2016 Forum Focus
A key aim of the Forum is to look at how businesses have adapted and evolved in response to the Christchurch Earthquake and GFC. It is clearly no longer the case of business as usual.
While the viability of some operators in the construction sector was compromised by the earthquake, after a brief spike in SME closures, Canterbury’s contribution to the number of new SMEs in construction actually increased over the next two years before returning to its pre-quakes level in 2013. Indeed the Canterbury earthquakes had a positive impact on Canterbury’s employment. The recovery and rebuild work programme, therefore, has provided opportunities.
The earthquake prompted new thinking about how the building and construction sector would operate in the future. More complex, demanding and innovative building techniques were called for. For example, pre-fabrication is now no longer primarily the domain of the commercial sector and is now increasingly being used in the residential sector.
But the earthquake also highlighted the need for better building practices and more meaningful collaboration across the private and the public sector to ensure alignment across the New Zealand building and construction supply chain.
This is a key operating principle, for instance, in the Construction Sector Workforce Plan for the Canterbury rebuild prepared in 2013 by the construction sector with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Another key operating principle was Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) i.e. the degree to which contractors can be involved early in the procurement process. The Forum will explore whether this been the case. And if so, how the approaches that emerged from Canterbury might be applicable to the country’s building and construction challenges particularly in Auckland where the demand for building and construction continues unabated. Importantly the Forum will provide an insight into what best practice looks like now and what new norms are emerging that will shape this country’s future.