Subdivisions filling the gap

With no big road projects about to start, Goodman Contractors is reinvigorating its core business. Richard Silcock explains.

Stan Goodman, managing director for Goodman Contractors, says at least 30 percent of the company’s work involves subdivisions.

“With the earthworks for many of the big new road projects coming to an end over the next 12-18 months, we are reinvigorating our grass-roots business,” he says.

Goodman’s, which is Waikanae based, has been around since the early 1960s. It was started by brothers Rick and Tony Goodman and Stan has been the MD for the past five years.1

Over the past decade Goodman’s has been involved in a number of significant multi-million-dollar motorway projects, most recently the Kapiti Expressway and Transmission Gully and it is currently working on the Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway and the Puhoi to Warkworth Motorway.

“This work has really been good for us and allowed us to expand the business, acquire new equipment and increase our staffing level,” says Stan.

“However, with the slow-down in this work as a result of the government’s roading policy and an expectation that new projects of this magnitude could now be some time off, we are looking to fill the gap.”

In fact, Goodman’s has recently been involved in a number of large subdivisions around the lower North Island, some of the bigger ones being the ANZAC Cliffs subdivision at Palmerston North, the Kenepuru Landing subdivision at Porirua, and the KoheKohe Park development in Waikanae amongst others.

Dave Morgan, a senior project engineer with Goodman’s oversaw the earthworks for the large subdivision at ANZAC Cliffs. Known as Vaucluse Heights, the land is owned by PMB Landco (a part of Higgins Family Holdings) and is being developed by Kevin O’Connor & Associates.

“This subdivision provides views of the Manawatu River and the city. Prior to gaining this contract we were involved in a project to realign a section of the river adjacent to it and place rock to protect the toe of the 38 metre high cliff face which was being eroded,” Dave says.2

“We moved over 265,000 cubic metres of cut-to-fill material for this development, which consisted of clays, silts and deposited sand. A lot of this material was used for creating the compacted earth fill and batters along the cliff face, with only a very small quantity trucked away.

“Our biggest challenge was erosion and settlement control, so apart from the earthmoving work, we also constructed silt fences, silt retention ponds and earth bunds on the sloping site.

“We also assisted sub contractor, Anthony Down, in the construction of a public walkway along the cliff top and several stepped pathways down the cliff face itself, known as and resembling the ‘Stairs of Lindos’.3

 A Cat 320D excavator equipped with GPS trimming roadway batters at the Kenepuru subdivision. Construction of the 222 box steps down the face of the ANZAC cliff slope was aided by a Cat 301.7D bobcat.A Cat D8T dozer levelling the cut at the Kenepuru subdivision.

“Some 222 steps were built of timber boxing and filled with shingle aggregate and sand. This was pretty labour-intensive back-breaking work. We did consider getting a helicopter to assist with placing the building material, however we opted for winching it and a small excavator up and down the batters using the winch on a dozer.”

The subdivision earthworks were done in three stages, approximately a third of the site at a time and it took 12 months to complete as work was hampered by wet weather over winter. Both the site and the cliff were sprayed with a polymer and hydro-seeded.

“We had a Cat D9 and a D10 dozer, two Wabco 252s and 333 motor scrapers, several excavators including a Cat 301.7D for the construction of the steps, several compactors and three to four Moxys working the site, along with a team of skilled operators,” says Dave.4

The development has seen around 36 allotments of the 112 come to market so far, with the first house build started last month.

At the 7.8-hectare Landlink Kohekohe Park development high on the slopes of Hemi Matangi, which commands a 360-degree view over Waikanae and Kapiti Island to the west, work commenced in December 2017. Goodman’s is carrying out the earthworks and also constructing a water storage reservoir, with the drainage work being done by Mills Albert Contracting.

“Due to the lack of water pressure up there, a precast concrete reservoir with a capacity for 150,000 litres will be constructed on an earth fill above a mechanically stabilised earth wall,” says Dave.

“It’s pretty tough going as we are working on a 20-degree slope and the ground is a combination of rock and very hard clays. We’ve got a team of up to eight guys working using a combination of earth-moving equipment.”

Dave says they expect to have this work completed by May/June this year, with the roads and utilities also installed by then.

“I understand around 60 lots are already sold or under offer.”

At the massive, 45-hectare Kenepuru Landing subdivision in Porirua, earthworks are well advanced.

Stacy Mansfield, project engineer for the earthworks, says the staged project, which is being carried out by both Goodman’s and Drapers Earthmoving,  started in October 2017 and they expect to have it completed by April next year, with over 300,000 cubic metres of the predominately weathered greywacke and clay excavated so far.

“The cut-to-fill contract with the developer, Carrus Corporation, calls for over 500,000 cubic metres of bulk earthworks and the removal and/or demolition of some old buildings on the former mental hospital site,” says Stacy.5

“In our workings we have unearthed a number of previous earthworks and some old historic fill material down to a depth of around 3 metres which must have been there since the area was originally developed back in the 1890s and during the various extensions to the hospital.

“Apart from that we have encountered five different seams of clay with very high moisture content, so we are having to break up and aerate the clay in the cut using our Wabco elevating scrapers, and then finish off with disc harrows in the fill areas,” he says. “Due to the high moisture, work is only being carried out over the summer seasons.”

One of the disc harrow operators was Alice Gibson who, as part of her practical work experience for gaining an engineering degree, undertook the job over the Christmas break.

Plant consists of a Cat D8T dozer; a Wabco 333FT and several Wabco 252FT and Cat 637K motor scrapers; a Hyundai 45-tonne excavator; several Cat 40-tonne ejector dumpers, and a Cat 825 compactor.

The excavated earth will be used for site landscaping purposes, but most is being used as fill for section platforms and road corridors. The roads and services for stage-one have already begun.

The roads and services will be carried out by Rapid Earthworks.

1 Refer Contractor, December 2016. 2 Refer Contractor, April 2016. 3 The reserve and walkways are owned and administered by the Palmerston North City Council. The ‘Stairs of Lindos’ refer to the stairs leading to a medieval fortress on the Greek Isle of Rhodes in the Mediterranean.
4 The excavation and levelling work can be viewed on: 5 This extensive site was once a part of the former Kenepuru Mental Health Hospital.

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