Rebuild, Mainzeal demise, open doors for City Care

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2013

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Christchurch City Council-owned City Care is widening its business and moving into traditional residential and commercial construction, seizing opportunities offered by the Canterbury recovery.

Its move into residential earthquake repairs has gone largely unnoticed with an announcement on its website just before Christmas that it had become a accredited supplier to Fletcher EQR and local insurance companies.

Now it is also expanding into traditional commercial construction picking up some of the Mainzeal staff including Mainzeal's local executive team who lost their jobs after its collapse on Waitangi Day.

City Care is already a big player in "horizontal" construction as one of the big five companies of the Scirt alliance (Stronger Canterbury Infrastructure Rebuild Team) involved in the more-than-$2.2 billion job of repairing sewers, stormwater, water networks and the roads in Canterbury.

City Care is a rising star in the group of council-owned trading companies.

Its revenue jumped 50 per cent between the 2011 and 2012 financial years, gaining more contracts around the country and a lot of earthquake repair work.

It was originally the Works Operations Unit of Christchurch City Council with about 440 staff and $24 million of revenue looking after roading, wastewater, building and parks maintenance.

These days its revenue is closer to $400m and it has 1500 staff throughout New Zealand.

Ian Kennedy, owner of the Trimble Navigation building, left without a main contractor when Mainzeal was placed in receivership, said yesterday he was talking to former senior executives of Mainzeal, now with City Care about picking up the contract.

One of the seniors was Paul Blackler who headed Mainzeal southern region. The others were managers David Riley and Alan Greig.

"I'm in daily contact with them in a process that will hopefully lead up to signing a satisfactory contract. That contract hasn't been signed yet.

"If they can start picking up contracts like ours then they're off to a flying start."

Kennedy said the Christchurch Mainzeal team working on the construction of the Trimble building before the receivership had been first class.

‘They will be looking for more than our project obviously."

City Care chief executive Onno Mulder confirmed last night the company had employed eight Mainzeal staff. They were the three executives plus project managers, quantity surveyors and site managers.

Mulder said the company had builders in its property management division but would use a subcontracting model for commercial projects.

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It is City Care's Facilities Management division that is doing the earthquake repairs.

On the website City Care's general manager of FM, Peter Lord, says the company is fully geared up to offer quality earthquake repair services for most insurance claims.

"And with its project management capability, the company is well placed to support homeowners through the entire repair process - from managing the insurance claim, to scoping and costing the project, right through to reinstating their property."

HEALTH BOARD SEEKS MAINZEAL REPLACEMENTS

The Canterbury District Health Board is talking to building contractors about picking up the unfinished projects caused by the collapse of Mainzeal Property and Construction.

The health board has been told by the receivers of Mainzeal, Colin McCloy and David Bridgman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, they will not continue with the CDHB contracts. They involved Hillmorton Hospital.

"We are currently working through the best solution with regard to all three projects - the adult mental health inpatient unit, where work is 60 per cent complete, the Fergusson building refurbishment, where work is around 10 per cent complete, and general earthquake remedial repairs on the Hillmorton site," a CDHB spokeswoman said.

"Work will resume as soon as possible and we are in discussions with relevant parties with a particular focus on the adult mental health inpatient unit. This is being worked through as a matter of urgency."

The owners of Hornby Mall are negotiating with interested parties for their $47 million expansion, where the main contractor had been Mainzeal.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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