23 Jun 2016

Booming building sector causes strain on skills

10:58 am on 23 June 2016

New Zealand's booming construction sector is showing signs of strain, with skills and materials shortages driving up costs and increasing building times, according to a new report.

Construction site for the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland.

The SkyCity Convention Centre site in Auckland is one of the biggest construction jobs in the country. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

A survey by infrastructure firm AECOM showed the focus of the sector had moved away from the Christchurch earthquake rebuild to the North Island.

"Auckland remains the dominant force in the infrastructure landscape - but the survey has also highlighted the growth in Tauranga and Hamilton," said AECOM NZ director Craig Davidson.

But he said the growth in demand was causing pressures, with 59 percent of respondents identifying skills shortages as a major constrain, compared with 40 percent in the previous survey six months ago.

Mr Davidson said the boom/bust nature of the industry had left the sector struggling to cope with current demand, because previous significant players had failed after the global financial crisis and local recession.

"That's hampering our ability to deliver projects today."

He said that more needed to be done by the industry to identify, train and retain trained tradesmen, which would improve productivity and help to contain costs.

The full report can be read [www.aecom.com/nzsentiment here].