Building boon loses its gloss
Timaru tradesmen thought working on the Christchurch rebuild would be easy but it has turned out not to be.
South Canterbury Registered Master Builders Association president Richard Geary said there was a lot of down time and paperwork which builders were not expecting, plus a major pay issue.
Fletcher Building won the contract to manage quake repairs and offered an initial market rate of $30 to $35 per hour in 2010, which was increased in 2011 to $45 per hour as a means of attracting contractors into the programme. It has not been increased since.
A fee to cover administration costs was to be negotiated and the workers could charge a 5 to 7.5 per cent margin on materials.
Mr Geary said the hourly rate would not cover the costs associated with the work.
For builders travelling to Christchurch from South Canterbury it was not just pay rates that threw them but holdups behind the scenes as the workflow was intermittent, Mr Geary said.
Fletcher Building general manager corporate affairs Rick Osborne said they did not have any issues attracting tradespeople, with 95 per cent of the contractors used from the wider Canterbury region. The balance came from other parts of New Zealand as they relocated to Christchurch.
"I am aware that there are some contracting firms employing overseas workers - this is an employment arrangement with the accredited contractors and not Fletcher EQR," Mr Osborne said.
Master Builders regional services manager Ian Gould said he was not aware of any builders who had pulled out of working on the rebuild. He suspected any problems were more likely to be due to the shortage of accommodation than the flat hourly rate.
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