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Jasmax cuts staff in a building boom

New Zealand’s biggest architectural firm Jasmax is laying off staff and has seen its managing partner resign from the company.

The company is remaining tight-lipped about the reasons behind the cuts, but they come at a boom time for the construction sector.

Jasmax is behind some of New Zealand’s biggest building projects, including Wellington’s Te Papa museum and Lambton Square shopping centre, the Fonterra building and Sir Paul Reeves centre in Auckland and Christchurch’s Burwood Hospital. It’s also part of Auckland’s massive City Rail Link project.

The company won’t say how many of the company’s 250 or so staff and 22 principals have been made redundant, but one staffer estimated it could be 10-20 percent.

Jasmax marketing communications manager Sarah Rothwell confirmed the departures, but said commercial sensitivity was one reason she couldn’t give more details.

“We are adapting our business to current market demands, ensuring that we have the right skillset and capacity to best support our existing and future clients.”

She said managing principal Marko den Breems will leave in June at the end of his current term.

“[Den Breems] has resigned after six years in this role; this is unrelated to the recent changes to the business... He intends to pursue new opportunities,” Rothwell said.

One industry insider said it was normal for firms to scale up and down depending on work volumes.

“They’ve just finished up a big project at the airport, having maxed out there. I wouldn't read too much into this."

Jasmax' website reflects different times. "The continuing process of adding new staff, all of whom bring new ideas and energy, has enabled the current Jasmax team to carry on the innovative and entrepreneurial zeal of their predecessors," it says.

Jasmax isn’t the only company feeling the pinch of a construction boom. Jobs are expected to go at Fletcher Building’s B+I (building and interiors) division, after the company reported a half-year operating loss of $322 million related to cost blowouts on some big projects, and said it would stop bidding for big commercial building work.

(BusinessDesk)

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