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Editorial August / September 2017

As the general election looms, those involved with New Zealand’s construction sector are keen to find out what our political parties have planned for the future and what they intend to prioritise when it comes to infrastructure.

Industry participants want to know how the government will help Auckland to build more homes and improve its transport network, how it will assist Wellington to build resilience against earthquakes, and how it will support Christchurch to thrive once again.

Certainly, the new government – be it the National-led status quo, a new Labour-led partnership, or a coalition of all sorts – will have its work cut out, with the most recent (5th edition, 2017) National Construction Pipeline Report forecasting residential, commercial and infrastructure building activity to continue to boom to a record $42 billion by 2020. 

Commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and jointly prepared by BRANZ and Pacifecon, the report aims to provide a pipeline of forward building and construction work to assist participants in the sector to plan for work, to schedule investment in skills and capital expenditure, and to manage coordination between construction procurers so as to achieve better scheduling of projects.

Key findings this year include a higher peak of work with a longer duration than previously forecast; that dwelling unit consents are forecast to reach a new peak for the next five years; that growth in non-residential buildings is forecast to continue for longer and to a higher level than previously forecast; and that growth in building and construction in Auckland is expected to be sustained for a longer time than in other regions.

National infrastructure activity (essentially anything that is not a building) is forecast to increase by an average of 4.5% a year for the next six years to reach $9.5 billion in 2022. Growth is expected for all regions, with a large number of projects to commence next year.

Of course, demand for construction-related occupations is also projected to increase (by around 56,000 employees); occupations that are expected to experience the largest growth include plumbers, electricians and civil engineering professionals.

We need calm heads and experienced minds at the helm to manage New Zealand’s construction sector through this period. We need long-term thinkers, not knee-jerk reactions and political posturing.

The National Construction Pipeline Report 2017 is available at www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/building-construction/skills-innovation-productivity/national-construction-pipeline/

Until next time …

Lynne Richardson, editor

LRichardson@astonpublishing.co.nz


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