COVID-19: Building industry facing supply shortage due to shipping delays

The building industry is grappling with a shortage of supplies with basic materials difficult to source due to shipping delays. 

And it's all happening at a time of record demand for new homes. 

"A few years ago it would take a while for a subdivision to even fill and now there are just houses going everywhere. It's crazy," builder Tim Hayde told Newshub.

The increase in demand for materials is putting pressure on the supply chain.

Baier Group Building Supplies' warehouse is full of gaps.

"We haven't had this product for probably three months now," its manager Jeremy Wong said.

"We're experiencing shortages of building products they're really hard to get. There is a backlog of orders… all of our suppliers have got backlogs of orders."

One of the problems is international shipping delays due to the pandemic, he said. 

"The suppliers that we use, they've had the products sitting ready to go in containers but just no room on the ships." 

Another problem is the rapid rise in new builds.

Selwyn, the fastest-growing region in the country, has seen record numbers of building consents.

In 2020 The Selwyn District Council saw record numbers of building consents - a 26 percent increase on the previous year - higher than their peak in the post-earthquake rebuild. 

Currently, there is such a backlog of work, the Council is urgently seeking staff to meet demand.

Meanwhile, tradies are doing their best to source the finishing touches.

"I've been struggling to get heat pumps. I talked to the other guys from Today Homes and they've been struggling to get dishwashers," Powerplus Air-conditioning' Alex Single said.

These products could soon be even harder to find.