Wednesday, 4th August, 2021
From surviving to thriving, the last couple of weeks have been construction heavy for us here at the Chamber. Firstly, we were lucky enough, thanks to the fabulous Westpac Smarts Series, to have Julien Leys, Chief Executive of the Building Industry Federation speak to members about the global influences that have, and will continue for some time, to disrupt the availability of goods and materials.
Our massive reliance on shipping and the impact COVID has had on the ability to load and unload ships, as well as driving soaring demand, has seen not just companies, but countries pitched against each other in a bidding war to attract ships to their ports. It's tough for little old New Zealand hanging out near the south pole to get a lot of attention, and when we do it comes with a significant price tag.
I was struck by the number of price increases announced to the sector in just the past month, Julien couldn't even fit them all on one slide and that was in small font!. And these are not increases in isolation. Our construction sector is facing price escalation and unpredictability at such pace and scale, it's an incredibly tough time to be in business and trying to price for that risk. Higher supply prices means higher prices for your new house, renovation or business premises, but with supply chain challenges chances are you will be waiting longer or having to consider substitutes as part of the process. This is uncharted territory for many of our businesses and the key messages to consumers here are to be kind, be patient and plan as well as in advance as you can. The pipeline of construction demand is not slowing down any time soon.
Led by our Chair Angela Spackman, we were also fortunate to host a discussion forum with some key representatives from our local industry. Its primary purpose being to understand the key issues, identify what the potential options were to address these and the relative roles the local industry and the Chamber can play. Unsurprisingly, supply chain challenges and people were at the top of the list, but also interestingly was the feedback on procurement processes, the increasing use of contract forms that squarely place all the risk on our contractors and the late involvement of contractors in the building process, meaning there are a number of pieces to be picked up...
We are looking forward to hosting more industry specific events and training, as well as enhancing our networking offers. Watch this space!
And I can't let an update go past without a shout out for our upcoming Business Awards. Entering is easy (as is nominating someone) and there are a lot of benefits to be realised through the process. More on this below.
Very shortly we will be releasing our third Business Confidence survey for the year, keep an eye out for it and please take a few moments to complete it. Post this survey we will have quite the story to tell for our 2021 journey.