Archive | Builders

Corbel in liquidation

Christchurch-based builder Corbel Construction Ltd went into liquidation yesterday.

The liquidators are Debbie Chapman & Andrew Oorschot, of Ashton Wheelans Ltd, Christchurch.

Craig Jones & Mark Wells founded the company under the name Hobbit Homes Ltd in December 2000 and remain its directors & 96% shareholders.

Corbel opened an Auckland office in October 2015, with the ambition of becoming a national contractor.

Earlier story:
13 January 2017: Auckland projects boost Corbel

Attribution: Companies Register.

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Auckland projects boost Corbel

Christchurch-based Corbel Construction Ltd said this week it had signed $35 million of new projects in Auckland and planned to extend into other centres including soon to realise its strategic ambition of becoming a $100 million national contractor by the end of 2018.

Kevin Burke.

Corbel was established in Christchurch in 2000 and opened an Auckland office in October 2015, when group construction manager Kevin Burke relocated from Christchurch.

Mr Burke said Auckland projects would contribute almost 30% of the company’s targeted annual revenue of over $50 million in its first full year of operations.

“The major projects we have won in Auckland have been the result of our experience with largescale multi-unit residential refurbishments following the Canterbury earthquakes, and the expertise we’ve developed providing construction management services to the community, education, health & commercial sectors.”

Corbel has 9 projects underway in Auckland and another due to start this month:

  • The $3.5 million refurbishment of the historic Mt Roskill Borough Council building at 560 Mt Roskill Rd, Mt Roskill, to heritage status for Auckland Council, due to be completed in May
  • The $4.5 million refurbishment of the Ellen Melville Centre on High St, due for completion in April 2017
  • Construction of amenities including a manager’s bungalow, kitchen, showers & toilet facilities at the Muriwai camping ground on behalf of council organisation Panuku Development Auckland, for $2.4 million
  • Reroofing, from flat to pitched, 5 buildings at Birkenhead College for $3.8 million on behalf of the Ministry of Education, to be completed in November
  • The $350,000 refurbishment & upgrading of the Fraser McDonald geriatric mental health facility for the Auckland District Health Board, to be completed in April
  • The $12.6 million refurbishment of 84 townhouses at Parnell Terraces, in Parnell, to be completed in January 2018
  • A $160,000 4th stage of seismic strengthening of the Market Garden apartments in St Lukes, to be completed this month
  • The $2.5 million refurbishment & reroofing of the Westview Medical Centre in Glen Eden for Helios JV, to be completed in August
  • Emergency reroofing of 2 gyms at Manurewa High School valued at $1 million, and
  • A start on construction of 2 teaching blocks (arts & language) at Selwyn College, valued at $5 million.

Mr Burke said Corbel Auckland had a team of 17 full-time employees and moved into new office space at 14 Maidstone St, Grey Lynn, in December.

The company attributes its growth to its focus on key market sectors, developing long-term relationships with key customers and providing exceptional customer experience in a sector not renowned for being client-focused.

Corbel Construction

Attribution: Company release.

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Hawkins Infrastructure sets platform for more international growth

Hawkins Group subsidiary Hawkins Infrastructure Ltd said yesterday it would enhance its international footprint by establishing international hubs and making key leadership appointments.

The infrastructure company is undertaking energy, marine, airport, roads & other high profile infrastructure projects in Fiji, Papua New Guinea & Indonesia, will begin work soon in Vanuatu and will open Port Moresby & Singapore offices this year.

Executive general manager Brian FitzGerald said Hawkins Infrastructure had ambitions to secure further opportunities throughout South-east Asia and in the Middle East & East Africa.

In New Zealand, the company is working on the Auckland city rail link, refurbishment of

Wellington Airport and the rebuilding of key Canterbury infrastructure.

“The growth of Hawkins Infrastructure, as part of Hawkins Group, has been exponential over the last 24 months due to the number of key contracts it has sought & won, both here & in new markets overseas.

“The new management structure moves the Infrastructure business away from centralised operations to establishing regional hubs with responsibility for the local market, project delivery & financial performance.”

Former operations manager Ben Lawlor has been appointed pre-contracts & strategy manager.

Harker Underground Construction general manager Rory Bishop, who previously worked for McConnell Dowell, has been appointed general manager for Hawkins Infrastructure’s New Zealand operations.

Former Hawkins Infrastructure business development general manager James Hawkes has been appointed regional manager in Singapore and will establish the company’s office there to service the region and the wider Middle East & Africa markets.

Glenn Houpapa, formerly of Leighton Contractors, has been appointed regional manager for the Pacific, excluding Papua New Guinea & the Solomon Islands.

“The decision to split the region and employ Glenn reflects Hawkins’ confidence in the growth opportunities in the Pacific and the need for dedicated leadership to support the infrastructure requirements of our quickly developing neighbours.

“We have built on the company’s rich knowledge & track record and have mostly appointed people from within our existing team to ensure we have Australasia’s best practitioners to grow our expertise and take the Hawkins brand further into the global market.”

Hawkins Group, owned by the McConnell family, is New Zealand’s largest privately owned construction & infrastructure business. It comprises 4 businesses – Hawkins Construction, Hawkins Infrastructure, Harker Underground Construction and its project management service for the Canterbury recovery project.

Attribution: Company release.

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Kennedy to lead Ngai Tahu Property entry to Auckland

Ngai Tahu Property Ltd will open an Auckland office in August and has appointed Eden Park Trust chief executive David Kennedy as its general manager.

Ngai Tahu Property chief executive said yesterday the company was already working hard on a mid-sized residential development and hoped to make announcements on that and a commercial project by Christmas.

He said it was no secret that construction activity in Christchurch would taper off in the next 12 months, and also no secret that Auckland had a housing problem: “We hope to be part of the solution.”

The company had 20 years’ experience in commercial & industrial development, and was engaged in large residential subdivisions around Christchurch.

Its Whariki subdivision at Lincoln, 20km south of Christchurch, will have up to 900 sections. Prestons, a joint venture between Ngai Tahu Property, CDL Land NZ Ltd & Foodstuffs South Island Ltd, is 6.5km north-east of the city, covers 203ha and will have 2300 houses. Wigram Skies, 10km south-west of the city, has been designed for 1600 residential sections, a shopping centre & an industrial area.

“After appropriate investigation & analysis, Ngai Tahu Property has decided to expand the business to include the Auckland market. The company has experienced successful growth in the South Island and is ideally placed to maximise the significant opportunities in the property development sector in Auckland.”

Mr Kennedy will lead that expansion after 5 years at Eden Park, 8 years at Sky City Entertainment Group Ltd, including roles as general manager of operations, public policy & corporate strategy, and before that a career at St Lukes Group Ltd, where he was managing director, and Westfield NZ Ltd. Mr Kennedy has also been a director of Ngai Tahu Property since 2009.

The establishment phase for the business expansion will include developing effective working relationships with key stakeholders, as well as identifying & securing access to development opportunities.

Mr Kennedy said: “My knowledge of the Auckland market and my existing relationships in the sector, combined with an in-depth understanding of Ngai Tahu Property business gained during my time as a director on the Ngai Tahu Property board, will be invaluable in establishing strong foundations for the business in Auckland.”

Ngai Tahu Property has $600 million of assets and is one of the investment pillars of Ngai Tahu Holdings Corp, whose mission is to create wealth for Ngai Tahu whanui (families).

Link: Ngai Tahu Property

Attribution: Company release & websites.

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Harker Underground to go international

Hawkins Group Ltd subsidiary Harker Underground Construction Ltd unveiled its new look this week as it plans to take its expertise & experience international.

Harker, one of New Zealand’s largest tunnelling companies, undertakes work either as part of a consortium or as a sub-contractor. It also partners with Hawkins on major construction & infrastructure projects.

General manager Rory Bishop said Harker had the largest range of micro-tunnelling & pipe-jacking equipment in New Zealand, enabling the creation of tunnels & pipelines from 100mm to 3000mm diameter.

“We’re known locally for our trenchless construction technology and, where the opportunities arise, plan to take this experience & capability offshore.”

Attribution: Company release.

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Hawkins chief lambasts Government & lawyers for blocking productivity gains

Hawkins Group Ltd chief executive Geoff Hunt laid down 2 challenges for the Government last night, at a function celebrating the group’s own positive attitude – to stop being a barrier to the productivity growth it’s supposedly targeting, and to overcome “hijacking” of the procurement process by lawyers.

The construction industry and the Government set up the Building & Productivity Partnership 4 years ago with a goal of lifting productivity in the sector by 20% by 2020. That partnership was always supported by Government departments, but a fortnight ago moved fully inside one.

Mr Hunt said: “We know the target is achievable if the collaborative customer/designer/contractor approach is taken and if we can increase the amount of offsite prefabrication.

“There is a big problem, however: The customer/designer/contractor relationship has been hijacked by the legal profession.

“The lawyers have persuaded customers that their contracts can be made risk-free – this can never be the case. The legal profession has succeeded in locking in – more comprehensively than ever before – the old-fashioned ways of construction. In so doing, construction costs are higher than they need be.”

Mr Hunt said the Government itself was making it harder to improve productivity, first because government agencies were acting unilaterally, and secondly because their old-fashioned procurement methods were imposing significant unnecessary cost on taxpayers, preventing the industry from achieving its productivity target.

He said the company was working through industry groups to persuade the Government to update its procurement methods, but still had some way to go.

The industry-Government productivity partnership had a slightly independent air about it but – after relying on Government support throughout – became part of a Government ministry a fortnight ago.

It had 4 workstreams – skills, evidence, procurement & construction systems – and on its website it proclaimed itself as a change agent: “Together, industry & government will remove barriers to improving productivity and use our combined strengths to address influential factors that can be realistically changed.

“We are working to empower the industry to adopt new tools, technologies & systems to make the process of designing, constructing & operating buildings faster, more efficient & cost-effective.

Increasing productivity requires changing the culture of the industry from a process-driven one to a value-driven one.”

However, the change agent was itself changed on 1 November, when the partnership ceased to exist as a standalone team and was integrated with the Ministry of Building, Innovation & Employment’s wider business. Partnership secretariat manager Chris Kane took up the position of sector trends & innovation manager in the ministry’s sector trends & innovation team.

Mr Hunt joined Hawkins in June last year after heading state-owned Kordia NZ Ltd for 8 years. He was speaking at the first of a series of functions around the country to celebrate a redirection – after a period highlighting the fact that it was more than a construction company, Hawkins Group said a month ago it was rebranding itself as simply Hawkins.

The group, owned by the McConnell family through McConnell Ltd, is New Zealand’s largest privately owned construction & infrastructure business. It comprises 4 businesses – Hawkins Construction, Hawkins Infrastructure, Harker Underground Construction and project management arm the Canterbury Recovery Project.

Link: Building & Construction Productivity Partnership

Attribution: Speech.

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Hawkins puts focus back on unified business

After a period highlighting the fact that it was more than a construction company, Hawkins Group Ltd said today it was rebranding itself as simply Hawkins.

The group, owned by the McConnell family through McConnell Ltd, is New Zealand’s largest privately owned construction & infrastructure business. It comprises 4 businesses – Hawkins Construction, Hawkins Infrastructure, Harker Underground Construction and project management arm the Canterbury Recovery Project.

The thinking behind the rebrand is to combine the strengths of the businesses rather than isolate them in silos.

Chief executive Geoff Hunt said in a release: “We think success is about making the right social, economic & environmental choices today, to build better communities tomorrow. People & society are expecting more from companies these days and we are responding by building a modern, high performing organisation in step with a rapidly changing world.”

The group has been repositioning itself for growth and wants to lift annual revenue from this year’s projected $700 million to $1 billion through a mix of domestic & selected offshore projects.

Mr Hunt said Hawkins was investing in technology as a critical enabler to improve productivity and continued to focus on health & safety to improve performance.

Hawkins’ venture into Australian construction 4 years ago, through a consortium to expand the Ararat prison in Victoria, proved disastrous 2 years later when it became embroiled in a consortium funding debacle. This year, Hawkins entered a joint venture to complete the $50 million Nadi international airport modernisation project in Fiji, and Mr Hunt said the group would grow its offshore business project by project.

Locally, Hawkins is continuing its support for unemployed Maori & Pacific Islanders into trades training through initiatives like the He Toki ki te Rika programme, a collaborative partnership based in Christchurch, led by Ngai Tahu and with the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology as the other partner. 700 Maori have been enrolled into trades training through the programme in 3 years.

Attribution: Company release, phone interview.

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Hawkins wins Nadi airport contract

Hawkins Construction Ltd and joint-venture partner Pacific Building Solutions have been selected to complete the $50 million Nadi international airport modernisation project in Fiji.

The 16-month project involves the demolition, construction, refurbishment & modernisation of the airport for the Fiji Government.

Work is set to begin on 15 July 2014 with a completion date of 15 October 2015.

It’s Hawkins’ first large project in Fiji. Pacific Building Solutions is Fiji’s largest building company.

Attribution: Company release.

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Auditor-general gives plumbers’ board a positive tick

Controller & Auditor-General Lyn Provost has given the Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers Board a relatively clean bill of health after years of inquiries & conflicts over its performance.

Mrs Provost made 15 recommendations in her 2010 report on the board, and said in her report last week on the latest audit, conducted last year: “The board has taken my recommendations seriously and has worked hard to address them. The action it has taken has moved it onto a more sure administrative & legal footing….

“Problems were fewer, as the board had addressed many legacy issues. The board is much more transparent and has revised some policies that were weak or potentially unlawful. It has improved the quality of its examinations. Candidates achieve pass rates of about 70% & higher, compared to about 30% at the time of our inquiry.

“The number of complaints about the board by tradespeople since our last review was small, and few were about recent matters. Consultation with the industry had become more robust. Staff reported a healthier organisational culture.

“However, my office continues to receive complaints each year from plumbers & gasfitters. Most of the correspondence we receive is directly or indirectly about costs, and the effect that they have on tradespeople’s livelihoods.

“There is no doubt that the costs of regulation fall heavier on the group of trades that the board regulates than some other regulated workers…. It is entirely funded by tradespeople, and it has a unique role in prosecuting unregistered & unlicensed people carrying out unlawful work. The result is that costs to plumbers, gasfitters & drainlayers are higher than the costs for some other tradespeople.”

Mrs Provost made no new recommendations, saying the board now had arrangements in place to properly govern & manage.

Links: 2010 Inquiry into the Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers Board
2014 audit report

Attribution: Auditor-general’s release.

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GJ Gardner offers training programme & apprenticeship

Housebuilder GJ Gardner Homes will launch a series of educational & development schemes soon aimed at helping people looking to secure a career in the building industry.

The master franchise will introduce a structured 2-year future leaders development programme for GJ Gardner employees and the Rodney franchiseholder, Elaine Morley, will establish a local scholarship for a student seeking a relevant qualification in the building trade, and an apprenticeship programme.

Master franchise managing director Grant Porteous said yesterday: “GJ Gardner Homes has been the No 1 homebuilder in New Zealand for the last decade – we recognise the overall performance of the company is directly related to the performance & skill level of not only our franchiseholders, but the key individuals who make up their teams.”

Attribution: Company release.

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