Building momentum for the recovery in Townsville



Building momentum for the recovery in Townsville

Rebuilding homes in flood-affected Townsville is now underway, almost two months on from the one-in-500-year event that devastated the north Queensland city.  

At the heart of this effort are the hundreds of builders, tradespeople and other suppliers who are working tirelessly to help get people back into their homes and back to their lives as quickly as possible.

One of those builders is Brett Ambrose, a long-term veteran of the Queensland building industry and someone who knows Suncorp and its processes well.

So, what does it take to rebuild a flood-damaged city? Brett says there are five phases in the disaster recovery effort.

“It starts with the first response make-safes, where we attended approximately 2000 homes and just made the property safe,” Mr Ambrose said.

For a flooded home, this will typically involve pressure cleaning, removal of damaged carpets, drilling holes in walls and then spraying into cavities, walls, floors and all surfaces an agent that kills bacteria and mould.

“Next, we undertake dual assessments with Suncorp assessors to create very detailed scopes of works to understand what building elements are damaged and capturing that damage.”

Then they move to the strip out phase, removing all the damaged parts of the home. 

“At the same time, we’ll get the scope of works and natural disaster repair contracts out to our customers … [and] we’re receiving those signed contracts back. We’re entering the final repair phase where the customer is assigned a project manager and supervisor to manage their repair throughout its duration,” he said.

It’s a huge job and as a panel builder supporting Suncorp response to the floods, Brett says he relies on the expertise of local businesses to deliver the work.

“We’ve been up here since 2011 and established a really good local trade base. We had approximately 180 local companies we were working with on a weekly basis prior to the event – that’s risen to 270-280 now,” Mr Ambrose said.

“It’s important because they know the building standards best and we like to support local builders. We’re happy with the tradespeople we’re working with.”

Brett noted it was especially important in rebuilding the economy, particularly since the construction industry had been a little quiet before the floods. “All the local tradespeople we’re working with - including cabinetmakers, painters, plasterers, carpenters, tilers - will be filled to capacity for next 12 months, which is great news for them and the local region,” he said.

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