Northern Rivers builders are booming
The Northern Star contacted a number of builders and consultants in Ballina and Lismore and all said that while things were moving along pretty much as normal for January, the real economic picture would become clear for them in a few months’ time.
One building company in Lismore described business as ‘booming’.
Sharon Schwebel said her husband’s Lismore business, Darryl Schwebel Building Pty Ltd, was flat out with insurance work, new homes and units.
For Simon Dalcon, of All Coast Electrical Services, it’s also been business as usual.
“It’s really too early to tell what the impact will be for 2009. Traditionally, January is fairly busy with people getting things done they didn’t get around to before Christmas. I’m still quoting a fair number of jobs, so things are as normal right now.”
Damon Maloney, general manager of Techton Building Services in Ballina, said things had slowed a little recently.
“The freezing of funds at the three mortgage fund companies here has tied up some money which has affected a few developments, but while things might be sluggish, there’s no sign of collapse,” he said.
However, companies offering non-essential services are the first to be hit in tough times, and Lismore
Paint Centre owner Tony Durheim has had to put off seven staff recently.
“Normally we’d be looking at 30 to 40 quotes a month, but now we’re getting five,” he said.
The big crunch for his company came last October when Byron Bay’s 269-unit Becton development, at the old Club Med site, was put on hold indefinitely.
“We had to put off six to 10 people straight away. We thought we’d have work on that site for three years,” Mr Durheim said.
On the flipside, Mr Durheim said his company’s paint sales to automotive workshops had never been better due to the hailstorm in October, 2007, and recent wild weather.