Building industry

PHOTO: CHRIS HARROWELL/STUFFFletcher Living chief executive Steve Evans says a crisis of confidence would be risky for the building industry.

Building industry leaders say keeping people’s confidence in construction will be key as builders return to work this week.

Builders packed up before Level 4 lockdown in March, not knowing if their order books would remain as they left them, or whether clients would pull out.

Earlier this month Kapiti builder Mike Craig told Stuff that he had already lost jobs because people’s finances had changed.

And the country’s biggest house builder, GJ Gardner, says that more than 70 of its customers at the early design stage are reassessing their plans.

Construction is the country’s third biggest contributor to the economy and Infometrics estimates there will be 29,000 construction job casualties as a result of a Covid-19 recession, including commercial building and infrastructure. 

David Kelly, chief executive of Master Registered Builders Association, said getting confidence back in the market was a key issue.