Concrete use rockets past Auckland's

MICHAEL WRIGHT
Last updated 07:46 17/12/2012
Graham Huntley
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

BIG POUR: Graham Huntley from Clearwater Construction watches concrete being poured on the construction of a new office block being built in Victoria St.

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Christchurch will soon top Auckland's construction activity based on total concrete poured, despite the post-earthquake construction boom yet to hit high gear.

In the September quarter, 130,260 cubic metres of ready- mix concrete was sold in Christchurch, while 157,385 cubic metres was sold in Auckland in the same period.

Auckland was comfortably ahead a year ago, with more than double Christchurch's concrete usage, but its quiet construction market has seen its concrete use stagnate.

Christchurch Ready Mix Concrete general manager Rob Uffindell said sales were already above 2007 construction-boom levels.

"We expect it to grow significantly from now on," he said

"We've pretty much been doing driveways, but the light commercial is coming on board with a few bigger buildings.

"Housing, we think, is going to pick up shortly. There are a lot of houses consented and [we're] likely to get a lot of starts on those in the new year."

The company had expanded its fleet of concrete- mixer trucks from 25 to 38 in the past year, he said.

Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand chief executive Rob Gaimster said the gain was huge, given the size difference of the two cities.

"That just shows you how busy Christchurch is at the moment."

Christchurch should soon overtake Auckland, he said, despite population growth in the latter likely to fuel a residential building boom.

"My gut feeling is Christchurch may be busier in terms of concrete volumes in 2015 than Auckland," he said.

Fulton Hogan Christchurch quarry projects manager Jared Johnston said the company had had to ease the concerns of concrete manufacturers worried about gravel capacity.

"[Fulton Hogan's Miners Rd quarry] by itself has got 16 million tonnes in reserve, which could basically fill the rebuild on its own," Johnston said.

Demand was similar to the 2007 construction boom, he said, about 30 per cent up on the intervening period, and he expected it to rise further.

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- The Press

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