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Dedicated to CAT

INSIDE: Fixing the leaky Tekapo Canal was complex but a great success Suicide in construction – international stats make for sobering reading Health and Safety Reform Bill – proposed new duties and obligations In praise of roundabouts – a light-hearted look at one-way gyratories


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INSIDE: Regulars

Highlights / Features

2 Editorial


Complex canal re-lining project


Causeway Update


Opening up about suicide

4 Upfront 14 On the Cover 56 Classic Machines 60 Motoring 62 Innovations 62 Contractors’ Diary 64 Advertisers Index

Profile 16 Raewyn Philbey is used to strange looks in her role with Nelmac.


Work on widening and lifting the SH18 North Western motorway causeway is gathering pace.

International statistics on suicide in construction make for sobering reading. Gavin Riley finds no equivalent data is available here – but there should be.


Unblocking New Plymouth’s jam


Health and safety

Comment 52 Jeremy Sole Civil Contractors NZ 53 Rob Gaimster

The Tekapo Canal System in the Waitaki Valley was leaking. Fixing those leaks was complex, and the results deemed a success.


NZTA has started on its largest Taranaki project in several years.

Andy Loader of First Rock Consultancy summarises the duties and obligations proposed in the new Health and Safety Reform Bill.

ON THE COVER From humble beginnings in 2002, George and Bronwyn Terry have taken Cargill Contracting from a small household water delivery business, to a fully-fledged contracting company that has purchased four new Cat excavators and a Cat vibratory soil compactor this year. See page 14

Technology Slippery work in Auckland: Technology helps build new terraced seating at Auckland’s Western Springs.

54 Rod Auton Crane Association

55 Helmut Modlik Connexis

International 48  In praise of roundabouts or one-way gyratories as they were originally known.





When perception influences reality One of the cleverest pieces of old-fashioned politicking to gain traction in New Zealand still annoys me. And the fact it still does shows just how clever it was. In fact whoever dubbed what at the time was the proposed Puhoi to Wellsford upgrade as the “Holiday Highway” should be both given a PR award for instantly creating an image of wastefulness, while at the same time vilified for seriously undermining efforts to improve the economic prospects of everywhere north of Auckland. Not to mention the economic benefit to the family of contractors large and small who will benefit both during construction and during ongoing maintenance afterwards. A quick Google search shows that every major (and many minor) New Zealand media outlet other than those in the North have used the holiday highway expression in blaring headlines – probably written by underpaid, undervalued and economically ignorant junior copy-writers. But major infrastructure projects are too important for throw-away lines. Prime Minister John Key was recently in Kerikeri, and told a packed meeting that he “wanted do away with the misleading implication that a four-lane motorway between Auckland and, in a few years, Wellsford was a ‘holiday highway’ for Omaha holiday home owners like himself, rather than better infrastructure.” And yes, there’s a direct quantifiable link that can be drawn between Northland’s ability to attract businesses (and therefore employment), and its long-term economic viability. Even the Northland Regional Council says, “Northland has traditionally lagged behind much of the country in key economic indicators like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment and household income.” But there are also life-skill benefits that projects of this magnitude bring to a region and its workforce. On the surface these skills have very little to do with being able to build a better road, bridge, or ditch, but they are the skills that workers take home: from improved literacy and communication through to greater awareness of health benefits through weight-loss and quitting smoking. These programmes improve productivity and employee engagement, and reduce turnover. The skills learnt on these programmes are transferable to the next job and employer, raising the standards at every step. These workers become valued by good employers who will work hard to ensure they have continuity of work and ongoing skill development. And people in regular work build strong communities; they grow strong families; and they contribute to the economic development of NZ Inc. What part of all that falls under the category of “holiday highway”? Kevin Lawrence, Editor

PUBLISHER Contrafed Publishing Co Ltd Suite 2.1, 93 Dominion Road, Mt Eden, Auckland PO Box 112357, Penrose, Auckland 1642 Phone: +64 9 636 5715 Fax: +64 9 636 5716 www.contrafed.co.nz GENERAL MANAGER & EDITOR Kevin Lawrence DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 512 800 Email: kevin@contrafed.co.nz EDITORIAL MANAGER Alan Titchall DDI: 09 636 5712 Mobile: 027 405 0338 Email: alan@contrafed.co.nz REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Richard Campbell, Hugh de Lacy, Peter Gill, Gavin Riley, Lawrence Schaffler, , Jeremy Sole. ADVERTISING / SALES Charles Fairbairn DDI: 09 636 5724 Mobile: 021 411 890 Email: charles@contrafed.co.nz ADMIN / SUBSCRIPTIONS DDI: 09 636 5715 Email: admin@contrafed.co.nz PRODUCTION Design: TMA Design, 09 636 5713 Printing: PMP MAXUM

Contributions welcome Please contact the editor before sending them in. Articles in Contractor are copyright and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the publisher. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the shareholding organisations.

www.linkedin.com/contrafedpublishing @NZContractormag

The official magazine of Civil Contractors NZ www.civilcontractors.co.nz The Aggregate & Quarry Association www.aqa.org.nz

If you haven’t already heard the news, or read pages 5 and 52 of this issue, Jeremy Sole, Civil Contractors CEO, Contrafed Publishing MD and contributor to this magazine for 61 consecutive issues leaves on December 19. On behalf of the Contrafed Publishing team I’d like to thank Jeremy for all his efforts helping Contrafed overcome difficulties and re-establish itself as a flourishing publishing company prepared for future growth and opportunities. And for a few good laughs along the way.

The New Zealand Heavy Haulage Association www.hha.org.nz The Crane Association of New Zealand www.cranes.org.nz Rural Contractors New Zealand www.ruralcontractors.org.nz The Ready Mixed Concrete Association www.nzrmca.org.nz Connexis www.connexis.org.nz

ISSN 0110-1382 2 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015




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YOUR GOUGH CAT TERRITORY SALES MANAGERS Northland & Auckland North Chris Wilson 021 682 403

East Cape, Hawkes Bay & Wairarapa Paul Roche 029 271 7895

Auckland South Poovan Naidoo 021 860 443

Nelson, Marlborough & West Coast Chris Jones 029 200 8382

Waikato & Coromandel James West 029 299 8909

Christchurch City Nick Worthington 021 979 826

Rotorua & Bay of Plenty Shayne Kennedy 029 200 7270

Canterbury James Lundy 029 208 0423

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Otago & Southland Brent Duncan 029 222 4682

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Christchurch labour breaches shameful

Out in the field Just to prove the staff of Contractor magazine don’t spend their whole time in the Contrafed Publishing office, here’s a snap of the editor Kevin Lawrence with Mark Neilson of MWN Civil visiting the Well-Connected Alliance Waterview tunnel project. Over 8000 people have now been inducted at the project site.

Clarification of big project responsibility The successful defence against the prosecution of Christchurch firm Eliot Sinclair and Partners, for allegedly permitting the discharge of sediment laden water from a subdivision project at Duvauchelle Bay, has set an important precedent for the engineering industry and those involved in development and subdivision projects. It demonstrates the importance of clear directions, guidance and record keeping, and indicates that the engineer’s role is not to supervise or stand over the contractor, but to observe as frequently as circumstances require and to give appropriate directions. The charges against Eliot Sinclair were brought against the background of guilty pleas by both the contractor, who undertook the earthworks at the site, and the development company itself. Both accepted liability for the discharges and were fined accordingly. However, the Canterbury Regional Council also took Eliot Sinclair to task under the Resource Management Act because it was providing engineering services to the development company. The issue was whether Eliot Sinclair had “permitted” that discharge by failing to do enough to prevent it. Under the RMA, the offence is “permitted” if the party charged allowed, acquiesced, abstained from preventing or tolerated the act or omission. There had been ongoing failures by the contractor to follow the directions given by Eliot Sinclair, with Eliot Sinclair responding by increasing the frequency of its site visits and written directions. Ultimately, a failure to properly fill a cut in the sediment retention pond with the correct material resulted in the discharge when it rained heavily. But the Court found that the engineers had been responsible and systematic in their approach, given clear directions, guidance and been careful in record keeping.

Incomplete employment agreements, unlawful deductions from wages and insufficient records resulted in nine improvement notices being issued, six enforceable undertakings, and one case referred to the Employment Relations Authority as an audit programme into Christchurch labour hire and construction companies sweeps across the battered city. An increasing number of complaints about the employment practices of some businesses associated with the Christchurch rebuild initiated the audit and so far 40 companies have been inspected and 23 audits completed. Of these 16 were in breach of employment standards, says Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Labour Inspectorate, Southern Region manager Steve Watson, who adds that the level of non-compliance is disappointing and there is a clear need for ongoing monitoring of employers working in the rebuild. The audit shows that immigrant workers, in particular, are at risk of abuse. But he says monitoring compliance is not just the job of regulatory agencies and that those commissioning work and head contractors must take responsibility for monitoring compliance with labour and immigration requirements right to the work site. It is also not just about checking wages, records and visas. He says if employers are not treating their workers fairly, they are also less likely to be properly managing their health and safety obligations. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says anyone with concerns about their employment situation must call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20 where their call will be handled in a safe environment.

Demolition work coming up Auckland Transport’s plans for a Y-shaped route for an 8.9 kilometre highway between central Manukau, Flat Bush and Alfriston in the south, as the first stage of an alternative corridor to the Southern Motorway that it hopes ultimately to extend to Drury, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. The $300 million four-lane roadway 4 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

means around 54 homes will have to be bought and bowled, and another 257 whittled down to widen existing roads. Auckland Transport has lodged a notice of requirement for the route with Auckland Council, which it expects will call for public submissions early next year for hearings by planning commissioners.

Plans also involve building two viaducts – one 23 metre high and the other 17 metre – through stands of mature native bush. Costs and a preferred route have yet to be indicated for a second stage of the highway, past Papakura to Drury, but Auckland Transport has indicated a 30-year envelope of $472 million for the combined work.


CCNZ chief moves on After five-and-a-half years as chief executive of the contractor’s association Jeremy Sole is to step down this month. Jeremy was previously chief executive of the New Zealand Contractors’ Federation, which integrated with Roading NZ in August to form Civil Contractors NZ. He has lead the association and represented its members through challenging times for the industry, and was instrumental in the formation of the Construction Safety Council. Jeremy also served on the Road Maintenance Task Force and the Ministry of Local Government’s Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group, and took a leading role in many industry initiatives. As managing director of Contrafed Publishing, of which CCNZ is a major shareholder, he facilitated the re-establishment of Local Government magazine. “During my tenure we have been able to successfully advocate on behalf of the industry throughout the economic downturn and be part of some of the most progressive changes in terms of health and safety in New Zealand’s history,” he says. “I’m very proud of what we have achieved. Now, with the integration and rebranding of the organisation complete and a strong and effective team in place, it is a good time for me to seek new challenges.” CCNZ has a stronger balance sheet and is positioned to provide greater services to members, the industry and NZ Inc, he adds. Jeremy steps down on December 19, and his replacement is expected to be announced in the new year. Meanwhile, CCNZ President Dave Connell says the association is led by a strong board and dedicated staff. “Jeremy has worked effectively and made a strong contribution on behalf of all contractors. Our members will be sad to see him go and we would like to thank him for his many contributions to the organisations and the industry, and wish him well for the future.”

Water infrastructure work coming your way The first national picture ever published of our water assets has been released, which shows that although this country’s water infrastructure is performing as needed, up to 20 percent of it needs renewal or is unserviceable. This is, in part, because a quarter of the $35.7 billion worth of water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure is more than 50 years old. Local Government NZ chief Malcolm Alexander reckons it’s not a crisis issue but a renewal curve is coming and the body needs to know how to manage and finance it. Local authorities own and are responsible for water infrastructure so foot the bill for upgrades. Alexander says the risk is that the Government under-invests. LGNZ expects to make recommendations on the next step, including around expected costs, early next year. In addition, a recent report by the Office of the Auditor General found funding for roads and water assets is deteriorating and if the trend continues, by 2022 there will be a funding gap in the local government sector of between $6 billion to $7 billion.

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From left: Roger Gibbs, Optical Services sales manager; Alex Felgate, Optical Services director; Kevin Stevens, Trig Instruments director; Heath Low, Position Partners scanning products manager; Jason Hilton, Trig Instruments manager; and Jamie Nelson, Position Partners sales manager.

Sales strength in unity Three companies have the country covered in a new alliance to combine their product lines. Sokkia surveying instruments, Carlson machine control, MAVinci and Ascending Technologies unmanned aerial systems,

and US Radar ground penetrating radar are now available from the trio – Auckland-based Optical Services, Wellington-based Trig Instruments and Christchurch-based Position Partners.

Eroad share rise query

Construction boom forecast

Eroad, by its own claim the first company to provide a nationwide GPS-based road user charge system in 2009, has been asked by NZX regulation to ‘please explain’ after its shares rose 16 percent in six days. Under continuous disclosure rules listed companies must inform the market of all price sensitive events as soon as possible and Eroad’s stock traded at $4.25 on November 6, up from $3.67 on October 29 – a 58 percent gain. However, Steven Newman, chief executive of the newly listed Aucklandbased software company, says it complied with NZX listing rules, without offering any further explanation behind the gain in share price. The company debuted on the bourse in August, raising $40 million in new capital to fund international growth, selling 15.3 million shares at $3 apiece. Existing owners sold two million shares, or $6 million worth, into the initial public offer, to keep a 75 percent stake in the company. The company says it doesn’t intend to pay dividends in the near term, as it reinvests profit for growth, but long-term Newman say he does envision shareholders to be paid.

Building and construction activity is expected to reach unprecedented levels by 2017, totalling $100 billion over the next three years. According to the findings of the second National Construction Pipeline report, a minimum 10 percent increase in activity every year to 2017 is anticipated reaching a value of $35 billion. This is the longest sustained period of growth in construction activity in 40 years, says Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith. Smith says Auckland shows the highest level of construction activity, accounting for more than one-third of the upcoming workload in terms of value and driven by residential building. While in Christchurch there are at least six Government projects due to begin in the next six months, with a collective value of nearly $1 billion.



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Auckland South Poovan Naidoo 021 860 443

Nelson, Marlborough & West Coast Chris Jones 029 200 8382

Waikato & Coromandel James West 029 299 8909

Christchurch City Nick Worthington 021 979 826

Rotorua & Bay of Plenty Shayne Kennedy 029 200 7270

Canterbury James Lundy 029 208 0423

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Construction wins in Christchurch scheme

Smoko antics Paul ‘Dizzy Hips’ Blair sets a world record by hula hooping a 45 kilo tractor tyre! www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcqRPdvb18w

The greatest take-up in the Government’s employment recruiting ‘3K to Christchurch’ scheme has been in the construction sector with 350 positions filled out of the 633 unemployed men and women who took up the offer of a $3000 payment to get them off the benefit and shift to Christchurch for a fulltime job. Better still, 204 of these new Cantabrians are aged 16-24 and will now discover the social and financial benefits of a real job before they get in the habit of being unemployed. Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says the Government is exploring extending the scheme beyond Christchurch to other parts of the country with high labour demands and low unemployment.

NZ Crane returns to its roots NZ Crane Group is now under the sole ownership of Deane Manley. Last month saw the company celebrate its 15th birthday and the founding shareholder and director buy the remaining 75 percent share in the company from its private equity partner. In 2005, AMP Pencarrow purchased a majority shareholding in what was then NZ Crane Hire, NZ Access Hire and NZ Tower Cranes. It amalgamated the three businesses into NZ Crane Group and took the company on a path of regional growth. Over the past four years the company has divested itself of the dry hire elements of the business, choosing to focus on mobile cranes, and centralised itself in Auckland. The business was put on the market last year but failed to find a suitable purchaser. Deane told Contractor that having an owner/operator set up was best for the business to compete with similar companies in the market, “so I put my hand up to buy it”. The purchase has provided the staff with certainty going forward. “It’s difficult for the team when your majority shareholder is only there to sell you,” Deane says. “But that’s what private equity firms are

there for, they’re after an end result.” He says that Pencarrow was a very good partner; patient and stable. But eventually it had to exit. “We now have the best of both worlds – a corporate structure but only one owner.” Deane says the purchase has energised the whole business. “We’ve gone from multiple owners, viewpoints and timelines, to just one. I may be a [expletive deleted] but at least it’s the devil they know.” With the future of NZ Crane looking stable, its focus will be on mobile crane hire. “Construction activity is looking productive, as is power generation and transmission. Marine is also very good,” says Deane. NZ Crane Hire was formed in 1999 with the acquisition of Central Cranes of Northland Port, along with another couple of crane companies including Partridge Cranes. A number of staff members at the company’s 15th birthday celebration on October 1 could trace their careers all the way back to these predecessor companies.

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Good on yer mate

Remote controlled demo

New Zealand has held its number two position in the world for overall ease of doing business in the World Bank’s Doing Business survey of business regulations. We rank highly for starting a business, getting credit, registering property, enforcing contracts and protecting minority investors. But we do less well getting electricity services and building and resource consents. The top 10 nations for overall ease of doing business are: Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark, South Korea, Norway, US, UK, Finland and Australia.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) contractors used remote-controlled excavators in a series of demolitions on Crownowned properties in Sumner last month. CERA’s Port Hills Land Clearance project manager Brenden Winder says the clearance of five dwellings in Clifton Terrace would be a major step in clearing damaged and dangerous buildings from Port Hills’ properties that were zoned red due to the life risk from cliff collapse. Remote-controlled excavators were used so the work could be undertaken without putting any crew into extreme-risk areas. Winder said any land movement during the demolition phase would be closely monitored and the results used to decide on best methods when clearing other Crown-owned properties in the Port Hills red zone.

Invercargill centre makeover A $1.4 million makeover of Invercargill’s main shopping thoroughfare has been approved by the Invercargill City Council with four monthsworth of work due to start mid-January. The original budget was $825,000 but it has been boosted by an additional $267,000 to provide for extra gardens, festive light poles, a water feature, increased canopy size, and additional paved areas requested by public submission. The Esk Street project is the first of 12 precinct projects to be tendered.

Twinkle toes in Netherlands In the Dutch town of Eindhoven, artist Daan Roosegaarde has paid homage to its most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, by creating a glowing bike path that relies on solar-powered LED lights and interprets his classic painting Starry Night.




Irrigation project races ahead The 60,000-hectare, $375 million Central Plains Water scheme’s trenches are being piped and covered at up to one kilometre a day as the irrigation project romps ahead. CPW says it hopes to have 64 kilometres of its 130 kilometre network in the ground by Christmas.

Local roading funding improved

The Classic Machines


Funding Assistance Rates (FAR) released last month means the overall co-investment rate for all local transport programmes combined over the next nine years will be 53 percent. Some councils will receive a higher or lower FAR based on their relative ability to fund their share. A standard rate of 51 percent has been set, with a top rate of 75 percent for mainland councils and 85 percent for the Chatham Islands. Local government currently carries the risk and cost for around 88 percent of the country’s road network. Although councils invested $1.23 billion in new roading infrastructure, maintenance, renewal and operations in the 2011/2012 year, they only received around 46 percent of road funding from central government sources.


The world’s largest construction machinery supplier (11).


Workers’ compensation (3).


Cutting …. (4).


Black viscous substance used for roads (3).


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Cat’s trademark name for its 1950s scrapers (7).


Used to fracture rock, especially in mining (9).


Part of the New Holland corporation (4).


1950s LeTourneau Westinghouse scraper trademark name (7).


Company Caterpillar acquired to get loader technology (8).


Complete sum (5).


Final ….., especially track-type tractors (5).


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Trade name of R G LeTourneau’s motor scrapers (10).


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Chinese builder of motor graders (6).


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Project loss costs Opus millions An undisclosed, large project in “a non-traditional discipline with unique and unusual complexities” has cost Opus International Consultants $5.5 million. Back in August the Wellington-based multinational engineering firm reported a five percent lift in revenue to $149.9 million, but its shares fell 3.9 percent to $1.49 and have declined 25 percent since the start of the year. The stock is rated an average ‘hold’ based on the recommendation of four analysts compiled by Reuters, with a median price target of $1.87.

Best use of a UAV The technically challenging project of tackling complex hillside demolitions in Christchurch’s Port Hills is a risky job and earned CERA contractor Aurecon’s Safety Essentials a nomination for the AWF Group Safety Innovation Award in the 2014 Site Safe Construction Health and Safety Awards. Aurecon’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), developed in conjunction with the University of Canterbury, has also earned the company a spot on Canada’s Discovery Channel. The images from the UAV – a remote controlled quadrocopter with a high-definition camera mounted beneath – helped identify geohazards and access routes to properties on the cliff edge. And there was no other way of getting these image angles because of the danger. Aurecon worked with the University of Canterbury, which developed the innovative technology. For the winners see http://tinyurl.com/q6vtvgf


Competing in the sandpit The Auckland branch of CCNZ held its Regional Operators’ Competition at the Big Boys Toys show in Auckland last month. SOME 40 OPERATORS pitted themselves against each other with a variety of tasks designed to test their excavator skills to the limit, such as pouring a cup of tea with a bucket attachment, and putting an egg into a cup. The final joint winners were BJ Matthews from Brian Hoffman Earthmovers and Neill Coutts from Hicks, who both scored 203 points out of a possible 220. The pair had a showdown the following Saturday on one of Auckland’s worst days weather-wise and, again, they both came out with an even score. In the end the title was given to BJ because he finished the course slightly quicker than Neill. He will now go on to represent the Auckland branch of Civil Contractors at the national competition at the Feilding Field Days in March, and will also be competing against his boss Brian Hoffman who was the 2014 national winner and current title defender. Third in Auckland was Miles Dempsey (Hicks) with 181 points; the Good Bugger prize went to Nathan Gibbons (Stevensons); first prize for Non CCNZ member went to Laine Christensen; and the Team prize went to Hicks (made up of Neill Coutts, Miles Dempsey and Carlos Makiiti) for most accumulated points. 12 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

The essential sponsors and volunteers The branch National Excavator Operators Competition events rely on the dedication of sponsors and an army of volunteers. Major sponsors at the Auckland event were: CablePrice; Humes Pipes; ENZED; Hirepool; Z Energy; and Vector. Platinum Sponsors: ICB Retaining and Construction; Connexis (training providers); Tech 5 (recruitment); Total Oil; Blackwoods Protector (safety gear); Tai Poutini Polytechnic (digger school); and Hicks Contractors. Humes has been associated with the event for a number of years from set up to completion, and is part of the judging panel. Kevin McMillan, Humes sales manager, Auckland, says he was very impressed with the level of organisation at the competition this year with the lead being taken by Regan Burke from ICB. “The skill level of the entrants was extremely impressive to watch and judge and we would like to congratulate everyone who entered. Humes look forward to being involved for many more years to come.”

Go Danny go! Danny Mafi putting his Hitachi ZX120-3 series excavator through the competition course.

Organisers and sponsors Above, from left: Annette De Wit, northern region, Connexis; Regan Burke, co-director, ICB (and Auckland CCNZ branch executive); James Corlett, northern regional manager, CCNZ; and Shawn Reid, regional sales manager, Hirepool.

Thanks to the digger school Kahe Rakaura, a graduate of the Tai Poutini Polytechnic, taking a turn with the kids having a go at the mini excavators. Payment is a gold coin donation to raise money for Canteen Cure Kids. Machines were supplied by CablePrice and Brian Hoffman.


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Dedicated to CAT From humble beginnings in 2002, George and Bronwyn Terry has taken Cargill Contracting from a small household water delivery business, to a fully-fledged contracting company that has purchased four new Cat excavators and a Cat vibratory soil compactor this year. By Saskia Shelton.


AFTER STARTING CARGILL CONTRACTING with just a single excavator, tip truck and water tank, George and Bronwyn Terry now have a 21-strong machine fleet, some gravel pits and 10 trucks working in and around Dunedin. Cargill makes it its business to be there when needed, whether it be tidying up farm tracks, creating dams, doing work on rural subdivisions or road maintenance. “We live in a rural lifestyle area, so we do farm work, lifestyle block work, rural subdivisions, house sites and road maintenance for the Dunedin City Council – we do a bit of everything,” says George. Cargill Contracting has added a range of new Cat compact construction equipment from Gough Cat, including a Cat 312DL excavator, 308E2CR, 303.5ECR and 301.7DCR mini excavators, and a CS56 vibratory soil compactor. These five Cat machines play a central role in the business maintaining its current levels of productivity. Much of the work done by Cargill requires smaller machines that are nimble and can easily manoeuvre within confined areas and George has found that the Cat mini excavators from Gough Cat have been able to do the work required with ease. Ranging up to eight tonnes, the mini excavators are used for a variety of tasks.

“We are in the small excavator market, and currently have a Cat 308D and a Cat 308E. The new ‘E’ is a nice upgrade on the ‘D’ with noticeable improvements, so Caterpillar has definitely made serious advancements with the latest series.”

George has both Cat D and E series machines and is happy with the improvements in technology he’s seen with the new Cat 308E2CR excavator. “We are in the small excavator market, and currently have a Cat 308D and a Cat 308E. The new ‘E’ is a nice upgrade on the ‘D’ with noticeable improvements, so Caterpillar has definitely made serious advancements with the latest series.” The Cat 308E2CR provides high performance with the versatility of a swing boom front linkage in a durable compact radius design that enables work in the tightest applications. New features include improved control and a flow sharing, high definition hydraulic system. Operating in economy mode, fuel use can be lowered by 20 percent. The cab is fitted with an air ride, heated seat for the operator’s comfort, which is something the operators at Cargill are very pleased about. In fact, the comfort of the cab really stands out for them. “They are pretty happy with it, they say it’s a bit like being at home – not too hot and not too cold,” says George. Cargill Contracting has a total of 14 Cat machines in its fleet and

most of these are under the 12 tonne range, due to the nature of work carried out by the company. One of Cargill’s biggest jobs to date is the Dunedin City Council road maintenance contract while subcontracting for Fulton Hogan. With the variety of modern Cat machines in its fleet it is able to effectively and efficiently perform the various maintenance tasks with ease and with as minimal a disruption to traffic as possible. “We try very hard to do the right thing for the right price,” says George, who lives by the motto, “He who pays, says.” Having a customer-centred outlook is what makes Cargill Contracting successful. Putting the customer first and being there to assist is a key factor in this success, says George. “The thing that will set you apart from your competitors is the back-up service and the relationship you have with your customers.” George has been very happy with the Cat machines in his fleet, but it’s the service that sets Cat apart, he says. “It’s the service and back up that I’ve found with Goughs, and Cat has a really good name and that’s why I don’t see a lot of point in changing product.” l DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015 15


Nelmac’s water woman Raewyn Philbey admits to getting the odd strange look from homeowners when she responds to callouts in her role as a Water Service Person with Nelson Environmental Management Company, Nelmac. BY ANGELA MOCKETT. “IT’S PARTICULARLY THE older guys” she says.

Callouts in the early hours of the morning are just part of the job, as is putting on your wet weather gear and heading out when everyone else is heading in. 16 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

“Sometimes when I arrive I see them looking behind me expecting to see a guy in overalls coming along to take charge. It doesn’t bother me – I just get started and they soon see I know what I’m about.” After 10 years with the company, Raewyn’s determination to ‘just get started’ has made her a valuable member of the Nelmac water team. Previously employed as a petrochemical plant operator (one of the first two women in the role worldwide), Raewyn says she had her eye out for a job that would take her away from working with chemicals, feeling a decade’s exposure was “probably more than enough for anyone”. Hearing that Nelmac had a position available, water – she felt, sounded like a much better option. And so it has proved to be. She now holds both the National Certificate in Water Reticulation and the National Certificate in Wastewater Reticulation as well as qualifications in water sampling, traffic management, respirator work, confined space work – and confined space rescue. She is a senior member of the Nelmac water team and popular among the company’s 250-plus staff.

Not being one for the limelight however, not only was Raewyn reluctant to take the spotlight for this article, but it seems even many around her have little idea of her daily role in this otherwise maledominated field. When asked what others think of her working with Nelmac, Raewyn admitted she just doesn’t talk about it much. “I mean they know I’m at Nelmac, but I think most of them think I’m on the parks team or maybe working out at one of the water treatment plants.” The truth of course, is that Philbey is more likely to be under a road somewhere attending to a burst water main or running a job site with colleagues and subcontractors anywhere in the city. Being a water services person can mean hard work and long and unsociable hours. Callouts in the early hours of the morning are just part of the job, as is putting on your wet weather gear and heading out when everyone else is heading in. Like all those working in infrastructure management, Raewyn is used to digging deep. “If there’s a job on – it has to be finished. You can’t just knock off because it’s four o’clock if there’s a hole in the road.”

Asked if she thinks the job is harder for a woman, Raewyn is keen to play down stereotypes. “Obviously it’s hard physically but I’m strong for a woman.” And does she feel an extra pressure to succeed? “I guess being a woman in a typically male job you can feel that maybe being as good as the guys isn’t enough, that maybe you have to try to be even better. But I’ve got over that. I’m confident in what I can do.” And just how have ‘the guys’ reacted to having a woman on the water team? “It’s not an issue,” she insists. “The guys are just as happy to work with me as anyone else. It’s about what you do and how you do it, not whether you’re a guy or not. On a team everyone’s going to be different in one way or another aren’t they?” In November, Raewyn will have been 10 years with Nelmac. The decade, she says, has seen a few changes, both for her and for the industry. Her responsibilities have grown – organising crews, water sampling, traffic management – and the industry too has matured, with increased awareness of environmental management and the importance of health and

safety on every job. “Nowadays we know that things like bucketing out native fish, site safety and talking with the community are just as important as anything else,” and that, she says, is just how it should be. “When you’re in charge of a job you’re responsible for everyone and everything on site – and the public. You have to get it right.” A keen walker, mountain biker, horsewoman and martial arts (Bushin Ryu) exponent, Raewyn isn’t one for sitting still for long. Unable to imagine herself in a desk job, she talks animatedly about enjoying the outdoors aspect of the job, the variety of the work and the satisfaction solving problems brings. “What we do contributes to the community – the whole community. “Yes, the job’s not always pretty or easy – but it’s important and it’s got to be done.” So, as one of the female water services people in New Zealand, is it a career she would recommend to young women? “Yes,” is her immediate response. “There shouldn’t be any barriers to more women entering the industry as long as they have the strength required and the right attitude.” Raewyn, it appears, is short of neither.

“I guess being a woman in a typically male job you can feel that maybe being as good as the guys isn’t enough, that maybe you have to try to be even better. But I’ve got over that. I’m confident in what I can do.”



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Complex canal re-lining The extensive Tekapo Canal system that feeds water between Tekapo A and Tekapo B Power Stations might run in a series of straight lines across the Waitaki Valley, but it certainly provided Genesis Energy with a number of complex twists and turns as the power entity embarked on an extensive re-lining project, stretching over two summer seasons. The result though, has been judged a success.

Coffer dams were built to close off the section of canal being relined and water was then pumped down to a low level to rescue around 800 salmon and trout, plus thousands of native ‘bullies’, that were relocated to another part of the canal.


The second and final phase of remedial re-lining work on the extensive Tekapo Canal system – part of the Tekapo hydroelectric power scheme – finished earlier this year, with owner Genesis Energy crowning the complex two-phase project a success. “We’re extremely happy with the outcome,” says Genesis Energy’s Richard Gordon. “We finished 18 days ahead of schedule and under budget too: the project estimate was initially between $145 million and $155 million, but actual costs amounted to $136 million. That’s no small thing when you consider the scale of a project like this.” The project involved installing a special geotechnical PVC liner along stretches of the 26.5 kilometre canal: a composite material Gordon likens to heavy duty linoleum. The high tech liner material was heat seam welded into place and then pressure tested.

The European-sourced material is far in advance of anything available to the canal system’s original planners in the 1970s. In fact prior to this project, the canal was lined with rammed earth rather than concrete. This might sound rudimentary but was actually commonplace at the time and mirrored the construction techniques of contemporary canal systems feeding hydroelectric facilities in the North Island. As might not be surprising to modern readers, the brand new canal system leaked from day one, although serious erosion issues underneath the canal structure weren’t discovered and properly assessed until 2008.

A challenging build The original Tekapo Canal took six years to construct and threw multiple challenges in the way for the old Ministry of Works teams in

The project involved installing a special geotechnical PVC liner along stretches of the 26.5 kilometre canal: a composite material Gordon likens to heavy duty linoleum. This was heat seam welded into place and then pressure tested.


charge of the design and build. A variety of differing build specifications, surface designs and equipment were used during the long construction process, resulting in varying conditions along the canal’s length. Such is the scale of the system, it straddles two entirely distinct geological zones and at one location sits on an earthen embankment 45 metres high in places. The canal system links Tekapo A Power

Station with Tekapo B on the shores of Lake Pukaki. Tekapo A generates electricity from water that passes through a 1.4 kilometre tunnel from Lake Tekapo, before being diverted down the 26 kilometre canal and generating electricity through Tekapo B. The canal itself traverses undulating, glacial terrain through cut, fill and siding with a 1:8500 invert gradient and an operating flow of 130 cumecs.

Above left: Once the coffer dams had been installed, water was over pumped to the downstream coffer dam so there was a dry surface for the construction works to take place. Above: One of several bridges that needed to be upgraded as part of the canal remediation.



On top of the liner, there was a layer of sand, a layer of geo-grid, with a final layer of frost protection placed for the canal invert. The thickness and placement of the sand-blinding layer through the remediation areas was critical.

Complex remedial work

A health and safety win

Such was the complexity of the re-lining project, remedial work had to be carried out in two separate tranches over specific timeframes during two consecutive summer seasons. With demand for electricity from the North Island at its lowest during summer months, the level of Lake Tekapo could be drawn down by increased generation flow in the canal before the project started, which reduced the potential of overspill from the lake during canal outages. While Lake Tekapo would still naturally fill during this period, excess water could be released from the lake through the control gates and spilled over the slipway at Lake George Scott into the lower Tekapo River and down to Lake Benmore. Remedial project work also extended beyond the footprint of the canal system itself, as Richard Gordon relates. “The re-lining work was the main purpose of the project, but naturally given the landscape and geological environment the Tekapo Canal traverses, we also ensured the seismic resilience of the system was checked. “Additionally we had several bridge upgrades to complete, including a State Highway bridge and several farm bridges. There was a lot of planning involved around each aspect of the remedial work and we were pleased to be able to call upon the expertise of a number of specialists from New Zealand, as well as Switzerland, Hungary and Italy.”

Aside from the technical aspects of the project, Gordon says the work as a whole was also notable for proceeding without significant health and safety incidences. “To give you an idea of how many contracting entities and other stakeholders were involved in the Tekapo Canal re-lining project, Genesis Energy had over 400 people pass through the health and safety induction programme. “The second phase of work didn’t have any lost time injury situations, despite over 200,000 man hours being worked. We’re very proud that such an extensive project incorporating a large array of contractors working within a variety of differing environments can boast that.” Gordon says that, in addition to standardised health and safety induction, the need for contractors to be sun smart was a large component of the field work requirement. “Out there in the Waitaki Valley in the middle of summer, it can be absolutely searing. Being sun smart and remaining hydrated were actually very real issues for contractors.”


Multiple users While the re-lining project will naturally benefit electricity users in both the North and South Islands, the Tekapo Canal system has been used by a growing number of stakeholders over the past three decades, including both commercial and recreational users. In addition to the interests of local

landholders Environment Canterbury, stakeholders include Fish and Game, recreational canal users and, uniquely, the Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Company. The world famous salmon producer pioneered salmon farming in canals in 1992 with help from the hydroelectric generation company (ECNZ), before launching a trial salmon farm raft in the Ohau Canal. In 1995 the company started a further trial on the neighbouring Tekapo Canal, which has now become the highest salmon farm site in the world at 677 metres above sea level. Meanwhile, a short distance downstream from the Lake Tekapo control gates is a 500 metre-long kayak slalom course built by previous canal owners Meridian in 1998. Tekapo operators make up to 15 recreational releases of water (of up to 60 cumecs) down this whitewater course, or the Tekapo River, each year between October and April for water sports activity. Fly fishing has become popular on the canals too, with the constant flow of oxygen rich canal water producing some good sized brown and rainbow trout. “The re-lining project has been designed to give the system a full four or five decade long run without needing to complete anything of this scale again,” concludes Gordon. “That’s of serious benefit not only to us and our customers, but for anyone utilising the unique infrastructure of the Tekapo Canal.”


A CONTRACTOR’S PERSPECTIVE Taylors Contracting was involved in the Tekapo Canal Remediation project. Repairing the canal, built in the early 1970s, was time critical. Every time the canal was dry the owner, hydro generator Genesis Energy, was losing big money. BY ALAN TITCHALL.

TIME WAS OF THE ESSENCE in this project as the canal shutdown windows were very limited, so forward planning for the project was very important, says Taylors Contracting managing director, Charlie Taylor. “The entire project was wrapped in extremely tight time frames with no extensions as the operational costs to Genesis were significant. “There was a huge amount of preplanning, with everything planned to the half day. We did trial work to test our systems prior to the canal shutdown so we knew how things were going to pan out, including the processes of how we were going to put the liner on.” Although an engineering feat back in 1977, the 26.5-kilometre Tekapo Canal leaked from day one due to the engineering techniques employed back then. The earth lining was a clay-bound glacial till on top of gravel. Once the clay 22 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

was breached, the water poured through the gravel like a drain. After three decades the canal liner had deteriorated to the extent that the water loss was estimated to be substantial. The canal also needed to meet current building standards and earthquake risk. The current canal owner, Genesis Energy, searched worldwide for a solution and eventually chose a liner imported from Europe. Carpi Tech, canal remediation experts based in Switzerland, were contracted to manage the liner installation. During the first half of 2012, Taylors Contracting joined a team of contractors and engineers, including Fulton Hogan, Carpi Tech, and URS to develop a construction design with Genesis Energy. Preparations started in September 2012 for the first season shutdown in January 2013 – a 14-week period

to complete the first five kilometres of relining. “This project was different in that the contractors were selected before the design and price were negotiated,” says Charlie. Taylors Contracting’s scope of works included site establishment and disestablishment, construction and deconstruction of coffer dams, canal reconstruction, canal subgrade treatment, quarrying, canal embankment works, and reinstatement works. “The success of the project involved a huge amount of planning. Before work started we were involved in full scale construction trials, including building a replica section of canal to the same depth and grade.” Charlie says this planning phase also clarified to all parties the imperatives of quality and time, particularly around the outage schedule, which called for

multiple contingencies. “The allocation by Genesis of a substantial period for this project planning was critical to the success of the project.” While each contractor had a specialist role, collectively they had to come up with a “balanced solution” so that all work streams advanced in parallel. Suffice to add, the project demanded a close working relationship and bond between the management and staff of the principals – Genesis Energy, Fulton Hogan, and Carpi as well as the engineers URS. “We were all proactive in coming up with solutions using innovative ideas and having good communication lines.”

Methodology – first catch your fish Construction followed over two seasons in the summers of 2012-2013 and 2013-2014. Coffer dams were built to close off the

section of canal being relined and water was then pumped down to a low level to rescue salmon, trout and other fish that were relocated to another part of the canal. “A lot of fish,” Charlie adds, as there is a salmon farm downstream from the project works. “Around 800 salmon and trout, plus thousands of native ‘bullies’ were removed from the canal as part of the preparation.” The environmental value of the project was imbedded in the tender process. “Measures were encapsulated in various conditions of the 41 consents issued by the Canterbury Regional and Mackenzie District Councils,” says Charlie. These consents required the preparation of a detailed Environmental Management Plan for works, supported by another 11 supplementary environmental management plans addressing specific risk areas including storm water control,

Charlie Taylor, managing director of Taylors Contracting says, “The success of the project involved a huge amount of planning. Before work started we were involved in full scale construction trials, including building a replica section of canal to the same depth and grade.”



sediment and erosion control, dust control, and noise management. The project was located about 15 kilometres south west of the Lake Tekapo township, which is a popular tourist region and well-used by recreational fishermen. The road along the edge of the canal was closed during the construction works. The installation and construction of the coffer dams was also a major potential issue and extreme care had to be taken to ensure that a safe working environment was available to all staff working downstream. Once in place, the water was over pumped to the downstream coffer dam so there was a dry surface for the construction works to take place.

First outage and construction January to April 2013 With the section of the canal emptied, Taylors Contracting was charged with ‘mucking out’ the canal floor; removing the original frost protection; completing the subgrade treatment and excavation and backfill for the replacement of under-


canal culverts; embankment repairs; and trimming and rolling batter slopes in preparation for the liner installation. “Once the surface was approved we put a 50mm layer of sand on the canal surface and then the liner was laid on top and its sections welded. We put another 50mm of sand on top of the liner and Fulton Hogan placed ballast on the bottom to hold it down.” Reinforced aggregate ballast was constructed on each canal crest, and then the coffer dams removed and the canal refilled. “Removing the silt laden material and old frost protection layer from the canal floor was a potential issue,” says Charlie. “Dump trucks could not travel on the canal floor so a methodology was devised to construct a haul road down the batter slope of the canal by cutting into the embankment, so the trucks could remove material from the floor to the dump site. The batters were then prepared for the lining contractors following their progress. “When the batters had been trimmed

off, they still needed to be compacted to allow for a steady platform for the liner to be installed. “It was decided to set up winches on the rear of John Deere JD700 dozers. Fitted to these winches were two, fourtonne drum rollers that were lowered down the batter slopes to the base of the canal and then winched back up. This was done progressively and methodically throughout the project.” This innovation was among many developed by Taylors Contracting. On top of the liner, there was a layer of sand, a layer of geo-grid, with a final layer of frost protection placed for the canal invert. The thickness and placement of the sand-blinding layer through the remediation areas was critical, Charlie adds. “Dump trucks imported the material to the work area where it was placed with an excavator equipped with a longreach boom and levelled using Trimble’s Machine Control. “The geo-grid was rolled perpendicular

to the canal flow and a final layer of frost protection placed on top, again using the Trimble Machine Control.” The liner system integrity objective was to minimise defects with an expected achievement of less than one unacceptable defect per 4000 square metres – an unacceptable defect being a puncture of one square centimetre or more. “Due to these tight directives, it was essential that the liner base was smooth and free of imperfections and sharp edges,” says Charlie. Throughout the project there were up to eight machines with guided GPS on the site. “We also use Trimble Business Centre survey software for calculations, design and setout applications. “This technology allows extra room for the operators so they don’t have to work around setout pegs and is therefore a saving on costs due to not having to constantly be setting out pegs by a surveyor for line and level.” Stage one of the project, a five kilometre stretch of the canal linking the Tekapo A and B power houses, was completed in April 2013. Stage two, during January to March 2014,

involved a two kilometre stretch on the ‘Maryburn Fill’, which was completed in March 2014, more than a month ahead of schedule.

Contracting coordination

The installation and construction of the coffer dams was also a major potential issue and extreme care had to be taken to ensure that a safe working environment was available to all staff working downstream.

“At the completion of the first construction period, a full debrief was held over lessons learned, which could then be put in place for the next season, and a second wave of project

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A site-wide health and safety manager was put in place for all parties on site and the different parties involved in the project were all located within one communal work area to allow for easy communication during the project.


planning with improvements developed which were implemented in the second stage,” says Charlie. Graphs were completed on a daily basis and displayed on notice boards in the morning tea room so that all workers on site could see how progress was being made against the programme for all streams on a daily basis. Due to the nature of the project works, and the other civil contractors working on-site, communication was key to a successful injury or incident free worksite. Daily catch-ups were held between contractors to discuss where each contractor was heading – to arrange access through the site and general site issues. The health and safety plan was developed by the whole project management team. “All stakeholders decided to work under Fulton Hogan’s Golden Rules and all staff were encouraged to actively bring up any issues or potential issues that they may have encountered during the day, so control can be put in place before any major issues arose,” says Charlie. “A site-wide health and safety manager was put in place for all parties on site and the different parties involved in the project were all located within one communal work area to allow for easy communication during the project.” Taylors Contracting recorded no serious

harm, minor or major incidents, or lost time injuries, he adds.

It was bloody cold up there The overall project timetable, from initiation in June 2011, to completion in March 2014, was in itself a remarkable feat for a project of this complexity and scale. “We were working on a high level in a remote alpine area, with tight deadlines, and difficult technical conditions. “The operations and teamwork between the different organisations worked together as one functioning unit including workers from different cultures including Hungary, Germany, and Italy.” Any surprises during the project? “Sure – we thought we could keep well in front of the liner guys, but they were right on our tail the whole time. “And we found some old firearms and swords someone had thrown into the canal. They were quite rusted, but the Police picked them up. We also underestimated the effect of the wind and on one day we had winds gusting up around 130 kilometres per hour. “During our preplanning the wind records told us that the wind was averaging 110 kilometres per hour and we thought that must have been rogue data – but no it wasn’t. “Man! It can blow up there. “It gave us a lot of respect for the guys that built that canal in the first place.”



Growing from six to nine lanes wide, plus dedicated bus lanes and cycleway, the new SH18 causeway will also lift the road surface by 1.5 metres, fixing a regular flooding problem faced by West Auckland commuters.


One of the largest roading projects in the country’s history is surging ahead in west Auckland and, although it’s progressing well, there’s still a lot to do. BY MARY SEARLE BELL.

WORK ON THE $1.45 BILLION Western Ring Route is permanently changing the topography of Auckland’s motorway and includes a massive upgrade to the causeway that links the suburbs of west Auckland with the city. Made up of five major interconnected projects that will provide a 47-kilometre-long motorway alternative to State Highway 1, the causeway project is really an upgrade to an existing motorway that was constructed in the 1950s. Since then it has sunk considerably and is now prone to flooding during extremely high tides and bad weather. The upgrade will raise it by 1.5 metres for half its length and widen the existing dual three-lane motorway significantly. The new configuration will have five lanes westbound and four lanes city-bound. There will also be dedicated bus shoulder lanes, and the cycleway is also being improved. As acting State Highway manager for Auckland and Northland Mieszko Iwaskow says, “The 4.8 kilometre-long Causeway Upgrade is vital to the improvement of the city’s roading network. “This particular section of motorway sees more than 90,000 vehicles each day, along with the hundreds of daily users of the cycleway that runs alongside it.” Motorists can see the transformation progress daily as huge volumes of rock are trucked in and shaped to support the new road. Causeway Alliance project manager Mark Evans says the project is tracking well but, as with many things, “the devil is in the detail”. A small amount of asbestos-contaminated fill was found in Rosebank Domain and had to be removed, adding cost and a time delay to that element of the project. However, Mark says savings have been made elsewhere – the team has been able to source fill from a number of nearby projects which means a reduction in


transport costs, and they obtained some rock material from a site in south Auckland at no charge. Mark says the design and construction are going pretty much to plan. He is particularly proud of the Causeway Alliance’s exceptional compliance figures. The project has a long list of requirements to tick off largely because the road passes through the Motu Manawa-Pollen Island marine reserve, which requires additional environmental consideration. Auckland Council inspectors have scored the site ‘one’ (the highest possible score) 196 times in 197 inspections, and ‘two’ just once. Other environmental successes include innovative design solutions resulting in fewer earthworks and a smaller embankment footprint; installing stormwater treatment devices that remove 80 percent of suspended solids; and significant weed clearing beyond the boundaries of the project. The local fauna seems largely unfazed by the large machinery in its backyard, with bird numbers up from data recorded this time last year. In October, one of the project team photographed a New Zealand fur seal frolicking around the piers of Whau River Bridge as work went on above. In addition to the environmental considerations, the site is a narrow corridor adjacent to high-speed motorists, which brings extra safety risks. These risks are being carefully managed and with such success that the Causeway Alliance team has scooped the NZ Transport Agency’s 2014 Going the Extra Mile (GEM) award for health and safety innovation. The project’s superintendent, Jamie Colquhoun, also recently won a national

“This particular section of motorway sees more than 90,000 vehicles each day, along with the hundreds of daily users of the cycleway that runs alongside it.”




The new configuration will have five lanes westbound and four lanes citybound.

environmental leadership award for his work. Although impressive to travellers on the Northwestern Motorway, the causeway project is somewhat overshadowed by the spectacular Waterview tunnels next door. In late October, excavation of the 2.4 kilometrelong northbound tunnel was completed. The tunnel borer is currently being turned (a tricky engineering job in itself) and will soon start work on the southbound tunnel. This should be finished by October next year. As part of the tunnel contract, the Waterview Connection project includes building surface connections to the existing motorways. The motorway interchange with Great North Road will have four new ramps. The team is currently working on Ramp 3, which will take westbound traffic from SH16 into the tunnel. This flyover should be finished by the end of the year. The team is also constructing nine kilometres of new cycleway and new community amenities such as playgrounds and walkways. Along with the causeway and the tunnels, another three adjacent projects are also in progress: the Te Atatu Road interchange; the Lincoln Road interchange; and the Great North Road-to-St Lukes motorway upgrade. At Te Atatu, work has begun to upgrade all five interchange ramps. In November the first of three stages to raise the Te Atatu Road overbridge was completed to create more clearance for the motorway beneath. The bridge will also be widened


to allow an extra lane in each direction. Users of the Lincoln Road interchange are already enjoying the realigned and wider on ramps and exit lanes. The motorway from St Lukes Road to Great North Road is being widened to allow an extra lane of traffic in each direction. The St Lukes overbridge is also being replaced. The new, higher and wider bridge will also have an extra lane in each direction for motorists and improved facilities for walkers and cyclists. All five contracts underway to complete the Northwestern Upgrade are linked but being undertaken by three different teams, so one of the biggest challenges is ensuring excellent communication between the project teams. “It’s an integrated programme with lots of traffic shifts. We’ve got good people working on the detail,” says Mark. “We have management, operational and governance meetings frequently to ensure we know who can do what and when. “A lot of planning has gone in to get this right.” All five projects of the Waterview Connection and Northwestern Upgrade are due to be completed by early 2017 when the Transport Agency plans to have the tunnels open to traffic. The Western Ring Route project will be fully complete when the Lincoln Road-to-Westgate and Upper Harbour Highway upgrades are finished, and investigation is currently being completed to bring this last component forward.



Opening up about suicide Australian construction-industry statistics are an alarming reminder of our ignorance about mental stresses in our own workplaces and being alert to the signs, writes GAVIN RILEY.

SUICIDE IS A TABOO subject in this country. It’s legally made so by the Coroners Act 2006, which severely restricts publication of details pertaining to self-inflicted deaths. We do know that New Zealand has one of the highest youth-suicide rates in the western world (hence the Coroners Act censorship, to discourage copycat deaths). We may even know that this rate is now falling but that suicide among our elderly is on the rise. But we certainly do not know what the incidence of suicide is in the construction industry because no study has ever been carried out. Which gives “out of left field” statistics from across the Tasman the jolting power of a jackhammer. In the Australian construction industry, which has nearly one million employees, it has been discovered that workers are more than twice as likely to commit suicide than the national average and six times more likely to die by suicide than through a workplace accident. Construction apprentices are two and a half times more likely to commit suicide than other young men their age. These alarming statistics first came to light some years ago, according to Australasia’s Journal of Public Health, after suicide deaths were extracted from a national coronial database and occupations were coded. The data showed that low-skilled workers had a higher suicide rate than those classed as higher skilled. In Queensland the construction industry quickly decided that “suicide is everyone’s business”, not just that of health professionals, and in 2008 set up a Mates in Construction (MiC) charity organisation to try to reduce the rate and improve the mental health and well-being of workers. Working independently of employers and unions, MiC provided community development programmes on sites and supported workers in need through case management and a 24/7 help line. It also made available “life-skills toolbox” training to apprentices and young workers. The Queensland programme has proved so successful – a 10 percent reduction in the risk of suicide over a five-year period up to 2012 – that

the MiC concept has been adopted in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, and a national organisation, Mates in Construction Australia, was set up in October last year. Recently Australia’s ABC news network reported that a leading medical-research institute study had confirmed that training workers to notice changes of behaviour on construction sites, and encouraging stressed colleagues to seek help, was lowering the risk of suicide. Australia’s rapid self-help reaction to a shock discovery is in stark contrast to the situation in Britain where Building magazine recently ran a long and worrying lead article under the heading, “Why is talking about mental health taboo in construction?” Not enough, it seems, has changed in the UK since a decade ago. Then the same prominent trade journal reported that around 200 UK construction workers (out of a workforce of two million) would commit suicide that year – more than in any other sector. The magazine quoted a regional health authority close to London as saying that 16 percent of all suicides in its area in the previous five years were in the construction industry. Another health authority, on the south coast, reported a figure of 10 percent for the same period. According to Building, reasons advanced by industry experts for the high suicide rate included: the itinerant lifestyle of many workers and managers, away from home and often living and working in substandard conditions; loneliness; poor industrial relations and poor job security; stress leading to depression; and an inability to communicate personal problems because of the “just get on with it” attitude prevalent in the industry. A 2004 review of stress in the European construction industry produced similar potential stressors, plus lack of information and consultation on work issues, too little organisational involvement, work quantity (too many jobs to be completed in a given time, including paperwork), and mental strain from the high degree of DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015 33


concentration required on precision tasks. The European study identified construction employees most under stress as managers, road workers (particularly those on night shift), installation workers, crane operators, surveyors, foremen, work planners, and supervisors. The study noted it was part of construction-industry culture to brush aside stress and pointed out the damaging consequences this can have – lower productivity and efficiency, increased sick leave, and high worker turnover. A report prepared in 2007 for Britain’s Health and Safety Executive, the most recent detailed study of the construction industry in the UK, said 88 percent of workers experienced some level of work-related stress and five percent claimed to be suffering from “illness” stemming from stress, depression or anxiety. A survey the previous year by the Chartered Institute of Building found that 85 percent of construction workers felt the industry did not do enough to address mental health in the workplace and this was a factor in poor retention levels. Are the Australian and British construction-industry situations replicated to any marked degree in New Zealand? Without a specific study we have no way of knowing. But if peripheral mental-health statistics are any guide, there is no room for complacency. In late September it was revealed that our police (who are not a mental-health agency) are receiving almost 12,000 attempted or threatened suicide calls a year, nearly 33 a day, and that the figure has been rising by eight percent annually for the past five years. It is of little comfort to know that coroners’ statistics show a three percent drop in suicides for 2013-14. Clearly the sheer volume of calls to police points to a growing societal “stress and distress” that must be making its presence felt in the nation’s workplaces and from which the construction industry is not exempt. Surely the time has come not just to allow but to encourage the public to become informed about suicide and to understand and accept the mental stresses that can lead up to it. In no other area of health are we so in the dark or so uncomfortable when trying to talk about it. For instance, if we see someone with their arm in a sling we are immediately sympathetic; but if we come across someone behaving strangely we instinctively look the other way in embarrassment.

The male-dominated construction industry, with its long hours of work, macho; “don’t whinge” culture, deadline-driven environments, spartan and often isolated and noisy worksites, presents its own singular set of mental pressures which can easily exacerbate any feelings of anxiety, depression or worry an employee may bring to the work day. Though no one should ever be their brother’s keeper, we would be well advised to adopt the Australian Mates in Construction’s successful philosophy that “suicide is everyone’s business” and its extension to embrace the wider aspects of mental health. It’s a subject most of us probably need to understand much better than we do.

HELPLINES LIFELINE – 0800 543 354 (available 24/7) SUICIDE CRISIS – 0508 828 865 (24/7) SAMARITANS – 0800 726 666 (24/7) DEPRESSION – 0800 111 757 (24/7) YOUTHLINE – 0800 376 633 OUTlineNZ – 0800 688 5463

Who’s most at risk The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says work-related suicide is a controversial concept because of debate over the extent and nature of connections that demonstrate a link to work. It says a study has identified high levels of suicide among workers in trades, agriculture and fishing, and writers and artists. Also at risk are labourers, farmers, law-enforcement officers, medical practitioners, and workers in mining, business and repair services, and professional and related services. Industry support organisation Site Safe says work-related stress is a leading cause of poor mental health, with one in five New Zealanders affected by mental illness every year and one in three reporting days where they feel unable to carry out their usual tasks because of problems with their mental health.



Site Safe says warning signs to look out for in a workmate include: Constantly feeling down or hopeless; having little interest or pleasure in doing things; being irritable, restless, feeling tired all the time, or experiencing a loss of energy; increased sick days; excessive use of alcohol or drugs; rapid changes of mood. Creating an accepting, non-discriminatory workplace starts from the top, Site Safe says. If management establishes a good working culture where differences are valued, discrimination is not accepted, and cooperative and flexible approaches to working situations for everyone are the norm, then there is less likely to be stigma in the workplace. Inclusion, respect, listening and understanding should be evident in all working environments.


A P I E R A I R P O R T R U N WAY [ H I G G I N S ]












An annual report on the country’s contracting industry with contributions from selected association chiefs, expert commentators and industry representatives who reflect on the past year and forecast the coming year.




NEW PLYMOUTH’S JAM Upgrading the busiest thoroughfare in New Plymouth is the largest and most important job the New Zealand Transport Agency has undertaken in Taranaki for several years. BY NEIL RITCHIE. DECADES AGO ALL road users and pedestrians entering or leaving New Plymouth via the city’s northern outlet had to negotiate the city’s main streets and some rural roads, plus these main arterial routes became clogged for the then short periods of peak traffic flows. And the situation has not changed markedly over the years despite the Northgate and Bell Block Bypass Projects, both of which were aimed at improving traffic flows and reducing travel times, primarily through the construction of several new sections of State Highway 3 (SH3), which runs through the city to the north and the south. This was mainly because the region’s two main industries, energy and dairying, have grown remarkably in recent years, with Taranaki being one of the fastest expanding regional economies since 2007. This has meant more freight and greater general traffic flows, particularly in the New Plymouth district, as the number of trucks and road tankers carrying a variety of dairy and petroleum products continues to increase.

UPGRADE AT A GLANCE… • Widening of the main carriageway to provide two lanes in each direction and improvements to intersections to improve safety and increase traffic capacity. • Full-length cycle lanes in each direction, along with pedestrian improvements. • Upgrading traffic signals and the relocation of services outside the main carriageway. • The installation of new communications cables, including ultrafast fibre broadband, high and medium-voltage power cables, bulk and local water pipelines, including sewerage and natural gas pipelines. • Two retaining walls, one soil nail wall with a concrete façade, and one with bored concrete, steel columns and timber. • Two bridges with bored and concreted piles under piers and driven universal columns (UCs) at the abutments. The bridges’ decks consist of single hollow core beams. • New kerb, channel and stormwater drainage at these realigned or rehabilitated areas. Upgrading of street lights and landscaping to new bridge approaches and abutments. • Extension of, and improvements to, an existing walkway and a minor realignment of that walkway.


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Recent work has included preparing the necessary construction and traffic management plans and fabricating the moulds for the pre-cast concrete beams that will allow the new bridges to be constructed more efficiently.


So the recent government approval of the $16 million “SH3 Vickers to New Plymouth City Project” to further improve traffic capacities and flows on the city’s northern outlet is very welcome. The New Zealand Transport Agency says there are some significant issues associated with this project. • Several intersections are approaching their maximum capacity of vehicles able to access or exit during the now extended times of peak traffic flows. • SH3 is the only route to the north and east of the central city, with no parallel network, meaning there is no alternative travel option in the event of a major incident. • Freight to and from the north relies heavily on this route to travel between industries and Port Taranaki near the western edge of the city. Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee officially signalled the start of the project by turning the first sod of dirt on the major overhaul of the main northern route in July after five years of planning, investigation, consents and tendering work.


Freight to and from the north relies heavily on this route to travel between industries and Port Taranaki near the western edge of the city.


And within weeks, the initial stages of the project were clearly seen to all travelling this northern route. There were the earthworks at strategic points along the two-plus kilometres of SH3, plus the clearly visible “Fulton Hogan tent” alongside the existing Waiwhakaiho Bridge. Fulton Hogan is the main contractor and is undertaking overall management of project. This involves Fulton Hogan overseeing the construction of two new bridges, better connections for cycle routes, upgrades to several city intersections, stabilising, surfacing and traffic management, as well as the construction of retaining walls. The main subcontractor is


Fulton Hogan is the main contractor and is undertaking overall management of project. This involves Fulton Hogan overseeing the construction of two new bridges, better connections for cycle routes, upgrades to several city intersections, stabilising, surfacing and traffic management, as well as the construction of retaining walls.


Burgess Crowley Civil, which is undertaking the earthworks, service relocations and drainage. NZTA’s highway and network operations project team manager John Jones says the initial stages of the project have gone very well. Recent work has included preparing the necessary construction and traffic management plans and fabricating the moulds for the pre-cast concrete beams that will allow the new bridges to be constructed more efficiently. Trees at the bridge sites have been removed and an old cycle bridge has also been removed to make way for a new one. Commencement of piling for one of the new bridges has started, the construction of which should be completed by May 2015. A walkway has already been diverted under an existing road bridge, with the new walkway route expected to be in place next February. The relocation of drainage and services has commenced in advance of road widening works. Relocation of services was scheduled to start during November and in December the construction of the second new bridge is due to begin, with a scheduled completion date of May next year.


The relocation of drainage and services has commenced in advance of road widening works.


Road widening is due to start during March 2015, as are intersection improvements on the eastbound side of the route. Jones says the project is progressing well, with few interruptions or delays. “However, work did stop about October 23, during the construction of an access track for a piling machine when bones were discovered at the site. Our accidental discovery protocols were invoked and work stopped. “An archaeologist was brought in and he ascertained the remains were ovine, that is, of a sheep, and not something of historical or cultural significance. So work resumed the same day.” The “SH3 Vickers to New Plymouth City Project” should be completed by early 2016.


Regulatory changes on the horizon

New duties and obligations ANDY LOADER from First Rock Consultancy reviews the area of ‘duties and obligations’

as currently proposed in the new Health and Safety Reform Bill currently before a select committee and expected to come into effect in 2015. CHANGES TO H&S REQUIREMENTS as a result of the passing of this Bill are going to be significant, and will set out extra duties for employers and others over and above what has been required for compliance with the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The primary duty of workplace safety will fall on a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) and currently covers almost every type of working relationship, including working for non-profit organisations. Part 2 of the Reform Bill concerns general duties for all PCBUs who will be responsible, so far as is “reasonably practicable”, for the health and safety of workers (employed or engaged) by the PCBU, and workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU. A PCBU must also ensure (“so far as is reasonably practicable”) the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking. This definition of “reasonably practicable” will replace the current standard of “all practicable steps” (which includes among its ‘assessment’ whether the cost to address the risk is grossly disproportionate). Although they sound almost the same the changes in the requirements under the new definition are significant. PCBUs who are involved in ‘management’ or are in ‘control’ of worksites have additional duties, as do those involved in the design, manufacture, import, supply, installation, construction, or commission of plant.

Duty of officers There are also duties and obligations set out in the Bill for “Officers” (officers may be partners in a partnership, company directors and any senior person in an organisation who makes substantial decisions). Officers have an obligation to do due diligence; take an active role in the management of health and safety in their workplaces; and check, review and monitor the implementation of health and safety in their workplaces. Due diligence also includes ensuring PCBUs comply with their duties, and take reasonable steps to “gain an understanding of the nature of the operations of the business, or undertaking of the PCBU and generally of the hazards and risks associated with those operations among other obligations”. The ‘due diligence requirements’ are consistent with the recommended steps in the Institute of Directors’ Good Governance Practices Guideline for Managing Health and Safety Risks, published in early 2013. Officers should review these guidelines to consider whether they can do more to understand their business and take steps to ensure their business has the necessary health and safety processes in place. 42 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

Under section 27 all duty holders who have a health and safety duty in relation to the same matter are required to consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with all other persons who have a duty in relation to the same matter. Going forward, all parties with duties in relation to the same matter will have to consult with each other, irrespective of whether they directly have health and safety duties to each other.


...all PCBUs and officers should be already starting to put in place procedures to ensure compliance with the duties and obligations as currently set out in the Bill.


Duty of workers Similar to the employee duty under the HSEA, workers have a duty to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and take reasonable care that their acts or omissions do not adversely affect the health and safety of others. They must also comply with any reasonable instruction that is given by a PCBU to allow the PCBU to comply, and cooperate with any reasonable policy or procedure of the PCBU relating to health or safety at the workplace that has been notified to workers. In association with this, there are proposed increased requirements around employee ‘participation’ in health and safety in the workplace, and both employers and PCBUs are required to consult with their employees and encourage them to participate in workplace health and safety. There have been significant increases in the levels of penalties that are set out in the Reform Bill. Under Category 1 Reckless conduct, for instance, the maximum penalty for an individual PCBU or officer is $600,000 (or $300,000 for an individual who is a worker or other person) or five years’ imprisonment, or both, and for a body corporate it is $3 million. Although the Reform Bill has yet to be passed into law, and we don’t know for certain what the final Act will look like, we can be sure that the duties and obligations for PCBUs and officers will not change significantly from those set out in the Bill. Therefore all PCBUs and officers should be already starting to put in place procedures to ensure compliance with the duties and obligations as currently set out in the Bill. The simple things that can be done in the meantime include making sure that health and safety is an agenda item at every board meeting and reviewing current procedures and H&S policies to ensure that they will be compliant under the requirements contained in the Reform Bill.

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Slippery work in Auckland

CONTRACTOR DEMPSEY WOOD CIVIL is approaching the completion of the $2.3 million contract to create 10,000 lineal metres of uncovered, terraced, embankment seating above existing terraced seating at what was once an iconic speedway and concert venue in Auckland. THE CONTRACT INVOLVES Dempsey Wood earth-working a 1.2 hectare site and an approximately 5000 cubic metre cut to fill to create a uniform a 1:2.7 batter of solid clay at Western Springs Stadium in Auckland. The work is being done for Auckland Stadiums, a Council Controlled Organisation responsible for three stadia across Auckland – Mount Smart and QBE (formerly North Harbour) stadiums as well as Western Springs. Head of business improvement for Auckland Stadiums James Parkinson says work will result in safer and more comfortable seating options 44 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

for patrons in the short term and, in the long term, will offer additional seating for sports events. The council hopes to redevelop “the Springs” and has been in discussions with Speedway to move its events to Mount Smart, which is Council’s preferred option. This, says the council, would solve issues with noise levels at Western Springs, more events could be held in a season, and more seating at Mt Smart would be available for speedway events. Dempsey Wood is an industry leader in shear-key construction and has extensive


experience in carrying out bulk earthworks operations in steep terrain and devising methodologies to mitigate the problems this presents. It has been responsible for the whole job. “We prefer to be the main contractor on any job,” explains managing director Conal Dempsey, who started the company 21 years ago. Obviously, it’s a “pretty technical” job, he says, made possible through the use of very accurate machine control equipment used at all stages.

GPS-based technology This has included the initial topographic surveying work as well as ongoing construction survey gear using everything from a robotic total station complemented with a rover and base station, to GPS-based automated Leica machine controls for dozers, graders and excavators, supplied by Global Survey. “The design is supplied by the consultant,” explains Dempsey Wood’s surveyor Stephen Wardle. “This goes into the Leica 3D machine control software which is operated using GPS,

Many Aucklanders will remember jumping the fences to get into concerts at Western Springs. New terraced seating will replace the old grassy bank, once surrounded by mature macrocarpa trees.



The extremely steep slope means working conditions are not for the faint hearted. “It’s challenging work,” says Conal. “Machines are working on very steep clay terrain – so steep they need grip cleats on their tracks.”

and ensures our earthworks are cut to precise depths and angles without needing to use pegs. “I share the same design data on my iCON robotic total-station which allows me to operate as just one person. By checking my readings against the excavator’s anywhere on site, we’re able to guarantee independent cross-checking of each and every cut.” Using a single supplier, Global Survey, and single brand, Leica, for all positioning, measurement and machine control technology means everything on site integrates seamlessly, and as a result return on investment has been very rapid, says Conal Dempsey. The extremely steep slope means working conditions are not for the faint hearted. “It’s challenging work,” says Conal. “Machines are working on very steep clay terrain – so steep they need grip cleats on their tracks.” Being on solid clay also means that rain can interrupt work at any time because the slope immediately becomes extremely slick. With Auckland’s reputation for four seasons in one day, that’s a real challenge. “Doing stabilised cut to fill on a steep slope in such a confined area provided a real challenge,” says Dempsey Wood’s site project manager Michael Lunjevich. “We were able to achieve it by having a methodology in place that always ensured


safe plant access across the slope and kept the stabilising and compacting activities to flat temporary benches as we progressed up the hill. The safety of our guys is paramount so it was important to have their input when putting the methodology together. “Being able to rely on the Leica GPS enabled excavator for trimming also adds a safety advantage to our operation. It eliminates the need for a person to be controlling trim levels and having to work in close proximity to large machinery which is especially beneficial on our compact site.” The history of resident complaints regarding speedway event noise at Western Springs meant that construction noise impacts needed to be managed by Dempsey Wood. Luckily the speed the company has been able to work at has meant residents surrounding the site have had their weekends significantly less disturbed than they would have been even five years ago. “Without using the latest technology, we couldn’t have made such accurate cuts without taking a lot more time and using a multitude of pegs and such. Having well maintained plant also helps to reduce our noise output.” Getting the scoria up to the top retaining wall was one of the first tasks that needed to be completed and was another challenge, says Stephen. The

scoria had to be embedded behind the existing concrete wall between private properties and Western Springs. The site has been divided into thirds, in cut and fill operations. This was an environmental requirement that also added to the challenge. Some additional drainage has been incorporated into the design, complementing the existing drainage which remains intact. Like the Yarrow Stadium in New Plymouth on which the design was based, seating will be uncovered.

Subtle retaining walls are incorporated into the seating design and unlike the existing concrete terraces, these framework supported terraces are just 400mm deep by 170mm high. Six stairwells are spaced across the development, compared to four on the larger existing levels. Once seating has been blocked out and wooden stairwells completed, the slope will be covered in artificial turf. “Council agreed this will be longer lasting than the ready-lawn they were originally considering,” Conal explains.

Dempsey Wood has been very aware of the health and safety challenges presented by the project, and the company undertook morning prestarts to review procedures and safety requirements. All the safety provisions in the world are no use if they’re not being used, though. Conal agrees. “Our company recognises the challenges and limits the risks by using common sense, safe and intelligent methodologies which are then clearly communicated to the staff. Project first, safety always.”



In praise of

ALAN TITCHALL explains why roundabouts are not just about junctions in our roading systems, but represent a cultural link with communities and cities. IT SHOULD NOT COME as a surprise to learn that the word ‘roundabout’ was added to our vocabulary by the Poms and they are obsessed with the things. “They lift our spirits during long journeys with their infinite variety,” says Kevin Beresford, the president of the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society. Kevin was contributing to a story in the UK’s Independent newspaper on the society’s ‘Roundabout of the Year’ – an award doled out each year since 2003. For 2014 the big prize went to Tewkesbury’s Stonehills roundabout on which sits a very amateur wooden statue of a horse and rider with a lance. Kevin, himself, would have preferred 48 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

the award went to the tin man sitting in a roundabout in Brownhills, Staffordshire. “It’s like a Soviet-era statue of a miner. On a roundabout,” he says in admiration. Members of the society meet in a Redditch pub every two months and swap photos of roundabouts around the UK. If any reader knows of such a society in this fair country then let me know, as I would like to join them. I find roundabouts fascinating and New Zealand has gone absolutely bonkers constructing them on every new highway built since the millennium. Hamilton could be called the ‘city of roundabouts’. I share Kevin Beresford’s motoring appreciation for roundabouts – they

break the journey and signal that you are not far from some destination, for rarely do you find them in the middle of nowhere. One of the exceptions is the SH2 and Paeroa-Tahuna Road roundabout in the Waikato. Most of our large roundabouts have a gradual approach that allows you to keep up a reasonable momentum so you can (as long as it is clear to one’s right) hook around and exit at exciting speeds. There’s a distinct feeling of ‘bad luck’ having to give-way at a large country roundabout. Older city ones tend to be just the opposite and require a compulsory stop and an anxious wait for a gap in the traffic


before giving the accelerator pedal a quick stomp. If you haven’t negotiated Auckland’s Royal Oak roundabout (five road feeders and pedestrian crossings) you really haven’t lived in a motoring sense. This is a right prick of a roading system. At afternoon peak hour when the local old folks homes liberate their contents so they can painfully zimmer-frame their way over the numerous pedestrian crossings at the roundabout exits, the circulating traffic invariably screws itself into a stationary jam. When Contrafed Publishing was based in Onehunga, I drove through this Gordian traffic knot twice a day. A motoring achievement I put up there with my four years driving taxis in Sydney when I was a lot younger. The Panmure roundabout in eastern Auckland was so deplorably dangerous

that even the Transport Agency gave up, ripped it out and replaced it with a signalised intersection as part of the AMETI project (Contractor September, 2014). The general rule is – roundabouts work wonderfully until the traffic using them gets to a certain level. Roundabouts are only just over a century old, but their precursor was circular junctions such as the Circus in the English city of Bath completed in 1768, the Columbus Circle built in Manhattan in 1904, and the famous Place de l’Étoile built around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in 1907. However, the first roundabout as we love and hate them, was designed in 1907 by architect John McLaren in San Jose, California. The first British ‘circular junction’ followed in Letchworth Garden City in 1909. ‘Traffic circles’ were constructed in

the United States in later years but they didn’t really take off, as they did in the UK and France. They were also commonly called ‘a one-way gyratory’ before the English coined the obvious. By 2010 the French were hurtling around more than 30,000 roundabouts. On my first motoring trip to France I wasn’t used to hurtling around any roundabout the wrong way and tackled them with more of a sedate noodling. That was before I came into a small township with a large and aggressive truck hurrying me along from behind. I suddenly entered a roundabout in the centre of that town at a reckless speed and went, instinctively, around the wrong way and met the said truck head on, avoiding its grill by centimetres, but sending the driver’s wing mirror flying. I had a car full of screaming passengers DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015 49


The Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England is located in a town of 150,000 people and 600 roundabouts. This nightmare was built in 1972 and is made up of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central, anti-clockwise roundabout. It is consistently voted one of the scariest junctions in Britain.

You would think that after 100 years the design of a roundabout would be as easy as buying one from the local service station, but there have been great stuff-ups.

who were not impressed, and even less impressed when I shot off the first exit to gather my wits and then returned to roundabout to repeat the error. This time I lost the passenger’s wing mirror. I avoided little French towns after that. I haven’t driven around the Magic Roundabout in Swindon, England and I don’t intend to. Located in a town of 150,000 people and 600 roundabouts, this nightmare was built in 1972 and is made up of five mini-roundabouts arranged around a sixth central, anti-clockwise roundabout. It is consistently voted one of the scariest junctions in Britain. Kiwi roundabout centres tend to be ‘planted’ gardening jobs rather than sites for sculptures, but who knows? Maybe local councils will take a lesson from the UK 50 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

where they are ‘planted’ with something reflecting the area, such as the foundry objects on one in Dudley where’s there’s a lot of heavy industry. There’s a six metre cockerel on the (appropriately enough) Dorking Cockerel roundabout; a Chinese pagoda in Birmingham; a laser and light show in Haverhill; and a working windmill in York. You would think that after 100 years the design of a roundabout would be as easy as buying one from the local service station, but there have been great stuff-ups. A classic case was the three roundabouts on the East Taupo Arterial designed by the Taupo District Council and signed off by the Transport Agency. They had to be redesigned (twice), demolished and rebuilt at a cost of millions of dollars

just before the pass opened in 2011. Apparently, they had forgotten the heavy haulage guys. In contrast the temporary roundabout on SH1 in Cambridge is to get a $450,000 revamp so it can stay in place, thanks to a partnership between the Transport Agency and Waipa District Council (jointly funded). This roundabout was only a temporary measure while bridge and roads were rebuilt, but Cambridge residents liked it so much (a little touch of Hamilton or even France maybe?) they petitioned to have it remain in place. So on that note, I vote Cambridge as the ideal location for the country’s first Roundabout Appreciation Society. Any seconders?

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WELCOME TO MY 61ST and final column for Contractor magazine. I‘m sure you can appreciate that sitting down every four or five weeks for five and a half years to write a regular column and finding something interesting and useful to write can be quite a challenge. From time to time one wonders if anyone reads it anyway and then something happens which demonstrates that people do actually read it. Sometimes this has come from passing comments or a phone call to discuss further or to acknowledge the column. And sometimes it’s rather more dramatic such as when I wrote a strong piece against the ‘unconditional on demand bank bonds’ being proposed by the Auckland Regional Contracts Group (ARCG) for adoption by the new Auckland Council. This column generated a couple of fast meetings and phone calls from a senior executive working on the amalgamation who told me ARCG had grossly exceeded its mandate and had been summarily dissolved and the proposed requirements were not going to happen. While this possibly caused some delay in the unification of standards and specifications in the new Auckland Council, it was also a narrow escape for the SME contracting industry that simply could not have afforded to put up the required bonds – much less meet the criteria of submitting the bonds with the tender documentation, potentially for multiple tenders over the same period, without destroying their balance sheets. Other columns have covered

earthquakes, procurement issues, health and safety, voidable transactions and liquidators and of course the NZTA maintenance and operations review and Network Outcomes Contracts (NOCs). All of these things are but a fraction of the work that the National Office team has been engaged in over the past years and on reflection we have been successful in almost every campaign or advocacy position we have taken. This, in my view at least, means the organisation is in a much stronger position than it was when my team set about their work and it is very satisfying to leave while things are in good shape. I’ve really enjoyed working with Lyn Kuchenbecker, Tricia Logan, Malcolm Abernethy, James Corlett and Ollie Turner and more latterly with Alan Stevens. These are passionate and dedicated people doing very good work on behalf of the membership and the sector and I will miss working with them – but they will do just fine without me and I am sure they are all waiting with bated breath to see who comes along to sit in the corner office at Margan House next and what the next industry and organisational challenges will be in 2015. The big one on the horizon will be the preparation of support and guidance material to assist members in preparing for the new Health and Safety legislation which is due to go live on April 1, 2015. In the meantime, WorkSafe has some very good preliminary information on their website. As I look back on my tenure here, I think what I am most pleased with would

...much of what the organisation does is not obvious to outside observers and you can only get the value and wider knowledge by participating. 52 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

be the opportunity to make a difference through the Minister’s Road Maintenance Task Force and the Minister’s Local Government Infrastructure Advisory Group, the establishment of the Construction Safety Council and the successful collaboration (albeit with mutual occasional grumpiness) with NZTA over the NOCs. I think that straightening out National Office’s financial systems has been a satisfying achievement as has the time I have spent working with Kevin and his team at Contrafed Publishing. I am especially pleased to have been part of the Contrafed team that worked with Local Government NZ to re-establish the new LG Magazine that goes out to local authorities – contractors and suppliers should be subscribing to this one to better understand what is happening at local government. As a final note, other than to say a big thank you to all the members who have contributed to and supported me in my work, is that members of Civil Contractors NZ need to participate in the day to day operations of your branch and participate in conference if you want to get real value out of your membership. You cannot run a successful and sustainable business and grow it if you are operating in a silo away from your industry body. I mentioned in my column last month that much of what the organisation does is not obvious to outside observers and you can only get the value and wider knowledge by participating. I recall a quote that says “once you see the band wagon – it’s already too late to get on it”. The message is that by participating in your industry organisation, you can get a sense of what might happen in your industry before it takes form – and then you can position yourself and benefit from changes rather than getting run over by them.



I’LL GET STRAIGHT to the point, concrete masonry doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves. Yet it is a staple material of our construction industry; a silent workhorse that encompasses reinforced concrete block and concrete block veneer, along with concrete block paving and flagstone paving for pedestrian walkways. The quintessential prefabricated product, it offers designers and builders flexible, robust and affordable solutions across residential, commercial and civil applications. Let’s take a quick look at the benefits available through the use of concrete masonry, and some of the key resources that enable its uptake.

What’s on offer? The extended fire protection offered by concrete masonry remains key in fire regulation for various reasons, not least of which is providing a fire barrier that does not contribute to the fire load. Ironically, the reduction in fire requirements for inter-tenancy walls has led to a growth in sound transmission problems. Despite various competing systems, masonry remains tried and proven. The weathertight credentials of masonry are enhanced by the fact that it doesn’t rot. Also, industry has moved on from recommending weatherproofing, to providing weathertight details. While certain concrete masonry applications require assistance to achieve the stipulated R-values, its ability within a passive solar design to trap, store and release the sun’s heat is unquestioned. The structural environment for concrete masonry has been one of adaptation as and when new structural information, particularly relating to seismic actions,

has come to the fore and been expressed in revised regulation.

NZ Concrete Masonry Association (NZCMA) The development of concrete masonry across New Zealand can be linked to the activities of the NZ Concrete Masonry Association (NZCMA). With its beginnings in 1956, the NZCMA has promoted and offered technical support. To keep concrete masonry information up to date, the NZCMA works closely with the Cement & Concrete Association of NZ (CCANZ) and with the National Concrete Masonry Association in the USA and the Concrete Masonry Association of Australia. While the future of the NZCMA forms part of the wider debate about rationalisation across concrete industry associations, its website (www.nzcma.org.nz) offers a range of resources for download.

Concrete Masonry Manual One such resource is the Concrete Masonry Manual, which was created in the late 1970s as a guide to the design and construction of concrete masonry. Periodically reviewed over the decades as Standards change, the content was last updated in 2013.

Weathertight code of practice Another resource, one cited by the NZ Building Code as AS3 for Clause E2 External Moisture, CCANZ’s CP 01:2014 - Code of Practice for Weathertight Concrete and Concrete Masonry Construction covers concrete slabs, walls and associated methods of insulation, concrete flat roofs and decks, and concrete to timber construction junctions. A new section has recently been added for masonry veneer.

New Zealand standards As outlined on the Standards New Zealand website, NZS 4229:2013 Concrete Masonry Buildings Not Requiring Specific Engineering Design provides prescribed methods for the design and construction of reinforced concrete masonry buildings up to 10 metres in height, including domestic dwellings and most other residential buildings, and some commercial buildings. NZS 4230:2004 Design of Reinforced Concrete Masonry Structures provides information for the design of reinforced concrete masonry structures. This version recognises the predominant use of reinforced concrete masonry for structural applications, and incorporates research findings specifically pertaining to the performance of reinforced and prestressed concrete masonry. NZS 3116:2002 Concrete Segmental and Flagstone Paving sets out provisions for the non-specific engineering design and construction of pavements using segmental and flagstone pavers. It also provides variations to paver manufacture and tests in relation to Australian cited Standards.

Moving forward One recent exciting development in concrete masonry has been permeable paving systems, in which slotted blocks allow water to pass between and be processed (ie, self drain) by the base sand and sub-base depending on requirements. In summary, the New Zealand concrete masonry industry remains focused in its efforts to confront the changes in focus demanded by regulators and customers, and continue to provide resilient solutions.



Sorting the good from the bad ROD AUTON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CRANE ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND WE ALWAYS HEAR THE term “level playing field” when we are talking about the operational environment that contractors, transport operators and crane operators work in, and we work on the premise that all things being equal we should be able to run a successful business and make a profit. Well I hate to disillusion you, but there is no level playing field because some companies are better than others due to their scale of operations and there are some like the one-man operations that are trying to build their business but are limited by resources as to what they can accomplish. Two ends of the scale with large variations somewhere in between. There are those who work with honesty and integrity and within the rules and regulations, and there are others who bounce either side of the border when it suits. There are those companies out there that deliberately flout the rules and regulations and are prepared to take risks working on the basis that for the majority of their work they won’t get caught and the extra profit is greater than the occasional fine. We see them every day on sites or on the road and most in the industry know who these ‘rogues’ are and yet we allow them to continue their activities even though it is costing us money. Invariably, we would like to think that the rogue operators don’t belong to an association or federation. The biggest problem we have is that those operators that flout the rules become the lowest common denominator and the rules and regulations are designed to target them. Those of us who are compliant, law-abiding, and honest are paying the price for those who choose to be non-compliant. We pay it through increased compliance costs, undercutting on job prices, increased enforcement, and loss of customers. The question needs to be asked “Why do we let them”. If we focus on our own business then we can mitigate the impact of what we do through working smarter. Whatever anyone tells you, customer service is the one

commodity that differentiates you from your competitors. Develop that business relationship and convert it into a personal one. You are not dealing with a business; you are dealing with a person. How often do you pick up the phone and ring your customer just to say hello, or invite him/her to exchange ideas that will mutually benefit both of you? Have you got his/her birthday in your customer database and do you drop them a line on that day? It’s the little things that become important. The cost of doing business can be crippling for the small to medium operator who often works from month to month with little or no reserves. The bigger operators can negotiate their costs and expenses due to economy of scale, but the medium to smaller operators don’t have that luxury. If you didn’t know before, most associations have a member purchasing plan that, when spread across all members, brings an economy of scale, and that means that an operator can buy fuel, office supplies or insurance at the same competitive rate or better than the large companies can. Some of the associations are the largest purchasers of fuel in the country and so there is a cash benefit returned to the members through the association purchasing plans. Your associations are the promoters of best practice and operators need to contribute to this pool of knowledge so that industry standards are governed by the people in the industry, and not being determined by the Government. As the changes in legislation, rules and regulations take place, operators should contribute to the consultation process because your association can then get an industry-wide appreciation of the impact of those changes which can help them argue your case more effectively. If the answer is working smarter by taking advantage of the tools that your association provides you, then you may significantly improve your chances of business success.

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Meeting the demand for skills HELMUT MODLIK, CEO, CONNEXIS THIS YEAR WE HAVE received numerous reminders about our dependency on crucial infrastructure to get on with our daily business. The effects of the recent power outage in Auckland and the severe storms in the South Island earlier in the year, were serious examples of how vital infrastructure is to our communities and nation. While we didn’t know we were going to be hit by these events, to recover from them and be ready for what lay ahead, we were (and remain) reliant on currently trained trades people and training decisions made long ago. When we need them, we either have the skilled workers we need, or we don’t.

The recent unexpected events tested the robustness of our infrastructure and our readiness to restore it. Whether we expect them or not, New Zealand is always going to experience severe weather and geological events and having

a sound industry skill base to enable us to return to “normal” is essential. The need for skilled infrastructure workers is substantial and growing due to a range of factors, including increased infrastructure investment and an aging workforce. Available young people – male and female – increasingly want a career and not just a job, and have a diverse range of jobs and sectors to choose from. As a country we need to be sure we’re collectively investing in the long term sustainability of our infrastructure industries – including the people who build and maintain them. Road bridges and electricity networks are vital, but rely on previously made investment decisions to train the people who build and maintain them. The more transferable and shared those skills are, the more attractive the industry is, and the greater our ability to pull together when an emergency strikes. Shared and transferable skills, based on what industry agrees is needed, allow for a range of industry-wide efficiencies and benefits over the long run. The challenge for employers is to be less parochial and proprietary around their skills training and more industry and national interest focused instead. Only then, can we create a virtuous cycle of industry career pathways, attracting and developing the competent trades people needed to safely and efficiently build and support the vital infrastructure our communities and nation require. As the Infrastructure Industry Training Organisation, it is Connexis’ responsibility to promote the value and attractiveness of employment in the infrastructure sector, raise awareness of the need for skilled workers, and support our trainees and companies with their training decisions. We all need to collaborate and co-invest to ensure that our country has enough skilled workers, when we need them, and it’s not going to get any easier..

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A little bit late:

The LeTourneau-Westingho Earthmoving equipment manufacturers are constantly modifying and improving their machines to make them perform better. Some of these modifications are beneficial, others open to question, but things never really stand still for long in the earthmoving world. BY RICHARD CAMPBELL

THIS WAS PARTICULARLY true for RG LeTourneau who was always striving to increase productivity and shorten cycle times. Oftentimes major revisions would be undertaken on the production line in order to incorporate an innovation or two. When he sold his company to Westinghouse in 1953, Westinghouse inherited a full range of up-to-theminute machines featuring the latest in technology and earthmoving savvy. Initially, LeTourneau-Westinghouse as the company was known at that point, did make some important improvements in the motor scraper (Tournapull) range. For starters it standardised on GM and Cummins engines and tidied up a lot of the electrical problems which it had inherited with LeTourneau’s new postWWII scrapers. They didn’t fix all the problems 56 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

but certainly enhanced the machines’ reliability. America was entering a major infrastructure building programme with the commencement of the Interstate Highway projects and LeTourneauWestinghouse wanted to ensure that it got its fair share of the market. During the period 1954 through to 1961, LeTourneau-Westinghouse continued to pump out Model B, C and D Tournapulls with not very many changes other than to engines or transmissions as improved versions became available. There were cosmetic alterations, but these were mostly to accommodate the fitting of new powerplants, most notably the change in the C Tournapull from GM 6-71 to GM 8V-71 engines. However, time was rapidly catching up with LeTourneau-Westinghouse. Its competitors, who had quadrupled in number following the war, were now

catching up. Caterpillar, Euclid and Allis-Chalmers were making strong inroads into LeTourneau-Westinghouse’s marketplace and the company realised that it could not rest on its laurels any longer. In early 1960 design studies began on a new Tournapull, the model C-500 as it was to be known. This was a major departure from the company’s existing Tournapulls as it was a completely new design and bore scant resemblance to its (then) current product range. The C-500 was designed around a modular concept where engines or an extra bowl could be added or subtracted at the owner’s discretion to suit the machine for multiple roles, increasing horsepower, capacity or both. It also advanced the cause of service accessibility, the whole modular concept being about speed of set up and







use C-500 tear down. The heart of the system was the C-500 tractor, powered by a General Motors 8V-71 diesel rated at 275 horsepower. As with other Tournapulls, a generator was bolted to the engine’s flywheel to provide full electric control for the machine’s steering and bowl functions. This was a larger generator than usual as it was to supply power to an extra bowl if fitted, as part of the modular system. A Twin-Disc powershift transmission was remotely mounted and provided four speeds up to 30 miles per hour. Brakes were full air-operated multiple disc, a system LeTourneau had pioneered for earthmoving equipment. Steering was via the usual LeTourneauWestinghouse vertically mounted electric motor in the hitch driving a ring gear on the tractor, a system common to all the other electrically steered Tournapulls. Limit switches prevented the motor exceeding 90 degrees either side of centre. However, the tractor unit was radically different looking from any other Tournapull as it was very ‘squared off’ in design and

situated the operator out on the left side in a self-contained cockpit. There was no steering wheel, all operations being controlled by electric switches apart from brakes, throttle(s) and transmission selection. The scraper held 16 cubic yards struck and 21 cubic yards heaped and was based on elements of the existing C “Fullpak” scraper but with one important difference. This was the method of ejection, which in existing Fullpak scrapers was by powered cable but in the C-500 by electrically operated rack and pinion. It was designed in this manner to allow an extra engine (known as a “Pushpak”) to be fitted in the rear to turn the machine into a twin powered scraper. This was not possible with the existing electric motor/cable ejection setup. As mentioned previously, an extra bowl could also be attached if required and the mountings were incorporated into the scraper’s rear push frame structure to accept it. Adding the extra bowl effectively doubled the machine’s capacity to 42 cubic yards.

Above (far left): C500_7 The ultimate expression of power and capacity, this C-500 has all the goodies – two GM 8V-71 engines and two bowls totaling 42 cubic yards. The rack and pinion ejector can be clearly seen below the hitch on the second scraper. It certainly was a great looking machine but it is unknown if any of the 70 produced survived. Above: C500_6 Good rear view of a twin powered C-500 climbing a hill to the cut. Someone in LeTourneau-Westinghouse’s art department has airbrushed alterations to the rear air intake on the scraper, lengthening the intake pipe. This particular C-500 has the GM 8V-71 “Pushpak” fitted.



Right: This factory photo is of the production prototype of the LeTourneau-Westinghouse C-500 Tournapull. The left mounted operator’s station is noteworthy as is the chunky looking design. The ejector spillguard is completely square and has oblong vision holes in it. Later machines had the sides cut to a 45 degree angle to allow vision to the rear scraper if fitted.

Left: A late production C-500 with all the improvements that were incorporated into the design over its short life. Note the new style spillguard and dust ejector exhaust system. LeTourneau-Westinghouse used Farr air filtration products on the C-500s.

Right: An early model C-500 with an add-on “Pushpak” engine unit, in this instance, a GM 4-71. This added an extra 148 horsepower to the 275 already available. In this format, the C-500 was more powerful than the contemporary Euclid TS-14s of the day and considerably faster. In that respect it was unique.

As all the operating controls were electric, it was just a matter of plugging in the main cable and away you went. Effectively the machine could be a single engined scraper, twin powered scraper, single engine with two bowls, or twin powered scraper with two bowls! The machine made its debut in 1961 and was promoted heavily at the time. As can be seen, it was quite a handsome and businesslike-looking beast. It was also during this period that LeTourneau-Westinghouse began using the ‘Wabco’ name on its machinery. However, despite all this wonderful innovation, this is where the story gets sad. Had LeTourneau-Westinghouse embarked on the C-500 programme earlier it could well have had a winning machine on its hands. But one of the major drawbacks of the type lay in the fact that the scraper was still an all-cable controlled machine when the industry had already embraced hydraulics. The following year (1962), Caterpillar introduced its ‘600’ series, with the only cable operated machine in that entire line up being the soon-to-be-discontinued 619C. Regrettably, the writing was on the wall for the C-500. Sales were low and the type was discontinued during 1964, no more than 70 units being manufactured. 58 DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015

The New Zealand connection Unfortunately none. New Zealand distributor for LeTourneauWestinghouse at the time, Fredric W Smith, did not import any C-500 Tournapulls into New Zealand. The New Zealand motor scraper market was dominated by Euclid and Caterpillar and I suspect the modular concept that the C-500 promoted was just a little too advanced for NZ contractors of the day.

For the model collector It will come as no surprise to the collector that there are no models of the LeTourneau-Westinghouse C-500 Tournapull in any scale. The closest thing available is a 1:50 scale “Standard C” scraper made by EMD Models in Europe which depicts a 1964 GM 8V71 powered long nose Tournapull with the option of a tandem scraper setup. This model is ridiculously expensive and is only for the collector with really deep pockets! On top of the high asking price, it will still require some work to make it accurate. As an interesting aside, for those of you who had Tonka Toys in your childhood, the Tonka “Mighty Scraper” is broadly based on the LeTourneau-Westinghouse C-500!

BRIEF SPECIFICATIONS LeTourneau-Westinghouse C-500 Tournapull Engine(s):

Tractor – General Motors 8V-71, naturally aspirated V8 diesel rated at 275 flywheel horsepower at 2100 rpm. Scraper – General Motors 8V-71, naturally aspirated V8 diesel rated at 275 flywheel horsepower at 2100 rpm. or – General Motors 4-71N, naturally aspirated 4-cylinder inline diesel rated at 148 flywheel horsepower at 2100 rpm. Transmission:  Twin-Disc full powershift, constant mesh type with 4-speeds forward and 2-reverse. Identical for tractor and scraper. Top speed: 30mph. Brakes: Multiple disc, air operated on all wheels. Tyres: 29.5x25, 28-ply, E3, all axles. Steering: Patented LeTourneau-Westinghouse ‘Tournatorque’ electric motor and ring gear steering system. 90° to either side of centre. Turning circle: 34’ 6” Capacity: 16 cubic yards struck, 21 cubic yards heaped. In tandem configuration: 32 cubic yards struck, 42 cubic yards heaped. Control: Electric motors attached to short lengths of steel cable for bowl and apron. Electrically driven rack and pinion ejector. Length: Standard – 39’ 3” As Tandem – 66’ 10” Width: 11’ 4” Height: 12’ 3” Op weight: Standard – 23.5 tons empty, 48 tons loaded. As Tandem – 37 tons empty, 85 tons loaded.

Top: Late C-500 Tournapull with the extra tandem “Fullpak” scraper in tow. This is a very rare photograph of an actual contractor’s machine, given so few of the C-500s were sold. This machine is obviously not expected to encounter any grades of significance as the rear scraper does not have the extra engine, or “Pushpak” installed. Above: LeTourneau-Westinghouse C-500s operating as twin powered machines in the hills. On the side of the descending tractor unit’s hood you can clearly see the Farr air intake and dust ejection system which was common to all C-500s. Note also that the scrapers have been sideboarded to increase their capacity to probably around 24 cubic yards.

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Mamma mia – Jeep falls into Italian hands It must be sheer humiliation for diedin-the-wool followers of the traditions of Uncle Sam. Maybe that should be died-in-the-bourbon. The Jeep Cherokee is being Italianised. Italy’s Fiat/ Alfa Romeo rescued Jeep and other Chrysler brands during the GFC and the Italians now call the shots. The next Jeep Cherokee will be on an Alfa Romeo Guilietta platform. This means the engine will sit east west, not north south the way the gum chewers have been used to for decades. At least one of the several engines on offer will be a Fiat/Alfa unit. The transmission will also be from a European supplier. It sounds a bit like retribution. America stole pizza and made it its own. Now the excitable ones have commandeered Jeep. Sometimes you wonder if the Second World War is still going.

Going electric – I don’t think so The innovative American designer and builder of upmarket electric cars, Tesla, started with sports cars, but has now branched into luxury limos. I recently test drove one of these electric sports cars in Auckland and it certainly had a lot of go. The limo, known as the Model S, has not yet been offered for test drive in New Zealand. But the Green Party reckons it should be bought by the Government to replace the 34 big BMW 7 Series diesel limos that are used to carry Ministers and VIPs. Can’t see it myself. The maximum range the Tesla’s batteries will allow is about 400 kilometres, which means that in a hard working week it would have to be recharged several times, which takes time. Also, there is no Kiwi importer or distributor to back it. But since when did practical and real-world considerations ever bother the Greens?


Don’t try this on the motorway A prominent car company decided that journalists like me should experience an airbag deployment so that we could tell our readers what the experience is like. They set up a booth, invited us to sit in it, and then deployed an airbag. You get whacked in the face. And you can smell something like cordite. There is so much white muslin billowing around you that you think you have gone to heaven with the angels. But hey? That means the airbag has failed in its duty. So maybe you have turned into a bridesmaid instead. Troublingly, what I didn’t bargain for was the massive face rash that made me look like I’d been drinking for three weeks, when in fact it was only two … and the letters SRS emblazoned in reverse image on my forehead.

Czech this one out


Your humble scribe has long blamed the famed cheap Italian wine Chianti, drunk high in the mountains at car designer seminars, for the likes of the gnaw-your-arm-off ugly Fiat Multipla. But what is it that the Czechs drink that has the same psychiatric effect? This is the 1957 Tatra, the product of quite a big Czech firm of the time. It had a 2.5 litre V8 engine, air cooled, ready to spring out across the continent once the iron curtain rusted away. (Yes, air cooled, this to make the most of the cooling slat concept pioneered by the other Czech car company, Skoda.) Clearly, it’s the product of a troubled communist mind, which before Isis, was something to be very afraid of.

No-one can deny that Bedford was inextricably entwined in the truck scene here from the 1930s to the early ’90s. The GM-owned company didn’t get into huge haulers, but got well up into the medium size range. What was the company’s most successful-ever model? The TK. It was built from 1960 to 1986, with a variety of chassis lengths and power plants. Does it look familiar to you? That’s because thousands came to New Zealand and some are still in service. A bit like my English girlfriend of the ’70s.

I DIDN’T MEAN IT THAT WAY There’s something about airbags and me that seems to result in trouble. Whilst test driving a new Mercedes Benz S Class luxo sedan in the Swiss Alps, I phoned into Benz HQ in Germany, which was organising the event, to ask jokingly, “How do you re-pack these 16 air bags?”. That was a mistake. There is no joking in Germany (unless you were the designer of the hideous Porsche Panamera). They dispatched two emergency helicopters to look for me.

HOW TRUSTING WE WERE Have you ever followed a lovingly restored Morris Minor, of which there are quite a few, and looked at how narrow its tyres are? To think that in rain, hail and sleet we trusted our lives to tyres the width and thin-ness of the rubber bands in our desk drawers is troubling. But all of those Morrie owners probably … at one time or another … trusted other things in life to very thin rubber.

GO FOR IT ON US On a public road in Idaho recently, a sports car achieved just under 400km/hr. This is thought to be the world’s highest speed achieved on a public road. The car was a well-tuned example of the world’s fastest sports car, the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport. The guy didn’t get a ticket as the road had been closed especially for sports car drivers to test their speedometers, in return for large donations to charity. Much better idea than paying it to a Police department.



Gotcha by camera alarm

Backing excellence with the best warranty

Intruders were arrested recently on a very large (8000 square metre) multimillion-dollar construction project in Auckland with the help of a ‘smart-camera’ security system. Project management is by Kalmar Construction whose project manager Tim Ellery says total security on large building sites was notoriously difficult to put in place. Conventional alarms, including CCTV, were complicated to install and couldn’t easily extend coverage – construction sites evolve as structures grow. The Eye Spy set-up easily adapts to growth as Kalmar takes the project through its three major stages. “The Eye Spy system sends live footage of what’s happening. And in this case Eye Spy called the police whose fast response caught an intruder before he could make a start on any mischief,” says Ellery. ‘That’s a better result for us than the disruption caused by losing valuable or important gear off a site. Copper, electrical wiring, anything boxed up like refrigerators, ovens and washing machines are all targeted.” The Eye Spy security technology was developed in France and is used widely in the United States and Australia, where it is one of the preferred commercial and industrial security solutions.

Kobelco is now backing all its machines with an industry-leading warranty. Kobelco has previously offered a four year/4000 hours extended power train (EPT) warranty on its range of mini excavators. The company is now upgrading this with a four year/4000 hours full factory warranty on the complete machine. This warranty also extends to the new range of mini models launched recently. “This move is not just a better deal for our customers but it simplifies warranty, as it’s no longer necessary to offer a separate EPT warranty for Kobelco mini excavators,” says Doug McQuinn, Kobelco general manager sales and service. “To show that this is a genuine offer and not being compensated for in the sale price, we are holding our current pricing because all our excavators including the latest generation of Kobelco mini excavators are worthy of the extended warranty.” All new mini excavators in Kobelco’s range share the iNDr noise and dust reduction system, making Kobelco excavators the quietest across the full range of sizes. In addition, Kobelco excavators offer exceptional low fuel usage. A further feature of the latest generation of Kobelco mini excavators is a new S mode of operation that provides up to a 20 percent improvement in fuel economy compared to the high idle mode of earlier generation machines.

Quick fit smart controllers Installing Hella Safety DayLights has been made easier with the company’s new high tech Smart Controllers, which eliminate the need to wire the lamps or change over relay to ignition feed (terminal 15), saving an often difficult and time consuming task. The controller, with its distinctive light blue housing, monitors multiple criteria including the power supply from the alternator and battery voltage. It automatically switches the Safety DayLights on when the engine is started and off once the engine is turned off or the main headlamps are activated. The new controllers are designed for 12 or 24 volt systems and suitable for the entire range of Hella Safety DayLights.

CONTRACTORS’ DIARY Date Event 15-18 Dec 14

bC India

28-30 Jun 16 Hillhead Quarry Exhibition



India Expo Centre, Greater Noida, Delhi


Lafarge Tarmac’s, Hillhead Quarry, England



NEOC Regionals Venue




24 Jan 15


Taieri A&P Show

Carl Hollands





22 Feb 15


Esplanade Day


12-14 Mar 15

National Finals

Central District Field Days

Malcolm Abernethy

Please send any contributions for Contractor Diary to kevin@contrafed.co.nz, or phone 09 636 5710


Tough new dozer tracks

Biodiesel popular in Europe

Komatsu has introduced Dual Bushing Track, a new undercarriage concept for large dozers, which can more than double track life in the right applications. Designed specifically for high-abrasion, lowimpact applications, Komatsu’s Dual Bushing Track completely eliminates the need for pin and bush turns and associated new sprockets. According to John Mortimer, Komatsu Australia’s business development manager for Undercarriage, the first application of Dual Bushing Track in Australia – on a D275A-5 dozer – achieved more than 3000 hours of operation with no issues. This compares with track life of around 1000 hours, including a pin and bush turn at 500 hours, on conventional undercarriages. “In this application, a large sand mining site, we actually effectively tripled the life of the undercarriage – and it would have gone longer if the dozer had not been redeployed elsewhere,” he says. “By the time the dozer finished on the site, the track was approximately half worn, so we believe it had the potential to run to 4000 or even 5000 hours. Seal life would have ultimately determined the longevity of the track before the bushes went. In that 3000 hours, there were absolutely no issues.”

Scania says it will have delivered about 1500 biodiesel Euro 6 trucks in Europe by the end of the year. Scania manufactures three different Euro 6 engines for pure biodiesel operation based on its modular system – 9-litre inline five-cylinder; 13-litre inline six-cylinder; and 16-litre V8. Together they provide a power range from 320 to 580 horsepower for a wide variety of customer needs and driving applications. Biodiesel is perhaps the most popular alternative fuel among European hauliers today. It is easy to use, can be mixed with regular diesel when necessary, and at the same time often yields a CO2 reduction of 65 percent or more, depending on how the fuel is produced. Biodiesel is not made in large commercial quantities in New Zealand, which has no government incentive for its production.




National excavator operators’ competition SINCE 1995 EXCAVATOR operators from all over the country have been competing for the title of ‘Best Multi-Skilled Excavator Operator of the Year’. The NEOC consists of Regional Competitions across NZ (REOC) with the regional winners securing a spot at the final as the main prize (NEOC or National Final). Operators are put through a variety of challenges. Some tasks are designed to promote safe work practices and demonstrate the ‘realworld’ skills of excavator operators, such as traversing a trench, lifting and relocation of a manhole cover, while others are oriented towards being fun and unusual to test control skills and engage spectators, such as pouring a cup of tea or opening a beer bottle. Many firms use the competition activities and exposure as an opportunity to upskill and to recognise staff and gain recognition for themselves. Four 2014 regional competitions have been held at the time of writing: Elijah Graham (Graham Contractors) won the Waikato event; James Lux (Fulton Hogan) won the Bay of Plenty event; BJ Matthews (Brian Hoffman) and Neill Coutts (Hicks) were joint winners in Auckland (with BJ going to the national); and Brent Taylor (Gair Contracting) won the Hawkes Bay competition. See CCNZ website calendar for dates of next rounds and for the final at National Field days in Feilding in March. Thanks to sponsors; Cable Price, Hirepool, Humes, Vector, Dial B4 U Dig, Z Energy, and ENZED.

Our current activities Working with WorkSafe and ACC to complete the business case for ACC funding for Construction Safety Council – first funding hurdle successfully completed and now most of the detail. MBIE – participating in development of a fuel crisis response in the event the country’s supply is cut off. WorkSafe regulation development ongoing: WorkSafe Diesel particulates; WorkSafe Certificate of competency training for mines and quarries; WorkSafe ACoP for Excavations; Operator Safety Manual – yellow book; RMA for plant operators – green book; Plant hire rates – blue book; and ZeroHarm NZTA minimum standards. • Ongoing participation in the industry reference group for NZTA NOC contracts. • Working with Building Industry Federation and Construction Industry Council to advocate to CERA over procurement processes. • Voidable Transactions (Liquidator claw backs) – waiting for Supreme Court finding.

• Retentions – awaiting second reading of Construction Contracts Amendment Bill. • Participating in CoPTTM at governance and operational levels. • Submission to NZ Utilities Advisory Group (NZUAG) on the Code of Practice for Underground Utilities. • Slinging Lifting and Placing training. • Engaging with local authorities around the country on a range of issues. • Regional Excavator Operator Competitions are under way.

Engineering excellence recognised CCNZ is a partner to the annual National Engineering Excellence Awards. This year’s black tie awards dinner was held at the Pullman Hotel in Auckland last month. This is a good opportunity to see the results of excellence in our own sector and other fields of engineering.

Business and people development CCNZ continues to roll out swinging, lifting, moving and placing training (Unit Standard 20875) to ensure members are compliant with recent legislation requiring – “that people working in and around plant being used for lifting must be adequately trained”. WorkSafe inspectors will be looking for evidence your staff are adequately trained in this area. Are you or your staff at risk? The national office is also rolling out interactive ‘couch sessions’ with accountants, lawyers, bankers and HR for small business administrators around the country.

Legislation on our radar Construction Contracts Amendment Bill – submissions sent and presented to Select Committee. We have also have worked with MBIE over treatment of retentions. • Health and Safety Reform Bill – submission sent and presented to Select Committee. • Cartels Criminalisation and Other Matters Bill – submission sent regarding collaboration rules. • Code of practice for excavation and trenching – have been working with WorkSafe on this but the review is on hold. • Participating in reference groups for WorkSafe to assist in setting new regulations and codes of practice. • Waiting for Supreme Court decision on Voidable Transactions. CCNZ

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Profile for Contrafed Publishing

NZ Contractor 1412  

New Zealand's civil contracting industry magazine December 2014

NZ Contractor 1412  

New Zealand's civil contracting industry magazine December 2014

Profile for contrafed