CELEBRATING TEN YEARS OF HOME - READ THE LATEST

If you work in the construction industry, there is much to be proud of. After all, it is the built environment that has supported humanity for hundreds of thousands of years.

Without it all other industries would flounder. Whether it’s a home, an office, a museum, a sports centre or a bus station, buildings support the society we live in.

In Aotearoa, the construction industry is the fifth largest economy sector, contributing 6.2% ($16.6 billion) of our country’s GDP and employing 10% of the workforce.

And yet, the NZ construction industry faces some hefty challenges. A need to respond to climate change, a housing shortage, an ageing workforce, material supply issues, a mental health crisis and a lack of innovation.

These are not insubstantial issues, but as in all areas of life, where there are challenges, so there are opportunities. We believe now is the time for our industry to step up to the plate, and we want to play our part. Here are just a few of the areas within the construction industry our team, working together with others, is seeking to bring practical solutions:

Waste minimisation

It is estimated that every year, the global construction industry produces 53.4 million tonnes of waste (not including demolition). Sadly, our country is part of this problem with nearly 20% of all our landfill waste coming from construction alone, again excluding demolition. To make any level of change to this staggering figure, it will take a proactive approach across the industry.

With each of our developments, we engage with partners like WasteCo to set a waste minimisation plan for our sites. Simply by designing to standardised product specs we reduce wastage by up to 70%. Through these changes, we are achieving an average of 77% waste minimisation, in the next two years we want to raise that to 98%.

Housing shortage

According to ‘A Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing’ report, commissioned by the Minister of Housing and Urban Development in February 2018, the shortfall of housing in Auckland alone was estimated to be over 28,000 dwellings. More recently, it has been estimated that the whole of Aotearoa is short between 70,000 and 150,000 houses. It’s widely accepted that this number is rising, which means we need more houses and quickly.

Our teams are focussed on improving our design and build performance so we can build more in a shorter space of time, whilst still reaching higher standards in home health, sustainability and liveability. Along with our progress in terms of design, product use and specification, build methodology and staging, we are working to a broad set of principles:

  • - Embracing change and being open to doing things differently to how we previously have
  • - Recognising that innovation and change is a long game and comes at higher short-term costs
  • - Using technology to improve our project management and on-site processes
  • - Collecting data so we can learn and develop our systems
  • - Valuing people, so our team and our partners are empowered to bring their best to work

    Diversity


Our industry has traditionally been male-dominated and whilst we are seeing change, still only 10% of the entire construction industry workforce is women. At Home, we see the benefit of women making up 38% of our team and we’ll continue to make changes to maintain a diverse workforce, such as:

  • - Recognising that cultural and gender bias exists
  • - Fostering a ‘family first’ culture
  • - Offering flexible working
  • - Promoting women into senior roles


Career projects

Just as we want to see more women coming into the sector, we want the younger generation to see construction as an attractive career path. We do this through intern and apprenticeship programmes, along with on-going professional development opportunities for all our staff.

As we bring in Gen Z’ers who are digital natives, we are harnessing their perspective on technology and seeing our team take innovative approaches to problem solving. By having a more horizontal organisational structure, led by an Empowerment Team whose focus is to serve our people, we encourage individuals to look for ways in which they can have a positive impact on our company outputs, appealing to the younger generation’s desire to see a greater purpose in their work.

Mental health & wellbeing

According to the Suicide Mortality Review Committee (2016), 6.9% of all employed male suicides in New Zealand are committed by members of the construction industry workforce, which means the construction industry has the highest proportion of suicides across all industries in New Zealand. Whilst there is little research into why the suicide is so high in our country, a scoping study funded by BRANZ listed contributing factors such as a ‘bullying culture’, the pressure of the boom-bust cycle and the prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse.

We recognise that if we want to see our industry flourishing then we need to see its people flourishing. The mental health of our team continues to be a big focus for us. In addition to being part of the ‘Mates in Construction’ suicide prevention initiative, we also offer other benefits to our employees:

  • - Two hours of paid “bluesky time” to rejuvenate every week
  • - Four pre-paid counselling sessions a year
  • - Turning emails off outside of working hours
  • - Ensuring there is no financial stress through strong remuneration, financial support and budgeting advice
  • - Running bi-monthly mental wellness and resilience workshops


We know we can’t remove all stresses of work and life from our employees but we try to equip them with the tools they need to work through tough times and come out stronger on the other side.

The construction industry is massive and therefore change is slow, but we are hopeful that as we see change in our company and our build partners’ companies, it will have an impact on the industry as a whole and that’s an exciting prospect for all.

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