New Zealand Salvage Companies Ship Earthquake Timber to Auckland
15 November 2011
Salvage companies are reclaiming thousands of metres of native timber from earthquake damaged buildings in Christchurch and are shipping it to Auckland. The amount being shipped has increased substantially so that some of it is likely to be stockpiled to avoid a glut on the market, but the increase is not expected to negatively affect prices as native timber is very much a finite resource.
Rimu wood, which is a type of red pine which is often considered to be one of New Zealand's most beautiful trees, is currently selling for between $2,500 and $3,500 per cubic metre. It tended to be used in older character homes, both as a structural and finishing timber.
Christchurch is proving to be a particularly rich source as many buildings are yielding beams which date back to the 1800s. These are being recycled into flooring or are being used by furniture makers. Many of the beams are pretty large, and simply aren't readily available in Auckland.
In spite the extensive recycling, it's still estimated that around 80% of wood which could have been salvaged has gone straight to landfill as it was in buildings deemed too dangerous to enter. Some of the wood has been machine salvaged which cuts down the amount which can be reclaimed by up to 50%.
Reclaiming the wood and other salvageable materials can cut the cost of demolition by half, and this is benefiting owners of Christchurch buildings by helping to offset their costs. Some demolition companies are even providing the provenance of the timber to buyers as it can be a real selling point.