News from the building and construction industry of interest to New Zealand property owners.

The Homeowners and Buyers Association says Auckland is heading for a shoddy building crisis as bad as the leaky homes fiasco of the 1990s.

As pressure mounts on the industry to build more homes in Auckland, faster, the quality of work is dropping. Thirty percent of all building inspections are being failed; in fact, some months Auckland Council fails close to 40 percent.

The number of people learning a trade is booming with Industry Training Federation (ITF) chief executive Josh Williams saying the number of apprentices had bounced back from a slump during the economic downturn, and some industries were near their capacity for new trainees.

Warnings about substandard building products coming into the country have triggered a major industry inquiry. Plumbing, electrical products, exterior claddings, roofing, glass and power tools have been singled out.  The Building Industry Federation and Construction Industry Council are looking into product quality after fielding a flood of calls from worried members about a wide range of untested imports.

Building consents have dropped sharply as the Christchurch rebuild nears the end and apartment developers downed tools and headed away for a holiday.

The somewhat unexpected building consent data for January from Statistics NZ showed seasonally adjusted consents across all dwellings fell 8.2 per cent to 2245 in January from December, while housing consents sank 5.6 per cent to 1646 - the steepest decline since August 2014.

The latest figures from Statistics New Zealand showing 27,132 consents for the year and 2538 for the month of December are the highest in more than a decade and show residential construction is booming, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

Builder Barry Barnes, was sentenced in Christchurch for carrying out restricted plumbing work without authorisation.  He was fined $1500 after a guilty plea.

Rising property prices, this time in London means home owners are choosing to renovate rather than move.

New London Architectures' Don't Move, Improve competition has just announced the winners for this year – the biggest in the six years the competition has been running with 84 entries.