Material shortage- NZ construction delays

13/08/2021

 Increasing costs in building supplies combined with on-going shipping delays are placing pressure on Otago builders, according to a recent Otago Daily Times report. A recent Master Builders survey found that 95 per cent of respondents nationally reported delays, increased costs, customer complaints and product substitutions due to a lack of building materials.

Growing difficulties in sourcing the right staff as well as the rising impact on mental health was also taking a toll on the industry.

BuildSmart Co-Owner, Glen Williamson, said that it was an “incredibly frustrating” time for builders, with supply delays making it difficult to manage workflows.

“We had an email from a supplier which outlined the increase in costs, which was pretty big. We cannot be responsible for those increases in material costs and take them on so ultimately we are having to pass them on to the homeowners now,” Mr Williamson said.

The New Zealand Herald also recently reported that national retail chain, PlaceMakers, has warned customers of price rises across many different product categories, with some going up 15 per cent, while lockdowns throughout Australia was also affecting getting steel into the country.

Now builders had to measure jobs, order the right amount of product and wait up to six weeks for it to arrive, Mr Williamson said.

“It is definitely harder to manage our workflow at the moment, you have to be that many steps ahead so it is very challenging,” he said.

Despite the frustrations, there was still plenty demand for builders which meant there was plenty of work around, he said.

NJL Builders Ltd Owner Nigel Lawson said he now had to wait at least six to eight weeks for products to arrive.

“Definitely 4×2 frames and plywood, just about everything across the board, is becoming harder and harder to get,” he said.

New Zealand timber being exported overseas and building booms in Auckland and Christchurch were also taking a lot of product out of the system, Mr Lawson said.

“The biggest challenge is that we are having to pre-plan, we cannot just buy products and start straight away, we are having to plan everything so far out,” he said.

Getting skilled and trained staff was also a problem, particularly when most builders had about a year’s worth of work ahead of them, Mr Lawson said.

“The Government threw money at an apprenticeship scheme but they aren’t what we need right now, we need skilled and trained staff to do the job. Builders are too busy to train people at the moment,” he said in the report.