Rebuild work boosts firm

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 11:30 22/01/2013
HML Engineering

Working overtime: An HML Engineering welder works on a component for two five-tonne milk towers, destined for the damaged Fonterra plant in Darfield, in the Rapaura Rd workshop.

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A Marlborough engineering firm has employed five new workers as it picks up extra contracts from the Christchurch rebuild.

Stephen Hamilton, who owns HML Engineering, a division of Hamilton Machinery, said he saw the opportunity to be part of the rebuild soon after the devastating Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.

The rebuild came at a good time for the muted construction industry, but the contracts had not just fallen into his lap, he said.

"The last three years in Marlborough, it hasn't been easy, you've got to get out there to find out what's happening," he said.

"We've had a good relationship with some Christchurch firms for a number of years. I've done a fair few trips down there to find out what's required."

A forum held in Blenheim last year, aimed at connecting Marlborough businesses with key developers and construction companies involved in the rebuild, helped to get contracts across the line quicker, he said.

"I'd seen the opportunity in Christchurch for some time and the forum helped speed things up a bit."

Mr Hamilton has employed five extra fulltime staff since September to cope with the extra workload, taking the workforce of his Rapaura Rd workshop to 13.

His crew were working overtime to complete two 16-metre, five-tonne milk towers for Fonterra by tomorrow, when they would be freighted to Darfield by truck and mounted by the main contractor, Christchurch firm Pegasus Engineering.

Once that job was out of the way, attention would return to the manufacture of the structural steel components of the new 3344 square metre Weft Knitting factory and offices. After construction, the parts would be freighted to a new subdivision in the former Wigram Aerodrome in Christchurch.

Four of his engineers would travel down to put together the components in late March.

The work was proving to be viable despite extra costs of transport, which amounted to 10 per cent of the Weft Knitting Factory job, he said. "We've got quite a few jobs on the horizon and it's looking good going forward."

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- The Marlborough Express

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