Brisbane, Queensland Australia (PressExposure) February 03, 2011 -- Along with thousands of other Queenslanders, Indigo Homes' staff worked on the frontline to protect strangers' properties against rising January floodwaters, and then helped with the cleanup after the water receded.
Indigo Homes Director Chris La Franchi says they knew a lot of people were at risk, and wanted to help where they could. Employees were given paid time off so they could do whatever was necessary to defend their own homes and help others caught in the crisis.
The company has a history of helping communities get back on their feet with purchasing manager Clint Joyce recently helping to build a school in a remote East Timorese village.
"Although our office stayed open and work continued on current projects, we were running at only 60 percent capacity because so many of our people were affected."
Many hands, but still heavy work
Indigo Homes' draftsman Tom Graham lives in the inner Brisbane suburb of Teneriffe, an area that had been predicted to be severely affected if floods exceeded 1974 levels. Having done what he could for his own property, he spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday before the peak frantically sandbagging the groundfloor units of older residents in his street.
"It was incredible, actually," Tom says. "A couple of utes turned up with sandbags and suddenly everyone came out of their houses and started helping. What started with a few friends quickly became the whole suburb working together."
With the floodwaters peaking below predicted levels, Tom's street was fortunately not affected, although nearby waterfront properties were inundated. "After the flood we headed to Ipswich to help friends clean up, and then came back to New Farm andwe helped wherever we were needed.
"It was amazing to see everyone pitching in. Complete strangers walking along the street just dropped everything to help people they had never met."
He says he and his friends helped whoever needed a hand, shovelling silt and mud and washing walls.
While labouring in the tropical heat and humidity was hard physical work, the worst thing by far was the' flood mud' smell, he says. "But being a part of helping so many people in need was a real high.
"Brisbane may change forever as a result of these floods - in a good way."
Still getting back to business as usual While the water has receded, the flood is continuing to have an impact on many businesses, even outside the inundation zone.
"In the first few days after the floods there were still a lot of disruption," says Chris La Franchi. "Deliveries couldn't get through because roads were cut and it was a bit of a lottery whether people could get to sites to start work.
"That's all started to settle down now, but there will unfortunately still be some delays because many suppliers have also been severely impacted. One has lost an entire warehouse of stock that needed to be reordered from overseas."
Indigo is working closely with suppliers during the recovery period and expects that things will return to normal within eight weeks. They'll need to if Indigo Homes is to keep up their award-winning record that's seen the company scoop 15 building awards in just six years - two of them for best display home in Australia.
However Indigo Homes does far more than just build homes. They've also created the No Surprises Building Book, available free. The book helps you get up to speed on all the steps involved in building a new home, who's responsible for what, and typical timeframes.