NZCB commentary on Covid-19

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NZCB commentary on Covid-19

NZCB welcomes today’s announcement by Government, which enables builders to return to work and contribute to the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19. The well-established focus on health & safety in the building sector is a strong platform for ensuring successful implementation of the new Covid-19-related risk management protocols developed by industry representatives in consultation with Government. As a trade association, we are supplementing this with member briefings (“Toolbox” sessions) to reinforce health and safety requirements and provide other practical guidance for the return to work.

Our members tend to be builders in small to medium sized building firms that typically do residential and light commercial building work, and as SMEs have certainly felt the impacts, along with every other sector. However, we also see some potential positives emerging from what has been incredibly challenging situation for everyone, which I’m happy to speak with you further about if you are interested:

  • With more people available in the workforce, following displacement from the tourism and hospitality sectors in particular, there’s a significant opportunity to attract and recruit more people into trade training/apprenticeships and build the pipeline of trained workers that will be required for the intensive infrastructure planned to kick-start the economy. But what we learned in the Global Financial Crisis was during that period of uncertainty, builders stopped taking on apprentices. So in our view, Government should look at providing an employer subsidy to builders to incentivise this and capitalise on this opportunity.
  • SMEs in the building sector should emerge out of this Covid-19 crisis more resilient than before. In a period of enforced lock-down, they’ve had a chance to work on their respective businesses behind-the-scenes, reassessing and dealing with things that they’ve been too busy to deal with in recent years due to such high levels of demand for builders. One example is the reminder this situation has given builders about the need for written contracts, in the context of consumers cancelling plans and not paying and disagreements about who pays to secure sites during lock-down.

Please let me know if you’d like any further information or comment on the above or other matters relating to the building sector, particular in respect of the perspectives of smaller building firms (vs large construction companies).

Kind regards
Grant Florence
NZCB Chief Executive
New Zealand Certified Builders
021 906 487 | grant@nzcb.nz

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