Fletcher sets up aluminium joinery
Fletcher Building's aluminium division has come to Christchurch, pumping about $5 million into a window and door finishing factory in Wigram.
The 4000-square-metre operation will treat metal from the Fletcher Aluminium mill in Auckland, finish it with coloured powder coat and make up windows and doors.
Running at full production, the factory will pump out enough frames for three homes each day and employ up to 70 people.
Division South Island window and door manager Darrell Gane said the company had supplied its retail partners from its Auckland base, however it had been persuaded to build a Christchurch presence due to the immense demand looming from the city's rebuild.
"Late last year Fletcher Aluminium and the Canterbury franchise owners discussed setting something like this up in Christchurch.
"The franchisees produce doors and windows in their own facilities, but the demand for aluminium doors and windows will increase massively in the coming months and years and we wanted to make sure that they could hit the ground running."
The Pilkington Way factory would quicken the delivery of windows and doors and eliminate transport problems to both Canterbury and the rest of the South Island, he said.
The leased warehouse has been earthquake-strengthened and extended, and the company has imported eight machines from Italy. Contractors are due to finish building and setting up the factory by July or August.
Meanwhile, the prefabrication arm of the factory is already running at low volumes with about 15 staff working on the floor.
Factory manager Ray Scoon said the operation could be running round the clock once it was finished, although it would depend on demand.
The employees taken on would be locals, and the company expected to train them on the job, he said.
"It's quite unreal, but there are quite a lot of unemployed people in Christchurch and this will help a lot of those people. A lot of firms have shut down and this is another avenue for people to pick up a bit of work."
Fletcher Aluminium supplies joinery retailers that are franchisees of the Fletcher brands.