Riding the wave

BY Rod Auton

CEO of the Crane Association of New Zealand

Strong population growth continues to boost housing demand and, along with robust household spending, is driving non-residential construction demand.

Cuts in interest rates and strong population growth are also flowing through to housing demand.

The National Construction Pipeline Report 2016 forecasts building and construction activity in New Zealand, and one of the key findings of that report forecast the national construction value to peak in 2017 $6.2b higher than in 2015, at $37b.

This peak coincides with residential growth and accounts for more than half of the construction growth by value nationally. Non-residential building is expected to peak higher than 2015 at $8.8b in 2018.

Other construction includes all construction that is not a building, including infrastructure projects, mining and power projects (wind, thermal and hydro), and accounts for about a quarter of all construction by value in 2016. Growth of 2.5 percent per year is forecast through to 2021.

Cranes are good indicators for economic growth and the skyline reflects the evidence of the construction boom.

With a 13 percent growth in building work put in place across the country in 2016, there has been a 19 percent increase in the total number of tower cranes in New Zealand since December 2015. For example, in December 2015 in Auckland there were 33 tower cranes and in December 2016, that had grown to 64 cranes.

As always in a booming economy there is a need for more cranes and manufacturers of cranes had substantial growth in sales in 2016 compared to 2015. There is also a solid second-hand market of quality cranes coming out of Australia, taking advantage of the Australian economic downturn.

For every type of crane, there must be an operator and 2016 highlighted the need for qualified, experienced and competent operators.

Because of the different skill sets required for each type of crane, a person can’t just walk in off the street and operate a crane. Even to sit the crane qualification, an operator must have prior experience rigging and/or operating a crane as there is a competency assessment as part of the qualification.

This is an industry where an operator starts as a yard boy and, through a combination of on-the-job training and formal training, learns the trade from the bottom up.

The Australian downturn has also been responsible for the return of many New Zealanders returning home and looking for positions in the crane industry. Many companies are benefiting from this influx of experienced crane operators.

Conference 2017

This year the Annual Crane Conference is being held at the Novotel Hotel in Rotorua from the 19th to 21st July 2017.

This year’s programme focuses on technical elements of the crane industry and includes presentations on projects carried out by the members in 2016. The keynote speakers are Ngahihi o-te-raBidois and Billy Graham.

Highlights will include the trade show, networking sessions each evening, the awards dinner, the crane display and a fall protection demonstration.

Topical presentations will be given on diverse subjects, such as working around windfarms, crane inspections, and the Christchurch earthquake response.

There will be two open forum panels, the first a regulatory panel consisting of CVIU, WorkSafe and NZTA. The second consisting of the crane manufacturers, Liebherr, Terex, Grove, TRT, and Tadano.

The Crane Conference has been gathering momentum over the last three years with record turnouts for the trade show and delegates, and the Crane Association of New Zealand invites anyone in the construction and crane industry to join them.

For more information visit: www.cranes.org.nz/conference-and-events.html

About the Crane Association of New Zealand

The Crane Association of New Zealand (Inc.) was established in 1975 by crane owners to represent their interests. Today crane owners of all types are members as are many suppliers to the industry.

The Association places a great deal of importance on training and safety and has succeeded in raising the standards of operation and efficiency across the face of the crane industry.

By supporting its members in these and other operational objectives the New Zealand crane industry has become an international benchmark of success in these areas.

The association is the voice of the crane industry and recognised by the New Zealand Government and the general public alike as the official representative on all matters relating to the safety and operation of cranes.

In December 2006, the Power Crane Association of New Zealand became the Crane Association of New Zealand (Inc.).

The new name was prompted by a detailed examination of the association’s changing role and how it had evolved beyond just representing the power cranes that it began with in 1975.

The changed name describes all the classes of cranes are now covered by the association and is more in line with the definition of a crane under legislation.

The main objectives are:

  • Provide an organisation through which members may coordinate their efforts solving problems of common concern to the industry
  • Take appropriate action to raise standards of efficiency within the industry, thus enhancing its national prestige and status
  • Represent and act for the industry vis-a-vis organs of government, public and private organisations and activities of which concern the crane industry
  • Procure and disseminate information that may be helpful to members
  • Promote, oppose, or press for, the amendment or repeal of any legislative enactments, by-laws or other rules or regulations affecting the interests of members
  • Represent the Industry in any training programme aimed at increased safety and efficiency in crane operation and to this end, cooperate with other persons and bodies as far as lawfully possible and expedient.

Government and other connections

The association has strong and cordial links with key statutory and other bodies.

  • Tertiary Education Commission – industry training
  • Ministry Of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
  • WorkSafe New Zealand
  • New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Ministry of Transport – transport policy
  • NZ Qualifications Authority – recognition of industry qualifications
  • NZ Police – law enforcement
  • NZ Heavy Haulage Association
  • Civil Construction.

International relationships include:

  • Crane Industry Council of Australia
  • Specialised Carriers & Rigging Association (USA).

The Crane Association of New Zealand (Inc.) www.cranes.org.nz

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