'Build 100,000 houses in ten years?
'No', said Barry McEwen in his viewpoint on 4 June, 'not the way things are set up at the moment'.
'My viewpoint - ''The Building Industry Commercial" and where it is going.
'A bit of history from 1963 when I started. I studied woodwork, technical drawing and metalwork at school and had a job on site during school holidays doing on-site work. I went to technical college at night and the three-week block courses were great. You knew within a month or so if you wanted to stay in the building industry and it hadn't cost you anything.
'These days you do your training through the BCIOT and the cost of the courses are:
- Concreting $5,000
- Carpentry $5,000
- Joinery $5,000
- Frames & trusses $2,500
'So many students spend all this time and money and incur student loans and then decide that the building industry is not for them.
'Or they can do a Diploma in Construction Management which costs them $9,600.
'According to the BCITO web site, this enables them to become a building site manager, property manager, building inspector or a tutor (with a bit of extra training.
'My point of view is, let’s go back to Technical Colleges i.e. Petone Tech, Wellington Tech and the Technical correspondence Institute.
'There are far too many people at the top end of the Building Industry that do not have a trade background or know the fundamentals of how a building is constructed. This has been highlighted in recent times by the top management in the likes of Mainzeal, Ebert’s, and Arrow.
More big companies will go under in the months to come.
'Getting back to the question - "Can you build 100,000 houses in 10 years", of course, you can!
'Back in 1981 with a building downturn in New Zealand, we had a target to build 100 houses in 100 days and we built them in 84 days when I was working in Malaysia.
'Going back to Mainzeal, the Managing Director when the Company went under in 2013 was a guy by the name of Richard Yan. He was born in China and educated in NZ and Australia. In 1981 he was the first Rotary exchange student to come to New Zealand from China and stayed with the Menezes family in North Shore, Auckland. At the time, Peter Menezes was a Civil engineer and owned Mainzeal. Richard worked on Mainzeal building sites in both Auckland and Wellington as a labourer, sweeping floors and stacking timber in his school holiday.
He went on to achieve a Business Degree in Auckland and also studied at Harvard. He and a fellow Director, Jenny Shipley, wouldn’t know one end of a hammer from another'.