MBIE annual update shows healthy construction sector

26 October 2021

Building And Construction Sector Trends Annual Report 2021 Indicates Sector Remains Strong In Face Of COVID-19

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has today released the Building and Construction Sector Trends Annual Report 2021. The report provides an overview of the building system over the past twelve months to June 2021, outlines the context within which the sector is operating and identifies emerging trends in building and construction.

Janet Blake, Manager System Strategy and Performance at MBIE says the report demonstrates the building and construction sector’s contribution to the New Zealand economy.

“Today’s report shows the sector is one of the largest national employers and has been a major contributor to New Zealand’s economy this past year”, says Ms Blake.

“The data in the report indicates the sector has remained strong despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Building consent numbers reached record-level highs in 2021 and the size of the workforce increased, reflecting the elevated levels of building activity around the country.

“There are now approximately 275,600 people in construction related employment, and construction has been the industry with the greatest increase in jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.”

Statistics in the report indicate that the industry is becoming more diverse, with one-third of the construction workforce identified as being of Māori (15 per cent), Pacific (7 per cent), or Asian (11 per cent) ethnicity, an increase of 2 per cent from 2018. The proportion of female workers has also increased in the past decade and the data shows that workers in the construction sector tend to be younger in age when compared against the national population.

This year’s report also shows how the building landscape is changing with the introduction of innovative building designs, technologies and materials such as smart buildings, 3D printing and engineered living materials.

“The report notes that these innovations may introduce efficiencies and lower costs in the building process, increase worker health, safety, and well-being; and improve the quality and durability of buildings”, says Ms Blake.

“These new innovations also present the sector with the opportunity to reduce the emissions and carbon footprint of buildings to help New Zealand reach its climate change goals.”

Through the long term Building for Climate Change programme, MBIE is developing targets for embodied carbon, energy and water use to reduce emissions for constructing and operating buildings, and to make sure buildings are prepared for the future effects of climate change.

“We need to shift the way we think and operate across the sector. These innovations will have a role to play in helping us to design, build and operate buildings in a way that supports our pathway to lower emissions,” Ms Blake says.

“MBIE will continue to encourage innovation and identify opportunities for the sector with these reports every year.”

The Building and Construction Sector Trends Annual Report 2021 is available here:

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