Fencing demand high in Chch recovery

TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2013

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The central city cordon in Christchurch is disappearing but boom times are far from over for fencing companies.

Demand for fencing has climbed steadily since the September 2010 earthquake, but industry players say it is nowhere near its peak, as fencing is needed for construction, not just demolition.

MCG Temporary Fence Hire owner Mark McGrath said the market had shifted from an initial emergency and "make safe" phase, to reconstruction.

"We've got no fence [not in use]. None."

MCG had a 40-foot shipping container with 1.5km of fencing due to arrive from China, and 90 per cent of it was allocated to jobs already. Another container load had already been ordered.

His firm had about 12km of high and low fencing out on jobs in Canterbury, McGrath said.

"We have got fence that's been on jobs since February, like churches and stuff that's still there."

Momentum was picking up for all the residential repair work, and demolitions in the red-zoned areas.

"In some ways fence is a small part of anything but without it, you can't start anything."

MCG has about 2km of fencing in place around the Queen Elizabeth II complex.

McGrath estimated there was 180km of temporary fencing in use in Canterbury, including subdivisions in Kaiapoi and Pegasus.

That could translate into about $200,000 a month being spent on fence hire in the region, he said.

Fence hire company ATF Canterbury owner Glen Taylor said demand had largely switched from emergency work to fencing for infrastructure and rebuild work.

"Anywhere there's a hole, it needs to be fenced."

The firm has about 30km of fencing on sites in Christchurch.

"It's the most amount of stock we've run."

After the September quake his firm trucked in about 10km in two weeks from the company's North Island branches and several containers out of Sydney.

It brought in another 10km from other branches after the February 2011 quake.

Demand was definitely picking up in the residential market, he said, as new home builds were fenced off until houses were completed, mainly to minimise theft.

Taylor's firm has just received another four 40-foot containers, each containing about 700 metres of fencing.

He expects demand from the residential sector to peak in about 18 months, and commercial demand in three to four years.

Once it reached top gear it would probably hold steady for five years before declining, he said.

ATF Canterbury lost about 3.5km of its fencing in the February quakes, mainly from buildings falling on it.

"It did do its job," Taylor said.

"It's good to know that a lot of those cordons and road closures were justified."

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About 30km of fences were bought through Civil Defence under the National State of Emergency for use within the four avenues, most of which was still in place.

BY THE NUMBERS

120-180km of fencing estimated in place in Canterbury.

$7 million – estimated value of fencing in place.

30km of fencing purchased through Civil Defence for use within the four avenues.

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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