17 Oct 2016

Contractors blame Christchurch delays on council

7:35 pm on 17 October 2016

It is the Christchurch City Council's incompetence - not a lack of contractors - delaying the completion of projects, construction companies say.

Christchurch construction.

A file photo of construction in Christchurch: Despite ongoing projects, contractors are finding themselves short of work, Civil Contractors New Zealand says. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

For the year ending in June, the council reported more than 30 delayed projects in Christchurch, including a cycleway, sports hub and repairs to heritage buildings.

It cited a shortage of contractors as part of the problem and the need to ensure work could be done at competitive rates.

Civil Contractors New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock rejected that.

"Our contractors in the Canterbury region actually have a lack of work at the moment, so we think it's rather the council's inability to bring the contracts to market and the delays that they have caused rather than the capability of contractors or the number of contractors there."

Mr Silcock said if the council did not show leadership, contractors would start moving to other regions like Auckland.

In response, Christchurch City Council general manager for city services David Adamson said, while the market was no longer growing, the council was continuing to supply a steady flow of contracts.

"One of the issues that we're getting is that although the market is not growing at the same rate it was - I think it's plateaued - but if you actually have a look at council's capital programme it continues with a reasonable-sized capital programme for the next 10 years.

Mr Adamson did not believe the delayed projects were leaving contractors short of work.

Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said he understood the concerns of both the council and contractors, but he said there was still lots of work to be done in the city.

"There is capacity in our community, there is no doubt about that. I'm not privy to the specific capacity the city council is looking for.

"There is capacity in the city, but we are operating in a very busy environment, so ... [there is] probably a bit of truth on both sides."

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