The value of Rotorua building work in the last month reached almost $9 million. It was boosted by high-value commercial projects including consent to build a boardwalk as part of the $40m Lakefront redevelopment plan. Zizi Sparks takes a look at some of the new developments and speaks to local developers and businesses about their projects and plans, plus a building industry professional about what the industry is like at the moment.
A $4 million boardwalk and retaining wall and $600,000 worth of work for the Wai Ariki Spa development are among the almost $9m worth of building consents granted in Rotorua last month.
Recently released figures show in June Rotorua Lakes Council granted 11 commercial consents with a total value of $8.9m.
They also granted 95 residential consents worth $6.9m and 10 new dwelling consents with a total work value of $4.3m.
The highest valued commercial consent was granted to the council itself and was for a boardwalk and retaining wall worth $4m.
The consent relates to the $40m redevelopment of the Rotorua Lakefront jointly funded by the council and central government, Craig Tiriana, manager of the council's chief executive's office, said.
He said the development included a proposed boardwalk which would "extend over the lake, along the current lake edge, to the east of the commercial operators' jetty".
"The boardwalk and adjoining retaining wall are one aspect of the lakefront development that requires building consent and this has now been granted."
Tiriana said construction was scheduled to take place "over the next year".
It still requires resource consent from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council which considers what impact the activity may have on the surrounding environment.
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Deputy mayor Dave Donaldson said it was great to see the project progressing and that was what Minister Shane Jones wanted.
"With these provincial growth fund projects, he wants to see quality and pace regarding delivery.
"The whole initiative is to get the project delivered and see jobs as a result as well as improved amenities for our community."
He said the council was "really getting on with" the projects and working collaboratively with all the parties involved.
The council also granted a $2.5m consent to David Cox from Engineering Services Rotorua Ltd which trades as Ensign and manufactures forestry equipment.
The consent is for the foundations and shell of a new factory and Cox's daughter and Ensign office manager Natasha Cox told the Rotorua Daily Post they were building a new workshop on Geddes Rd.
"We're just expanding because the business has got pretty big."
Cox said Ensign had 90 staff and it was possible the new factory could create new jobs but she was unsure how many exactly.
She said they were building in two stages and the whole building could take a couple of years to complete.
Other big-ticket consents granted last month were an $850,000 consent for the proprietors of Owhatiura South 5 for private services for a new development, a $700,000 new shop addition for Konz Potential Limited and $600,000 for limited civil works and carpark for Wai Ariki Spa awarded to Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings Limited.
Peter Faulkner, Pukeroa Oruawhata Group general manager, said the group had carried out "significant groundwork" on the site in the last year and was working through the construction tender process.
"The tender process is progressing well, and as we anticipated.
"We are committed to keeping our community updated once we have something to share, but at this stage, I just can't comment further."
He said there weren't any further updates on Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa or plans for the surrounding area.
"Our focus is on Wai Ariki and while we've always said this is part of a wider development plan for our campus, nothing further is confirmed."
Faulkner said the latest consent related to earthworks to establish the Spa "Floating Raft Foundation" and associated works related to the establishment of the Spa's ancillary parking. These works have been substantially completed, he said.
Pukeroa Lakefront Holdings, an entity of Pukeora Oruawhata Trust, also had $1m worth of work consented in May for a geothermal plant room as part of its plans for the multimillion-dollar luxury spa and wellness centre at the Lakefront.
At the time trust chairman Malcolm Short said it was "just one of several consents required as we move forward with Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa".
The $8.9m of commercial building consents last month is up on the 13 commercial consents worth $5.3m granted in June last year.
The 95 residential consents worth $6.9m issued last month, compares with 77 residential consents worth $4.9m in June 2018.
Registered Master Builders Rotorua branch president Bill Clement said everyone seemed to be "pretty busy" with building work.
"I think there is quite a lot of people taking on upgrades for existing homes. People are doing much more of that.
"It's right across the board really. Some of these consents might just be for new fires or a bathroom."
Clement said he was seeing some bigger commercial building firms picking up the larger jobs as Rotorua didn't seem to have many big firms.
"I do know there are a few doing commercial stuff who are always busy.
"It's still pretty competitive out there," Clement said.
"Having said that the labour pool is pretty low. It's hard to find good, keen people who want to get on with the job.