Paperwork delays Marmite factory reopening

Last updated 14:01 13/12/2012

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An unfinished lift is holding up the reopening of Christchurch's Marmite factory.

Production of the popular spread was suspended in March after earthquake damage to a cooling tower at Sanitarium's Papanui factory rendered the nearby Marmite building unsafe.

Yesterday, a Christchurch City Council building inspector went through the factory to see whether he could sign off on a code of compliance, which would allow Sanitarium to access the building.

However, he could not do so because the building consent contained plans for a lift that would not be completed until next year.

Although the lift was not essential to the factory running, the inspector could not sign the forms until work on it was completed.

Building operations unit manager Ethan Stetson said the council would now issue a building consent that did not include the lift.

Once paperwork for the new consent was complete, the council could sign off the code of compliance and allow Sanitarium to re-enter.

"Council has advised the project manager that the best way forward is to handle the liftshaft works as its own distinct consent," Stetson said.

"This allows Sanitarium to focus on the most critical work to get the factory back up and running."

He said the council hoped it could issue the code of compliance before Christmas.
"Council will continue to work closely with the chief executive of Sanitarium to ensure that the consents, inspections and code compliance certificates are processed in time," he said.

The lift consent would be handled in the new year.

Sanitarium said the approval would allow it formal access to start reviewing the plant's functionality. Further testing would be needed, involving pumping water through all the production pipes to check the seals.

"If all goes well, we can then start making bulk stock,'' the company said.

''Once we have enough bulk stock, it then has to be blended to achieve our unique Marmite flavour that Kiwis love. The next step will be to pack stock to get Marmite back on shelf."

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