Saturday, December 4

Construction industry fears shortages if supplies remain stagnant in Auckand

Thousands of construction sites are reopening today amid warnings that common products could be out of stock in a few days.

Fixing the plumbing system in the bathroom Close-up view

Photo: 123RF

The construction industry says the government has not understood how damaging it will be to have full warehouses in Auckland while most of the country at level 3 clamoring for products.

About half of the country’s construction sites are now within Level 3 zones and can be reopened.

“Businesses operating below alert level three in the rest of the country will very quickly find themselves without products to continue construction with,” said Plumbing World CEO Rob Kidd.

Plumbing World branches were fully stocked at Tier 4, but like many other construction suppliers, up to 95 percent of their products are still in Auckland.

They had mistakenly anticipated that supply to Level 3 areas would restart while Covid protections were applied, said Kidd, who learned otherwise yesterday afternoon.

The split from level 4 to level 3 was unprecedented, he said.

“Some products will run out in a matter of days … three or four days.

“We have never had this problem before.”

Master Plumbers CEO Greg Wallace said they only found out when they asked the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) about it and told that the Cabinet had to decide yesterday.

They had assumed that suppliers that were already distributing essential products, such as hot water cylinders, would simply expand what they shipped, Wallace said.

“So yesterday there was a huge panic about how we were going to get product suppliers to make sure the supply chains stayed open.”

Pink Batts national sales manager Joanne Duggan said the company could not manufacture in Auckland or supply from there, and was working with MBIE to obtain an exemption.

“They all seem to be in the same boat,” Duggan said.

The manager of a major gypsum products manufacturer with its Auckland plant called MBIE yesterday to request an exemption to operate, but nothing has been answered since.

“Even if we had alternative manufacturing, a six hour notice would never have been enough time to store pallets, packaging and essential raw ingredients at this location,” said the manager.

The robbery also affected raw material suppliers and the consequences would continue. Supply and restocking costs, involving and manufacturing overtime, and shortages, would be significant, the manager said.

building material, plasterboard wheelbarrow, construction

Even before the last shutdown, companies expected prices for some construction items to rise.
Photo: 123RF

Gypsum boards, electrical products and concrete reinforcing additives could also run out in a few days, said Julien Leys, executive director of the Federation of the Construction Industry.

“I don’t think anyone within MBIE and the government appreciates the seriousness of the situation. I don’t think they understand it. I think they are choosing to ignore it.

“We need those materials now. We can’t afford to wait.”

In an email to Leys, a member of the federation wrote: “In our opinion weighted and based on the market share of 45 percent mesh and 25 percent steel, if supplies cannot be manufactured and / or sourced outside Auckland below level 4, then this will have an immediate impact on building the residential, commercial and infrastructure sectors. “

Robb Kidd of Plumbing World said it was the industry that got the government’s attention.

“I don’t think our ministers envisioned this as a problem. We need our ministers to understand that the building providers are big-name companies … and the protocols and so forth that we have in place are as robust as food products and countdowns.” . from this world “.

Kidd acknowledged the fact that many distribution centers are in South Auckland, as well as a flash point for the outbreak.

Officials aim to process exemption requests within 24 hours.

Businesses can request an exemption from travel restrictions to distribute goods.

Fletcher Building Distribution CEO Bruce McEwen told an industry webinar from several hundred vendors yesterday that he hadn’t heard of many waivers being granted.

“We are monitoring all of our suppliers throughout the supply chain,” McEwen said.

“We are aware that several have requested exemptions from MBIE to operate. At this stage, not much response is received.”

This could be due to time.

The ministry told RNZ that the exemptions will be decided from today by the Director General of Health.

It had a dedicated team with the goal of solving construction industry applications in 24 hours, he said.

Construction Minister Poto Williams told RNZ that the tier divisions were different and that “we were not dealing with the Delta variant either” the last time Auckland was at tier 3.

Members of the Building Agreement came in on supply chain comments “and ministers will continue to explore available options,” Williams added.

Leys said the Accord had underrepresentation from the supply chain.

Williams told her yesterday that officials were finding out where the stock was being held, what was the most critical, and she said “we will act if necessary to release the product if necessary.”

Even before level 4, in July, many builders had been anticipating a traffic jam.

A majority of 240 companies surveyed by Eboss We expect the products to cost a little more and take a little longer to get them in the next six months. For example, siding products were expected to cost 26 percent more in six months than six months ago.

The rules for opening construction sites are in the Construction Health and Safety New Zealand website.

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