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NZ Green-build warrior in red

Property Here - Tuesday, March 05, 2013

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Eco-construction council is hoping for a financial boost from Christchurch rebuild.

The NZ Green Building Council has lost $110,668 in the last two years but its bosses have denied the standard-setting and rating organisation is under financial pressure and hope it will return to surplus.

Chairman Craig Price and chief executive Alex Cutler said the council had suffered from the global financial crisis and building downturn because there were fewer buildings to rate using their assessment methods.

Although the council, which rated Parnell's Geyser Building last year, was a not-for-profit organisation, it was not intended to make a loss, they said.

Talk in the industry has the council in a precarious financial position, which Cutler was surprised about.

Price, a consulting engineer at Beca, said the losses had been offset by using reserves and the council was on track to make a small profit in the June 2013 year.

"The council is in a sound financial position as an organisation. We have a strong membership base of around 400 companies and we have a membership retention of over 85 per cent year-on-year," Price said.

"So the business plan this year is for a small surplus and there's strong opportunities ahead of us within the industry."

Christchurch might prove to be a financial boost.

"The community has said in Christchurch they want a sustainable rebuild and on a green basis so an increased level of construction and demand in expectations to build green is an opportunity for the council.

"That improved construction activity provides a greater opportunity for the council to be involved in provision of rating services," Price said.

The council's financial statements showed that auditors PwC were not paid in cash, receiving membership in lieu of payment, valued at $3150 last year and in 2011.

However, PwC was paid $3150 for audit services for the Homestar Joint Venture, which the council is in with the Building Research Association.

Cutler said the council hadn't made a profit in the three years she had been there but she remained "reasonably confident" about finances. "We made a profit a number of years ago. I have been more worried about it in the past."

In the last two years, the council had assessed about 20 projects with its Green Star system and it had 37 projects for assessment on its books. Members paid from $500 to $10,000, depending on their organisation.

*Green Building Summit, March 20, The Pullman, Auckland.