Christchurch rebuild opening doors

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 19/02/2014
Ian Donaldson
NICOLE GOURLEY/FAIRFAX NZ
BIG PLANS: Venture Southland Canterbury South co-ordinator Ian Donaldson, left, and Nind Electrical director Steve Winter look at plans for a Nind project in Christchurch.

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A Southland electrical business has used its reputation in the region to gain a foothold in the Christchurch market.

Invercargill-based Nind Electrical established a presence in Christchurch by opening an office in January 2013.

Director Steve Winter said it was a slow start but the business was now working on many large residential and commercial projects.

The Christchurch branch, which had 12 staff, was able to utilise resources and systems already in place in the Invercargill head office, he said.

The business had picked up a lot of work from the relationships it had built over time with Christchurch companies.

The Canterbury branch would soon have more work than the Southland branch, but he would curb the growth.

"We are using cashflow and not borrowing, and we do not want to risk the rest of the business by growing too big in Christchurch."

He had found the various Christchurch rebuild forums and seminars held in Invercargill useful for painting the bigger picture and advised businesses to assess the risks of setting up in Christchurch and build relationships.

Other Southland businesses involved or interested in the Christchurch rebuild will be given the opportunity to find out more at a progress update seminar today.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), along with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce and the Canterbury Development Corporation will be in Invercargill to discuss the status of the rebuild.

Progress, key timelines and opportunities will be discussed.

The Southland Supply Initiative will be rebranded Canterbury South at the seminar.

Venture Southland Canterbury South co-ordinator Ian Donaldson said the rebrand more accurately reflected the two-way business relationships being developed.

More than 200 Southland businesses have committed to the initiative to direct southern labour and services to Christchurch but at the same time remain based in the south.

He was also talking to, and networking with, former Southlanders living and doing business in Christchurch.

"I don't think the average person can comprehend the size of the rebuild. Common sense will tell you that Lyttelton Wharf won't be able to handle the volume of material required," Mr Donaldson said.

As the rebuild ramped up, those in construction were starting to look for potential suppliers outside Christchurch to resource their projects, he said.

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CERA deputy chief executive implementation Warwick Isaacs said there were significant changes to the way large government infrastructure projects were procured.

"If you are involved in the construction industry, as a construction company, a supplier of materials, a provider of design or architecture, quantity surveying services we are interested in talking to you."

Investors, financiers, developers, business owners or retailers were also welcome to attend the seminar, he said.

The seminar will be held today at the Ascot Park Hotel from 4pm to 6pm.

- The Southland Times

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