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Builders hope for more settled costs

Wairarapa builders hope steady building supplies prices are in store for this year after they soared astronomically in 2022.

CoreLogic’s Cordell Construction Cost Index showed a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in building costs in December.

Tunnicliffe Builders owner Greg Tunnicliffe said material prices are still increasing.

“We can’t do fixed quotes anymore. The suppliers, whether it’s Placemakers, Mitre 10, ITM or Carters will give us an estimated price, and they will do their best to honour it. But if there’s a major price hike, they have to pass it on to us and we have to pass it on to the clients.”

Steel, James Hardie products, and some specialist timber are some of the products with the most volatile prices.

Tunnicliffe said the demand for materials has settled, but it’s still necessary to order in advance.

“You can get most stuff within a fortnight. It’s all about planning and communication with the suppliers and the clients. For a whole house, it’s best to order two months before you need it.”

Despite the record high costs, Masterbuilders Wairarapa representative Paul Southey said material prices settled at the end of last year.

“In terms of companies, importers, and builders, it has finally found its rhythm after covid.

“We’re not seeing the prices jumping like they were last year. We actually had a price decrease in timber towards the end of the last year.”

Southey said labour and material costs made 2022 one of the most stressful years for the industry.

“It was out of control. It was difficult for everyone inside the construction sector. Clients, financial institutions and developers were all having issues with supplies since covid.

“We were having to order products six months in advance. The jobs doubled and tripled in time and costs. There was a lot of hurt in the industry.”

He said he had heard of a lot of hardship, including smaller businesses shutting up shop when projects became too costly to complete.

Southey said the sector has high hopes for the year ahead.

“It will be a fantastic year. We’re really excited to have a breath of fresh air after covid. Everyone is used to covid so it’s not hurting the industry like it was.”

He said the industry is also preparing for the predicted recession.

“Because we know it’s coming, we can plan. For people who are thinking about building, now is the time to get plans together.”

Tunnicliffe said there is a lot of construction happening in Wairarapa.

“The demand for housing still hasn’t dropped. There are many people looking to build from over the hill in Lower Hutt.

“There’s plenty of new builds still happening.

“A small percentage are tightening their belt, but there are still people wanting work done.”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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