Better, faster, quicker and simpler

00:57, Jan 31 2013

The scale of the Christchurch rebuild requires innovative ways to save money and get the job done faster, says Stonewood Homes managing director Brent Mettrick.

Mr Mettrick is passionate about finding ways to reduce the cost and inefficiency of the construction industry. He says their practices have remained largely unchanged for the last 25 years.

"Twenty-five years ago we were doing a little bit the same as we are now, and that's wrong," he said.

"Intelligence in construction has not grown the way it should. We are learning from retail and manufacturing to be leaner and more efficient."

He is looking for alternative systems to replace plaster, gib and tiles because when the commercial rebuild ramps up in Christchurch, there will be a shortage of experienced tradesmen.

An example of innovative alternatives include lock-in, waterproof tile systems that look like tiles, but can be easily assembled, he said.


Steel frames instead of timber are another possibility, because timber trusses have been one of the products identified as a potential supply problem.

"Christchurch is like a Petri dish and construction is a great industry to play with."

The company is working on designing and building a three-bedroom home for less than $100,000, he said.

"There is going to be more money made in intelligence than brawn," he said.

"Any options for better, faster, quicker and simpler are going to be in high demand."

Stonewood Homes have contracts with insurance companies such as IAG and Southern Response, to build hundreds of houses to replace some of the 10,000 to 15,000 damaged beyond repair in Christchurch.

Intelligent innovative solutions for the rebuild will be in demand, and are being facilitated by Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (Scirt), the public-private alliance that has a $3 billion contract to renew Canterbury's damaged roads, bridges, water and sewer lines.

Scirt general manager Duncan Gibb said they are are also looking for innovative ideas, rather than a labour force, and in particular, people with design expertise, innovative ideas and materials.

People with expertise in these areas should register interest at the website, he said.

The Marlborough Express