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Wooden frame of a new house under construction against a bright sunny sky.
29 September 2021

Building consents skyrocket while building supplies dwindle

Forget the line at KFC when coming out of lockdown, Kiwis filing for consents is the real rush following restrictions lifting.

Since overseas trips have been taken off the menu – homeowners have been flocking towards building and renovating their homes.

Stats NZ publish monthly figures for building consents, and the numbers have skyrocketed. The total value of all residential consents is up 22 percent for the year up to the end of July. And, after a couple of years of downturn, renovation consents are up 16 percent with an excess of $2.2 billion worth of work approved.

Then there’s the myriad of jobs that don’t require a building consent. This is all putting an enormous squeeze on our supply chain.

Consumer NZ Test Team Leader James le Page reckons consumers eyeing home projects should expect to encounter delays and long wait times.

“There’s a ferocious local demand swallowing whatever stock might be sitting on shelves or in warehouses. For example, Pink Batts is a well-known local insulation company with its factory in Auckland. The latest lockdown forced it to stop the machines. By the time it finally resumed production – after receiving a dispensation from the government – all its existing stock had been snapped up and the company was left to clear a massive backlog of orders,” le Page said.

“Unfortunately, that’s the reality of the industry at present and we just have to wear it. The Pink Batts situation isn’t unique. We’ve seen shortages of framing timber this year as well, I experienced that firsthand on my own reno. The major challenge for potential home builders or renovators going forward will be long lead-in times for orders or finding alternative products. Know that if you order something today, you might only receive it next year.”

With builders and supplies scarce, consumer demand surging, and the huge range of decisions would-be renovators must make, Consumer NZ decided to dedicate the latest issue of its magazine entirely to being a guide to home renovation.

“The decision to make the guide was a no-brainer, really. Renovations involve making a huge number of choices and decisions, but there’s a scarcity of independent advice out there if you’re looking at making changes at your place. If you’re new to the process it can be overwhelming.

“This issue covers everything you should know if you’re planning a big, or not-so big, project at your place. From initial design conception through to hiring the right builders and securing finances and insurance, we take you through all the steps you need to follow for a stress-free reno.”

The DIY issue of Consumer magazine will be available from 11 October.

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