Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says the fall is not unexpected given the holidays in April. “New Zealand is still on track to exceed the number of new building consents issued in 2016, just over 30,000.”
The seasonally adjusted number of new homes consented fell 7.6% in April 2017 compared with March 2017 and 2,106 new homes were consented in April 2017 compared with 2,361 in April 2016.
Quinn says on a regional level only Canterbury, down 18.7%, and Hawke’s Bay, down 3%, are below where they were this time last year with all other areas are up on the equivalent four month period in 2016.
The rest of the regions recorded a rise. Northland was up 6.3%, Auckland 6.5%, Waikato 4.5%, Bay of Plenty 6.7%, Gisborne 7.7%, Taranaki 7.7%, Manawatu/Whanganui 10.5%, Wellington 10.2%, Tasman 3.7%, Nelson 32.1%, Marlborough 7.9%, West Coast 53.1%, and Otago 3.4%. Southland remained the same.
Quinn says New Zealand overall is up 2.4% on the same period last year which, if the trend continues, will see new residential building consents nudging 31,000 in 2017.
“This will be the second highest year on record since 1976. Only 2014, with 31,423 consents issued, has been higher in the past 40 years and there is a good chance that number will be broken this year.”
Quinn says the demand for skills is very high across all trades and regions. “While a lot of media attention has been focused on Auckland there is significant demand throughout the country. More than 65,000 construction workers are needed over the next five years and a little under half of those need to be trade qualified.”
There has never been a better time to consider a career in the trades, says Quinn. “We are in the midst of one the biggest building booms in recent memory and it is expected to last for many years – job prospects are excellent. Skill shortages are not restricted to tradespeople but are across the entire construction sector with engineers, architects, quality surveyors, project managers, supervisors and many other professionals in high demand,” says Quinn.
Quinn says the trades are not often considered a genuine option for school leavers by their influencers such as parents, family, career advisors and teachers, who instead favour university. “The BCITO has just completed the Not Your Average Tradie Road Trip aimed at attracting more people into construction careers and has other initiatives planned.
“As a qualified tradesperson you can become highly successful in a short space of time. Not only do you get a tertiary qualification with no student debt because of the earn as you learn approach, but construction is a huge and varied industry offering many career paths beyond working on site. Skilled individuals can go in all sorts of directions from owning their own business, to professional consulting, management, supervision and many others.”
Female trade apprentices are loving their career choice, but few considered a career in building or construction while they were at school, research shows.
Brad Gemmell qualified as a bricklayer at 21 years of age and hopped on a plane to London, ready to put his skills to the test. He returned to New Zealand a few years later and began his own business, Brad the Brickie Ltd in Wanaka.