In addition, respondents offered a number of suggestions on more affordable housing for New Zealanders.

Seventy percent of those surveyed believe the cost of materials must be addressed, and that consenting and approvals processes need to be reviewed.

Interestingly, 70% of all respondents believe prefabrication and modular housing may provide part of the solution to the national housing crisis.

However, those surveyed acknowledged that this issue is complex, and that cost effectiveness, quality, lack of product diversity and New Zealand’s small size were all obstacles to prefabrication options.

Solutions to lifting the quality of inferior materials and building activity included educating industry members about the value of exceeding minimum compliance requirements, lifting minimum standards, and placing a greater emphasis on the value of industry product appraisals.