After a year of reviews – we now need action

The 2018 year was interesting for a lot of reasons and this year could be a game changer. By Peter Silcock, chief executive officer, Civil Contractors New Zealand.

Last year (2018) major projects came into shape, and we saw new bridges and roads spring into being on Puhoi to Warkworth, Transmission Gully and the Waikato Expressway. The residential scene has been busy and the investment in water infrastructure is growing.
It was a decent year for contractors in 2018, and I’m proud to be part of an industry where people work together regularly on joint ventures, partnerships and alliances to deliver amazing projects.
In the 2018 Perspectives, I wrote about a gap in the construction pipeline following a change in priorities from the new government.
Last year, we saw commitment from the government to spend more on infrastructure than ever before, but we are, to a very large degree, waiting to see that work come to the market.
The nature of the work we are being asked to do in the transport space is changing and the government’s ongoing three waters review is likely to be a game changer in terms of funding and management of our three waters assets.
Reviews, funding, financing and planning approvals are a greater problem than ever before. We’re starting to see some projects that were placed on the back burner with the change of government come back into view, but with a reduced scale and (at the time of writing) no projected start dates.
The gap in the pipeline seems to have morphed into a blockage as we wait for the outcomes of reviews and for local government to bring its increased budget to the construction market. Major investments in regional and safety improvements also seem to be slow in emerging.
The forward work plan is staying just over the horizon, and it seems that most of the major facets of our work are eternally ‘under review’ or in the planning stage. It is frustrating, and I am already anticipating a larger than usual April to June end of year work rush!
Last year saw major announcements, including the procurement reset, a three waters review, and a commitment to establish a new independent infrastructure entity. There’s a lot of ambition to work towards a bigger and better future, but it remains to be seen how ideas and ideals will be put into practice.
CCNZ will be working hard to ensure these initiatives will have positive impacts out there on our sites.
Good planning and consultation are critical to finding well-thought-out and sustainable solutions.

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