Farewell to 2021 from the Accord Steering Group co-chairs

2022 will be better – we hope – and will bring open a major new chapter for the Accord.

This has been another quite extraordinary year for construction, and for us all. It began with such optimism (mainly because it wasn't 2020 anymore) but I’m sure many of you will be as keen as we are to see the back of 2021.

At the Accord we are keenly aware of the challenges the sector has faced this year, on top of dealing with COVID-19: booming demand is meeting supply chain difficulties, workforce shortages and constant price rises.

It's deeply unfortunate that another COVID-19 response was required, but once again the Accord did respond. The Accord Forum was again an invaluable two-way communication channel between industry and government to understand the critical sector-wide issues and assist in a co-ordinated response.

Prior to the lockdown we facilitated securing 60 MIQ places per month for the construction sector with decisions on monthly allocation made by a cross-sectoral industry panel.

With industry and CHASNZ we developed a Roadmap for the sector in a COVID-19 environment, a set of tools and protocols allowing construction and related activities to continue as New Zealand and our sector move to living and working with COVID-19, and it was very gratifying to hear Hon Dr Megan Woods call the Accord a "fantastic grouping" in terms of the COVID-19 response during her comments to this year’s Building Nations event in November.

Also at Building Nations the inaugural Beacons Award was presented to New Plymouth District Council for its supply chain leadership. The Accord's Beacons work is all about shining a light on good practice and sharing it, for the overall betterment of the sector.

Earlier at the same event Hon Grant Robertson shone a light on the Accord's construction skills development work, saying the Accord "has been an amazing development". This work includes our support for the Reform of Vocational Education (RoVE) and look out for the Construction Skills strategy next year - a unified vision for development of the right skills in the right place at the right time.

Look out also for our Roadmap toward diversity, equity and inclusion. The percentage of women in the sector is rising, but women are still only 2.6% of those working on the tools. Hiring differently is one way to address those workforce shortages.

In August the Accord Network was launched. It's a way to be a part of achieving the Accord goals with members pledging to uphold the Accord principles and values and to support the sector. Its membership has more than doubled since the launch.

In its procurement and risk work the Accord, with the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga, has launched a review of NZS3910, the construction contract underlying the majority of construction work in New Zealand, and badly in need of updating. Our new guidance on Broader Outcomes has been extremely well received and we'll be working hard to embed it as best practice.

Finally, the Accord is thinking about what comes next, what we refer to as "Accord 2.0". The current Transformation Plan formally ends in June 2022 and the new plan will have much greater focus on technology, innovation and advanced construction in order to take significant strides towards productivity and emissions reduction goals, and on the Māori economy and facilitating outcomes for Māori through construction.

We look forward to working with you on this important mahi.

Meri Kirihimete, and stay safe.

Chris Bunny and Peter Reidy

Accord Steering Group Co-Chairs

Last updated: 17 December 2021