“A big boost to the rebuild”. That’s how Christchurch-based Fletcher Aluminium South Island window and door manager Darrell Gane is describing a new multi-million dollar aluminium factory in Wigram.
Up to 70 people will be employed at the factory, the first of its kind in New Zealand. The new facility will powder coat mill-finish aluminium product produced in Auckland, which will then be distributed to the franchisees in Christchurch and the rest of the South Island.
When it is fully underway, the factory will also have the capacity to produce up to 135 square metres of windows per day — the equivalent of three average sized homes.
This will assist Fletcher Aluminium’s local window and door fabricators in continuing to supply their clients as the rebuilding of thousands of Christchurch homes begins.
The franchisees are long-time Christchurch businesses in their own right — Nebulite, Rylock, Vistalite and Fisher — and they manufacture the well-known window and door brands Atlantic and Pacific.
Mr Gane says the new facility means local Fletcher Aluminium franchisees and their clients can be sure there is product available when they need it.
“Late last year Fletcher Aluminium and the Canterbury franchise owners discussed setting up something like this in Christchurch,” he says.
“The franchisees produce doors and windows in their own facilities, but the demand for aluminium doors and windows will increase massively in the coming months and years, and we wanted to make sure they could hit the ground running.”
Mr Gane adds that the Wigram factory will also reduce delivery time of aluminium doors and windows considerably, not just for Christchurch but the entire South Island.
“Ordered product has previously been coming into Christchurch from Auckland. Having product available in Christchurch will reduce lead times by as much as half, and eliminate most transportation issues.”
The operation has multi-shift capability and, depending on the pace of the rebuild and the availability of staff, can move to 24 hours a day, seven days a week operations if necessary.
Mr Gane says all of the Fletcher Aluminium franchisees are looking forward to being a key part of the rebuild of their city, and that the support from Auckland has been fantastic.
“This is a real team effort. We have all worked extremely hard over the past year or so to make this a reality.
“There’s no doubt things will get busier, and the new Wigram factory will support us and our clients during this time of growth, and ensure they get what they need when they need it.”