Firm ready for village challenge

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Ready to go . . . Luke Gilchrist says his family company is looking forward to getting started on the Observatory Hill Retirement Village project in February. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Ready to go . . . Luke Gilchrist says his family company is looking forward to getting started on the
Observatory Hill Retirement Village project in February. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD
Company likely to hire ‘half a dozen’ staff

DANIEL.BIRCHFIELD
@oamarumail.co.nz

Roger Gilchrist Building Services will take on the largest project in its 19-year history early next year. Last week, it was announced that the Oamaru-based company had signed a contact to begin work on the Observatory Hill Retirement Village’s main building, which will include accommodation, medical and meeting rooms, a restaurant, cafe, hairdressing salon and other communal spaces.
It is to be constructed in three stages over two years. Roger Gilchrist Building Services quantity surveyor Luke Gilchrist said it would be a new challenge for the company.
‘‘We typically do architectural homes. That’s been our main project for the last couple of years, so this retirement village is a piece of the puzzle, so to speak. It was a great opportunity we couldn’t
let go by without a crack at, really.
‘‘It’s a great opportunity for the business. It’s a project that’s much larger than what we’ve done in the past but it’s certainly an exciting position to be in — to be able to branch out into something much larger.’’
The size of the project means the company will have no choice but to increase staff numbers.
‘‘It will have to be the case,’’ Mr Gilchrist said.
‘‘We currently employ 12 builders and apprentices and looking at the figures, it looks like we will be getting in half a dozen [more]. We still have a lot of other projects we still need to make sure we have appropriate resources for.’’
The company is set to start preliminary work on Observatory Hill before Christmas, with construction
scheduled to start on February 1.
Mr Gilchrist said the retirement village will be a ‘‘great community asset’’.
‘‘The need for aged-care facilities will always be there. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s a well-thought-through development and has had minimal opposition. I think it’s going to be a great facility for the North Otago area.’’
Roger Gilchrist Building Services was established 19 years ago by Luke’s father, Roger Gilchrist, who has been in the industry for more than 30 years, and mother Bronwyn.
The company undertakes renovations and alterations and bathroom, kitchen, rural and light commercial projects.
It has completed projects at several schools around the district.
‘‘It [the retirement village] is certainly going to be a challenge but it’s something we are well capable of doing,’’ Luke Gilchrist said.
When complete, the $21 million village, to be constructed on 7.9ha of land, will include 42 rest-home
beds, and up to 12 apartments and 21 villas.