Shortage of building materials prompts warnings of another leaky home crisis

There are warnings New Zealand could be in for another leaky home crisis as a shortage of building materials leave some builders desperate and using any products they can get their hands on.

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Some builders desperate for building materials are using any products they can get their hands on. Source: 1 NEWS

One of the biggest victims of the leaky building crisis is Central Auckland's Victopia apartment block.

The issue has cost Government, councils and homeowners hundreds of millions of dollars.

‘It's happening unfortunately, naturally builders will be under pressure with some projects to get that done, unfortunately people will cut corners if they have to and that's precisely what we don't want to happen,” says Julien Leys of the Building Industry Federation.

That pressure caused by a scarcity of nearly every material and now continued problems at the port are compounding the issue.

“Product substitution is a big thing right now, we have a shortage of the LVL – the laminated veneer lumber, we're short of fire retardant paint. It's fasteners, it's ladders,” Leys says.

However, New Zealand can't just import more. Worldwide shipping delays and the Suez Canal setback mean importers are feeling the pain.

“At the moment we have 29 containers sitting in Tauranga, some of them have been there since 11th of March, they've got to be railed up to Auckland, so we can't pick them up by freight because that's an $1800 charge per container to us,” says Skippy Bezzant of Sustainable Business Products.

Some container prices have gone up 700 per cent in the last year.

“All you can do is tell people you'll get it when you get it, that's all we can say, daily our dates change,” Bezzant says.

A suggested quick fix - speeding up the CodeMark system, which certifies new products.

“CodeMark, is a slow, expensive process, you have to test a product, then go through the laborious process of having it certified, it's taking way too long, so we need to speed that up,” Leys says.

The Business Ministry says there are plans to strengthen the CodeMark process.

It says those proposals make consenting and using certified products more efficient and give the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment greater oversight, especially when things go wrong.

Any new regulations won't be in place until early next year.