Talking with a technical diplomat

Stacy Goldsworthy left his role as Technical Manager for CCNZ last month after five years in the role. Contractor magazine talked to him on the eve of his departure.

First of all – where are you off to and why?

I am heading back to Winstone Aggregates to take on a business manager role. I did six years with Winstone Aggregates before moving on to take on the General Manager role at Green Vision Recycling. I have been kicking rocks ever since I left school, so not surprising that I am heading back to quarrying.  

Sustainability is on the agenda and more so now than when I took up the role at Green Vision Recycling. Part of the GVR strategy there was to create a macro landscape where our products could compete alongside traditional quarry products. 

I have been watching the changes in the ‘sustainability’ space. The landscape still needs some shaping, but it has developed significantly in the last five years while I have been at CCNZ. I’m excited to get back into it, and I will have some catching up to do. 

What attracted you to the role at CCNZ?

I saw the technical manger role as having a significant amount of potential to shape and influence the construction industry. Being able to engage with clients on how construction activities are delivered held a lot of appeal.

It was also an opportunity to work in various technical areas of civil construction that I hadn’t had exposure to before. I saw this as an opportunity to learn and to build my networks.       

What was your first and last job as Technical Manager?

My first meaty project was the updating of the safe handling of bitumen guidance that CCNZ administers on behalf of the industry, now known as the Best Practice Guideline for the Safe Handling of Bituminous Materials Used for Roading, or BPG01 for short. At 330 plus pages, it was a meaty tome. 

The version at the time of joining was 12 years old and a number of changes had occurred in terms of industry practice and legislation. The land transport rules for dangerous goods state that bitumen tank wagons should meet the industry standard. Therefore, BPG01 is a very important document for the industry. The major change was the introduction of the hazardous substance regulations. The fleet didn’t meet some of the requirements so we engaged with WorkSafe on how we could work within the regulations to comply. The answer was a Safe Work Instrument.

Working with WorkSafe on landing a Safe Work Instrument to allow the industry to have alternative means of complying. A significant amount of work has gone into this project, and I’m hoping this will be gazetted soon.  

Temporary traffic management (TTM) changes are one part of the sector that I have had a personal interest in. The passing of David [Eparaima], Haki [Hiha] and Soul [Raroa] in an incident at Matata in 2019 brought home how the system needed to change so we have better outcomes for our workers. 

Having a good working relationship with Waka Kotahi [NZ Transport Agency] helped us in agreeing on changes. While progress has been not as clear or as rapid as contractors would like, the changes are coming, and it will require a significant level of industry collaboration. There is a lot to discuss and agree upon on how the new system will work. It’s an exciting time for TTM, and I will be watching on with interest.    

What has been a highlight of the past five years?

The Covid response by the construction industry is an obvious highlight. The collaboration across the whole construction industry was immense. As a collective, we quickly organised ourselves into working groups and agreed on who was doing what and communicating with whom. 

We were trying to make sense of the directives coming through from Government and put in place pragmatic guidelines so the industry could continue to work safely under pandemic controls and restrictions. Adam Still and the Site Safe team put in a massive effort behind the scenes to pull everything together. 

CCNZ worked with members and industry groups to develop safe work protocols, and we held 1200 person webinars to discuss these safety protocols with industry and refine them so they met everyone’s needs. 

It showed that when the industry has a crisis that it is able to react collectively to achieve great things in a short time.

Any low points you would like to talk about?

The introduction of Covid vaccination as a requirement to work was a low point. CCNZ membership has a wide range of views on this, and I best tried to accommodate all those views. 

For me personally, seeing people lose their livelihoods because some people held a ‘no jab, no job’ mentality was a particular low point.

The relationship between contractors and suppliers and the Transport Agency has always been a challenging one – can you comment?

Having some tension is the nature of the business, it wouldn’t be right if we agreed on everything. 

I have found working with Waka Kotahi has been for the most part a pleasure. And I am not just saying that. I don’t envy their position, having to change direction every election cycle when a new GPS comes out is highly disruptive. While it is easy to criticise, constantly chopping and changing makes doing business difficult.

At times it has been tense, which is to be expected. However, the majority of the time we have had a good working relationship. There are a number of initiatives CCNZ has put forward to Waka Kotahi. They have genuinely listened and taken on feedback, and for that I am grateful. 

The two key ones have been the TTM changes the industry will be working through in the years to come, such is the scope of the change. And the pavement delivery review. Both are looking at organisational changes to bring about better outcomes.

I would like to thank Brett [Gliddon], Vanessa [Browne] and the wider team at Waka Kotahi for the collaborative way they approach our working relationship.    

Where do you see the future of civil contracting in terms of roading technology?

There are opportunities with improvements with the introduction of more technology. The role of client in this space is important. They set the rules of engagement and the expectations. Contractors are happy to adapt and change. Having standards and specifications applied equally allows for certainty to invest in new technology and to keep the fleet modern. 

While technology can improve efficiency, it always comes back to the people using it. There is a real shortage of trained people working in the sector.

Through our EPIC Careers in Infrastructure career promotion, CCNZ shows how attractive working in the civil construction industry can be – something those who are already here are well aware of. 

We need to keep working in this space to make sure people are aware of the hands-on difference they could make, were they to join the industry, then to connect them with opportunities for work and training. 

As my colleagues at CCNZ would say: we need to keep working to inspire the next generation to take up the tools of the civil trades.

What advice would you leave for the next person in the role?

The role requires you to work with a number of stakeholders. Having a collaborative approach helps in being able to be part of the discussion and to help shape the outcomes. One day you may be disagreeing on a subject, the next day you may be agreeing on another. A pragmatic approach works best. 

Any other comment?

I have worked with a number of people over the last five years who have helped shape how CCNZ engages with its members and the wider industry. I would like to thank all that have provided their advice and opinions, it is always appreciated.

I wish CCNZ as an organisation and the members all the success in the future. It’s a great industry that works at its best when it is working together. 

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