Record number of building consents needs to be the new normal

Building consent data released today by Statistics New Zealand indicates a record 29,000 new homes gained building consent in the year to June 2016, up 16 percent from the previous June year.

The annual total of 29,097 is the highest for a June year since 2004, with Auckland and surrounding regions the main contributors to this growth. Canterbury’s total decreased over the year, but remains at a historically high level. There were 9,651 homes consented in Auckland in the latest June year, up 16 percent on the 2015 year.

BCITO Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says this level of activity needs to be the new normal, and we need to ensure we have the workforce pipeline in place to achieve this.

Quinn says for the past 50 years an average of 6.58 new residential units have been built per annum for every 1,000 people and with the national population currently estimated at 4.596 mil more than 30,000 new residential units are required going forward each year.

Quinn says it is no surprise to anyone new residential build rates in Auckland need to be significantly higher than the national average. He says Auckland has historically had a build rate of around 7.9 homes per 1,000 people, but for the past 10 years this dropped to 3.85, creating a significant shortfall of supply that the city is now grappling with.

“The construction sector is struggling to produce the skills needed to meet demand,” Quinn says. The BCITO has a record number of apprentices in training and has recently passed the 10,000 number for the first time. He says the changing nature of the building process also changes the skill set employers are seeking. Greater specialisation, particularly in Auckland, has created firms specialising in certain areas of construction and the training environment needs to be able to respond to these market dynamics.

Quinn considers training programmes that offer smaller bites of learning, complementing the existing apprenticeship regime, have the potential to entice more into the construction industry and appeal to parts of the labour market that may not have thought of construction as an option. “The competition to attract young New Zealanders into a trade is high so we need to broaden the opportunities and be flexible in our approach to producing the skills the market needs.” Quinn believes it would also help contribute to filling the skills shortages that may hamstring construction growth.

BCITO has organised a range of nation-wide promotions in recent months to attempt to bolster supply of apprentices. These have included the Not Your Average Shed campaign, their annual Big Construction Tour and the Build-Ability challenge which is currently underway at secondary schools across New Zealand.

BCITO is the largest provider of construction trade apprenticeships in New Zealand. It is appointed by the Government to develop and implement industry qualifications for the building and construction sector. BCITO provide a range of apprenticeships across fifteen trades within the building and construction industry.

ENDS

For more information please contact

Caroline Brown
Acumen Republic for BCITO
04 494 5152

cbrown@acumenrepublic.com

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