New Zealand outlines actions to address plasterboard shortage as Fletcher Building subsidiary cannot meet demand; four alternative plasterboard products can be used in place of GIB, and 100 containers of plasterboard imports are en route to NZ

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand , August 2, 2022 (press release) –

 

  • Four alternative plasterboard products able to be used as substitutes for GIB
  • 12 importers of plasterboard– four of them new - have 100 containers of product en route to New Zealand
  • Regular updating of guidance and ongoing communication with sector to encourage use of alternative products
  • Step-by-step, practical information for plasterboard merchants and builders to be released this week
  • Kāinga Ora procures alternative product for retrofit programme, taking pressure off domestic supply chains and providing market certainty for alternative products.
  • An expanded range and volume of plasterboard products will help address the industry shortfall.

Since forming a taskforce last month to help resolve the plasterboard shortage, good progress is being made, says the Building and Construction Minister, Dr Megan Woods says.

“Bringing together construction, building consent, and supply chain experts last month in a taskforce to look at how to get more plasterboard into the hands of builders has been excellent way for ramping up progress on actions that were underway and to test new initiatives,” Megan Woods said.

“Four alternative plasterboard products to GIB - which has been in short supply - are able to be used to meet the requirements of the New Zealand Building Code for bracing qualities, including Elephant Board, USG Boral, ProRoc and SaveBOARD.

“There are also now 12 importers of plasterboard – four of them new – and about  100 containers holding approximately 220,000sqm of plasterboard – enough for about 440 houses are on the way to New Zealand, arriving in the next few weeks.

An estimated monthly average of 2,662 new residential dwellings have received code of compliance certificates since we’ve been in Government, suggesting approximately 1.3 million square metres of plasterboard is required per month for residential building.*

“The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has been making it easier to substitute alternative products if plans specified GIB, with its regular updates of guidance to Councils as Building Consent Authorities (BCAs) and the architecture and construction sectors, as new products are approved.

“MBIE has been actively working with these sectors to ensure they understand the rules on what minor variations to plans can be accepted. It has also been surveying the sector on their understanding of the rules and this week are publishing a step-by-step quide so the substitution rules are easily understood at building supply stores and on building sites

“I have also written to mayors and council chief executives, expressing my thanks for what they have done thus far in allowing product substitution and asking that they keep working to ensure that is made as easy as possible.

“Other developments include Kāinga Ora using an alternative imported plasterboard in its retrofit programme, which will take some pressure off domestic supply chains,” Megan Woods said.

“This move means the next 12 months of retrofits – about 400 houses worth – will leave more product in the market for others. This also gives confidence to others about how easily alternative products can be substituted.

MBIE has been investigating whether any regulatory changes are required but has determined that existing legislative and regulatory settings have allowed MBIE, BCAs and the sector to respond to the plasterboard shortage with practical actions addressing key barriers to substituting and using alternative plasterboard brands and building materials.

 “Taskforce members agreed when we met last week that plasterboard constraints appear to be easing, and some larger developers have been able to get product into the country. It will take a couple more months before more product is widely available through merchants.

“We know the supply shortage of plasterboard as a result of GIB manufacturer Winstone not meeting demand for its product which is the dominant brand, has been very stressful for builders.

“This problem demonstrates how crucial it is to ensure that building materials are available, when they are needed.

“I’ll continue to monitor this issue closely and work with the plasterboard taskforce to ensure we are pulling every practical lever we can to help resolve the current shortage.

“I’d like to thank the members of the taskforce who have been so generous of their time, knowledge and expertise as we find solutions to solve what has been a substantive issue for us a country. It’s been a great example of how government and the sector can work together under urgency to address critical issues.

“The Commerce Commission is due to report its draft study next week into competition in New Zealand’s residential building supplies markets. 

“This study will focus on any factors that may be affecting competition of key building supplies used in the residential building sector. If the study finds consumers’ interests are not being looked after, we will look at what action needs to be taken, Megan Woods said.

Note to Editors:
 

  • Monthly average taken from experimental building indicators series issued by Stats NZ with data from October 2017 to March 2022.
  • Winstone Wallboards, a subsidiary of Fletcher Building, with its GIB brand of plasterboard, makes up around 95 per cent of the New Zealand market, and has not been able to keep up with demand.
  • MBIE will be issuing further technical advice and guidance on plasterboard, on 5 August with
  •  the addition of two more alternative plasterboard products
  • updated performance requirements
  • a section on other bracing solutions (alternative to plasterboard) that may be considered at the design stage
  • MBIE is keeping in close contact with BCAs, architecture and building organisations as they update guidance on alternative products. This Friday it will publish a step-by-step guide for plasterboard merchants and builders that will have practical information on how to do the product substitution and minor variation processes. This will further support the information in the Guidance Document.

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

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Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

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