Garage-door manufacturer B&D Doors (NZ) says the signing of a 10-year lease for new premises in Hornby after quake damage at its Bromley factory shows a commitment to the Christchurch rebuild reflecting its heritage.
The manufacturer is a subsidiary of B&D Doors Australia and part of ASX-listed construction and building materials company Alesco Corp, but has its main New Zealand presence in Christchurch.
Its main New Zealand brands are Garador and Dominator, which was started by Christchurch entrepreneur Trevor Bills with two staff in 1988 but then sold to the Australians for $50million in 2005. B&D Doors now supplies around 70 dealerships throughout the country.
B&D Doors (NZ) country manager Tim Dalzell said the past 20 months had been pretty challenging for the business with about a quarter of the Christchurch operation in Bromley, including the warehouse, red-stickered after the February 22, 2011 earthquake.
The Bromley operation had stayed in full production but with the intention to move to a new site after leases were sorted out, Dalzell said. Despite the quakes the company's turnover had probably remained on a par with the previous year.
"Since then we have been looking at our options and after an extensive search we will be moving our 70-strong Christchurch team across town to Hornby. We couldn't be more pleased about this new long-term commitment to our business, our people and the region," he said.
Staffing levels had remained level for the past few years but were somewhat reduced from the levels of more than five years ago when construction levels were higher.
Throughout the period of the earthquakes, they had worked hard to ensure customer needs were met with a minimum of disruption, with the factory closed for one or two weeks after the February quake.
The move to the 1.1-hectare site leased in Hornby from a Queenstown property owner would give B&D Doors about 7300 square metres of premises including an office, warehouse and canopy area.
The move would be staged and be completed by late August, September, he said.
"We have a detailed process to work through as we relocate. Planning is well progressed and we are devoting additional manpower to project-manage the shift. As a manufacturer we want this relocation to happen with minimal impact on our people, on supply, on our dealers and our customers."
While Auckland had a facility for the production of smaller roller doors, Christchurch remained the base for the commercial roller doors and the larger "sectional" doors which had replaced to a large extent the more traditional tilt doors.
"Tilt doors, where they may have had a [large] extent of the residential market, they're probably down to five or 10 [per cent of that market]," Dalzell said.The tilt doors meant a car could not be parked too close to the garage or they would be hit with a garage door opening.
The company would look to incorporate lean manufacturing principles and efficiencies at the new factory, and be able to ramp up work backed by extra staff when the earthquake rebuild really kicked in.
"We're not to sure when that will be ... but there will be a pickup."