Developing a high performing construction sector

Erin Jamieson

Erin Jamieson

Convergence has always had construction sector clients, and so we leapt at the opportunity to support a project targeting major changes across the country’s entire construction sector.

The new initiative – the Construction Sector Accord - was an unprecedented and bold government/industry partnership created in 2019 with plans to “change the rules of the game” for our construction sector.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of such an essential industry, which employs around 10% of New Zealand’s total workforce, contributes 7% of our GDP, and is a key indicator of our economic wellbeing.

The new Accord represented a shared commitment by government ministers, agencies and construction sector leaders – all focused on what wasn’t working in the construction sector, the reasons why, and where improvements were most urgently needed.

The partners identified the need for practical change – industry had to innovate faster and address skills shortages, fragmentation, poor risk management practices and low productivity; while the government needed to address inconsistent procurement practices, weak regulations and, critically, an uncertain pipeline of government construction projects.

A steering group of 24 government and construction sector industry leaders created a three-year plan to transform the sector in the face of major challenges. Convergence was proud to partner with the Accord to help implement this plan.

For the next three years, we were an integral part of the Accord’s communications team in the Accord Transformation Unit, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. We provided strategic communications advice, implemented change management campaigns, and assisted in media relations, event management and digital strategy – supported the Strategic Communications Manager and reporting directly to the Director of the Transformation Unit.

We worked with groups representing workers, professional services, planners, developers, regulators, constructors, trades and clients throughout the county. We also prepared speeches and event notes for ministers and key sector leaders, wrote articles, media releases, case studies and developed and implemented communications plans for a range of initiatives.

Convergence drew on its strong relationships with industry bodies as we produced the Accord’s webinar series, Towards High Performance, which featured guests drawn from across the industry as well as government leaders.

We were also a key part of the ‘Beacons’ team, a programme that developed case studies showcasing best practice in the sector.

Covid added even more challenges for the construction industry, and we were pleased to be able to provide communications support for the Accord’s Covid response. This was a critical time for the construction sector, and the Accord partners worked hard to help keep the sector afloat and able to quickly and safely restart and accelerate projects. By the time New Zealand went into lockdown, the Accord’s Covid Response Plan had laid the groundwork for construction to help kick-start the economy.

In 2022, Convergence helped launch the Accord’s second three-year action plan – the $37 million Construction Sector Transformation Plan 2022-2025, which is tackling the sector's systemic challenges while building resilience across the industry.

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