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The Construction Sector Accord: A model for replication?

Updated: Oct 12, 2022

By: Adam Beck, Co-Host | Digital Built Australia Podcast

The Construction Sector Accord was launched in April 2019 by the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinta Ardern, multiple Accord Ministers, and the industry Accord Development Group. The purpose of the Accord is to catalyse a high performing construction sector in New Zealand through joint government-industry leadership.

And what makes this symbolic, paper-based commitment somewhat of a different approach, is the Accord Development Group composition, including leaders from across industry.

This is a pledge, by both government and industry, to work together towards a clear vision - A high performing construction sector for a better New Zealand.

Underpinning this vision, the pledge inscribes the following:

  • Hold ourselves and each other accountable to this Accord and challenge contrary behaviour

  • Work together to develop a plan for change that has collective intent

  • Work differently to build a stronger partnership between government and industry

  • Promote the Accord and encourage others to commit to it

  • Engage regularly to discuss and report on progress

Sure - its only a pledge, written on paper. Possibly viewed by any as media theatrics.

However, these are in fact the humble beginnings of what could become a very effective collaborative governance model.

Remember, that often, these visionary commitment processes to transforming something are often run (curated and managed) by government. With consultation often restricted to stuffy meeting rooms behind the scenes, with draft documents circulated for comment (again, often curated by government).

True collaboration (and collaborative governance) begins with an acknowledgement (an admission) that government cannot do it on its own, and that others must be part of the solution. From here, trust building, joint ownership and letting go of power is key.

And of course, clear goals. Not a thousand items on a wish list, but four critical targets - productivity, capability, resilience and confidence.

We should not forget where the Centre for Digital Built Britain originated from (thank you Data for the Public Good) and the targets that catalysed its existence.

The New Zealand Construction Sector accord is in its early phase of mobilisation, unfortunately impacted by the COVID pandemic. However its progress reports suggest much progress, with an Accord 2.0 already under development with a fresh governance model soon to be unwrapped.

Hints of Accord 2.0 content includes:

  • Use of data, including early signals of crisis, system performance indicators and data flows across the sector

  • Innovation, digitisation and advanced construction methods and products.

These of course are issues dear to our heart at DBA.

For our Australian followers, is this a model we could find value in? Should it be sector-based, or could it be be a more horizontal enabler model (eg. the Digital Built Accord)?

We look forward to following the New Zealand Construction Sector Accord progress with much interest.

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