Geoff Ball, the owner of Hagley Building Products, rejected the idea of importing glass products and instead invested $20 million in a new factory in Christchurch.
He purchased a site in the Waterloo Business Park on the old redeveloped Islington freeezing works on the western outskirts of the city and commissioned a new factory for the company’s specialised glass products.
Ball said that with imported products he couldn’t guarantee quality or delivery times, and they wouldn’t have been tested before arrival to prove compliance with the New Zealand Building Code and standards.
His investment meant Hagley could expand the supply of made-to-order windows and doors and other glass products for homes and business premises, he said.
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Ball founded Hagley Windows and Doors 33 years ago, and a second company, Thermaseal 25 years ago.
This new 10,000 square metre factory allowed him to bring together the two companies which had been on separate sites.
It was the first combined facility of its type in New Zealand and had improved efficiency, he said.
When the glass units arrived at the end of their production line, they were moved to the next stage to be glazed into the windows and doors.
More skilled workers have been employed to operate the new equipment and provide for anticipated growth, taking staff numbers to nearly 100.
Ball said during Canterbury’s post-earthquake rebuild his companies were virtually “order takers” but now they would have to step up to the mark as the market became more competitive.
Customers were becoming more discerning with the move to more thermally efficient homes using glass products and aluminium windows and doors, he said.
“We’ve purchased the latest equipment from Europe including an automated double glazing line and heavy weight glass line and furnace.”
There were 22 containers of equipment taken to the new site.
Ball said following the four or five construction boom years after the earthquakes several newcomers in the industry had closed or gone elsewhere.
As a result, Hagley Building could tap into new growth on the residential front and expand in the commercial property sector, Ball said.
Thermaseal’s growth was aimed at the tradesman market for heavyweight glass as well as residential retrofit double glazing.
Modern home designs incorporated more indoor-outdoor flow with larger windows and doors and features such as the flush sills on aluminum doors and windows made by the company, he said.
They were continually being refined with a bigger range of profiles to keep up with trends, Ball said.
All the products were built to industry standards and sold with warranties.