Red tape is one of the biggest bugbears of the country's builders, according to a survey by Registered Master Builders Association, a major trade group in the sector.

The survey showed local and central government regulations and international events and influencers like Donald Trump were the two biggest concerns for the construction sector.

The areas that needed improvement in construction were regulation, business performance and skills, in that order, the survey revealed.

The "State of the Sector" survey carried out by Registered Master Builders surveyed their members such as commercial and residential builders, and related professionals like engineers, subcontractors and Government officials.

Registered Master Builders chief executive David Kelly said the two areas of frustration for builders and construction firms were building consent processes and the Building Act and the Resource Management Act (RMA).

Some 56 per cent of commercial builders said they expected to have more building work in the next 12 months, in a survey undertaken by Registered Master Builders.

The industry was "getting more and more fed up" with the planning approach, inconsistency and uncertainty around the RMA and with the process for gaining building consents. 

"As the sector has become busier the consenting authorities, I think to be fair to them, have been overwhelmed with the amount of work that they have been asked to do. And they can't recruit their way out of that problem.

"So just as we've got a skill shortage generally in the sector they're the same. They're competing in the same market."

The construction sector wanted change to the RMA and there was tentative optimism at Government announcing its intentions to do that.

But they also wanted changes to the building consent process to give greater certainty and streamline the process. One suggested change was to consolidate the number of consenting authorities, get in greater expertise and focus on areas of more complexity.

While there was concern about international political and trade tensions, builders knew they could do little about that, Kelly said.

The survey shows construction firms and builders are reasonably optimistic about the future but a decent chunk are not certain what it holds for them.

Builders are frustrated with building consent processes and the inconsistencies, as they see it, in the Resource Management Act.

Commercial builders seemed a bit more optimistic about their fortunes in the next 12 months than residential builders.

Kelly said commercial construction firms were likely to look ahead more than residential builders.

Asked did they expect more work in the next 12 months than the last, 56 percent of commercial builders said they did, 22 percent said they did not and another 22 percent did not agree or disagree.

Registered Master Builders Association chief executive David Kelly says the construction sector is tentatively optimistic about Government intentions to reform the RMA.

To the same question 40 percent of residential builders said they expected more work, 32 percent did not and 28 percent did not agree or disagree.

Asked if they had confidence in the New Zealand construction sector performing well in the next 12 months, 47 percent of respondents agreed it would, 25 percent disagreed it would and 28 percent neither agreed or disagreed.

Note from Nighthawk.NZ:

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