Opportunities to come with rebuild
Marlborough businesses wanting a slice of the work in Christchurch should build relationships with key players and bide their time until the rebuild ramps up.
Anthony Leighs, managing director of Christchurch-based construction company Leighs, was one of the speakers at the Marlborough Christchurch Rebuild Opportunities Forum (Macro) in Blenheim on Friday afternoon.
In response to Marlborough businesses' frustrations with "getting a foot in the door" in Christchurch, people needed to do the preparation and make the contacts in anticipation for the surge in demand, he said.
"People need to develop a degree of patience because, believe it or not, the residential market in Christchurch is very quiet. A lot of businesses are in survival mode down there.
"That tipping point may not happen for months, but people will do well to build those relationships because in my view when things get going it will change very quickly."
Robinsons Construction owner Phil Robinson said they saw a number of opportunities in Christchurch such as making pre-stressed and pre-cast concrete tilt panels in Blenheim and freighting them down. "We haven't rushed out into anything," he said.
"We have some contacts there now and we are quietly working away.
"We have to look after our patch here and not ignore our customers; we have to get the balance right."
Blenheim engineering company Cuddon Ltd chief executive Andy Rowe said there was a clear need for structural steel and they would look at the possibility of joining forces with other Marlborough firms such as Eckford Engineering and Burleigh Engineering to make it more viable.
Computer management services company MCN owners Azher and Bronwyn Mir provide automated computer services such as backups, antivirus, disc checks and maintenance. They were looking at the opportunities in setting up networks and computer systems when businesses moved back into the city centre.
Their capability to provide remote IT services from Blenheim would be easy to manage and they would only need to take on more technicians to do physical work, she said.
"We already have clients in Christchurch - it is just a case of getting introduced to the right people."
Land surveyors Ensurv director Phil Norton said they had been working with people in Christchurch, although it had been hard to get a decent foothold because the commercial jobs were all handled by the big companies.
"My experience is they can't cope with all the work now, so once it ramps up they will be calling for qualified surveyors."
He could not foresee setting up a branch in Christchurch and they were considering the idea of sending staff down in short term rotations.
- The Marlborough Express