Challenge and Demand

Peter Andersen and Jason Wanden met with my colleague, Daniel Jone, and I at Sto warehouse, Wellington earlier this month. We talked about some of the challenges facing the exterior plastering industry. 


Peter and Jason identified a lack of labour resource as their area of most concern. They explained that there are some significant projects on the go with contractors sometimes needing to have 10 + plasterers to be able to complete the project within increasingly tight time frames and inter coordination of trades to avoid penalties. They have noticed that contractors often look for more mature workers as they find that some youngsters loose interest after a year or so. Jason said that because the render market is quite strong currently, there is also an increase in trainees switching employers. 

Demand for exterior plastering systems is increasing, alongside tightening fire regulations and compliance for building facades requiring certified exterior cladding systems. Because of this, plaster systems with non-combustible aerated concrete panels are proving popular for multi-story apartments, aged care facilities and commercial buildings. 

The choice of plastered insulation systems over concrete or masonry buildings is also gaining prominence as insulation is now a requirement in New Zealand buildings. Real Estate Industry bias against monolithic claddings is slowly changing, too, as cavity systems and certification provide assurance for the specifiers to use plaster systems.

Benefits of a BCITO Qualification:

Peter and Jason believe that most of the plasterers in the industry are proficient at their work but some have yet to gain a formal qualification. Benefits they see for a qualification include:

  • Recognition and level of confidence in a team who are qualified. 
  • Qualified trades people have the potential to promote themselves within the industry and to step up into a supervisory qualification and role, or even become a business owner. 
  • People having a qualification are more acceptable to other employers.
  • Exterior plastering is no longer seen as just “mud stuck on the wall” and knowledge of the science behind the system is as important to the industry as the skill in applying the product. 
  • Onsite training is an important part of exterior plastering in this speciality field.
  • The BCITO Experience Recognition Process (ERP) enables people to gain qualification for the experience they already have.

As part of this, Sto require that all their contractors provide evidence of their work experience and be Licensed Building Practitioners (LBP). Sto also monitor, and will provide, on-site training if required on initial projects completed in Sto Façade or Render Systems.  

Written by Paul Bailey, Industry Advocate for Exterior Plastering

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