Te Waihanga advises on construction sector’s return to work

As the construction sector returns to work at Level 3 today, Te Waihanga is working with Government agencies to minimise the impact of the lockdown.

"While we welcome the return to work, we acknowledge it won’t be business as usual, with additional health and safety measures in place," says Te Waihanga Chair Dr Alan Bollard. "Construction companies will also be busy offsite - as there are numerous contractual issues to iron out.

"We’re pleased to see the pragmatic approach that Government agencies have taken in releasing retentions to contractors and finding ways to otherwise support their cashflow.

"Our team have been working alongside colleagues in the Construction Sector Accord to help get projects restarted as quickly as possible and to smooth the way for works in the planning stages to be progressed."

According to Statistics New Zealand’s September 2018 household labour force quarterly survey, the construction industry employed almost 245,000 people. The 2019 National Construction Pipeline estimated the total value of the sector at $40 billion.

"It’s essential that we support the sector to play its part in stimulating economic growth," says Dr Bollard. "By working together across government, we are sharing our knowledge to ensure the best possible outcome."

The Government issued guidance on 7 April recognising the move to Level 4 lockdown as a variation-to-contract in the construction industry. Te Waihanga specialists have been providing advice on the cost of individual contract variations.

Te Waihanga is also working with the Infrastructure Industry Reference Group to review the large volume of applications for shovel-ready projects, with priority projects to be announced in May.

Te Waihanga remains committed to assisting New Zealand’s response and recovery, in the immediate, medium and long term.