Demolition companies in New Zealand are salvaging valuable timbers from earthquake damaged buildings in Christchurch. The reclaimed timber is then shipped north to Auckland.
According to the report in the New Zealand Herald, the substantial rise in available timber has led to some being temporarily stockpiled to avoid a glut on the market, but even so the increase is unlikely to have much effect on prices due to the fact it is a limited resource. One of the most popular timbers is recycled rimu, a red pine which is considered to be one of the most beautiful woods in New Zealand, which is currently fetching between NZ$2500 and NZ$3500 per cubic meter.
Many of the buildings being demolished in Christchurch are factories and warehouses which date back to the 1800s, and these are yielding huge beams which can be machined into flooring but many are being snapped up by furniture makers. These large beams are certainly welcome in Auckland, as they are pretty hard to find. Even though much of timber is being reclaimed, it is estimated that up to 80% will end up in landfill as some buildings are simply too dangerous to enter. In other buildings the wood can any be reclaimed by machine, and this can halve the percentage being salvaged.
In spite of this the process is beneficial as it helps owners of buildings in Christchurch offset demolition costs, and the reclamation of native timber and other materials can cut these costs by as much as half. Some of the timber is being bought by Christchurch residents, as apparently former employees are buying up wood from their old workplaces to furnish new homes.