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Greytown builder Paul Southey. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Supply shortages hit construction

Supply chain issues have hit Wairarapa’s already straining construction industry, with insiders warning projects faced months of delays.

Items in short supply included frames, trusses, windows, cladding, garage doors and roofing product.

Paul Southey, who is on the committee of the Wairarapa Master Builders association, said the industry is working under major constraints with product difficult to source.

Southey said the difficulty getting product out of Auckland due to covid-19 came on top of pre-existing supply problems.

Sourcing cladding was a problem even before New Zealand went into lockdown last month. Now, with Auckland still at level 4, other supplies were getting scarce.

Wednesday’s government announcement exempting some suppliers from lockdown restrictions would help, but there would still be delays.

“Because they were in lockdown, all production had stopped. We have used up all our current product and expect new supplies within the next 10 days,” he said.

He expected shortages to continue across New Zealand as the manufacturers ramped up production and said projects would be affected.

He described the problem as ‘the new normal’.

“In the industry, from a cladding point of view, we are placing orders 40 weeks ahead. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

“We are encouraging local builders to work closely with their suppliers and come up with alternative product if possible. It’s hugely stressful for us, our staff, and our clients.

“Projects could be delayed by months. We are talking with our suppliers all the time. Everyone is trying to find a solution to a problem none of us have control over.”

Corrie James is the manager of TUMU ITM in Masterton, supplier of products to the building industry.

He said frames, trusses, windows, cladding, garage doors and roofing product were all scarce.

“It’s fair to say the building industry supply chain is stretched and there are issues throughout,” he said.

“Some items have three months stock, some have none.”

Imports have been particularly hard hit, with low stocks of plywood a problem.

“We were already having problems before lockdown. Now, with many warehouses, distribution centres and manufacturing based in Auckland it has got worse.”

He said a project in Greytown had been affected.

“They are waiting for cedar from Auckland and the factory is closed. It’s not part of the exemption.”

James said there was no end to the supply squeeze in sight and advised people to plan ahead.

“We are running at capacity in the supply chain. There is no silver bullet,” he said, citing high demand and low interest rates among other drivers of the problem.

“We are asking people to order 12 to 16 weeks ahead for many items. The people who are more organised will be better placed.”

  • TUMU ITM were ordering their own stock up to four months in advance.

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