WATCH: How Hamilton City Council is living the Accord principles
Hamilton City Council Chief Executive and Accord Steering Group member Richard Briggs talks about how Hamilton City Council is living the Accord principles.
I'm Richard Briggs, I'm the Chief Executive at Hamilton City Council and I’m representing local government New Zealand on the Construction Sector Accord Steering group.
If we want to make a big difference on the well-being of our communities, we need a really robust construction sector. And to do that, we have to change completely how we approach our engagement with the sector and with all aspects of construction. We have to change our procurement practices. We have to have greater collaboration. We’ve got to get more innovative. We've got to be prepared to take on risk, but understand that risk.
I think some of the main issues that construction firms face when dealing with local government is the level of bureaucracy and regulation that we put in place. It's very challenging for these businesses to actually go out and fully understand what's required of them, considering that we have different policies per region, different regulations, district plans are complex. We just add bureaucracy and challenge to them.
First step for local government in implementing change to improve the overall construction ecosystem is to admit we're part of the problem. We need to make change. We need to actually acknowledge that some of our existing practices aren’t fit for purpose and aren’t best practice.
At Hamilton City Council we've tried to solve these problems in a number of ways. We've recently done a review of our district plan and it was quite a comprehensive review. It involved engaging with all our stakeholders, all our developers, our builders, our planners and our consultants. We reviewed 2000 resource consents. We did a fill analysis. We did customer journey mapping and what we've identified is a whole lot of areas to improve to cut out regulation, red tape and reduce the level of input from council to ensure that the construction industry is operating efficiently. And it's going to be resulting in a district plan change, which would be great for the construction industry.
We have a really cool contract with Downer Construction and that's a long term infrastructure alliance. What's great about that is we work really closely together. We are even located in the same office so we've got staff that work together. And what's happened, Downer staff have picked up a public sector ethos and my Hamilton City staff have picked up a commercial focus. So it's a nice blend. And what's also really good is it's brought innovation. So Downer and the staff from Hamilton City Council work really closely together to find better ways to support the community. And at the same time, it's giving long term stability to not only Downer but to the subcontractors because it’s a ten year contract and they get to own the outcomes for the community. It’s absolutely awesome.
One of the things that's really exciting me is that local government in New Zealand is really ambitious and so is Hamilton City Council. We've currently got a project we are working on which is the Hamilton Waikato spatial plan, which is looking at the central government, local government and private sector investment over the next 30 years in the greater Hamilton area. It’s really exciting because it exemplifies all the great work we are doing in the Construction Sector Accord. It provides an opportunity to align contracting, procurement, delivery of infrastructure, better ways of managing risk. And it's going to be delivering outcomes in a sustainable way with stability for the next 30, 40, 50 years. And that's got to be good for the construction sector, but it's got to be great for New Zealand.