Changes in the Demand for Christchurch Rebuild Works
The nature of the Christchurch rebuild works, at least for consulting engineers, has changed over the past 12 to 18 months.
The first 3 to 4 years following the commencement of the Canterbury earthquake sequence resulted in a high demand for geotechnical and structural engineering services, primarily involving the assessment of earthquake damaged structures and the provision of appropriate repair strategies.
The requirements for these services has reduced recently, with more demand now from developers involved in building developments. However, the Kaikoura earthquake event of 14 November 2016 has resulted in excess of 25,000 claims to EQC and private insurers. The land damage caused by the Kaikoura event differs from that experienced in Christchurch in 2010/2011. Due to the nature of the soils in the vicinity of the Kaikoura earthquake event, very few areas were adversely affected by soil liquefaction. However, due to the topography, the geology and the magnitude of the seismic event, significant slope instability has occurred in some parts of North Canterbury, as a result of the Kaikoura earthquake event, which would have adversely affected properties and structures.
It is anticipated that professional engineering services will soon be in high demand once again, in order to assess the earthquake damage caused by the Kaikoura earthquake event.
The problem for the Christchurch based engineering firms will be attracting and retaining the necessary personnel to provide high quality and efficient consultancy services to meet our clients’ needs. This problem will be exacerbated by the “Auckland Building Boom”, which will affect the supply of experienced engineers.
That being said, Christchurch has the advantage of offering a more relaxed lifestyle than Auckland and, as such, will always provide an attractive option for professional engineers who are looking for a job that offers work/life balance located in a beautiful part of the country (I speak from experience having moved here 5 years ago).
Fraser Thomas Geotechnical Director and Christchurch Branch Manager