BRS has the pleasure of working with NZ clients within the infrastructure industry. We work with clients such as Auckland Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency along with many of their supply chain partners and service partners. The New Zealand infrastructure industry does a lot of things very well including collaboration, innovation, commercial acumen as well as delivering value for money infrastructure projects.
The other area they are doing well at the moment during Covid-19 is there response to providing certainty and confidence to their construction supply chain partners that they have a plan for getting through Covid-19 together. It is impressive to watch as other governments struggle to respond.
The particular way they are doing this is through a specific initiative called the Construction Sector accord. I wrote about this accord as well as NSW and Victoria’s equivalents in a recent blog which can be found at: https://www.brsresults.com/blog/turning-government-construction-accords-and-commitments-into-action-and-real-savings/
To recap from the previous blog, the Construction Sector Accord is a joint commitment from NZ government and industry to work together to create a high performing construction sector for a better New Zealand. Some key points to note from their website (https://www.constructionaccord.nz/ ) to provide some context and background include:
“The Construction Sector Accord was launched in April 2019 by the Prime Minister, Accord Ministers, and the industry Accord Development Group made up of 13 sector leaders from across industry and government”.
“The Accord created a platform for industry and government to work together to meet some of the key challenges facing the sector including skills and labour shortages, unclear regulations, a lack of coordinated leadership, an uncertain pipeline of work and a culture of shifting risk.”
“The construction sector is an ecosystem that depends on the high performance of all its many parts and the Accord brings everyone together to support the collective cause.”
The statements above are very aspirational and intended to ensure that all parts of the construction industry in New Zealand are working as one team to deliver better outcomes together. What has impressed me in the last few days has been the pivot and shift from the Construction Sector Accord from industry transformation through to nationwide and industry resilience and recovery as a direct response to Covid-19.
Their correspondence to industry and its stakeholders has been about what they can do proactively to ensure the construction sector can survive initially but then kick-start the wider New Zealand economy when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and work can be restarted. In terms of specific actions to address this, the Construction Sector Accord Steering Group has put together a Covid-19 Construction Sector Response Plan which focuses on several key areas:
- Maintaining and accelerating the pipeline of work and removing barriers to restarting works
- Keeping cash flowing in the sector
- Ensuring a fair and consistent approach to how contractor costs are covered and/or reimbursed during the shutdown
- Additional financial and other support that could be available for employees and business owners
- Health and safety guidelines to ensure the safe return to work
Their detailed plan is separated in to three response phases:
Phase 1: Maintain – retain a viable sector during the shutdown;
Phase 2: Restart – ensure readiness to restart works and accelerate projects;
Phase 3: Transform – refocus on high performance.
The detailed response plan can be found at: https://www.constructionaccord.nz/news/news-stories/covid-19-response-plan-for-the-construction-sector/
From my perspective, this is precisely the type of actions that governments with their supply chain partners and service providers need to be getting on the front foot and doing. This ties in very well with my colleague Heath Colebatch’s blog (see link at https://www.brsresults.com/blog/progress-over-perfection-through-covid-19-to-keep-community-infrastructure-moving/ ) last week which talked about the importance of all government moving quickly to ensure we have projects ready to go to stimulate the community and our economies during Covid-19 as well as post it.
Well done to the NZ Construction Sector Accord Steering group and members for this proactive initiative. It is great to see the proactiveness in working together with their supply chain partners and service providers to navigate the challenges of Covid-19. I look forward to seeing other governments in Australia moving down similar paths.