Number of cranes goes sky-high

The construction boom is seeing an unprecedented number of cranes rise across New Zealand’s cities, according to research released today. The Q2 2017 RLB Crane Index revealed a record 132 cranes towering over New Zealand’s cities, with Auckland alone accounting for 72.

crane

“In Auckland, in particular, strong economic growth driven by high inward migration and increasing tourist numbers, along with solid housing activity, manufacturing and consumer spending, has seen the rock star economy continuing to drive the construction industry, where demand is stretching the current supply,” said Chris Haines, Rider Levett Bucknall’s Auckland Director.

“Auckland continues to dominate New Zealand skies with 72 long-term cranes, 55 per cent of all cranes observed across the seven key centres,” Haines said. “The current index highlights a 13 per cent increase in the number of cranes within the Auckland region since the last count in Q4 2016. Twenty-three new cranes have been erected and 15 have been removed from projects that are nearing completion.” Construction work put in place increased by 20 per cent in the 2016 calendar year, making it the fifth consecutive year of growth.

Source:

  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald

A busy decade ahead!

SCCZEN_A_070115NZHNRWATERVIEW3_620x310

Waterview Project – Auckland

Around $110 billion will be spent by central and local government on infrastructure over the next 10 years – but more money will be needed from user-pays and other charges, Finance Minister Bill English says.

The Government has also announced it will develop national data standards for roads, water and buildings, which it hopes will avoid a “silo” approach to expensive new projects.

“Centres of excellence” will be established with people who can help government departments and councils with the analysis and presentation of data.

“Expensive and long-lived infrastructure assets won’t deliver the right results if planning occurs in silos,” Mr English said in a speech unveiling the 2015 National Infrastructure plan at the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure (NZCID) symposium in Christchurch this morning.

The plan contains 145 initiatives which are designed to help the country cope with ageing infrastructure, and increasing pressures from a growing population, much of which will occur north of Taupo.

NationalMegaProjectsAug20Mr English said there would need to be an increased focus on “non-asset solutions”, such as charging those who have a strong demand for the use of infrastructure.

“This isn’t a new idea. Taxes on fuel to pay for the National Land Transport Fund mean we already use demand management tools in roading.

“And all councils meter large water consumers. New technology will offer greater opportunities for managing demand for infrastructure assets over the next 30 years.”

Mr English said that such charges should not be used without considering benefits to improved infrastructure, such as increased productivity or well-being

“And charges for infrastructure use should never be used simply to raise revenue.”

A key focus of today’s plan is the need to renew ageing networks of existing infrastructure, Mr English said. That included schools, which have an average age of 42 years.

The Ministry of Education has recently surveyed all of the country’s state and state-integrated schools and found them to be in poorer condition than thought.

Damp, mouldy conditions at schools including Northland College and Western Springs College in Auckland have made headlines recently. Both those schools are scheduled for hugely-expensive upgrades.

“New Zealand’s population is ageing. The median age has increased from 32.8 years in 1996 to 36.9 years today, and is expected to reach 42.7 years in 2043,” Mr English said.

“This has implications for the types of services New Zealanders will want, the infrastructure required to deliver those services, and the available funding.

“Some of our regions will grow in size, while others will shrink. By 2045, the demographers expect another 1.2 million people to be living in New Zealand, with most of that increase expected to be north of Taupō.

“Those people will require housing, transport, electricity, water and telecommunications. They will also help to pay for it.”

Mr English also today released a pipeline of capital spending for central government departments, which he said showed the Government’s commitment to transparent dialogue with local government and industry.

When National came to power in 2008 discussions with councils and departments on infrastructure were often short-term in focus, Mr English said, but a smarter approach was needed to meet the significant challenges over the next 30 years.

Local Government NZ, which represents the country’s 78 local and regional authorities, last month made a number of proposals funding councils, including fuel levies, taxes on tourists, and collecting rates on Crown-owned land.

Those were dismissed by Local Government Minister Paula Bennett, who warned councils to look at their own spending and high wages rather than chasing the Crown or ratepayers for more funding.

LGNZ president Lawrence Yule, who has said local government is facing unprecedented economic and demographic change, welcomed today’s 30 year plan.

“While local and central government will not agree on everything, over the timeframe of this plan LGNZ will continue to drive strategic performance improvements across its infrastructure including the three waters, roading and transport, as well as a new partnership with central government on risk management of local assets,” Mr Yule wrote in a forward to the plan.

Today’s report notes that climate change is predicted to cause sea level rises of 30 centimetres by 2050, and that flooding is already New Zealand’s most frequent natural disaster at a cost of around $51 million each year.

Local authorities are already noting that the rising water table is hastening the degradation of pipes.

Source:

  • Nicholas Jones
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Nick Reed

$4.2 billion for Auckland transport

mainmotorway_620x310Auckland is receiving 30 per cent of a national land transport budget of $13.9 billion over the next three years.

The Government’s Transport Agency has this afternoon announced that the Super City – with about one third of the country’s population – will receive $4.2 billion for state highways, local roads, public transport, walking, cycling and road policing.

About $3 billion – or just over 71 per cent – of that will be Government money from fuel taxes paid into the National Land Transport Fund, leaving Auckland Council to pay the remaining $1.2b.

That does not include projects outside the land transport programme for which the council is allocating Auckland Transport an additional $1 billion, including for the City Rail Link.

Aucklanders will also contribute $520m of “external revenue” such as parking fees and fines, and public transport fares.

Their city’s share of the overall “partnership” pot from the national programme will include $1.175 billion for public transport, $960 million to maintain highways and local roads, and $91 million to improve cycling and walking.

That is additional to $24.75m the Government said last week it would contribute to Auckland from its $100m urban cycleways fund.

Today’s transport announcement opens the way for early starts on a $1 billion package of road freight connections between the Southern and Southwestern motorways, and also commits funds for the first time to design an extension of the Northern Busway, from Constellation Drive to Albany.

It includes $48m to continue preparations for a $760m motorway extension to Warkworth, which the Government hopes will be built as a public private partnership from late next year.

The transport programme has allocated $268m to widen the Southern Motorway beyond Manukau, and has increased the budget to complete the Waterview Connection and related projects along the Northwestern Motorway on Auckland’s long-awaited western ring route from $2b to $2.27b.

The national allocation represents a 15 per cent increase in land transport funding from previous 2012-15 programme.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says the $13.9b programme represents the largest ever spend on land transport, and will deliver on Government priorities of increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety, strengthening regional transport networks, lifting investment in public transport and cycling, and ensuring value for money.

The Government’s share of the national programme amounts to $10.5 billion.
Roads will account for $10.3b of the programme.

That comprises $6.3b for state highways which are fully Government-funded and $4b for local roads, about half of which are financed by councils and their ratepayers.

Almost $2b has been earmarked for public transport nationally, a 21 per cent increase, and investment in cycling will more than triple – to $251m.

But the Green Party says the programme is focussed too heavily on “carbon-polluting transport infrastructure, rather than building a clean, balanced and efficient system for the 21st Century.”

Transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said National had chosen to continue spending more than $1b a year “on a few carbon-polluting motorways that haven’t even passed a business test.”

She commended the increase in money for urban clearways, but criticised the Government’s “foolish and unjustified policy of not funding rail infrastructure from the National Land Transport Fund, even though rail is obviously a form of land transport.”

Regional allocations for the coming three years:

Allocation to other regions for the coming three years include:

  • Auckland – $4.223b
  • Northland – $460m
  • Waikato – $1.812b
  • Bay of Plenty – $591m
  • Wellington – $1.439b
  • Hawkes Bay – $245m
  • Taranaki – $187m
  • Manawatu-Whanganui – $450m
  • Gisborne – $120m
  • Greater Christchurch – $1.575b
  • Canterbury (outside Christchurch), Otago, Southland and West Coast – $977m
  • Upper South Island – $221m

Source:

  • NZ Herald
  • Photos: Brett Phibbs

Auckland pips Christchurch

e2b0b50ef34483e3fa418ce128f8f5293f790d54_620x311New Zealand has 72 large fixed cranes up – 29 in Auckland, 23 in Christchurch, nine in Wellington, five in Queenstown, three in Tauranga, two in Hamilton and one in Dunedin.

Chris Haines, Rider Levett Bucknall Auckland director, said his company’s crane index showed how active the construction sector was because 43 new cranes went up in the past six months, mainly in Auckland and Christchurch.

Construction work nationally last year was up 42 per cent on 2012, Haines said.

Thirteen new Auckland cranes were put up since last year’s third quarter, including on Dominion Rd, Lynn Mall, and city office buildings at Wynyard and Victoria St West.

Further cranes were erected at the Auckland Theatre Company at Wynyard, Rothesay Bay apartments, Hobson St, Summit on Karangahape Rd, Albany’s Rose Gardens apartments and elsewhere, Haines said.

Residential projects represent 37 per cent of Auckland crane work, followed by civil projects at 22 per cent and commercial at 19 per cent.

Source:

  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald
  • Photo: Greg Bowker

Catalyst in the UK

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• Commercial Construction – Buildings
• UK based Client interviews 18th-22nd May
• Fast paced recruitment project

Our client – one of New Zealand’s leading main commercial construction companies is visiting the UK 18th to 22nd May 2015 with the intention of hiring great people to strengthen their already dominant position within the NZ market.

As New Zealand based International Sourcing specialists and as preferred suppliers, Catalyst Recruitment has been asked to assist with finding suitable professionals to ensure their recruitment trip is as successful as possible.

Numerous roles are being sourced and include,

• Project & Senior Project Managers
• Design Managers
• Quantity Surveyors & Senior Quantity Surveyors
• Commercial Managers
• Planner/Programmers
• Construction Managers
• Pre-Construction Managers
• Site & Senior Site Managers
• Service Engineer/Managers
• BIM Specialists

Catalyst is already speaking to candidates in the UK every morning in preparation for the visit and the response so far has been great. We’re always keen to speak to new candidates so if your experience in commercial construction fits any of the roles above you need to get in touch with us straight away. Contact me via pponder@catalystrecruitment.co.nz and include a copy of your CV to know more.

Crane’s a big positive!

BuildingcranesAucklandCBDatnight_620x311Construction cranes on Auckland’s skyline are one of the best indicators of confidence and activity in the commercial property market, says John Church, national director of commercial property, in Bayleys’ latest Greater Auckland portfolio publication.

A number of key factors are driving strong growth in Auckland with the buoyant commercial and industrial property market conditions seen in 2014 expected to continue in 2015, says Church,

“In this respect, it has been encouraging to see the increasing number of crane booms dotted around key commercial and industrial property locations in Auckland over the past year.”

He says the latest bi-annual Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index, released in September last year, noted that 26 cranes were in action in Auckland – less than the 31 employed in the Christchurch rebuild, but well ahead of the next locations: Hamilton with seven; and Wellington with six.

“Many more cranes are expected to spring up around the region over the next three years as we experience one of the biggest sustained construction booms in many decades – led by Auckland,” Church says.

“While building activity is expected to peak in Christchurch this year, according to a National Construction Pipeline report, construction work in Auckland will keep climbing significantly until 2017. It will then flatten off a little but remain at very healthy levels at least until 2020.

“This is good news for the Auckland commercial property market as it will create new investment opportunities, attract investment capital and help sustain the strong level of activity that was a feature of the market last year,” Church says.

“Auckland is clearly where much of New Zealand’s business growth will be for the foreseeable future, and investors like to put their money into areas where there are strong growth prospects.”

He says this point was underlined late last year by an analysis of the geographical location of the 370 investors who purchased proportionate shares in New Zealand’s largest property syndication – one of the buildings in Spark’s head office complex in central Auckland.

Some 27 per cent of purchasers were based in Auckland, while 55 per cent came from other parts of the North Island, and 17 per cent from the South Island, with many located in rural areas.

“When it comes to commercial property investment, people invest with their heads, rather than their hearts and clearly, Auckland is where the commercial property action is,” Church says.

“In this respect, it is good to see that a significant amount of development action is happening in the heart of our city – the central business district. Most of the world’s great cities have a thriving CBD with a mix of business, residential, retail and leisure and entertainment activities, and the wide range of projects currently underway or planned in our CBD are a good reflection of that.”

Church says the severe shortage of prime CBD office space has been well publicised and is likely to be only partly relieved by the completion later this year of Manson TCLM’s speculative new office building in Victoria Street, which is likely to lease up quickly.

“It will then be quite a while before other CBD office buildings planned by the likes of Goodman and Precinct Properties will add further significant amounts of prime office space to the market.

“In the meantime, tenants will, by necessity, have to look for good quality alternatives in CBD B-grade space, in the City Fringe, Southern Corridor and on the North Shore. This will open up opportunities and the prospect of rental growth for landlords in these sectors.”

Church says the other supply bottleneck that is likely to become even more acute in Auckland this year is the shortage of affordable land zoned for industrial development.

“As a consequence, there will continue to be strong demand for what limited supply there is. It is encouraging that the plan change needed to facilitate Stevensons’ redevelopment of rural land in South Drury into a large scale business park, catering predominantly for industrial users, has been given the go ahead.

“From what we have seen, it’s likely to be a development of similar quality to Goodman’s Highbrook Park in East Tamaki, although twice the size, and it will take some of the pressure off industrial land supply in the medium term.”

Church says 2014 ended on a high note for Bayleys with 24 properties selling before, at, or shortly after the agency’s last Auckland portfolio auction for the year in December.

“Given that the economy is continuing to chug along nicely, interest rates are forecast to remain at historically low levels for longer, and commercial and industrial property demand in many sub-sectors is continuing to outstrip supply, we anticipate that the strong market conditions which prevailed in 2014 will continue this year.”

Source:

  • Colin Taylor
  • NZ Herald

Prefab house factory a NZ first!

SCCZEN_290115SPLMATRIX4_620x310New Zealand’s first factory turning out finished houses has opened in Wellington, aiming to produce up to 500 places annually.

Sean Murrie, Matrix Homes chief executive and director, said Finance Minister Bill English yesterday opened the 8000sq m Trentham factory in the former General Motors assembly plant.

“People are building components of houses, then assembling them on the site. But the whole thing here is we’re turning fully finished houses with code compliance certificates,” Murrie said.

Grant Florence, chief executive of Certified Builders said more people were looking at prefabricated houses to address the housing shortage.

“This is not new. Prefabrication of houses has been around a long, long time,” Florence said.

“I have concerns about whether the market is big enough to sustain these sorts of operations,” he said.

“They have to overcome some consumer negatives around the prefab concept because people relate it to cheap and they relate it to prefabs at schools.”

In December it was announced that Auckland’s first house-building factory was being planned for Pokeno and could produce components for two-and-a-half houses a day.

Mike Greer, founder and chief of house building business Mike Greer Homes, said then that he and a joint venture partner planned to develop a $16 million high-volume residential panels factory at Pokeno because he thought that was the best place to supply Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton.

The factory could eventually make components for 1250 houses a year, Greer said.

“You stick timber in one end and out pops a house,” Greer said.

His business has formed Concision, a joint venture with construction business Spanbuild, to develop the new $14 million Rolleston factory south of Christchurch in the iZone industrial park where Weinmann specialist German machinery is installed for the production line house panel manufacturer.

Matrix houses come in an M1 module with a single bedroom and a larger M2 two-bedroom module and have a simple mono-pitch roof with a big square wall at one end. Both modules exist as standalone homes, or can be combined in a host of different configurations.

“Both modules can fit on a truck or book a ticket on the Cook Strait Ferry,” the business said.

Source:

  • Anne Gibson
  • NZ Herald
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