INDEPENDENT NEWS

Public Housing Build Back In Action

Published: Sat 9 May 2020 10:12 AM
Building activity on public housing sites is back on track with nearly all 300 work sites across New Zealand expected to be up and running again this week, Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods said.
Under last week’s move to Level 3, 240 Kāinga Ora public housing work sites had builders back at work. Nearly 60 more sites will be operating again in the coming days.
“The Government wants to get the economy moving again and people back to work. Our house building programme creates jobs and homes, both of which are so essential at the moment,” Megan Woods said.
“Getting back to work is helping to keep cash flowing through to more than 100 build partners and contractors, and that has huge flow-on for the rest of the economy.
“ Kāinga Ora has approximately 3,000 state, market and affordable homes under construction valued at around $1.5 billion so this is a real boost to economic activity. Of this, around $530 million will be paid for construction work still to be delivered so that’s a sizeable income stream still to make its way toward Kāinga Ora’s build partners.
“The construction industry is one of the best multipliers of investment with every dollar spent estimated to deliver around three dollars in the wider economy.’’
Of the 300 Kāinga Ora sites, about one third are in the Auckland region with another third in the Wellington region. The remainder are in Christchurch, Hamilton, and spread throughout other locations around the country.
Dr Woods says as well as the homes currently being built, another 7,000 more are in the planning, feasibility and procurement stages, with over 3,000 to be contracted and have construction start in the next 12 months.
Residential building accounts for half of all construction in New Zealand and Kāinga Ora is a significant player, making up about seven percent of the residential build market.
“This is significant for not only helping to meet demand for quality homes, but also because it provides a valuable pipeline of work for thousands of people in the building sector and related industries like surveyors, architects and planners.
“As we recover from the impact of COVID-19 we recognise how important it is for the economy to get as much activity going as possible, so Kāinga Ora will be ensuring a greater volume of housing development gets underway as soon as possible.
“The Kāinga Ora restart also sends a signal to the whole industry that it’s time to pick up the tools again,” Megan Woods said.
Kāinga Ora helped support and prepare its build partners during the Alert level 4 lockdown, for returning to work when New Zealand moved to Alert level 3 by:
Ø working with them to amend contracts to make payments for costs incurred on- and off-site
Ø making daily payment runs to ensure prompt payments
Ø accelerating the release of retentions
Ø extending bond provisions to include insurance surety
Ø prioritising planning work that can be undertaken remotely to ramp up future delivery and provide work to suppliers
· NB: The wage subsidy scheme has also been available to building companies.
· Ensuring everyone follows Government health and safety protocols; Kāinga Ora has created internal health, safety and security guidance for staff members, as well as the external guidance for our build and development partners. This guidance adheres to the Construction Health and Safety New Zealand Covid-19 Construction Protocols.
The guide has information on physical distancing, hygiene, site entry and exit, deliveries, and visitor protocols. Workers are required to maintain at least one metre physical distancing from each other onsite and two metre physical distancing between a worker and any visitors to site.
· Alongside its public housing build programme, Kāinga Ora is also responsible for the largest urban regeneration ever undertaken in New Zealand, which will see around 25,000 homes delivered over the next 10 years. In addition to public housing, 13,000 homes will be sold to the market and first home buyers through affordable ownership schemes like KiwiBuild, with most of these developments in Auckland.

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