Up and running . . . Projects like the Timaru District Council’s museum/theatre precinct that had to pause when New Zealand went into lockdown are cranking back up again. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Helen Holt

Builders are experiencing further delays for materials, as they cannot be transported while Auckland is still at Alert Level 4.

Master Builders South Canterbury president Stu Heap said the split alert levels affected tradies’ ability to receive supplies.

“I’ve mostly got enough materials for the next four weeks, but if Auckland doesn’t go into Level 3 soon, then we’re in real trouble.

Roof renewal . . . Scaffolding and stacks of roofing iron have become familiar sights around Timaru since the November 2019 hailstorm. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

“I need Pink Batts right now, but I can’t get them because the suppliers are in Auckland.”

Mr Heap said the demand for materials was bad enough before the recent lockdown.

“Pre-lockdown we were struggling to get things in.

“It depended on the product, how long it would take to get in. Colorsteel generally took two weeks to get into South Canterbury, sometimes longer.

“If you plan ahead then you can get the supplies for when you need them, but occasionally when you need something straight away or things don’t come through on time, that’s when it’s an issue.”

There had been a building boom in the region, he said.

“Schools, kitchens, bathrooms, it’s just been busy.

“It’s a great industry to be in right now.”

Level 4 had delayed building projects in South Canterbury, including ongoing repairs from the 2019 hailstorm and the floods earlier this year.

“We’ve had to push all our deadlines two weeks out,” Mr Heap said.

The shift to Level 3 last week had meant builders could work as long as they kept their distance from each other and wore PPE, he said.

Most of the time, the safety measures were “completely manageable”, and it was “just great to be back at work”.

(South Canterbury was to move to Alert Level 2 at 11.59pm on Tuesday this week.)