Andrew Price - Design Builders

Looking back at 2022, and looking forward to 2023 by Andrew Price, Design Builders CEO

When asked to take a look back on 2022, three words come to mind. Inflation. Challenging. Change.

There is no doubt that 2022 has been one hell of a ride. That isn’t news to anyone, especially in the building industry. The media has had a doom and gloom view on nearly all platforms and unfortunately, that attitude often becomes self-fulfilling.

It was challenging for those who were building their own homes, and it was equally frustrating for builders who were completing the job. Our biggest business challenge during this time was managing expectations, in constantly changing conditions.  No two months were the same, in terms of operating conditions – There were various material supply issues, sudden price increases, delays, inflation, you name it. It was a tough time. Now at year’s end, I believe that we can put 2022 behind us and move forward with optimism.

Things are changing again and rapidly. The optimist in me says that we’re not quite back to normal yet, but give it six to twelve months and we’ll start to see some positive signs. There are challenges ahead, but a lot of opportunity as well.

When would be a good time to build? My view is that I can’t see a better time to start than now. By that, I mean the design and planning. Get it underway. By the time you have got through designing your house, council consents, and all the other necessary preparation, we won’t be talking about material shortages.

In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we will begin talking about oversupply. Design Builders are seeing sales representatives from materials companies coming back to us. They’re popping in to say ‘hello’ and telling us about their new products and availability. You can read something into that.

We have capacity for design right now, so to underline my message, there’s never been a better time to get started. I look forward to the Design Builders team working to put one-off homes within reach of more New Zealanders in 2023.

Design Builders celebrated its 30th year in business this year with our first full conference in three years. This was a highlight. It was a chance for us all to get together for business and fun and it was fantastic to reflect and celebrate what this company has achieved since Andy and Brenda Bell founded it.

On the first day, I stood up and looked across our group and it really struck me how big our team has become. Over the last four years, we have been adding regions and to see all those professional people, in the same room, was a great feeling. I look forward to the growth and opportunities ahead. There are many.

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On a personal note, running kept me on my feet this year. I managed to complete a half marathon and have now got my sights set on a full. Getting my running shoes on and finishing that half-marathon stands out to me as one of my biggest personal highlights this year.

Speaking of running, my recommended holiday reading this year is a book by Christopher McDougall called ‘Born to Run’. It’s about the world’s greatest long distance runners – the Tarahumara people in Mexico. Running is simply a natural part of life for them. It is just what they do. To me, it’s not only a book about running, but also a reminder how we are all conditioned to and influenced by our environments.

I see this in my kids. The most important thing on my daughter’s mind right now, in the lead-up to Christmas, is her advent calendar – which number is next and what chocolate is she going to get? When I sit and talk with them, they have zero idea that there’s negativity in the world. It doesn’t exist. Kids are naturally optimistic and fun to be around. I think we could all take a leaf out of kids’ books.

With that in mind, it’s time to look forward to the holiday season, we all richly deserve. I wish you and your family and friends a safe and happy break, and a prosperous 2023. See you next year!

Andrew Price, CEO, Design Builders