Year in review

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly

This year has been significant for our sector. Before we take a well-deserved break, we should take a moment to reflect on what we’ve achieved.

Delivering for New Zealand

It’s been another record year of action for the sector. For the year ended September 2019, nearly 36,500 building consents were issued for new residential dwellings, with a total value of more than $13.5 billion.

Putting this figure into perspective, at the same time in September 2014, 24,000 consents were issued at a value of just over $7.5 billion.

Our sector isn’t just constructing the homes of New Zealanders, we’re also constructing the commercial and industrial buildings that house our jobs and the amenities that provide for our communities.

We should be proud of the work we are doing for New Zealand Inc.

Sector leadership and collaboration

I’m not going to dwell on the challenges facing our sector — we know what they are and how they are stopping us from achieving our potential.

It’s time we talked about the solutions. Or, more to the point, it’s time we focused on rolling out these solutions.

The Construction Sector Accord is about leadership and tangible solutions that will lead to a healthier and more vibrant sector — that’s why I see it as a game changer.

For this to occur, the sector needs to step up and work collaboratively with the Government, and so far it’s been great to see the sector’s support for the Accord.

I believe this collaboration will continue to grow, but only if the Accord can deliver the short-term wins and structural reform the sector needs over the long term.

Delivering these wins requires a change in behaviours and mindsets, which won’t be easy to achieve. However, we need to do it, and Registered Master Builders is committed to supporting the Accord.

The Master Builders Vertical Construction Leaders Group is actively working to lead this change. At the start of this year we drafted the Vertical Leaders Strategy, which has four commitments — to collaborate together to create a more resilient sector, improve trust in the sector, improve the financial resilience of commercial building businesses, and invest in innovation and upskilling our people to improve productivity and performance.

These are also all key platforms in the Accord. 

We are now developing guidelines around what constitutes a good construction company. Defining good isn’t just looking at balance sheets — it’s also looking at what are the behaviours, skills and experiences needed to run a successful construction company.

For the betterment of the sector, we need to share our collective knowledge and expertise.

This was a key focus for this year’s Constructive Forum, which brought together more than 300 sector leaders in August.

Skills and training

The scale of the Government’s vocational education reform was a surprise to many in the sector.

There’s been plenty of debate within the sector about the reforms and their potential disruption to the apprenticeship scheme.

It’s clear the system isn’t currently delivering quality educational outcomes for learners or employers. Sub-optimal education outcomes are an unnecessary drag on our sector.

We are engaging with the Government to ensure the reforms deliver a fit-for-purpose system providing quality education and training.

For our sector, education and training shouldn’t just be about how to use the tools — it’s also about understanding how to run a business successfully.

We’d like to see integration between the reforms and the Accord. The Accord work programme provides a strong platform for these reforms to build on.

You can also play your part by supporting an apprentice. Currently, only 1 in 10 businesses support apprentices, and this figure is too low.

A strong Awards programme

We’ve had another extraordinarily successful awards programme showcasing and celebrating the best of the best in our sector.

The Commercial Project Awards, Apprentice of the Year and House of the Year cover all of our key business segments.

This year we also launched our inaugural BIM Innovation Awards at Constructive, which celebrated the outstanding collaborative teamwork using Building Information Modelling technology.

The calibre of entries continues to grow across all our events, and it’s pleasing to recognise our sector’s innovative and quality work.

I want to take this opportunity again to congratulate all our 2019 winners.

Supporting our members

Registered Master Builders is here to support our members, and we’ve launched more than 20 new courses this year, via our Elevate platform.

We’re pleased to see so many of you engaging with these short courses. We have also launched our own podcast called Master Builders Elevate which is available on the usual podcast channels.

Last year we updated the 10-year Master Build Guarantee, and we are pleased to back our builders with the most comprehensive product on the market.

The guarantee is a key part of any build process, and our members must offer it for all projects over $30,000.

We continue to engage with the Government on guarantees as part of their Building Act reforms, and will keep you updated on developments.

Finally, I’d like to thank the team at Registered Master Builders and all our members for your hard work over the year. Enjoy your Christmas break and our Kiwi summer.