Fletcher Building will increase Gib production by 7%, developer says it’s a ‘drop in the ocean’

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Fletcher Building says its subsidiary Winstone Wallboards will increase production of Gib plasterboard between 7% and 8% between July and September.

The increased production would bring an additional million square meters of Gib to market, the company estimated.

But Simplicity Living chief executive Shane Brealey said Gib’s rise was a “drop in the bucket” compared to what the building industry needed.

Brealey estimated that demand for plasterboard exceeded supply by 300%. A 7% increase wouldn’t do much, he said.

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“We are past the stage where this is a critical issue. Hundreds of businesses across the country need drywall now. This raise will do next to nothing for them,” Brealey said.

Fletcher Building managing director Ross Taylor said the company is ready to do all it can to alleviate the plasterboard shortage.

The escalation in production was possible due to changes in plasterboard manufacturing that had been underway over the past few months, he said.

Fletcher Building says it will bring a supply of an additional one million square meters of Gib to market over the next few months.

SUNGMI KIM / Stuff

Fletcher Building says it will bring a supply of an additional one million square meters of Gib to market over the next few months.

The company had also obtained additional cardboard imported from an Australian manufacturer.

Merchant customers such as Carters and Placemakers could expect an additional supply of plasterboard from July 1.

Placemakers, which is owned by Fletcher Building, will set aside some gypsum board for builders with “critical needs,” Taylor said.

“This emergency supply pool will be directed to those with the most urgent needs. It’s reasonable to expect other building dealers to sell their extra volume to builders who can use it immediately and need it most,” Taylor said.

Fletcher Building was on track to open its new factory in Tauriko, Tauranga next year, which it said would increase plasterboard production by a further 50%.

Winstone Wallboards produces 94% of the plasterboard in New Zealand.

Leading property developers, shareholders and architects have asked Fletcher Building to explain how a major supply crisis of a key locally produced building material occurred.

Simplicity Living canceled all orders for Fletcher Building Gib panels and imported plasterboard directly from a Thai producer.

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