Our country is in the middle of a construction boom with more than 80,000 new homes forecast to be built over the next six years, and the trade sector plays a vital role in this buoyant industry.
While activity may be cooling off slightly in Canterbury, the number of building consents in the region is close to twice the amount it was before the Christchurch earthquakes began in 2010, and there’s still a significant amount of work to be done.
Canterbury’s construction industry will benefit from a more sustainable contracting environment - where contractors and trade businesses work together more effectively so that profitability, quality and professionalism can co-exist.
New Zealand has somewhat of a dog-eat-dog contracting environment at present where the bottom price is seen as the right price. Healthy competition is essential for all markets, but a sector cannot be healthy when the profits required for investment in staff training and quality control erode through a price-gouge mentality.
It’s the duty of everyone involved to ensure quality doesn’t go out the window at times of high activity.
Project Managers need to be able to compare apples with apples when it comes to quotes from trade subcontractors, but some tradespeople will quote on low quantity and low quality to provide a low price, and then upsell into the job.
Sustainable businesses require good business acumen, including professional, transparent and comprehensive plans and quotes, a good handle on cashflow and margins, reliable job management systems, good relationships, and of course, high quality workmanship.
To make the most of Canterbury’s still buoyant construction market, strong relationships between all parties involved need to be in place to ensure success. We’d encourage contractors to evaluate pricing as a factor sitting alongside the subcontractor’s systems, experience, level of resource, supply channels, and a full knowledge of the costs and scope of the work involved with the project.
We’d like to see tradespeople operate with integrity, and be able to stand by what was agreed upon. If we could move the dial more towards this approach, the industry will lift its game, businesses will perform better, contractors will see improved project outcomes, and the trade sector will enjoy more confidence from the public.