12 Aug 2018

Asian Construction Forum: 'We wanted to bridge that gap'

5:28 pm on 12 August 2018

Foreign investors and workers are putting up their hands to help solve the country's construction woes.

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Photo: 123RF

About 1000 people, including builders, developers and designers from the New Zealand and Asian markets, attended the first Asian Construction Forum in Auckland yesterday.

The forum intended to bring people of Asian descent participating in the industry closer to the "traditionally Kiwi sector of the construction industry," said the forum's co-ordinator Ian Watt from Productspec and Construction Marketing Services.

"What we found, is that the Asian market operated on its own, as a bit of a silo," he said. "We wanted to bridge that gap."

There was already substantial Asian investment in construction in New Zealand, he said, and it was time the markets worked together to address skills-shortages, lengthy build-times and issues of continuity in building materials.

He said it was important that the industry used products which complied with the New Zealand building code: "That will ultimately lead to better outcomes for building occupants," he said.

There was still very strong demand within the industry to build housing and other developments, he said, and growth in the workforce was needed.

"We don't build enough residential property and the role the [Asian] sector can play will help us meet the shortfall."

The construction industry needed to adopt a more culturally friendly approach to include the Asian market, he said.

Using social media technology such as WeChat, having consultants working within Asian-led businesses, facilitating meetings with local suppliers and introducing people to industry associations, would help to bring the industry together, Mr Watt said.

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