NZ's first building supplies co-operative could save builders thousands

Donna-Marie Lever
Source: 1News

New Zealand’s first building supplies co-operative has just been launched, in what some are hailing as a game changer for the industry.

Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford has joined crowds of around 100 guests in Christchurch this evening for the launch of The Combined Building Supplies Co-operative (CBS Co-op), which includes small and medium sized building businesses across Canterbury.

Chairman of the Board, Carl Taylor, says, "It will enable small and medium construction companies to have the same buying power as the larger companies do."

"In the residential construction sector, most houses are built by small home building companies and yet they don't have the 'buying' power the larger companies do. The CBS Co-op levels the playing field enabling small and medium construction companies to be competitive and improve their margins which are currently pretty low."

Mr Taylor, who has run his own successful building company for more than 20 years, says the co-operative is the result of more than a year in the planning, already attracting members with a combined building material spend of more than $100 million, and a very strong group of suppliers.

The Co-op estimates it will save builders around $50,000 in materials on a standard house build, but there is no guarantee the consumer will get the benefits of that.

Grant Florence from the NZ Certified Builders' Association believes there are still some major challenges ahead.

"I think there are some people excited about it, but there's a fair bit of scepticism too, especially around some of the numbers that have been suggested," he says.

He does however hope it takes off and says there are potentially a lot of benefits.

"Good on them for having a crack, I think it will be good if there is a bit more of a margin that flows back to homeowners and builders."