Many builders in New Zealand are fully signed up members of a trade association, and believe it gives them a significant edge in their business.

According to one builder, it also means “the bureaucrats get to hear what’s really happening at the coalface so they don’t continue making stupid decisions.”
From hands-on-the-tools training and seminars through to business management and marketing, trade associations provide valuable support for builders at every level.

Here’s a summary of some of the benefits they can provide:

Helping your business

Is your rate competitive? Are your mark-ups fair?
A trade association can provide guidance on establishing your charge out rates, margins, business costs and overheads, and provide advice on all aspects of your operation including:

  • General business, accounting and tax 
  • Employment 
  • Contractual issues
  • Business-related legal issues
  • Health and safety

Many of the services provided can be accessed on line or through telephone helplines, while a lot of new members elect to discuss their needs face to face with specialist trade association consultants.

The right contract

The days of doing business on the basis of a handshake are well and truly over. And while experienced builders know what contract works best for them, younger builders who are setting up in business for the first time usually struggle in this area.

The building trade associations have invested considerable time with legal and building industry experts in developing standardised contract forms specifically for builders and trades people.

Standard contracts include:

  • Cost reimbursement
  • Design & build
  • Full build
  • Labour only
  • Small works
  • Sub-contractors
  • Employment contracts

Trusted guarantees

In recent years, people planning a building project have become increasingly sensitive to potential problems that can occur during the building process, and are seeking more robust guarantees.

Trade associations provide a range of building guarantees including:

  • New Home
  • Alterations & additions 
  • Labour only 
  • Loss of deposit 
  • Commercial defects
  • Watertight warranty for leaky home repairs
  • Non-completion 
  • Defective workmanship 
  • Defective materials

Marketing support

There’s a good chance that you have seen advertisements on television and in print media about the advantages of choosing a builder who belongs to a recognised trade association.

This publicity gives members a marketing edge when competing with non-aligned builders. A trade association endorsement gives customers greater security and confidence in the builder.

Trade associations can also provide members with promotional assistance and marketing support including signage, website development and customised stationery.

Keeping one step ahead

The one constant thing about building is that things are ever changing. New regulations, new products, new trade practices, better ways of working.

With regular newsletters and email alerts, trade associations provide members with important information and updates about the building industry.

They also run regular seminars and road shows throughout the country to provide hands-on demonstrations and simple tutorials about important issues.

Membership discounts

Other benefits available to members include significant discounts on a range of products and services, including:
▪ Fuel
▪ Telephone
▪ Whiteware
▪ Tyres
▪ Rental car
▪ Vehicle fleet
▪ Insurance

Supporting your industry

Trade associations work closely with technical training institutions and actively support apprenticeship programmes.

They also maintain regular dialogue with building industry regulators including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (the old Department of Building and Housing), BRANZ and other authorities, to make sure that practical industry experience is taken account of.

For example, the Reserve Bank has agreed to consider reviewing its recent policy about high loan to value ratios for homebuyers thanks to submissions by building trade associations.

Being a member of a trade association means you can add your voice to industry concerns and get effective representation of your views at the highest possible level.

For more information