Auckland boom has concrete suppliers scrambling

8:22 am on 22 June 2016

Demand for concrete in Auckland's construction boom has left builders waiting weeks for orders to arrive.

Concrete, concrete pouring generic

Auckland builders are waiting weeks for concrete as demand spikes. Photo: 123RF

Allied Concrete supplies more than a quarter of Auckland's ready-mix market, and its general manager, Mark Jordan, said demand had gone up so much over the past few months customers were now having to wait three weeks.

"Concrete demand has increased by about 20 percent in Auckland in the last 12 months. The industry has sufficient production capacity - mostly the constraint is around drivers and trucks."

He said a national shortage of drivers meant Allied Concrete was looking at ways of bringing more into the industry, and was also relocating trucks from other regions to the city to help out.

Waiting times would eventually come down but at the moment ordering well in advance would become the norm, he said.

Auckland Based Concrete manager Andrew Lloyd said concrete was usually available within two days of putting in an order but he now had to wait about a month.

"It just got steadily worse and worse.

"We have to put off the concrete pours and so I have to keep us busy and still working and earning money.

"It just means that we have to do other jobs, put jobs off and do preparation - prep work for other jobs, or if it's not too big and worst comes to worst we just have to hand mix it."

Martin Black from Martin Black Concrete Construction said demand was only going to continue.

"We're just going to see continual construction in the country, which is a good thing because it brings a lot of people into the picture, but I do see we're going to have to manage how to order concrete, how we place concrete, how we transport it, a lot better than we're doing now.

"The big thing is if you're running staff like we are - five or six guys, we don't make money, we don't put food on the table unless we lay concrete. It's as simple as that. If we're not laying concrete, we're not getting paid and nothing gets done and nobody gets fed."

Certified Builders Association chief executive Grant Florence said waiting times were delaying jobs starting or finishing and, in turn, builders getting paid.

"It does have an impact right across the whole network, but I don't necessarily think it would impact on the cost of building - at this stage anyway.

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