The head of the Builders' Association says the demand for skilled builders in the Canterbury rebuild is putting a strain on tradespeople needed in other cities such as Auckland.
The 17th annual Certified Builders' Association conference is being held in Christchurch.
Association chair Dave Brown said the biggest issue facing the sector was a shortage of skilled labour.
He said when the demand in Christchurch reduced, many builders would move back to Auckland, to address the chronic shortage of houses there.
Labour leader Andrew Little said the building industry was facing challenges from new regulations, and it was important the government works through those with the sector.
He told the delegates the requirements of Health and Safety and the Building Act were challenging for builders, and it was important that the government spoke with the sector when new regulations came into effect.