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2015 Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards: Project Winners

The winners of the six awards categories were announced on August 7th at the black tie gala dinner marking the completion of the annual conference.


Category 1: Projects with a value of less than $0.5 million

Winner: McLaren Falls Pedestrian Bridge for Western Bay of Plenty District Council, McLarens Falls, Bay of Plenty – Bridge IT NZ

Category 1: WINNER McLaren Falls Pedestrian Bridge- Bridge IT NZ
Category 1: WINNER
McLaren Falls Pedestrian Bridge- Bridge IT NZ

The bridge at McLaren Falls came about through the initiative of the company to develop an innovative solution that met the council’s needs and resolved a problem they had faced for many years. A visually appealing footbridge spanning some 33 metres at an affordable price.

Bridge IT developed the design in collaboration with its designers, Tiaki Engineering, to ensure the bridge could be readily constructed within the tight constraints the site had. This led to an incremental construction design with component sizes being such that they could be installed across the river from the single crane location available.

Bridge IT managed the risks of component alignment and connectivity by fully constructing the bridge superstructure off site prior to assembly on site.

Strict restraints were met by Bridge It to ensure the adjacent road and one lane bridge was available at specific times to provide access for the residents. The company developed strong relationships with the affected parties, keeping them advised of the work proceeding and any changes.

Bridge It had a strong focus on health & safety, developing work practices to mitigate H&S issues on site particularly around working at height and heavy lifting. It ensured environmental risks around the pristine site were managed well during construction on site.

A job to be proud of and a council that is grateful to Bridge IT’s initiative.

Judges: Dave Macdonald and Paul Bishop

Highly Commended: Vodafone Building for Watts & Hughes (Project Managers), Waterfront Auckland CBD – Groundfix Limited

This job was to drill through, install, stress and waterproof 68 anchor piles to a 300mm basement carpark floor showing signs of distress. The floor slab was some two metres below the external water level. The car park was required to remain at least 75% operational during the works.

Groundfix developed a strong relationship with the designers, head contractor, owner and users, maintaining that throughout the works and ensuring everyone was aware of issues and progress.

They developed, installed and continually operated a temporary works dewatering and removal system to ensure the basement did not flood. The temporary works had sufficient redundancy to ensure that any event could be managed and carpark flooding would not occur.

Within the limited ground and height space and ongoing use of the car park the remedial work involved precision drilling through the floor slab and down to bedrock (some 10 to 12 metres) to gain anchorage. Bars were installed, anchored off, stressed, grouted, sealed and finished off to a level matching the floor.

Health and safety aspects of the project were identified and well managed, both for the contractor’s team and the users of the car park. This difficult, challenging and risky job is worthy of recognition.

Judges: Dave Macdonald and Paul Bishop


Category 2: Projects with a value between $0.5 million and $5 million

Winner: Kotuitui Whitinga for Whangarei District Council, Waiarohia Stream, Whangarei – Steve Bowling Contractors (SBC)

Category 2: WINNER Kotuitui Whitinga Footbridge-Steve Bowling Contracting
Category 2: WINNER
Kotuitui Whitinga Footbridge-Steve Bowling Contracting

SBC responded to this opportunity by developing a unique bridge design and local team makeup that met the council’s aspirations. The bridge is part of a walk/cycle combined use facility and the design meets that need through being “s” shaped and transitioning smoothly on both sides of the river crossing.

As the river is used for access to upstream properties the bridge has a central 10 metre opening span.

SBC, its designers and subcontractors developed a strong and collaborative relationship to ensure the design and construction details were fully integrated. Most of the components of the bridge are bespoke, requiring detailed measurement to meet tight tolerances. The nine support pre-cast raked columns are tied into individual piles below mean tide level requiring guide frames to ensure accuracy in positioning.

Health and safety aspects of construction in and over a waterway were focused on by SBC and the client with no LTIs recorded.

There were a number of key stakeholders involved and great public interest. SBC managed these interfaces well by keeping in touch with these groups, involving them and letting them know what was going on.

The quality of the completed bridge meets the client’s requirements. The end result is an iconic bridge that forms part of the council’s focus on redevelopment and encouragement of public use back into the central port area. SBC can be proud of its part in the council achieving its goal.

Judges: Dave Macdonald and Paul Bishop

Highly Commended: Homewood Avenue to Nottingham Street Sewer and Stormwater Renewal for Wellington City Council, Karori, Wellington  – Construction Contracts Ltd

The Homewood Avenue project incorporated not only a difficult site, but also involved liaising with a number of proud home owners who did not fully appreciate the need for the sewer renewal across their properties.

Homewood Ave is situated in Karori, a suburb of Wellington. The site is steep and densely developed with a number of existing services and obstacles in the way of any new pipeline project. Ground conditions were difficult with rock encountered over much of the route and very few opportunities for open cut works. Wherever possible the new line was thrust to avoid disrupting residents’ gardens and structures, but unavoidable open cut required difficult and extensive reinstatement.

The contractor overcame the very difficult site conditions and generally won the confidence of the property owners affected by going the “extra mile” for them when this was required.

The work was completed on time and within budget and deserves recognition for the effective delivery of a very difficult project.

Judges: Dave Macdonald and Paul Bishop


Category 3: Projects with a value between $5 million and $30 million

Winner: Waitaki Bridges Replacement for NZ Transport Agency, Waitaki – McConnell Dowell Constructors Limited

The Waitaki Bridges Replacement by McConnell Dowell is a fine example of what can be achieved by client, contractor and stakeholders working together to provide new infrastructure for both the benefit of the local community and national roading network while preserving a part of the history of the development of New Zealand.

This project for the NZTA involved replacing two 19th century single lane wooden bridges across the Waitaki River at Kurow, built originally as rail bridges, with two modern two lane plus walk/cycle way structures with deconstruction and removal of the old structures. Removal of the historic bridges was achieved in a manner that allowed NZTA to donate heavy Australian hardwood timbers and steel components not used in the two “display spans” on Kurow island, to the Waimate and Waitaki District Councils for reuse in other projects in the lower South Island.

This ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) project is both a tribute to NZTA, for its foresight in recognising the potential benefits that could come from this form of contract in dealing with the range of design, construction and stakeholder issues needing to be addressed, and to McConnell Dowell for ensuring those potential risks were not only dealt with, but turned into positives for all concerned through a combination of practical management and innovation.

Examples of this are:

Category 3: WINNER Waitaki Bridge Replacement-McConnell Dowell
Category 3: WINNER
Waitaki Bridge Replacement-McConnell Dowell

• The early implementation of a partnering charter to outline the values and expectations of the project from Client, DOC, Heritage New Zealand, local councils, local Runanga and local interest groups to gain and maintain local support for the project.

• Success of this approach can be seen in the many letters and congratulatory comments from stakeholders, with the local police constable, Craig Bennett enthusing “It was an absolute pleasure to have this company as part of this community and I know my sentiments are supported by my local community” and NZTA Highway Manager, Colin Knaggs saying “their sincere commitment to the local community and environment enhanced our performance as a project team.”

• The adoption of a composite steel/concrete bridge design using weathering steel for the first time in the South Island to produce a low maintenance structure, in keeping with the local environment , while also allowing longer spans and associated reduced work in the river over the specimen design. The reduced number of piles allowing the total length of bridge to be reduced, while maintaining hydraulic capacity

• Concrete finishing of the bridge deck to tolerances that removed the need for the normal AC levelling layer required prior to final seal.

• The use of a temporary trestle adjacent to the longer Bridge 2 to both facilitate construction of the new bridge and subsequent deconstruction of the adjacent old bridge in large enough parts to provide bridge completion ahead of schedule and deconstruction of the old bridges six months early.

In a tightly contested category the judges were also very impressed and congratulate the team on their winning entry.

Judges: Peter Hay and Steve Hart

Category 4: Projects with a value greater than $30 million

Winner: Tauranga Eastern Link for NZ Transport Agency, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty – Fulton Hogan / HEB Construction Alliance

Tauranga Eastern Link provides a vital 21 kilometre connection from Tauranga through to Paengaroa Junction and the road is a project of National Importance.

Category 4: WINNER Tauranga Eastern Link-Fulton Hogan/HEB Construction Alliance
Category 4: WINNER
Tauranga Eastern Link-Fulton Hogan/HEB Construction Alliance

Since being awarded the design and construction in 2010 the Fulton Hogan HEB Construction Alliance has delivered this four lane highway in a careful, safety first approach, ahead of time, under budget, and has exceeded the New Zealand Transport Agency’s expectations and enhanced its reputation in the community. Collaboration of the team internally and externally with all the various stakeholders and the wider community have generated comments such as:

  • “Relationships between the Construction Alliance and the Agency have been exemplar.”
  • “I think you guys do a brilliant job in communicating with us.”

The project is large and complex, it consists of six kilometres of expressway and 15 kilometres of motorway, eight bridges, and three major interchanges, with many challenges and risks. Some of the highlights and clever approaches to these complex issues included:

• Dealing with a fire in a polystyrene embankment, lit by an arsonist, which was so badly damaged that the bridge had to be demolished and rebuilt. This was achieved with no impact on the overall programme.

• Developing a sand bag filling frame for 40 bags at once, to go into retaining wall construction. This enhanced safety and rate of filling considerably, saving some 50 days. This has an application in flood protection in other circumstances.

• Developing a “hairpin” to secure large diameter steel pile casings together, making stacks of the casings safer and take less room.

• Installing reversing and proximity cameras on some machines and installing high voltage sensors on booms of excavators working near high voltage lines.

Congratulations to winners NZTA, Fulton Hogan and HEB and the wider team a job well done and something you all can be very proud of.

The judges would also like compliment the other finalists on the quality of their entries in these awards and also the construction excellence of the projects which they have delivered and shown to us. We thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to visit your projects and to see your engineering excellence. Well done, you can be very proud.

Judges: Peter Hay and Steve Hart

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