Fletcher Building, one of New Zealand’s biggest manufacturers of building materials recently reported it was caught off guard by the increasing demand for Gib (standard plasterboard), with builders now going to desperate lengths to get their hands on the dwindling product.
The perfect storm of a building boom and supply issues now sees plasterboard in high demand, according to a recent 1news report, with a sheet of Gib that normally sells for around $30 now selling for hundreds of dollars at Trade Me auctions.
In the report, Fletcher Building’s Hamish MacBeth describes the unprecedented demand as the ‘toilet paper effect’ which is similar to the toilet paper panic buying that took place throughout the pandemic.
Shortages are leading to stockpiling, according to Mr MacBeth, which is why Fletcher Building is now asking distributors to cap the quantities of how much people can buy.
“We are seeing orders for the same house through different customers. Hopefully, that will ease off and we will see the true demand,” Mr MacBeth said.
Due to the shortage the building sector is calling for greater competition and an easier way to import products.
Builder Murray Holt said in the report that while there are a lot of very good products, New Zealand suppliers struggle to get them into the country.
Julien Leys from the Building Industry Federation says that the New Zealand building industry needs to allow innovative products to come in, particularly green products
“At the moment our building code is quite prescriptive,” he said in the report.
The Commerce Commission is currently looking into the import issue, alongside a review of regulations.