James Laird of Renovate Me says that his team is getting on with work in an uncertain environment. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Building industry whirs back into life


A five-week hiatus in Nelson’s building trades has seen supplies hard to come by as deliverers deal with a backlog in orders.

However, local builders say that everyone is in the same boat and have been accommodating in dealing with five weeks off the tools.

Steve Marshall, owner of Marshall Builders, says his whole team were happy to be back at work when the country moved to level 3 but it has required a lot more “patience” than normal.

“It was a bit surreal getting back into it with empty streets everywhere you went, but we were lucky we were able to get straight back into it.”

Steve says the entire supply chain has been affected by the lockdown, as have many other industries.

“Every tentative end or completion date has been affected and everyone, including ourselves, have to be flexible. It’s thrown the entire schedule out of the cot so to speak.

“It takes a whole lot more patience when you’re going to pick up materials, it’s been frustrating particularly if you need just one thing and sometimes you don’t know exactly what that is and you can’t go in to the shop to pick it yourself, so it’s hard.”

He says the team seems to be managing relatively well with social distancing and the “new normal”.

“All our jobs are outdoors at the moment, so we haven’t had to worry so much about being in close spaces together, but we’ve been keeping our distance at smoko and things like that. Everyone has access to wash stations, hand sanitiser and face masks.”

Steve says there was a gap left in the post-lockdown building industry from people who have either lost the income to do planned renovations or a new build and those who are just too nervous to do it right now so have put plans on hold. But he says that gap has quickly been filled by others.

“People who have money in the bank are realising its going to be better having it in an asset, such as property, so that will help the building industry.”

Jason Callister of Mike Callister Builders says that they have had to be really organised with the logistics of getting deliveries and making sure builders were adhering to health and safety guidelines.

“Everybody has had to scramble to get it all sorted. Sourcing stuff has got a bit harder. Delivery and courier services are maxed out trying to get materials.”

He says people have been understanding of the delays in getting back to work.

“We are just pushing everything by five weeks. Everyone has lost five so it’s not like we are five weeks behind.”

James Laird of Renovate Me says that process has been “a bit of a nightmare” but clients have been understanding.

“In uncertain times it’s hard to know what it will look like in three or six months.”

One renovation job is not going ahead, and others have said if they hadn’t already paid, they would not have started the work.