Queenstown construction firm KJ McIvor Building headed to the region from Christchurch three years ago for a three month contract, which then turned into five months, which then turned into more business, keeping the company busy in Queenstown ever since.
Most recently the KJ McIvor Building team of 10 staff has spent 15 months building 12 new homes at North Brooke, Jack’s Point for property development company Falconer and Co.
“There are 20 houses in the subdivision and we were only supposed to do a couple of them, but we got on well with Falconer project manager John Lovegrove, established a good relationship and everything fell into place,” says KJ McIvor Building managing director Kerry McIvor.
“My brother Jesse was working there as well with his own building firm and we worked together as a combined team. It was great to have a bunch of young guys in there working towards a common goal.”
Kerry says the site set up by Falconer was a great working environment, with good smoko facilities and site office, and equipment provided with vans and tool trailers all on site.
“If we needed any equipment it was all right there, which can be tricky when working on homes in different locations.”
This particular project provided a unique training opportunity for the young team, with 12 homes being built one after the other, the repetition allowed for methodologies to be practised over and over and retained.
“I’ve never had that in my building career before,” Kerry says.
Training is a key focus of KJ McIvor Building, and Kerry believes the success his company has achieved in Queenstown all comes down to the attitude he pushes through his team.
He chooses not to hire foreign labour and only Kiwis, so they can go on to train other Kiwis and retain those skills in New Zealand.
His experiences in the Christchurch post-quake construction market of foreign labour crammed in four people to a bedroom, paid very little and still sending it back home, along with all their training once they went home, have shown him a better way forward for the industry.
“I can’t stress enough how important it is for companies to take on apprentices. A lot of companies won’t have apprentices on their jobs. For the last decade they’ve only wanted tradesmen, and this is why they haven’t got any skilled workers now. There are a lot of Kiwi kids that can come out of school early so they don’t lose interest and get into trouble, start their career with an apprenticeship, get them earning money, get their independence, and be qualified by 20.”
This article was brought to you in association with the following businesses…
- K J McIvor Building