Record number of building consents as industry struggles with resource and staffing shortage

With a record number of new building consents issued around New Zealand, some building industry experts question whether there’s enough supply and staff to do the work. 

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It comes after a record number of new building consents were issued in the last year. Source: 1 NEWS

On a building site in Christchurch, Liam Brewer is under the pump with a five-bedroom property under construction. The property is one of 40,000 new building consents issued since last March, marking a new record for the industry.

“It’s an aggressive market, there’s lots going on,” he told 1 NEWS.

Sign offs for new builds haven’t been this high since the 1970’s, prompting apprehension from some building experts. 

“As far as skills go, we need to build them on a sustainable kind of basis. So we can’t all of a sudden get another 10,000 skilled workers from nowhere. We need to build that up overtime,” says Construction Industry Council’s Graham Burke. 

To make matters worse, the ongoing skills shortage has only been amplified by shipping delays caused by Covid-19. 

“Some of the bathroomware we had issues with. So we had to change last minute and that was due to delays coming from overseas,” says Brewer. 

“Timber as well. There’s been some delays with timber.” 

ANZ Chief Economist Sharon Zollner says there’s some concern that building projects might find themselves in trouble. 

“There might be some people who put off large projects until they’re more certain they’re not going to be facing delays, which can cause their firm cash flow problems.” 

The Government is currently in the process of building a plan to transform construction in New Zealand.

“Part of our thinking has been what do we do about workforce. What do we do about supply,” Building Minister Poto Williams told 1 NEWS.

“Those are very live discussions at the moment and big considerations as part of, you know, the increase on consents.”