By NZHJ April 15, 2019 Industry news

The Construction Sector Accord announced yesterday may not be a game changer in its own right but the industry reckons it's a good start.

Launched yesterday, the Construction Sector Accord is an agreement between the Government and the building industry that will serve as a framework around which to improve the building sector and help ensure accountability for the stated outcomes.

The Government describes the Accord as: "a shared commitment to transform New Zealand’s construction sector" and "a new way for Government and industry to work together to create lasting, positive change in the sector".

The Government's commitments:

  • Better procurement practices and improved pipeline management.
  • Improved building regulatory systems and consenting processes.

Industry commitments:

  • Enhanced industry leadership, collaboration and organisation.
  • Better business performance.
  • Improved culture and reputation.

Shared by Government and industry:

  • Grow workforce capability and capacity.
  • Better risk management and fairer risk allocation.
  • Improved health and safety at work.
  • More houses and better durability.

Of course the key elements of this Accord are already widely recognised and some actions are already in train but publicly and formally acknowledging the work that has to be achieved cannot be a bad thing.

In a press release, Registered Master Builders Association Chief Executive, David Kelly, says the Accord "represents a significant opportunity for the industry to partner with Government to make positive change in the construction sector.

“The Government has given clear commitments to the industry and New Zealanders that the construction sector is critical to the success of our communities and cities.

“The issues are clear and have been well debated.

"We are facing skills and labour shortages, poor risk management, unclear regulations, and a lack of coordinated leadership.

"This Accord represents a tangible agreement between the industry and Government to try to address these issues, and to hold each other to account.

"We see the Accord as a valuable part of the process, providing us all with new ‘rules of the game’.”

Whether all this is just more well-meaning talk or actually game-changing will, of course, depend heavily on actually achieving the goals outlined above.

In a press release, Geoff Hunt, Chairman of industry body the Construction Strategy Group, offers a guarded approval of the Accord:

“The Accord represents the Government’s willingness to collaborate with industry to transform the sector so it can continue to deliver benefits which all New Zealanders can share and trust such as safe, durable homes, buildings and infrastructure built by a productive, capable and commercially viable sector."

However, he continues: “Whether the Accord becomes a ‘game changer’ will be determined by the achievement of shared goals and outcomes in the transformational plan to be agreed with Government together with improving the commercial viability of industry participants as part of a high performing New Zealand construction sector.”

What's next? More work, as industry works with Government to develop a more detailed plan for these "commitments to transformation".

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