The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will explain today how some Auckland factories can restart below level 4.
It will select manufacturers of essential building products to prevent a home building freeze during a nationwide building materials shortage.
Builder Dave van de Geest has six homes under construction in North Canterbury, and even before the Delta outbreak he had been commissioned to order siding months before construction began due to shipping delays.
“Now it is even worse. We have a job where it is a two-story place and we ordered the product until four months ago and it seems that it will not arrive in the country now until maybe October, which is a problem because you have a lot of expenses with scaffolding. and keeping a project in motion. “
And now other materials made here, like Pink Batts insulation, are out of stock.
“If you don’t have insulation, you can’t put the interior wall coverings in place and therefore the project is stopped, which is why it is important. With, for example, Pink Batts, everyone is looking for alternative products that they can use,” he said. van de Geest. .
“If you imagine that everyone runs to another product and that also sells out pretty quickly.”
Auckland is the manufacturing center for many building materials, but assembly lines were forced to stop during the shutdown.
To address the shortage, the government will allow the four most critical products to be produced in the city: gypsum board, gypsum, coated steel for roofing and insulation.
MBIE said manufacturers will need a high degree of evidence to support their request to resume production.
“This may include evidence of how construction products are a critical component of residential construction, evidence that there is a limited supply of construction products in New Zealand, and evidence of health and safety measures in place to minimize the risk of transmission of Covid-19 “.
He said the work will need to be carried out with the minimum number of personnel required safely and under alert level 4 rules, and will release more information today.
The Builder and Merchant Supplies Cooperative, CBS Co-op, has 600 members on its books across the country.
Spokesman Mike Blackburn said it is a relief to know that manufacturing of crucial materials can resume.
“It’s a great move. It’s probably a bit late than it should have been, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
But he said it could be weeks before construction sites, suspended due to shortages, can reopen.
“We have builders across the country that have just run out of certain building materials and their jobs have stopped. I’m not sure exactly how long some of these manufacturing facilities will take to scale up.”
And the disruption is putting economic pressure on builders.
“Builders who depend on cash flow to run their business are going to find it very difficult over the next several months until they can really catch up again.”
The Construction Industry Federation represents companies in the supply chain and is working with MBIE to reopen factories.
The federation’s chief executive, Julien Leys, said there could be as many as 100 manufacturers up and running again next week.
“Hopefully it will mean that those materials will start flowing back to the building and construction industry within a week and that those people can rehire to start building houses again.”
But this will take time.
“In the case of insulation, you have to have a furnace re-ignite and reheat before you can start making Pink Batts. Other manufacturing processes take some time as well, but then there’s the fact that the distribution chain needs to sort. those products there has been some congestion. “
And for builders, every day is crucial.
Van de Geest builds at a fixed price and says the rising cost of materials is hurting his bottom line.
“You build your magin and you realize that there are so many dollars that I should get out of this project to run my business and there is less, there is less, you know that we are not going to lose, but there will be people who will lose that they have overpriced it. tight “.