Thousands of construction workers will be back on the tools today, playing their part in getting New Zealand's economy rolling again
Classic Builders director Matt Lagerberg – who heads one of the country's largest home building companies – says being given the green light to return to work under Covid-19 Level 3 rules has been a great relief.
"It has been a tough time for everyone in the construction industry - and others too - with income streams at a standstill and outgoings to service.
"Our staff are geared up, ready and itching to go. They're keen to get back out there and get the wheels turning," says Matt, who has a staff of 260 covering Waikato, the Bay of Plenty, Auckland, Northland, Christchurch, Queenstown, and Wellington.
The fact the construction industry is back at work comes with many positive downstream effects, says Matt.
"It's great for the supply chain and breathes life into many small and medium-sized businesses. Bricklayers, labourers, electricians, plumbers, roofers, tilers, those involved in earthworks and drainage, and product suppliers… all represent subcontractors and suppliers relieved to be back at work."
He says Classic Builders has hundreds of homes under way and staff are eager to finish these so Kiwis can move into their new homes.
Classic Builders Waikato regional manager Paul Caton says the Waikato team has used the last week to thoroughly prepare getting back out on site today.
"We have been counting down to today and are so excited to see our building sites come back to life, as have our many subcontractors and suppliers too," he says.
With a pipeline of scheduled work through to October, the Waikato Classic Builders branch has clients waiting patiently for their new homes.
"Our clients are incredibly important to us and being able to recommence work on their half-built homes will hopefully relieve any uncertainty they had during the lockdown period.
"It'll show that we are back on the job and will deliver them their new home soon."
Preparation for the return-to-work included liaising with the company's subcontractor and supplier network to ensure all on-site requirements around health and safety were understood.
"We've been working virtually to set Classic up to meet Covid-19 protocols.
"The way we work is going to be quite different, but we are confident we can get the job done safely and deliver quality homes.
"While the majority of us will continue to work virtually from home hosting meetings and client consultations via video conferencing, our construction managers are very keen to head back to sites and do what they do best," he says.
Classic Builders has been involved in Government discussion around establishing the construction industry's Covid-19 on-site protocols and Matt says his industry is perfectly poised to operate under Level 3 restrictions.
It already has the most stringent health and safety rules in play, with relevant protocols like signing in and out of every site being the norm.
Setting up sanitisation sites and managing the flow of subcontractors etc onto sites is doable – the latter is especially easy to achieve with single level homes, as the bulk of Classic Builders houses are.
"We have received world-wide attention for our handling of Covid-19.
"There will be immigration demand and expats wanting to return home. We will be seen as a safe haven – the Switzerland of the South Pacific."