Building and construction industry planning for return to work

As the country prepares to move into level three next week, the construction and building industry is getting ready to get back into action.

Construction sites will be much smaller in an effort to adhere to social distancing rules, and that's expected to push back the completion dates of many projects by months.

Lockdown and tools down - Christchurch's anchor projects are sitting empty and unfinished.

But there's good news tonight, as behind the scenes construction teams are getting ready to restart as soon as possible.

"It's been a big mess, and a lot of people working a lot of hours," says Otakaro CEO John Bridgman.

The city's huge Metro Sports facility was set to open in 2022 and the convention centre 'Te Pae' this October - that's now been put off to next year.

Pre-COVID-19, between 400 to 500 people were working on the convention centre a day, but as the country scales down to the level 3 alert just 150 construction workers will be on site at a time.

"It's because of social distancing and because of the need to separate different teams," Bridgman says.

"Different tradespeople have a bubble that they have to operate inside a zone on the project."

Planning is underway at small building sites too with tradesmen itching to get back to work with advanced health and safety plans.

"Most builders don't work in close distance to each other, subcontractors are the same," registered Master Builder Ivan Stanicich told Newshub.

"We'll decide where we're going to work, how we're going to work, and how we're going to keep each other safe so when we go home we're going to go home safely."

For some, it's meant embracing new technologies to help them work smarter.

"Who would've said 'let's talk to each other via a video call' you know, you pick up a phone and say 'I'll come and see ya'. It's a way we did business, it's the way the world does business," Stanicich said.

"But we're going to change and I think it's not before time."

The building and construction industry - some of the first to pick up their tools and get back to work.