Civil construction excellence celebrated in style

The rescue of a Wellington icon, an infrastructure response that moved mountains, and a project with an outstanding safety culture were amongst the winners of the 42nd Civil Contractors New Zealand Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards.

Held in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 500 people at The Contractors’ Conference in Wellington on July 30, the awards celebrated the best of New Zealand’s civil construction industry.

Isaac Construction’s work on the Peninsular Connection 7 project in Dunedin won the Category 1 award for best project with a value of up to $2 million. The project had a complex scope and took place on a dangerous stretch of road, which is now safer thanks to widening, shared pathways and the construction of a sea wall.

Brian Perry Civil took out first place in Category 2 for projects with a value of between $2 and $5 million for work repairing and refurbishing Days Bay Wharf. They rebuilt the 125-year-old Wellington icon using an environmentally friendly and heritage focussed approach, building with recycled timber and re-using old materials. They also ensured not a single passenger ferry journey was disrupted in the process.

Downer NZ won Category 3 for projects with a value between $5 and $20 million for its work on a major new intake gate for the Tekapo Power Scheme at Lake Tekapo. The 50-tonne gate will stop downstream water inflows of up to 680 million tonnes – a unique feat of engineering that will protect one of the South Island’s key hydropower schemes in the event of emergencies.

McConnell Dowell Constructors was the winner of Category 4 for projects with a value between $20 to $100 million. The award was presented for the company’s work on the Lyttleton Tunnel Deluge and Associated Systems Upgrade. The award judges commented that the project, which started in May 2017, had an outstanding safety culture. Staff took full care and responsibility for each other, consistently speaking up when they saw unsafe working.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency received the Category 5 award for projects with a value of greater than $100 million on behalf of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance for the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR). Following the 7.8 magnitude Kaikōura earthquake in 2016, an alliance of Waka Kotahi, KiwiRail, Fulton Hogan, Downer, Higgins, HEB Construction and subcontractors moved mountains to reconnect communities. This resulted in the reopening of road and rail networks to create a safer, more resilient network to serve future generations. An impressive 273 projects were completed as part of the NCTIR by December 2020, with an additional rockfall protection canopy completed in 2021.

Downer NZ won Category 6 for Excellence in the maintenance and management of assets for its work on the New Plymouth District Council Road Maintenance Contract. Around $700,000 of savings were made in the first year of the project – which is worth around $16 million annually – thanks to excellent collaborative contracting.

Civil Contractors New Zealand chief executive Peter Silcock said the accolades celebrate the ground-breaking skill and ingenuity Aotearoa’s civil construction industry has to offer.

“These companies and the projects they work on are the foundation of our strong economy and vibrant communities.

“I’d like to congratulate all our winners and finalists for the fantastic jobs they’ve done to transform, connect and power our country, particularly in the tough conditions of the past 18 months.”

Hirepool is CCNZ’s Principal Business Partner and the premier sponsor for the awards. Gary Richardson, general manager at Hirepool, said the variety and quality of projects up for awards this year was remarkable.

“It has been great to read about all of the incredible work that’s been taking place up and down the country over the past few years.

“Civil contractors are the backbone of our nation and I want to take this time to praise each and every one of you for your commitment and expertise, because without it, we wouldn’t have the New Zealand we know and love.”