Massive tool auction as another Christchurch building company goes under

A massive haul of nail guns, drop saws and other power tools went up for auction in Christchurch on Thursday as part of the liquidation of Maven Interiors.

It's just the latest building company to go under in the city as earthquake work dries up, leaving tradies without work.

All that's left of Maven Interiors is its tools, lined up at the auction house at a bargain price for those still gainfully employed.

"A lot of people got really comfortable with the way it was and how busy it was, and how good the money was and that sort of stuff - and now, obviously, it's changed," explained Joe De Leijer from Competitive Painters.

In the last eight years, 70,000 repairs have been completed by the Earthquake Commission (EQC). At its peak, there were 4000 jobs a month - but now that's all but dried up.

"At the height of the boom, we worked with around 620 contractors - today we have 26," says EQC deputy CEO Renee Walker.

"What we're noticing is more and more customers have their own builder."

Builder Chris Sinclair is one of those who had to downsize to survive, reducing his staff number from 36 to just a dozen.

He got by, picking up other work - but others are not so lucky.

"The worst thing to do is when people start dropping their prices because they've not got the work, but those prices aren't accurate," he says.

House prices across Canterbury are now relatively flat, indicating there are now enough new homes to meet the demand created by the earthquakes. For tradies, that means less work.

EQC's job is almost done - they're expecting to settle the remainder of the claims by early 2019.