Mission on for rebuild companies

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:58 24/07/2014

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A new initiative has been launched to grow involvement by Nelson businesses on the post-earthquake Canterbury rebuild.

The Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce and the Nelson-based building industry cluster named Project, have teamed up to build on the success of local firms already involved in the rebuild and to grow local businesses' share of the work coming out of the Canterbury region.

Project Design Build Cluster, established after the February 2011 earthquake, provides a single point of access for a group for building, design and construction industry workers in Nelson.

Chamber of commerce chief executive Dot Kettle said the new initiative will fund a person on a contract basis to be on the ground in Christchurch, who will work with the chamber of commerce there, to showcase what Nelson has to offer.

The aim was to make it easy for Christchurch businesses and rebuild decision makers to engage with businesses in the Nelson region. Kettle said having someone on the ground in Canterbury was "really important" in order to capture opportunities early on.

"Our experience is there's a lot going on, but businesses here are getting emails at the end of the process and we want that to occur at the beginning."

Increased visibility of the work under way and a greater understanding of the skills and value local businesses can provide to the Canterbury recovery will be the aim of the initiative, Kettle said at a function yesterday to mark the next stage.

Local businesses involved with the Canterbury rebuild, and representatives from the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency, gathered at the Beatty St showroom of Nelson joinery firm Cooper Webley to celebrate successes to date.

Kettle said it was also a chance for businesses to swap ideas and contacts. "Project identified very early on that the scale of the opportunities would be too big for many local businesses to take advantage of.

"By collaborating we have been able to get far greater traction together than we would have by going it alone."

She said that as the pace of the rebuild increased it was critical for the chamber and Project to work closely together for the benefit of a greater number of businesses in the region.

Project chairman Paul Brockie said demand was picking up.

"Having a dedicated resource that can identify and follow up opportunities will be incredibly valuable for the whole region," he said.

Local success stories include: AbsoluteEnergy (Paul Brockie)

AbsoluteEnergy has been helping out with the Christchurch rebuild by installing insulation into new houses around the city. It has linked up with a number of building companies which send through their house plans to AbsoluteEnergy's head office in Nelson where the team supplies a quote.

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The firm had insulated around 50 houses already this year and expected further growth as the rebuild ramped up.

Brockie said that because the company has access to a wide range of insulation products and had been able to negotiate competitive prices with their suppliers, it had enjoyed a successful acceptance rate.

Brockie said the company started out sending installers from Nelson to do the work but with increased volume it now had installers based in Christchurch. It had also appointed an area manager to look after this side of the business.

"It's a positive result for not just the company but for the Nelson region with this revenue coming back into the local area."

Nelson Pine Industries (Jason Guiver)

Nelson Pine LVL, Laminated Veneer Lumber, is being increasingly specified in the residential rebuild and the company is seeing an uptake in commercial structures seeking the inherent properties of LVL, Guiver said.

The laminated timber has a high strength to weight ratio.

Guiver said the new 6000sqm two-storey office complex for Tait Communications which is nearing completion on Wairakei Rd is a Nelson Pine LVL structure

The firm is working closely with developers and architects on the next generation of commercial LVL buildings. A new building in Kaikoura that will house the council chambers, a museum and the library is also under construction.

"With the rising cost and supply issues of fabricated steel, architects are looking at LVL as a main structural component. It is sustainably grown and locally resourced material with an inherent natural beauty, giving them more scope in their designs and a secure supply chain," Guiver said.

Opus Nelson (Tony Jemmett)

Opus Nelson has recently handled three specific projects linking the Nelson office to the improvements in Christchurch.

Senior design engineer in Nelson Martin Crundwell is providing civil and structural design drawing and specification reviews before documents are issued for construction of the $100 million Te Papa Otakaro Avon River Precinct Improvement Project.

"This is one of the significant anchor projects for the rebuild of Christchurch and alongside Martin's design involvement the Nelson office has also provided draughting and documentation support," Jemmett said.

Senior project manager in Nelson Matthew Taylor is leading the team producing the specimen design for the new Northern Arterial link between the Northern Motorway and the centre of Christchurch.

"This is a $250 million improvement project for Christchurch and will greatly improve the access into and out of Christchurch."

Jemmett said the Opus' Nelson office had also provided a substantial amount of the geometric design for the new road, which had required Taylor to spend two to three days a week working in Christchurch.

The Nelson structural engineering team had been involved with seismic assessments and design improvements for school buildings, civic amenities, church facilities and commercial buildings.

"This involvement has allowed our clients to move more quickly towards re-using the built facilities they have."

- The Nelson Mail

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