Quake new-house builds total 15,000

KAT PICKFORD
Last updated 16:49 01/02/2013

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The Christchurch rebuild will ramp up in earnest when the commercial and new house builds get underway, says Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend.

About 15,000 new houses need to be built to replace those lost in the earthquakes in Christchurch - the same number of homes that there are in Blenheim, Mr Townsend said.

"Once the commercial build takes off, Fletcher are going to have a hard time trying to retain contractors who will be attracted by commercial rates."

While Fletcher EQR have been flat out, new-house builds have been delayed while private insurance companies carry out geo-technical reports before making payouts, he said.

Mr Townsend was one of the leaders of the Christchurch rebuild to update a group of Marlborough business people at a forum in Christchurch this week.

The rebuild was expected to take 20 to 25 years peaking in mid-2014 or 2015, he said. The cost had grown from $35 billion to $40b, he said.

Contractors looking at working in Canterbury, needed to be well organised, professional and deliver quality work, he said.

"We need to learn how to work together to achieve the scale required for the rebuild, but it's not just about showing up with your toolkit and hammer," he said.

Andrew Lawson, of Andrew Lawson Builders in Blenheim is one of Fletcher's main contractors. At the forum held in Blenheim last year, he warned about the challenges of commuting and having clients a four-hour drive away.

Businesses needed to plan, and they needed systems, especially good monitoring and administration systems, he said.

"It's like working in the Sounds - you have to plan, so that you meet that boat."

Fletcher has the Government contract to repair 9000 homes with between $15,000 and $100,000 worth of damage.

Fletcher EQR communications manager Barry Akers said the construction company has paid out $1b of home repairs of an estimated $3b total.

While the number of painters, plasterers and carpenters had met capacity, there was an opportunity for tilers and gib stoppers to sub-contract to the main contractors, he said.

Contractors were paid about $37.50 an hour and employees were paid an hourly rate between $27 and $31, which are based on the national labour rate.

While the Government had reached a supply agreement with Knauf and Winstones for plasterboards and Resene, Dulux and Wattyl for paint, there were no specific supply agreements for general building materials, he said.

For expressions of interest in supplying materials or skills check out contractor@eqr.co.nz.

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- The Marlborough Express

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