NZ building industry sustainability
Despite facing material, timber, and labour shortages, the building industry is still working hard to advocate for more sustainable ways of doing business.
New Zealand Certified Builders’ Communications and Group Services Manager Karla Farrar explains why sustainability was the theme for this year’s AGM, Conference and Expo, held in June.
Why did you choose sustainability as the theme for the annual conference?
Climate change can no longer be ignored. Since the Covid-19 lockdown, more builders are becoming aware of their social responsibility with the disposal of building waste. On top of this, homeowners’ interest in sustainable homes is growing, and they are also choosing locally made products where possible. Our keynote speaker, Team Green Architects’ Sian Taylor, presented on ‘How to make sustainable building more affordable’. We also had four educational speakers speak about Passive Houses, Zero Carbon Building, Blower Door Testing, and Electric Vehicles and Homes. Our expo included more sustainable building product suppliers this year as well.
What challenges does the building industry face in becoming more sustainable?
There are lots of factors to becoming more sustainable. The fastest way to do this is cleaning up our building waste and how the councils manage this in the regions. The councils have been slow to respond to our requests, but changes are happening. Product manufacturers also need to be more responsible for their packaging and use more recyclable products. Building design and changes to the building code would be the next thing to tackle.
How are your members contributing to a more sustainable industry?
Building sustainability is becoming more ‘normal’ in our industry. Our members are talking about it more and so are the suppliers. Designers and architects are also talking more to our builders about it. The main councils are also taking the topic more seriously. Building waste is a hot topic in our industry at the moment and we had Mark Roberts, Senior Waste Planning Advisor from Auckland Council speak at our conference. We are slowly getting more communication on the topic of building waste and how our builders should manage this. Many of our builders are pushing their local councils to do more and their efforts are starting to pay off all around the country.
What does a more sustainable building industry look like for NZCB?
All our members are trade qualified in carpentry level 4 and the majority are also part of the Government – Licensed Building Practitioners scheme. Part of being involved means you have to complete so many hours of training per year, so they get exposed to all the latest products and building techniques on a regular basis. Sustainable building is the way of the future and here to stay, so it will only improve in the years to come.
Developing a more sustainable industry requires a lot of education, changes to building design, and the type of building products used. The NZCB Board and the NZCB Chief Executive Grant Florence work hard on advocacy with the government to get our concerns heard. We had representation from the current government, the opposition, and senior staff from MBIE at our conference, so their hard work is paying off.
To find out more about how NZCB helps its thousands of members to grow, thrive, and succeed, visit www.nzcb.nz.