This year has been one of steady progress with the workload starting from a relatively low base after last year’s slowdown. The work has came in waves as has been the case for the last couple of years, but the tide certainly does seem to be rising with the latter part of this year being particularly busy and prospects for the New year looking promising.

Projects

This year has still seen a wide range of projects being worked on, from domestic alterations and additions, through to large commercial buildings.

The new industrial subdivision at Tauriko has continued to be the site of a number of new developments we have worked on including new purpose built premises for Melba Foods by CBC Construction Ltd, and a bus assembly plant for Kiwi Bus Builders.

We have worked on a new PlaceMakers outlet in Albany which will open in the New Year.

We have provided the structural and fire engineering design on a new office block in the Invercargill CBD for the WHK Group. This building will be the second new office block we have worked on, which will house WHK accountancy practice offices, the other being a three level new office block in Wanaka finished last year.

We are currently working on a number of office and retail projects in Tauranga for JWL Investments, including a new Spotlight “big box” outlet at Gate Pa, and boutique office blocks in Hamilton Street.

Our specialty in Kiwifruit post harvest facilities continues to provide design work with eight new coolstore rooms being added to sites in the Bay of Plenty and the Waikato for this season, as well as packhouse and canopy extensions.

Our specialist design expertise in light steel framing for buildings, ranging from residential housing up to large portal framed sheds, has again resulted in an increasing stream of projects from throughout the country. From our involvement with NASH (National Association of Steel-Framed Housing) it is apparent that the use of light steel framing is being adopted by more in the housing market and this form of construction is really starting to come of age. You may well have noticed some examples of these new steel framed houses going up in your area.

Last year we were part of the NASH Working Group involved in the shaking table tests on a light steel framed building with a brick veneer cladding carried out at the University of Melbourne. These tests were an outstanding success with the test building surviving the full capacity of the shaking table rig – equivalent to an earthquake of more than magnitude 9 on the Richter scale.

This year the real test came with the Darfield earthquake at 7.1 on the Richter scale. We inspected over 40 steel framed houses in Canterbury after the earthquake, looking for and reporting on any signs of damage. A number of these were near the epicentre, and in all the houses that were on stable ground the only significant damage to brickwork was on a couple of houses where the brickwork had been freshly laid. Otherwise the only damage was on one house near Darfield which had a few bricks in the top course slightly displaced. So as expected, given the Melbourne testing, steel framing came through with flying colours.

What were distressing to see though, were the many suburban homes affected by the lateral spreading and ground liquefaction. This ground movement buckled and broke the floor slabs and this translated through into the house framing, whether timber or steel.

We also reported for NASH on the issue of thermal breaks for steel framing and prepared the reference document – “NASH – Home insulation guide” which was reviewed and referenced by BRANZ.

We continue to provide a technical design and support service for Polyphen, the fire resistant coolroom insulation panel which is now having an impact in the market place, providing a viable locally produced solution for the insurance industry’s concern over the flammability of polystyrene panel.

And in the New Year, we launch into detailed design for the proposed new landmark office building on the corner of Cameron Road and Elizabeth Street which features on our Christmas Greetings, as part of the CBC Construction Ltd’s design-build team.

Systems

This year we have embarked on a major revamp of our electronic hardware and software systems to take advantage of the advancing technologies. This has seen some of our services moved to programmes based in the “clouds” and the installation of a new more robust data storage system.

We have also installed the Autodesk Revit Structure Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, which along with the AutoCAD Structural Detailing will provide us with much more powerful draughting and presentation tools.

Environmental & Quality Management

During the year, as part of our work on our environmental management systems, we achieved Platinum level on the Enviro-Mark NZ scale. From there we have moved through and had our systems assessed and recognised by Telarc, New Zealand’s leading certification body.

We are now able to proudly display both our ISO 9001 Quality Management registration and our ISO 14001 Environmental Management registration.

We are also members of the Sustainable Business Network and have been on the Green Star NZ training programme run by the NZ Green Building Council leading to achieving Green Star Accredited Professional status.

Looking Forward

Although New Zealand, and the world for that matter, is far from being out of the economic woods, things are certainly looking better and we look forward to further steady growth during 2011.