Hawke's Bay building consent figures for October have a spring to them - 38 consents were issued in October, up from 27 the previous month, with the value of permits increasing by almost 50 per cent when compared to September.
Design Builders general manager Scott Taylor said although the October and November periods were typically busier months for builders, this year was different from the past.
"Builders across the region are heading into the New Year with work booked in and a positive outlook for the next 12 months," he said.
Mr Taylor, who is a member of the executive board of Master Builders, said all building companies were starting to see an increase in activity.
"It's nowhere near the 2007 levels, but it is very positive."
He said Design Builders was experiencing the highest levels of build for the past 18 months.
"Inquiries have doubled in the last quarter."
Chamber of Commerce president Katja Williams said the reported increase was good news, but councils must speed up consent times and reduce red tape to create a more productive environment for the construction industry. "The consent numbers are helpful - steady but not spectacular."
Improved consent times would increase efficiencies for builders.
"We're seeing builders taking on more and more of the responsibility for the compliance process and so this should be reflected in the time it takes to get a consent.
"If the consent and inspection process can be made more efficient, there is the potential to significantly lower costs to our region's builders and the same goes for the regulatory process involved for renovations and additions."