Gareth Ready is the General Manager, HNZC Division at Signature Homes. We sat down for a quick chat with him on his experience of working with Housing New Zealand.
Gareth, how long have you worked at Signature Homes, and when did you start working with Housing New Zealand (HNZ)?
I started 11 years ago as a draughtsman and began working in Signature Homes’ dedicated HNZ Division eight years ago. Over the time I’ve been in the HNZC Division, we have been growing by at least two staff members per year. This year we’re aiming to build over 90 units over eight developments around Auckland.
What tips do you have for working effectively with HNZ?
The current housing market is a hard environment so collaboration is essential. We’re quite unique in that we have a division dedicated to Housing New Zealand work. This means that our project managers feel really engaged in the work of producing more social housing, since they are specialised towards that work. A by-product of this specialisation is hopefully the good rapport we have with the HNZ team.
HNZ is a high demand machine which works best with groups which are dedicated to the client. The strength of the relationship is very important – and in our case, that’s all we do. It’s our sole source of income, so even in the current market, we don’t have the luxury of having a lacklustre relationship with our client. Our good working relationship with HNZ means we’ve also been able to build our own reputation as a credible, high volume developer which, in turn, boosts our demand and keeps our business growing.
What are the challenges of working with HNZ?
I think people often underestimate the scale of the work that HNZ does. It is complex and sensitive, and if you are not well-organised and aligned, it can go pear shaped quickly. We need each other to get it done.
What proud moments have you had working with HNZ?
Every time we hand over a new set of developments is a very proud and humbling moment. For example, the recent opening at Panama/Kealy in Mt Wellington, where the Ministers of Social Housing and kids from the local school came along to name the new lane created for the development.
One of the harder things is when we have to demolish the old houses, and you see some of the deterioration that houses get with age. We know people have been living here and that it was their home, so getting exposure to the real reasons we’re doing what we’re doing is very fulfilling.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to organisations considering working with HNZ?
Working with HNZ is a really great opportunity. There are lots of hoops to jump internally. It is politically-charged and we know our provision and resourcing has to match this in order to keep up. It is great to work alongside an organisation which is focused on the bigger picture. It is a real challenge and it has its ups and downs, but we all really enjoy it!