Mike Olds, General Manager at Resene Construction Systems, could be said to have been born into the industry. He knows its challenges, embraces them and remains excited about what lies ahead.
Q. What is your history in the construction industry?
My family was very involved in construction. From a young age, I spent school holidays and weekends helping or hindering my father on construction sites around Christchurch. This sowed the seed for a career in the construction sector.
The journey really began back in 1987 with our family business, Rockcote. My roles have been many and varied, including packaging our original dry powder renders on a Saturday and selling them during the following week. Post the initial start-up of the business, I took the obligatory OE before returning in 1991 to fully engage in Rockcote.
I developed the marketing of the brand and offering in New Zealand. A key component is that we only on-sell to our registered Rockcote contractors. My father had an adage, ‘If our customers are successful, then so will we.’ This rings true to this day.
We designed and developed plaster coatings, claddings and paints with the technical support of Rockcote Australia. Alongside this, we developed insulated plaster façade systems.
I have been involved with the Claddings Institute since 2002 and been enlightened, encouraged and challenged by changes to the New Zealand Building Code. These were massive and something not many will experience again for a long time.
Resene Paints acquired the Rockcote business in 2002, which led to enhancements around acrylic and colour technology. Our most recent acquisition, the Nuplex Construction Products division in 2012, allowed us the autonomy to manufacture and develop new products and markets.
Q. What most excites you about your job?
Consistent change and innovation that are challenging and equally rewarding. When these aspects are fulfilled, you don’t become stale.
Q. What big issues face our building industry?
Much is said about increasing material costs and the labour resources to achieve an accurate and durable built environment. The flipside is that we have seen first-hand the downside of lower costs and reduced education and resourcing into the construction sector. It was termed ‘weathertightness’ and significantly damaged consumer confidence in the market.
Demand is currently outstripping supply, especially for the skilled tradespeople needed to achieve works that will ensure a durable built environment. Costs and time around SMEs just doing good business are still mounting.
I also maintain it is important to have an overarching construction insurance scheme that protects homeowners and contractors alike, rather than relying on individual branded programmes and personal guarantees from LBP contractors. The big question is, who will take this on?
Finally, products are only half the battle in any industry, and testing to exceed compliance can generally always be achieved. The only variable is the skill of the individuals that apply them.
In our case, installation consistency and accuracy is driven by us, the system supplier. This is achieved through mandatory on-site reviews of every project and a review 2 years post construction. We initiated this in 2005, as it is better to be proactive during construction rather than blaming others when something fails. I personally believe that, if suppliers
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