NZ Contractor 1503

Page 1


A VERY VERSATILE DOZER CablePrice’s John Deere 700J LGP handles heavy work in a number of conditions, from rural earthmoving to forestry roading and civil work

INSIDE: Ex Association chief executive Jeremy Sole reflects back Contracting innovations: Christchurch’s wastewater upgrade Ramping up housing supply through a highway interchange Investing in youth – a worthy school project in Northland

M A RC H 2 0 1 5


THE FULL K-SERIES LINEUP Conquer your workload with the K-series from John Deere - the most advanced wheel loader on the market. The K-series features advantages such as solid state electronics, highly efficient Quad-CoolTM cooling, and advanced diagnostic monitors. You’ll also benefit from traditional John Deere durability features such as heavy-duty wet sleeve engines, self adjusting wet-disc brakes, four-plate loader frames, and articulation joints with double tapered roller bearings. Plus boom and mainframes so tough you won’t believe the warranty. It all ads up to an increase in your productivity and uptime - and a lowering of your daily operating costs. Nothing runs like a Deere To find out how we can configure a John Deere wheel loader to fit your requirements, contact your CablePrice sales representative or visit





524K I 544K I 624K I 644K I 724K I 744K I 824K I 844K



0800 555 456 I I





Highlights / Features

4 Editorial 6 Upfront 16 On the Cover 64 Classic Machines 68 Motoring 70 Innovations 70 Contractors’ Diary 71 Advertisers Index 72 Civil Contractors NZ Comment




Laying a new wastewater pipeline for Christchurch.



56 Lisa Curran / Wayne Browne

Water NZ

59 Rob Gaimster


From little boysenberries... big things grow The Richmond Water Treatment Plant.


Looking back. Runway innovations A shortage of reinforcing and structural steel demanded unusual designs during the construction of concrete runways and hangars at Whenuapai and Ohakea air bases.


A contractor needed a machine that could handle heavy work in a number of conditions, from rural earthmoving to forestry roading and civil work, and found the ideal solution with CablePrice. See page 16

Taking the high road A review of the country’s approach to roading design.

Simpson Grierson

58 John Pfahlert

Ramping up housing supply Ross Reid Contractors provides the motorway connection for residential and business development vital to Auckland’s growth.

Comment 54 Malcolm Abernethy Civil Contractors NZ

The go-between – investing in youth Alistair McIntyre (Doug the Digger) on his latest industry recruiting programme.

18 Jeremy Sole For nearly six years Jeremy Sole lived in Wellington without his family while working on behalf of contractors.

Contracting – wastewater upgrade


International – Emily’s great bridge Constructed in the 1870s, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in New York is legendary for several reasons.

Cement & Concrete Association NZ Ready Mixed Concrete Association

60 Jonathan Bhana-Thompson NZ Heavy Haulage Association

61 Tommy Parker NZ Transport Agency

62 Rod Auton Crane Association of New Zealand

63 Caroline Boot Plan A 2 MARCH 2015





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

A victory for common sense As this issue of Contractor went to print last month, a flurry of excitement came to us from Margan House, head office for Civil Contractors New Zealand. The Supreme Court decision on ‘voidable transactions’ was out – and “we won”. The decision, which has been described as “a victory for common sense”, overturns an earlier Court of Appeal ruling which allowed liquidators to claw back payments made to a company up to two years after the payment had been made. Those people who have suffered as a result of that provision could justifiably feel they have been subjected to a law which – despite whatever intentions were in place when it was being drafted – bore no resemblance to how we all do business in the real world. There is no practicable way that a business has the resources to predict which of its suppliers will go under within the next two years. And acting on those suspicions by taking your business elsewhere would likely guarantee the result for the hapless supplier, even if the original suspicion was in itself unfounded. Unlike Mr Dickens, I wouldn’t often combine the words ‘law’ and ‘ass’ in a sentence, but this situation warranted it. And the “we won” part of the delight at this decision is because CCNZ, members and Kensington Swan provided financial assistance and support to Hiway Stabilizers, one of the three appellants in the case. This is an important development for all businesses, and more detail appears on Page 6. Further implications will no doubt be realised over coming months. Elsewhere in this issue you can also read an interview with Jeremy Sole, who finished as CEO of CCNZ at the end of last year. We thought it was an ideal opportunity for him to look back on his six years in Wellington, and catch some of his thoughts on wins, losses, achievements and missed opportunities. It’s a good read. We also bring you a story about a new water treatment plant built on an old boysenberry farm in the Tasman district, some innovative solutions from Christchurch where water management requires lateral thinking, and two examples of innovations that have stood the test of time: building WWII runways and hangars without steel for reinforcing, and the engineer’s wife who took over the construction of the now-famous Brooklyn Bridge in New York – at a time when women didn’t do such things. Overcoming adversity leads to innovation. As was the case with Alistair “Doug the Digger” McIntyre, who turned his life around after an accident, and has created his own niche introducing Northland’s school kids to the opportunities civil contracting can offer. There’s a fascinating look at Alistair’s work on page 28. And finally, by the time you read this, Contrafed’s new website will be (should be) live. We’re replacing the 10-year-old version we’ve been struggling with, which will make keeping it up-to-date so much easier than before. Come check it out at Kevin Lawrence, Editor

GENERAL MANAGER & EDITOR Kevin Lawrence DDI: 09 636 5710 Mobile: 021 512 800 Email: EDITORIAL MANAGER Alan Titchall DDI: 09 636 5712 Mobile: 027 405 0338 Email: 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: ADMIN / SUBSCRIPTIONS DDI: 09 636 5715 Email: 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. @NZContractormag

The official magazine of Civil Contractors NZ The Aggregate & Quarry Association The New Zealand Heavy Haulage Association The Crane Association of New Zealand Rural Contractors New Zealand The Ready Mixed Concrete Association Connexis

ISSN 0110-1382 4 MARCH 2015


Common sense has prevailed Contractors and sub-contractors benefit from the Supreme Court decision on a liquidator’s powers to claw back payments made by an insolvent company to a contractor. Comment by MALCOLM ABERNETHY, executive officer, Civil Contractors NZ. Last month the Supreme Court overturned an earlier Court of Appeal ruling allowing liquidators to claim back payments made by a company up to two years before its collapse. Obvioulsy this decision was strongly welcomed by both CCNZ and the Specialist Trade Contractors Federation (STCF). ‘Voidable transactions’ are intended to ensure all creditors of insolvent companies are treated equally, and recover payments that have been made that are essentially out of the ordinary, and are designed to give improper preference when the recipient should have known that insolvency was imminent. Part 16 of the Companies Act 1993 enables the liquidator of a company to recover any payments made within the previous two years if it was insolvent at the time payment was made. Section 296 (3) provides an exception if the party which received the payment can prove that: (a) They acted in good faith; (b) there was no reason they should have suspected that the company was or would become insolvent; (c) and they gave value for the property or altered their position on the reasonable belief that the payment was not voidable. The exception requires all three requirements to be proved and these three aspects are not always easily proved. This section of the Companies Act was copied from Australian legislation, which provides, in effect, that payments made in the ordinary course of trading cannot normally be clawed back. There has to be something improper about the payments that put the other creditors at a disadvantage – payments a well-run company would not have made, favouring directors or related parties and so on. In New Zealand any payment made by an insolvent company in the two years before it is liquidated is liable to be clawed back, regardless of whether it was made in the ordinary course of business or fair value for goods or services actually supplied. No additional element of improper conduct was required. Following on from the earlier Court of Appeal decision, Civil Contractors NZ (then NZCF) went to its membership to seek support for a joint appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of Hiway Stabilisers (CCNZ members) with the legal support of Kensington Swan.

The situation contractors were facing was that when a liquidator did manage to convince a company to pay back an alleged voidable transaction the funds ended up being paid out to cover liquidators’ fees, employees of the company that went bust, and the Inland Revenue. Contractors are generally unsecured creditors and would often receive nothing from the liquidators’ money pool. The decision from the Supreme Court, announced on February 18, provides surety to subcontractors, suppliers and the wider business community that payments that have rightfully been received remain the property of the payee. The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the appeals was unanimous – with all five judges in agreement on the issue. The Court has decided that creditors in the position of the appellants did meet the “gave value” requirement in s 296(3) (c). The Court reached this view after a close consideration of the legislative background. It noted that this interpretation is consistent with – Parliament’s aim of increasing certainty for creditors that the transactions they enter into will not be made void; the approach taken in Australia; and with the approach taken historically to the “valuable consideration” requirement in bankruptcy legislation (a longstanding feature of which has been the protection of creditors who have acted in good faith, without knowledge of the debtor’s liquidity problems and who have provided value for payments). The Court considered that the approach of the Court of Appeal left little scope for the operation of the s 296(3) defence in relation to voidable transactions and that it was implausible that Parliament intended such an outcome. The Court also ordered that the respondents in each appeal (the liquidators) must pay costs of $10,000 to the appellants (Allied Concrete, Fences and Kerbs and Hiway Stabilisers) in the relevant appeal, plus the appellant’s reasonable disbursements. Kensington Swan will be undertaking a series of seminars around the country with Civil Contractors NZ explaining the decision and its implications.

The legal view Kensington Swan says the Supreme Court judgment in relation to the Fences & Kerbs Limited, Hiway Stabilizers New Zealand Limited, and Allied Concrete Limited appeals are of interest to liquidators and creditors alike. Kensington Swan acted for Hiway Stabilizers New Zealand on the Supreme Court appeal, backed by CCNZ and its members. The appeals (heard together in March last year) all concerned the interpretation of a creditor’s defence to a liquidator’s action to recover an insolvent (or voidable) transaction. The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeals of the creditor companies. The Supreme Court was asked to determine whether the ‘giving of value’ portion of the Companies Act defence required ‘new’ value to be given after the original transaction. This left one-off creditors at a disadvantage compared with creditors

6 MARCH 2015

who regularly supply goods to a company that later goes into liquidation, or whether the original transaction itself constitutes ‘value’ for the purposes of the Companies Act defence. The decision in favour of the creditors clarifies the defence, says the legal firm. “The Supreme Court held that the Court of Appeal’s interpretation did not advance the objective of providing creditors with certainty that the transactions they enter into will not be made void. In light of the Supreme Court’s decision, ‘value’ under s 296(3), while it must be real and substantial, can now include value given when the debt was initially incurred or value arising from the reduction or extinguishment of a liability to the creditor incurred by the debtor company as a result of an earlier transaction.”

New CCNZ Auckland branch awards and gala dinner

New job for Powell Tooling specialist HTC appointed ex Hirepool chief Mark Powell as its new chief executive. “There are some exciting times ahead for the business and I look forward to helping the team achieve their goals,” he says.

The CCNZ Auckland branch launched its new Hynds’ construction awards in an annual Gala dinner event at general meeting last month. “To make this event prestigious we need support from the industry,” says committee member Jarrad Reid. “This is a chance to be recognised and celebrated in the construction front, and our aim is to make these Hynds’ construction awards desired and sought each year, much the same as at national level.” Sponsors are Hynds Pipes for the seven construction excellent awards (with bronze statues for each); and AB equipment for Young Contractor of the Year and Outstanding Individual (both presented with trophies). There are seven construction excellence awards up for grabs with seven fantastic bronze statues of a contractor. There is also a supreme award for the overall winner from all categories. Entry forms and award information have been emailed out to members from the Auckland branch secretary (, and are also available at the Auckland branches of Hynds and Hirepool. There’s an early bird option if you get your entry in by the end of March, and the final closing date is April 14. The Black Tie Gala Awards night will be held at Shed 10 on Auckland’s waterfront on Saturday, June 27. The organisers promise; “Plenty of fine food, beer and Central Otago wines, a fantastic band and entertainment until the small hours.” Tickets are $160 per head GST inclusive.

MARCH 2015 7


When you need lift From the ‘great crane action from around the world’ files are these beauties building a record-breaking bridge connecting two tunnels on opposing sides of the expansive Arazim Valley near Jerusalem. The project relies on six Potain tower cranes (the biggest with a 16-tonne capacity) that are climbing units, anchored to the pylons they are building, and able to climb to final working heights of up to 115 metres. Working 12 hours a day, six days a week they will be in action until the end of 2015.

Lower North Island SH improvements

Put bauma China 2016 in your diary now

The NZTA recently announced realignment improvements to SH58 (Haywards Hill) north of Wellington between SH2 in the Hutt Valley and SH1 at Plimmerton, and to SH3 between Hawera and Eltham in Taranaki. The $10.2 million, SH3 project will see a long-awaited realignment to the Normandy Overbridge approaches, which has seen some horrifying vehicle crashes over the years. The current overbridge will also be removed and vehicles will in future travel under the railway line, rather than over it (as it is now) via a new underpass beneath a new rail bridge which is to be constructed. In addition, a stock underpass will be built and there will be passing lanes in each direction on the 3.6 kilometre section of the new highway. Construction, which is being carried out by Downers, will begin this month and is expected to take around two years to complete. Temporary road and rail diversions and a site office/ compound are already in place. The project is being fully funded by government as part of its Regional Roading Programme. Fulton Hogan has begun work on the first section of the $2.5 million, SH58 realignment and reconstruction. This section of work involves cutting eight metres into the southern side of a hill to straighten a blind curve, installation of a 700-metre wire safety barrier and improvements to the drainage system. This work is the first stage of an overall $30 million improvement to the highway, which will include safety barriers, further curve realignments, a roundabout at the intersection with Moonshine Road, and subject to funding approvals, a grade-separated interchange at the intersection of the highway with SH2. The highway will be redesignated to a 80km/hr speed limit and will also link with the new Transmission Gully Motorway when that is completed in mid-2020.

In the final count bauma China 2014 (covered in the February issue) drew 191,000 visitors and 3098 exhibitors from 41 countries, which represented an increase of 14 percent compared to the show two years previously, making it the largest and most important industry event in the region. This was despite the downturn in the market. International buyers in particular were strongly represented at bauma China and their numbers rose by 12 percent on the 2012 show. “After 12 years of development of bauma China, this show is now not only a platform for product presentation, but also a grand industry party for communication and cooperation for further growth,” says Eugen Egetenmeir, managing director of Messe München. After China, the top 10 visitor countries and regions were Russia, Korea, Japan, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia – in that order. After China (2097 exhibitors), the top five exhibitor countries were Germany, the US, Italy, Korea and Japan. In 2014, for the first time, a business matchmaking system was implemented at bauma China to facilitate contacts between exhibitors and visitors. Visitors were able to search detailed information the exhibitors had posted in the system, and target those exhibitors they were specifically interested in. Hundreds of advance contacts were made in this way and meetings arranged for the show. The next bauma China takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from November 22 to 25, 2016.

By Richard Silcock 8 MARCH 2015




2 x 40 TON u AvAilAbl NiTS E AT

$550,000 +gst fOr immE diATE dElivEry C/w AuTO lubE & TAilGAT E

• New economical Scania Engine • All new Simplified Electrical & diagnostics • Powerful retarder now on all models

• wet Hydraulic disc brakes • full 3 year 6,000 hour warranty • Proven reliability in NZ conditions



At AdvanceQuip, your satisfaction is our mission.




The CASE Construction together with the Terex range place us in the best position to satisfy your needs. We want your business to succeed and we strongly believe that we have the products, knowledge, support and team that can care for your business like no one else.


Kahu Ropata of Ngati Toa leads the blessing ceremony with representatives from Leightons, HEB, WGP and NZTA.

Transmission Gully site set up Wellington’s 27 kilometre Transmission Gully Motorway project took another step forward just before Christmas, with establishment works for a project site office and compound beginning at Lanes Flat, near Pauatahanui. This was preceded by a Maori blessing of the three hectare site, which is of particular significance to local iwi as it is near the former Ngati Toa pa, Matai Taua. In July last year NZTA signed a Public Private Partnership contract with the Wellington Gateway Partnership (WGP) to design, finance, construct, operate and maintain the motorway which is expected to be completed by mid-2020. A ‘sod-turning’ ceremony attended by the Prime Minister, Transport Minister, various local dignitaries, local iwi and WGP representatives took place in September last year. In a joint venture, Leighton Contractors and HEB Construction (LHJV), who will occupy the site at Lanes Flat, will construct the motorway for WGP. LHJV project director, Mick O’Dwyer, says approximately 5000 cubic metres of fill from the first stage of the SH58 (Haywards Hill) improvement and realignment work currently being carried out will be used to build-up the site by approximately one metre. “The fill will be transported to site via a temporary entrance

Cheaper than a road barrier A NZ Transport Agency safety initiative aimed at reducing the crash rate on a stretch of SH30 between Rotorua and Whakatane involves wide centre line markings. The agency says that since 2009 there have been 15 crashes on this stretch of SH30. Of these, five crashes involved vehicles that had crossed the centre line. The markings have been successfully trialled at 15 sites around the country.

10 MARCH 2015

off SH58 opposite the Transpower substation, which will mean an increase in traffic movements in the area,” says Mick. “We will be taking steps to minimise any impact this may have on the local community and road users and will erect signs to direct traffic, and utilise a water cart to dampen any dust created during these works.” Temporary buildings and portacoms will also be transported to the site to provide the required office space for the 120 LHJV staff who are expected to move in around April-May this year. With the final design and geotechnical investigations to be completed later this year, the motorway earthworks will begin over spring/summer and will see more than 6.5 million cubic metres of earth moved over the five year construction phase. Once open, the new dual lane Transmission Gully Motorway from near Linden in the south to just north of Paekakariki will form a key section of the 110 kilometre Wellington North Corridor (from Wellington to Levin in southern Manawatu), and will aid north/south traffic and freight flows, minimise congestion around the rapidly growing Porirua and Kapiti Coast districts, and offer an alternative safer and quicker route for traffic currently using the SH1 coastal route. By Richard Silcock.

GENUINE VOLVO LUBRICANTS Every Drop Lasts Volvo Lubricants are developed specially for Volvo Construction Equipment machines

Volvo lubricants meet the highest standards required and give you high and consistent quality, so that your machine runs longer, better and cleaner! - Improve your Volvo components’ performance - Extend the service life of your machine - Reduce fuel and oil consumption TransDiesel now stock a range of Volvo lubricants including: - / 0800 848 267


Volvo Construction Equipment


Trade certification milestone

Precious cargo Gilley Crane and Jack Daniel Distillery got together for a job involving the first lift with a Terex Explorer 5800 crane at the famous distillery in Tennessee. Gilley Crane was tasked with lifting two boilers weighing more than 45,360 kilograms at Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg. The challenging lifts required each boiler to be lifted twice at an 8.5 metre radius in a confined space. The project required eight lifts to move and place the two boilers and bases and took just two days from transport to the site rigging, performing the picks and transportation back to the yard. The Terex Explorer 5800 all terrain crane is designed to travel streets and highways quickly and is configured so that its five-axle chassis meets stringent axle loads of less than 9000 kilograms per axle. The crane also features a compact 13.2 metre carrier length and 1.2 metre front overhang.

Did you miss the deadline? Businesses had until the end of last month to secure the shorter .nz domain option before they became available to anyone. Some .nz domain names are ‘conflicted’, which means they’ve been registered in at least two different second levels. For example, you might hold the version, while another person might hold the or version. If your name is conflicted you’re able to go to the Domain Name Commission’s site and lodge a preference for who might get the new, shorter .nz version of the name. There’s no date or time limit for lodging a conflict preference. 12 MARCH 2015

The civil infrastructure industry finally has a recognised trade qualification for its workers. Unlike building, plumbing and electrical workers, workers in the civil infrastructure industry had no industry wide and transferrable trade qualification. A Civil Trades Certification Board is now in place to oversee the initiation of the new trade regime and the registration of Civil Infrastructure Tradespeople. The initiative has wide industry support and is being promoted through Connexis, the industry training organisation for the infrastructure industry, along with SCIRT (Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team), which is providing a project manager to help the trade certification get underway. Inaugural chair of the Civil Trades Certification Board, and Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) chair, Dave Connell, says taking the first step towards trades certification for civil infrastructure is well overdue. “Trade certification will fundamentally change how the civil infrastructure industry works. “We currently rely on labourers and plant operators supervised by foremen and have work signed off by engineers. “A regulated trades regime will see certified tradespeople take ownership and provide the craftsmanship required for delivery of a product or construction activity. It will be game changing for the industry and the people who work in it.” The Civil Trades Certification Board will maintain and govern the trades’ certification regime on behalf of CCNZ. “Introducing a trade regime for civil infrastructure has been something that has been wanted by the industry for a long time,” admits Connexis chief executive Helmut Modlik. “A number of factors, including the Christchurch rebuild and the increasing need for experienced and qualified infrastructure workers across New Zealand, have meant tangible progress has now been made. This is a significant step for both the industry and its workers.”

A fitting goodbye Crane industry identity Rex Pollock was sent off with a funeral procession made up of seven immaculate cranes that was part of an impressive convoy that took an hour to travel from the Pollock’s Tauranga home, through the central city to Mount Maunganui and the service venue. His casket was placed on the back of the company’s heavy haulage truck, driven by his son with Cheryl Pollock at his side. The 70-year-old ‘legend’ of the cranes hireage business and Tauranga speedway passed away last month after a long battle with cancer. An obituary will be published in the April issue of Contractor.


HammerHead Mole速 pneumatic piercing tools create a compact hole that allows contractors to install underground gas, water, cable, irrigation, fiber or electrical lines under fields, buildings or streets with minimal disruption. The process is preferred by many contractors because of its low operating cost per metre of installation, reasonable equipment investment and easy-to-learn operation.

Contact Ditch Witch New Zealand now on 0800 DWNZLTD l


Alice’s final journey Waterview’s huge tunnel boring machine (TBM), Alice was relaunched late last year and is now well into constructing the second of the 2.4 kilometre twin tunnels that will connect Auckland’s Southwestern and Northwestern motorways. The Transport Agency’s highway manager, Brett Gliddon, says the turnaround operation was an extraordinary display of engineering innovation and skill. “Many TBMs are launched, but only a handful are ever turned to do another underground run. “What is really extraordinary about turning Alice is the sheer size of the machine and the very constrained space in which the manoeuvre has taken place, sometimes with just millimetres to spare,” Gliddon says. At the same time two of the four new ramps that will provide access between the Northwestern Motorway and the tunnels were completed. This year continues to complete all tunnelling and excavation of the 16 cross passages that will connect the tunnels. Alice and her entourage are expected to complete the second tunnel and arrive at Owairaka in October.

Skill shortage holds back construction A shortage of qualified and experienced quantity surveyors is hampering urgent construction work, particularly in Christchurch and Auckland, claims the Institute of Quantity Surveyors. Institute president Julian Mace says the biggest problem is finding quantity surveyors with appropriate practical work experience. This is despite extensive advertising and an increase in visa and work permits approved for quantity surveyors to enter the country. Mace says quantity surveyors immigrating to New Zealand often have valuable offshore experience of large scale buildings, developments and infrastructure that is useful given what’s happening in Christchurch. However, he adds that the institute is also hearing reports of unqualified and inexperienced quantity surveyors doing work that is not up to standard and that is to the detriment of customers. “We do urge people and organisations to engage a quantity surveyor who is a member of the New Zealand Institute. “The Institute has rigorous quality assurance criteria, which means customers can be assured of the practitioner’s skills and experience, and, if anything does go wrong, the Institute provides a disciplinary process. “The building boom in New Zealand will continue for many years yet and quantity surveyors will be in demand.” Meantime, the government’s Occupation Outlook 2015 report says there are 2150 quantity surveyors in the country and the engineer professionals sector is tipped to grow at just under four percent a year for the next several years. 14 MARCH 2015

Work on Thornton Lagoon The work started last month to install a culvert from the Rangitaiki River into Thornton Lagoon aims to benefit fish and improve water quality in the lagoon. It’s not a huge amount of contract work, but it’s work all the same for contractors Draintech Contractors from Whakatane, which is doing the culvert work, and Crawley Excavators, which is handling the wetland work. The culverts will provide a connection to allow fish to pass easily between the lagoon and the river, allowing for additional water exchange between the river and lagoon improving the overall water quality. A 10-metre long, 1200mm diameter concrete pipe under the causeway will provide the bulk of the water exchange, while a higher 600mm diameter pipe nearby will provide a free water surface for fish navigation at high tide leading into a series of pools, a fish passage pathway and a natural reed barrier. Partial funding for the project has been granted by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Environmental Enhancement Fund in conjunction with a local community group.

River cycle project goes out to tender Sections of Te Awa – Great New Zealand River Ride, currently under construction, will go out to general tender now the Transport Agency is involved in its funding. The 70 kilometre long cycleway project, which is being built in sections from Ngaruawahia to Cambridge, is one of 13 projects nationwide to receive funding through the central government’s Urban Cycling Fund. The entire river ride is expected to cost $21.3 million to construct, with $8 million raised so far and the construction done by Waikato-based Livingstone Building. The latest section under construction is between Horotiu and Ngaruawahia. The $4.5 million cost of this section came from a funding partnership made up of Urban Cycle, the Waikato District Council, the NZ Transport Agency, and donations from the project’s local supporters. Construction was started by Livingstone Building last month with about 1.8 kilometres of the cycleway completed, but stopped while the section project was prepared for tender. Contractor understands about five contractors put in tenders, including Livingstone Building. The Horotiu to Ngaruawahia section is expected to be finished and open to cyclists and pedestrians in November. The Te Awa River Ride project began in 2010 with a goal to link the Waikato communities of Ngaruawahia, Horotiu, Hamilton, Tamahere and Cambridge by a river side cycleway. Nearly 20 kilomtres of new trail sections have already been built and are being used, along with an extensive network through Hamilton City. On average, more than 6000 people a week already use completed parts of the Te Awa River Ride.

Cyclists using the Horotiu section of Te Awa.



Rapid Curing

Easy to use

Strong & Durable Flexible Mould to shape of choice

Download the Technical Sheet

0800 WE PIPE (93 7473)



A very VERSATILE DOZER A contractor needed a machine that could handle heavy work in a number of conditions, from rural earthmoving to forestry roading and civil work, and found the ideal solution with CablePrice. MARK BRADBURY SAYS his new John Deere 700J LGP bulldozer is ticking all the boxes for driver comfort, reliability, and muscle on the work site. “We took possession of the dozer around Christmas time and are very happy with it. Our drivers say it is a comfortable machine to operate, with air suspension seat, good vision and well laid-out controls.” He is particularly impressed with the machine’s great stability and high productivity. “We have put a 400mm extension on top of the blade so it can carry even more dirt.” In the 14 years since Mark and his wife Jenny started their Aria/ Piopio based firm, White Ridge Contracting, they have grown from two to 11 operators. Mark is quick to point out that his experienced and loyal 16 MARCH 2015

drivers and support staff are a key to the company’s success along with the quality machinery that CablePrice supplies. Their base is mainly rural earthmoving however they have moved into other commercial areas such as forestry roading, civil work, and work for power generation companies. The firm also runs a small quarry, which specialises in brown and blue rubble sold to farmers as race rock and is also used on forestry roads. “We’ve got our fingers in a lot of pies, so the dozer will be used for a bit of everything. We started putting it through its paces on a 1000 cow dairy conversion – building tracks, stripping topsoil and levelling pumice on races – and at the moment it is doing skid sites for wood lots. It has

hydrostatic machine. The dozer can push and turn at the same time and counter-rotate under full power, which is great for productivity. We can also pre-set its forward and reverse speeds to whatever we want. This makes switching between the two cycles smooth, instead of being jerky which is way more comfortable for our operators.” CablePrice rep David Neilson says the 700J’s “state-of-the-art” controls operate the machine’s six-way blade and full-featured hydrostatic drivetrain, which offers numerous other benefits. “With no torque converter or transmission in the machine there is nothing to wear out, resulting in less maintenance and greater longevity. Instead of gears, the hydrostatic system has 30 increments of speed and push, which are easily controlled for any work situation.” He says the dozer can even be individually programmed for each operator depending on how they like to drive the machine, offering greater flexibility and productivity. “With the push of a button the 700J’s Total Machine Control allows the operator to precisely tailor its operating characteristics to their preferences for everything from the aggression of the machine and its steering, to its push and reverse speeds.” David says the variable track controls let the operator speed up or slow power to either track, delivering smooth, full power turns that don’t rob horsepower or tear up soft terrain. “By increasing the reverse speed by to up to 130 percent of the forward speed, the machine can be manoeuvred back into the work position much quicker. And if the operator wants the machine to be more aggressive for a certain period, or wants it to turn faster, any pre-sets are easily changed.” The computer-controlled machine is even able to make minor adjustments automatically if it starts to operate under pressure. John Deere’s JD Link wireless communication system is an extra standard feature on the 700J, which provides location, utilisation, performance and maintenance data back to the owners’ computers, helping them to increase productivity and uptime and lower operating costs even further. Although the 700J is his first new John Deere machine, Mark is already a long-time fan of the Hitachi brand from CablePrice. In their fleet they have five Hitachi ZX120-3 diggers, along with two ZX200-3 diggers. Working out of the quarry there is also a Hitachi LX120 and LX160 wheel loaders. “The first machine I ever bought was an imported EX100 that I had for a couple of years before buying a brand new Dash 5 from CablePrice. I’ve stuck with Hitachi ever since and they’ve been pretty Although the 700J is his first new much trouble-free. Our machines do around 2000 hours a year so we John Deere machine, Mark is already a usually end up buying one new ZX120-3 every 12 months or so.” Mark says he can rely on CablePrice’s sales and after sales service long-time fan of the Hitachi brand and support to keep his operation operating efficiently. from CablePrice. “We’ve dealt with Dave Neilson for years and he’s one of the best salesmen I’ve ever come across because he’s so honest. The back up offered by CablePrice is great too.” A straight up business relationship is one of the hallmarks of the handled whatever we’ve thrown at it really well so far,” says Mark. With driver safety in mind, the Bradburys have opted for a full relationship between CablePrice and White Ridge, agrees David Neilson. “Mark tells you straight up what machinery he wants and how he guarding package for the dozer’s cab which is yet to be put on. The 700J low ground pressure, 115 horsepower bulldozer with a 3.3 wants it. Everything is always out in the open which makes him a metre Power Angle Tilt front blade is the first new John Deere machine really good client to deal with.” Although it’s not long out of the box, Mark Bradbury says the John Mark has purchased for White Ridge although they already have a Deere 700J is living up to his expectations so far. secondhand 850J in their fleet. “Driver comfort and an increase in productivity were the biggest “We talked to Dave Neilson, our CablePrice rep about all the options considerations when purchasing the new dozer and it is definitely for a new mid range bulldozer and he recommended the 700J.” Mark says the dozer’s wide tracks and long, wide track frame provide measuring up already. We can’t truly test its reliability until it has its superior stability, with the attached rippers doing an “incredible” job. been operating for a few thousand hours, but at this point we are very “It’s amazing what it can rip, which is largely due to it being a fully happy with the machine overall.” l MARCH 2015 17


APRIL 2009 $8.95

NEW LEADER FOR g the challenges he faces

Jeremy Sole is relishin


as chief executive of


the Contractors’ Federat

DGE GRAFTON BRI via abseiling HARD GRAFT ON100-yea r-old Grafton Bridge ening the

Brian Perry Civil is strength

ANT SUPAPL of faith in the future ETE’S SUPteACR n with a exciting gesture riding above the recessio Supacre Concrete is RY oving G FORwithDAI boon to Paul Smith Earthm a proving DAMMIN is n irrigatio farmers’ love affair South Island

18 MARCH 2015

Left: April 2009 Contractor

Contracting politics can be a lonely game

For nearly six years Jeremy Sole lived alone in Wellington without his family while working on behalf of contractors. He talks about the experience to Civil Contractors life member GAVIN RILEY. IF 2002 HAD NOT TURNED out to be the National Party’s worstever performance at the polls, Jeremy Sole would have become the MP for Northcote and been set for a long career in politics that would, according to a party high-up, have taken him to ministerial heights. Politics’ loss, as we know, was the civil-construction industry’s gain. But, ironically, during the entirety of Jeremy’s near six years as chief executive of the Contractors’ Federation he lived the uncomfortable life of an MP, leaving his young family behind in Birkenhead, Auckland, while he flatted in Wellington. To fill in his evenings he worked all hours, cycled round the bays or played golf at Makara’s rustic nine-hole course, while doing a lot of strategising. Strategising, as Jeremy discovered while studying for his MBA in 2006, is something he’s good at. It was a strength the former Stevenson’s executive brought to the contractors’ CEO role, along with an ability to understand and empathise with small businesses. He also brought enviable political knowledge and contacts. “I knew the people, the prime minister and ministers, not as personal friends but well enough and we knew the cut of each other’s jib and how we operated. That doesn’t mean you walk in the door and say, I want you to do this, and you’ll get the result. But it means when you speak they understand who you are and what’s behind what you’re saying. “I also had an understanding of the political process. Which is not the same thing as understanding the government process. Going through parliament is a physical process but the political process is an organic process. “And you need to understand how the different personalities interact, what they’re thinking and what their agendas are, what their principles are and how strongly they might be holding on to them.” He saw his role at the federation (now Civil Contractors NZ) as that of facilitator – a conduit between government and federation, and between federation executive and members. After initial “new broom” work to improve the organisation’s financial management, marketing and strategic direction, and to get more out of capable staff, it was a case of being fast out of the starting blocks. “Anything to do with government legislation and government policy, if you find yourself trying to argue your position at a select committee or to a minister, you’ve often already missed the boat.” Besides the facilitator tasks “there are equally important things around providing value for members and associates, and opportunities for them to develop and grow their businesses

and to network”. And when all cylinders are firing, “somehow the organisation acquires more mana, more respect, more ability to influence and make a difference. There’s no one thing you can say made that happen, but there’s a whole lot of things together that created it. That’s a bit of the role I came to understand better once I was in the job.” Achievements on the Jeremy Sole watch included exceeding the 400-member threshold for the first time in many years, winning an intense battle to keep excavators out of parts of the Crane Code that would have cost contractors significantly more than they ended up paying, establishing coherence within the organisation through a “healthy industry” statement, influencing important reviews of NZS 3910 and the Construction Contracts Act, helping create strong relationships between branches and their local councils and MPs, and – most crucial of all – reaching agreement with the Transport Agency to introduce the Network Outcomes Contracts (NOC) after the bundling and aggregating of roading contracts had threatened the viability of smaller contractors. “With the NOC, the reason I say a success, is because there’s mandatory subcontracts in there, there’s more contracts, there’s controls all the way through, and I think we made a tremendous contribution to that being a potentially healthy form of contract,” says Jeremy. “Our work on the NOC was successful in terms of moderating what NZTA was trying to do and having them come on board with that was really good. We didn’t force them to do it, they actually willingly came with us in the end. The bit we didn’t resolve was this idea of large-scale, long-term contracts and I’m still uncomfortable with it.” He says he tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Transport Agency to appoint an ombudsman for subcontractors under the NOC, and for Civil Contractors to set up an ethics committee. Instead, the agency understands that if “perverse behaviours” arise, it will need to intervene. “So the NOC contract will only be good for the subcontractor industry to the extent that NZTA will rise to that challenge.” Even to reach a less-than-perfect agreement demanded patience and tolerance which went the extra mile. “It was really hard with NZTA. The guys at NZTA who were running it and us, Malcolm [Abernethy] and I, we looked each other in the eye and we agreed we would find a meeting of minds and we would be friends at the end of it and that it would be for the benefit of the industry. “We always knew that was going to be the goal and we all held on to it – which allowed us to get quite shitty with each other MARCH 2015 19


in the meantime without destroying the relationship. So there were shouting matches. “I wrote a letter of complaint and asked for mediation from Geoff Dangerfield at one stage, which really pissed a few people off, because I wasn’t making any traction in what I thought was quite a rational and logical thing. I got my way.” Not everything was a win on the Sole watch, in his opinion. Though the unification of Roading New Zealand and the Contractors’ Federation was achieved last year to form Civil Contractors NZ, he considers changing the name of the organisation – a condition of the coming-together – was “unfortunate”. “I think there’s no obvious strategic benefit for doing that, and a considerable amount of mana lost. Government agencies and other people said it was such a strong brand and it carried so much mana, why would you get rid of it? People have said what are we – we used to be the federation? There was a real pride and a camaraderie and a family around the federation, and it is going to take some work to settle the new brand.” In his view Civil Contractors won’t lack challenges in 2015. New health and safety regulations (not the bogey they appear to be) will have to be digested and explained to members in simple form; the “big picture” will need to be enlarged whereby the executive council is constantly testing its thinking with branch committees and finding out what the industry is thinking (which may require a marketing position at national office); and how to react when the Government sets about altering the retentions law (large and small contractors’ interests differ). Jeremy believes he left Civil Contractors at the end of last year with enhanced skills in government-relations, strategising and writing. He’ll be continuing as managing director of Contrafed Publishing until the mid-year AGM and he’s set himself up as JP Sole, management consultant and government-relations advocate, while looking for a more permanent position. But he won’t try again to enter Parliament, professing himself to be “cured” of political ambition. After the equivalent of two parliamentary terms in the service of contractors, he’s glad to be back in Birkenhead with wife Fiona, Isabella 11, Catherine 10 and William 7 (“the children will love to read their names in print”). Not that raising the family alone for six years was all hardship for Fiona. “I kept trying to get her to move everybody down to Wellington because it seemed like the logical thing to do and it would save us a whole lot of money, because I was subsidising the travel, but she wouldn’t do it,” Jeremy says. “A couple of years in we were at a dinner party, and one of her friends said, ‘How does this work’? And she said, ‘I get up in the morning with the kids, I get them all ready for school and send them on their way with no interruptions, and when they get home at night I’ve got a routine, and there are no interruptions’. And her friend said, ‘Oh, you lucky bitch’.” As Jeremy happily rejoins his family, he wishes Civil Contractors well. “My concern, I guess, is that the members have made their decision on the way things should be and it’s their challenge now. “I want them to have a positive viewpoint for it, to engage and to believe that everything that’s happened has been positive, and the organisation’s in a stronger and better position, potentially, than it has been for a long, long time.” 20 MARCH 2015

Improving the lot of contractors Attending every executive meeting of the Contractors’ Federation at Margan House for the last 17 years of the 20th century taught me much about the workings of the organisation, writes GAVIN RILEY. EXECUTIVE WORKINGS CAN BE summarised largely as simultaneous external and internal PR that never sleeps – the painstaking, unceasing, unsung work necessary to ensure the contracting industry’s views and needs are voiced constantly in the corridors of power, and the equally unending work of keeping the lines of communication open between the federation nationally and the members at branch level. During my many years of visiting Margan House every few days I knew a succession of four chief executives, aged 32 to 60, and there have been two more this century I have known much less well. It would be invidious to attempt to compare the incumbents. Circumstances and challenges vary, the CEO is directed by an executive council which changes regularly, and industrial-political networking has become light-years more complex than it was when William Stevenson would ring Ron Tarr in the morning and ask him to arrange a meeting with Keith Holyoake at Margan House for the early afternoon. Suffice to say there are a few industry issues over the years that stand out for their immensity and the way they were tackled. The first was the federation’s perennial “construct by contract” clarion call which morphed over the years into a steadfast mantra and was finally made redundant when the State’s monolithic construction force, like the Berlin Wall, was removed as much by changing political currents as by constant pressure from those desiring its downfall. Next, the federation employed similarly formidable and unflinching resolve to extinguish the alarming work-grabbing threat posed by local authority trading enterprises (LATEs). Fast forward and it seems to me the 21st century has posed a danger to the civil-construction industry of equal seriousness, the bundling and aggregating of roading contracts, which occurred on recently departed chief executive Jeremy Sole’s watch. While this proposal was a naturally evolving and necessary development from the perspective of a cost-conscious government agency, it had the potential to put small and medium contractors out of business. The long-term effects would have been catastrophic: a damaged economy, particularly in the regions; unemployment levels up everywhere; and reduced competition in the roading industry with the risk of a near-monopolistic situation being created. Disaster appears to have been averted, though only time will prove whether Network Outcomes Contracts constitute an answer for all seasons. If they do, Civil Contractors New Zealand will have been equal to yet another crucial challenge in its 70-year history. And members will have cause to be grateful retrospectively to Jeremy Sole for his leadership, skill and tenacity in this latest instance of a major industry crisis overcome.


Contracting innovations wastewater upgrade

For the team assigned the task of laying a new wastewater pipeline for Christchurch, it was the removal of water of the fresh kind which was the first hurdle. CHRIS MACANN explains.

Above: Sheet piling allowed two stream crossings of the meandering Wairarapa Stream. Opposite page: Project engineer Luke Hazlett checks sandbagging along portions of the stream to alleviate the flooding threat to adjoining properties.

22 MARCH 2015

CHALLENGING PROJECT, even by the standards of a city which is becoming used to huge challenges, is known as the Wairakei Diversion, part of a major wastewater upgrade for the city to help reduce overflows into rivers and streams. After the earthquakes, Christchurch’s two major urban rivers, the Avon and Heathcote, were open sewers literally, as they took the effluent directly from broken sewer pipes and carried it out to sea as the tide allowed. This new piece of resilient infrastructure is intended to prevent this from happening again. It will help reduce future wet weather overflows into waterways and support growth in the city’s west and south-west. Originally scheduled before the Canterbury earthquakes, construction of the Christchurch City Council-funded wastewater diversion was brought forward to support the earthquake rebuild under the wing of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT). The Wairakei Diversion involves installing a brand new sewer main along a 900 metre corridor running through some of the garden city’s most leafy and well established residential neighbourhoods. As well it sees existing collector and lateral pipes replaced, followed by kerb and channel reconstruction.


High levels of groundwater in the neighbourhood and the neighbouring Wairarapa Stream have made this project challenging. But first, a geology lesson: Some background on Christchurch’s precious groundwater resource is key to understanding the challenges. Beneath the city is a vast supply of fresh water held in confined aquifers. It is a treasured resource for the city but its closeness to the surface and the built environment complicates work on horizontal infrastructure below ground. The braided Waimakariri River immediately to the north of the city once flowed through parts of where the city and suburbs now sit. Water from the Waimakariri still flows under the city in subterranean braids. As a result, at some points the groundwater levels are as close as just a metre from the surface. The base level for the Wairakei Diversion needed to be dry at three metres but the ground was very permeable resulting in the water being drawn from far away, making removing it difficult. The frequently-used method of pumping water away from work areas using dewatering spears was not appropriate on this job. Normally dewatering spears are enough to remove excess water by drawing it down from an excavation site. In this case the groundwater level of just one metre in places, and the sheer volume of

MARCH 2015 23


Clockwise from top left: Sheet piling in place; Existing settlement tanks to hold the sediment before the water is released were not large enough so modified 12-foot shipping containers were used; Removing silt from one of the modified 12-foot shipping containers; The Wairakei Diversion SCIRT crew.

water involved made this method impractical. Instead some ingenuity was required as project engineer Luke Hazlett from SCIRT partner McConnell Dowell explains. “We ended up vibrating in 600mm diameter well casings with a sheet piling hammer. We then attached an auger to clean out the inside of the well, and inserted a 200mm diameter slotted pipe inside. We then applied a filter pack of grade 1-6 aggregate around it.” Finding the right aggregate through which to draw the water was another challenge. “We tried different types of aggregates. It was trial and error to see what kinds were best at drawing out water. The usual sleeves with sieves and slots were not drawing enough water through so we slotted some PVC pipes,” Luke says. Normally one pump could handle four

dewatering spears. In this case one pump per well was needed. “We used seven pumps; a normal site would have two in the immediate work zone. “We worked out we needed to alternate wells at six metre centres each side of the trench to give us a dry area. “We had the wells driven ahead of us before we got there so had time for water levels to drop down. “All the time we had to try to visualise underground flows.” Removing the water was one thing; finding a way of disposing of it was another. So much water was being removed that it was not able to be released into the stormwater system. It was instead released into a nearby stream which posed a challenge because of the

A NEW WINNING COMBINATION. Youngman Richardson and Co are now proud to exclusively distribute Selwood Pumps - established in 1946 and a market leader in vacuum assisted super silent mobile pumps. The perfect fit with Youngman Richardson & Co - a world-leading supplier of quality industrial equipment with a back-up service that’s the ‘best in the business’. Two of the best, just got better. AUCKLAND HEAD OFFICE Phone: (+64) 09 443 2436 Email:

24 MARCH 2015

SOUTH ISLAND OFFICE Phone: (+64) 03 341 6923




sheer water volume possibly eroding the banks. The team came up with a plan to deal with the large volumes of water while making sure the stream was kept clean. As is often used in rural situations, the team used a PVC flume – normally attached to culverts, to discharge the water into the stream without destabilising the bank. Existing settlement tanks to hold the sediment before the water is released were not large enough so modified 12-foot shipping containers were used. As well, keeping the base layer dry proved a test. The team modified the base to suit the required 40mm soft raft foundation and prevent it “turning to soup”. “Where it was too wet we’d try to compact it, but it would slurry up so we got permission to

use a special ballast layer,” says Luke. “We tried different base gravels with no fines and changed the bedding under the pipe. Once we sorted that out we were away.” Using sheet piles vibrated into place, and trench shields, the work progressed at a rate of around 12 metres a day along closed sections of road approximately 100-150 metres in length at a time. The 825mm diameter concrete pipes with an internal diameter of 750mm were designed for a 100-year life span. They were especially spun locally by Humes Pipeline Systems on a modified mould to enable a 25mm sacrificial concrete internal lining to be incorporated. The extra lining is to accommodate the likely acidity of the waste which will pass through it. Around 370 pipes each 2.44 metres long with rubber

Above left: We used seven pumps; a normal site would have two in the immediate work zone. Above: Lifting pipes into place.


LEADERS IN THE MANUFACTURE AND SUPPLY OF EROSION CONTROL SOLUTIONS • Safety fence • Steel Y posts • Fencing products • Fabric screening • Ground staples • Floating Silt Fence • Floc sheds • Fabrication service • Geogrids • Gabion Baskets • Geotextiles • Cesspit filter bags • Filtercloth • Silt fence

CALL US NOW 0800 757 343 45 Forge Road, Silverdale, AUCKLAND

MARCH 2015 25


Above: “We ended up vibrating in 600mm diameter well casings with a sheet piling hammer. We then attached an auger to clean out the inside of the well, and inserted a 200mm diameter slotted pipe inside. We then applied a filter pack of grade 1-6 aggregate around it.” Above right: Using sheet piles vibrated into place, and trench shields, the work progressed at a rate of around 12 metres a day along closed sections of road approximately 100-150 metres in length at a time.

26 MARCH 2015

ring joins were used. Humes moved all its 825mm pipe moulds from around the country to Christchurch because of the large scale of the job. For the stream sections Humes supplied sixmetre lengths of ductile iron concrete lined pipe, imported from France. One stream crossing was carried out during the trout spawning season and required dispensation from Environment Canterbury. To enable this, the crossings were done “halfa-stream-at-a-time”, and an in-stream chicane fencing system was developed. “We didn’t want to risk flooding residents’ properties upstream. The chicanes act as a silt catch and allow fish to come through,” says Luke. Some sandbagging was required along portions of the stream to alleviate the flooding threat to adjoining properties whose owners were concerned following high river levels in January of 2014 after heavy rain. Lining much of the streets along the pipe route, among them the appropriately named Garden Road, were protected trees so an arborist was also required on site. The work required good relationships with the residents. Super silent pumps were used which were left running overnight. “We talk to residents to keep them informed and make sure the noise of the pumps is not affecting them,” Luke says.

As well as working around waste disposal and recycling services, phone cables, fresh water and power supplies, crews needed to coordinate with other contractors carrying-out residential earthquake repairs and other major works in the neighbourhood, while also considering the special needs of residents such as those with disabilities. “It’s been a lovely area to work in. Residents can see we are progressing,” Luke adds. Work on the Wairakei Diversion began in September 2013. SCIRT general manager Ian Campbell said the project should be completed mid this year. Once completed, the Wairakei Diversion will take pressure off another part of the network: the Northern Relief and allow further repairs on it. The Northern Relief carries about 35 percent of the city’s wastewater flow, collecting from the northern and western parts of the city before it arrives at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant for treatment and discharge. Ian says the construction cost for the project is around $5 million. “Although this is an increase on the estimate before work began, this is to be expected given the nature of this piping project which had to deal with layers of highly permeable gravels and a high groundwater table. “Until construction begins, the amount of work, machinery, dewatering equipment and time required to install pipes like this one is not accurately known.”

Do you have better places to be? Get the job done faster and more efficiently with total job-site solutions from Position Partners. Backed by unrivalled, New Zealand-wide support, you can spend more time doing the things you love! • Eliminate stringlines & save time with Latec machine control • Map and detect subsurface utilities accurately with GPR system’s from US Radar • Increase productivity and efficiency in the field with Sokkia survey instruments • Reduce downtime and get to grade faster with Futtura lasers • Improve accuracy with scanning, UAV & survey solutions

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST ONLINE- you could win one of three $500 Kathmandu vouchers! Talk to us to discuss your needs:

0800 867 000 SCAN ME Christchurch | Wellington | Auckland


The go-between investing in youth

ALAN TITCHALL talks to ALISTAIR MCINTYRE about his latest industry recruiting programme, Youth Into Industry.

IT IS LATE AFTERNOON on New Year’s Eve at Russell in Northland and I

have been sent on a mission to buy a bottle of bubbles to wash down a late afternoon treat – two dozen local oysters in the half shell. Russell in holiday mode is a blaze of pohutakawas, suncream, icecreams, shorts and jandals, so I can’t believe it when, out of the corner of my eye, I spot a queue of mums and kids in the Duke of Marlborough carpark that leads to a mini-exacavtor operated by a familiar sight on industry event days. “Mate. Do you ever take a break?” “This is my life. Encouraging young people into the workforce. I don’t know if that is classified as work?” Well, most people would, but then they are not Alistair McIntyre, aka Doug the Digger. His working affair with holiday Russell, he says, started some time ago when he tarted up his digger for the local Christmas parade. “I used to drag a Christmas tree behind me loaded with presents for the children.” Then he graduated to playing (at this stage his voice lowers to a whisper) … Santa. And he does have the ideal girth for the job. “I have been Father Christmas in Russell for the past 15 years,” he says with pride. Most readers will be familiar with Alistair’s story: A decade after an accident that crushed his arm he went back to school to learn to write and then wrote the classic Doug the Digger book for children. Incredibly, he went back to primary school at the age of 37 and was taught by the same teacher who struggled to teach him at the age of seven. Since then he has spent his life going around schools as an ambassador for civil contracting. The Gough CAT sponsored mini digger he hauls around the country’s schools and shows has done over 2000 hours now with children operating under instruction, he tells me. He has also visited over 1200 schools around the country as a Duffy (author Alan Duff as in Once Were Warriors) Books in Homes role model. On top of all this is his Youth Into Industry programme where Alistair brings high school students in touch with industry. 28 MARCH 2015

A group of students with Alistair from the Youth into Industry programme, which he set up six years ago. The focus is on providing high school aged students, who are interested in civil contracting, with an opportunity to meet people in the industry, have a look around work sites, build relationships and make informed decisions about their career paths. The programme rides on the education department’s Gateway programme that provides senior students (year 11 to year 13 plus) with an opportunity to access structured workplace learning.

Career opportunities for schools A few weeks before bumping into Alistair in Russell, he and his work colleague Barbara called into Contrafed Publishing’s office for a more formal interview to discuss and promote his Youth Into Industry programme, which he set up six years ago. “The idea is to give high school aged students, who are interested in civil contracting, an opportunity to meet people in the industry, have a look around work sites, build relationships and make informed decisions about their career paths.” The programme rides on two school ‘career’opportunities. The first is the Ministry of Education’s Gateway programme that provides senior students (year 11 to year 13 plus) with an opportunity to access structured workplace learning. This is funded by the department, but managed by the schools (or a broker) with the proviso that the ‘opportunity’ has a formalised learning arrangement set in the workplace; offers specified knowledge and skills that a student will attain; and specified assessment methods (workplace learning). The student can visit the specified workplace one day a week for five weeks. Alistair has been involved with this programme with schools in the Whangarei region (his home town). He arranges site visits to select civil contractors – around 30 local companies at the moment. The process is strict and students are vetted thoroughly, he says. “Our criteria is simple. The student has to show interest in the industry and have a positive attitude towards reading, writing and attendance. We expect the schools to do the homework on the student to get this far. The programme is not an opportunity

to get a student out of their hair for a day because with this negative attitude they wouldn’t last long with us anyway. “We have a close relationship with the Drug Detection Agency, and before any student is accepted on our Youth Into Industry programme they are drug tested. “If they are keen, pass the drug test, turn up on time, can do their paperwork and listen, look and learn, then there is no reason why a company wouldn’t be prepared to give these young fellas a go.” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that ‘literacy’ has a high priority in the programme. “Paperwork is an issue for the industry – time sheets, job forms and other things to fill out at the end of the day. “Students are given worksheets such as a pre-start form for a machine or hazard ID on a worksite. When we go to a company they have to fill out a safety acknowledgement document. This paperwork is to be kept and used later as support material for unit standards. “If they don’t want to know about paperwork – fine – their choice, but our choice is we don’t want them on the programme. “And it is also about how they do their paperwork. Mate – if I can’t read it without my glasses, it gets chucked in the rubbish bin and they can start again.” At the end of five weeks, there is no pressure on either student or contractor to commit to any further relationship, says Alistair. “If after the end of the experience period the company says to the student ‘we like you, but we would like to try someone else’, or the students want to try another company, then that’s the way it goes. MARCH 2015 29


Students selected for the Youth into Industry programme are vetted thoroughly. They must show interest in the industry and have a positive attitude towards reading, writing and attendance. The school is expected to do the ‘homework’ on the student to get this far.

“If both parties like each other we progress the relationship with a longer period of experience or possibly a casual contract. It’s about relationship building. “We never guarantee full time work, but over the past two years most of our students have gained employment in the industry.” Can you give us an example? “Yeah, a year ago, 17-year-old Jake Rouse went to Fulton Hogan and worked in their mechanic’s bay. He enjoyed the experience but wanted to try something else, and Johnny Dickson [Dicksons Transport and Quarries] put his hand up. “Jake loved the quarry work, they liked him and Johnny offered a full time position. He phoned me up on my cellphone to tell me he now had employment and I could hardly make out what he was saying because he was so excited. “How cool’s that? “Then there was Jamie. “A really nice guy but a bit weak with his reading and writing, although he tried his best. I said to him, look, instead of just

30 MARCH 2015

being a labourer or driver why don’t you go down to the Tai Poutini Digger School in Cambridge and do a pre-trade course? “When we first met Jamie his written work looked like a chicken had gone through an ink well. Well, at the digger school he finished 35 unit standards in just six months and his writing skills had improved out of sight. “When he got back to us we got him a placement to finish off his written work and now he works in Auckland operating machines.”

How far does the programme reach? “Ages ago we built relationships with high schools in Whangarei and we have stayed in that area while we developed and improved the programme. The local schools have been very supportive, and so have the companies. “In saying that – most of the companies we are working with are national, and last year the first phase of our programme was put on a bigger scale test at our ‘futuristic’ careers’ day in Auckland held at MOTAT [Museum Of Transport and Technology].”


the Northland Field Days at Dargaville (at the Kaipara Vintage Machinery Club’s site) last month. Some 32 high school students from the Kaipara, Whangarei, Lower Far North and Rodney Districts were selected. Northland Field Days already offered Northland’s youth scholarships to study agriculture, so the ‘Youth Into Industry’ initiative proved a perfect fit. This style of careers day can be implemented anywhere around the country, says Alistair.

What are you asking from the industry?

Through his Doug the Digger programme Alistair has spent decades going around schools as an ambassador for civil contracting. The Gough CAT sponsored mini digger he hauls around the country’s schools and shows has done over 2000 hours now with children operating under instruction. He has also visited over 1200 schools around the country as a Duffy (author Alan Duff as in Once Were Warriors) Books in Homes role model.

Around six high schools in the Auckland region selected a total of 31 students from a pool of about 6000, says Alistair. “If all those students had turned up, it would have been chaotic, so we put the onus on the schools to pre-select the students to our strict criteria. “I get asked to attend a lot of career expos around the country and I say no. There’s no point in me turning up at a high school and parking my truck and digger outside, because on a fine day most of those students are going to be hanging around outside with me. “All the pre-selected students who turned up at MOTAT were very suitable. When we gave them paperwork they all took to it eagerly. It was very encouraging. They were so keen they ignored several rain showers and just carried on with the activities.” The MOTAT trial provided a format for another careers’ day at

“It’s no good going on about an aging workforce without a plan. We all know it is a problem – what’s the solution? “Most young students have no idea of the scale of our industry or its opportunities and I think it is appalling that our industry is not promoted professionally at schools. Handing out a pretty brochure about civil contracting at careers’ days, I believe, doesn’t cut it. “If a student does put their hand up to say – yes, I am interested – then what is the next step? “We are asking companies to provide the opportunity for these students to get out on their sites. Afterall, we are promoting the industry as a professional career path and we know they are keen to step up to the mark.”

Isn’t there recruitment infrastructure already in place? “What I hear from some industry quarters is that youth training is not their core business. I also think training and recruiting agencies pick the low hanging fruit because they have to make a profit, and the ‘already employed’ appear to be their main target. “Nobody is going to give an inexperienced school leaver a full time job – those days are long gone. There has to be a go-between to make the introduction and be responsible for communicating with both the pre-employment youth market and the industry. “We all have a role to play and we shouldn’t be wasting time. I get frustrated with all the talk and limited action, and I believe our programme has done a good job at making a start through school and career days with a targeted approach. “So, I would like to see civil contracting companies, the IT0, and the education side lend more support to the programme. We all benefit, and we can work together.”

MARCH 2015 31


Slip remediation works underway close to the motorway.

32 MARCH 2015

RAMPING UP housing supply

Ross Reid Contractors provides the motorway connection for residential and business developments vital to Auckland’s growth in what has turned out to be a privately funded project. BY GAVIN RILEY.


Auckland’s housing crisis by building affordable homes across the city has been noticeable only for its slow start – the accord was struck 18 months ago but by late January this year had delivered only 350 houses. However, in the wake of growing public criticism, accelerated progress can be expected this year. Under the accord, special housing areas (SHAs) are being identified in selected urban and rural pockets where fast-track development of affordable housing can take place. Such developments bring work for civil contractors – earthworks and provision of infrastructure, including road links to and from

the nearest motorway. The kind of construction activity that can be expected under SHAs is currently to be found 30 kilometres north of Auckland city centre on SH1 at the Wainui Road overbridge near Silverdale where Ross Reid Contractors has nearly finished building motorway on- and off-ramps to serve important adjacent residential and business developments. Work on the $16.8 million Wainui interchange began in May last year. When completed in late April the 700-metre-long, south-facing ramps and roundabouts will serve the Millwater subdivision, which will in time house 10,000 people, plus the 60 hectare Highgate Business

On-ramp construction just starting to take shape.

MARCH 2015 33


“In order to meet the programme deadlines we never stopped work through winter... with significant drainage and roading works, retaining-wall construction, and abutmentstrengthening works.”

Top: When completed the 700-metre-long, south-facing ramps and roundabouts will serve the Millwater subdivision, which will in time house 10,000 people, plus the 60 hectare Highgate Business Park, which will have accommodation for a further 500. Above right: The project carried on through winter with significant drainage and roading works, retaining-wall construction, and abutmentstrengthening works. Opposite page: Aerial view looking north on SH1 to the Wainui Road overbridge, with the on-and off-ramps to the left and right . 34 MARCH 2015

Park, which will have accommodation for a further 500. The interchange may also eventually link to a proposed 876 home SHA development at nearby Silverdale North. As well as constructing the motorway on- and off-ramps, Ross Reid has had to upgrade and widen 1.5 kilometres of the Millwater Parkway leading to the Wainui Road overbridge, a task which required closure of the Parkway and introduction and management of a traffic diversion from May to October last year. Ross Reid has also strengthened the Wainui Bridge abutments and is carrying out a separate $8.8 million contract to upgrade Wainui Road, a project that began last November and will be completed this June. The company has had to overcome several challenges. A sizeable slip last year on the

on-ramp batter required remedial work and involved the installation of concrete piles and buttress drains. Then the construction crew had to battle through an abnormally wet winter to keep the overall project on track. “In order to meet the programme deadlines we never stopped work through winter,” says Ross Reid business development manager Prutvi Kumar. “The project carried on through winter with significant drainage and roading works, retaining-wall construction, and abutmentstrengthening works.” With the six-month closure of the Millwater Parkway to enable its widening, and single-lane traffic during the Wainui Bridge abutment work and Wainui Road upgrading, traffic management has been another major challenge.

Partnership with people who care We are dedicated to help you succeed! With BBA pumps we can offer you the lowest cost of ownership through high efficiencies, minimal maintenance and unparalleled reliability!

Call Now 0800 482 747 +64 3 768 9140

Solid Pumping Performance MARCH 2015 35


A sizeable slip last year on the on-ramp batter required remedial work and involved the installation of concrete piles and buttress drains.

36 MARCH 2015

“I’m pleased with how the guys handled that because the area carries significant traffic,” Prutvi says. He is also pleased that the team performed so capably that no traffic management was needed through the Christmas break. “We had three days off at Christmas. The road was formed on Wainui Road, asphalted for the traffic, to avoid disruption through the Christmas break. That was a milestone.” Given Auckland’s urgent need of more houses, it seems in retrospect unhelpful that the now-defunct Rodney District Council ruled that the developer of the Millwater subdivision, WFH Properties, should pay the cost of the Wainui ramps.

Rodney Council also said the structures had to be built before stage three of the residential development would be allowed to go ahead. Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and the Transport Agency have declined to reconsider the Rodney decision and contribute to the cost, which is being shared by WFH Properties (69 percent) and business-park developer Highgate Commercial (31 percent). The Transport Agency, which will take over operation and maintenance of the signalised ramps, worked with the developers and Auckland Transport in the planning and design of the structures.


ON ALL NEW MACHINERY or visit our website:

Not only is Vermeer Environmental Equipment built for performance and easy maintenance, its also designed with operator safety in mind. Vermeer Stump Grinders make short work out of stump removal and are easy to use on virtually any type of hardwood. From parks to backyards Vermeer Brush Chippers offer a rugged and dependable solution and its exclusive patented safety systems provide less downtime and greater productivity.

CONTACT: North Island: Graham Penniket 0272 878 869 South Island: Chris Smith 021 367 889



0800 30 30 90 • Branches Nationwide



38 MARCH 2015

From little boysenberries....

BIG THINGS GROW Before the Tasman District Council (TDC) put out its tender for the Richmond Water Treatment Plant (RWTP) build, there was a lot that needed considering. PATRICK WATSON explains.

NOT ONLY WOULD the plant need to have a 50-year lifespan that would

meet the drinking-water demands (and regulations) of one of the country’s fastest growing areas, but its build would have to incorporate a new water filtration technique. The existing water supply system, which required considerable altering, would also have to continue to function for industrial and residential users as the construction went on. To top it all off, the build site for RWTP was a sprayed out boysenberry field with no direct road access. Hawkins Infrastructure was eventually awarded the tender, but only after negotiating the total cost in partnership with the Council. The

MARCH 2015 39


negotiation, which was necessary because Hawkins’ initial price exceeded available funds, saw TDC select a more cost-effective glass-fused steel balance tank, instead of a more traditional concrete tank as it originally wanted. As a major player in the civil engineering space, Hawkins’ ability to overcome significant design changes and budget constraints put it in good favour with the Council. Hawkins currently has a reported annual turnover of around $500 to $600 million and a water project portfolio that includes, among others, the Greymouth Waste and Patea Water Treatment Plants, as well as the Riverhead Reservoir and Domain Watermain Project. The other core member in the RWTP build is MWH Global, which designed the plant and helped supervise its construction. The total estimated project cost for RWTP now sits at $10.5 million, $7.5 million of which is construction related. Ground first broke on the project in May 2014. Just over nine months later, the commissioning of the RWTP is underway and a seven-metre high, 18-metre diameter tank (capable of holding 1.5 million litres of treated water) is connected to three kilometres of pipework. The full project should be complete at the end of July, after a three-month trial operation. In all, it will include a treatment plant building, reservoir tank and changes to the pipe network between the Waimea Bores and the new treatment plant. Getting it to this point, however, has seen Hawkins work across three core sites and make use of seven subcontracting companies to deal with, among other tasks, earthworks, pipe laying, building, mechanical, electrical and tank work. In its most basic form, the RWTP will allow the council to maximise how it manages its water supply, which will help accommodate Richmond’s population growth and provide greater security of supply in periods of drought. The plant itself is designed to keep any operational noise within acceptable levels. The walls of the building have a textured surface to provide aesthetic interest and are screened by bunds approximately 1.5-2 metres high, to keep with the Lower Queen Street environment where it is located. The Council’s project manager for Engineering Services, Chris Blythe, says Richmond has been supplied by two main bore fields and the supplies have been distributed separately, with one chlorinated and the other untreated. The RWTP will blend the two sources and treat them with UV light instead of chlorine. 40 MARCH 2015

“A key challenge was bringing two quite different water supplies into one treatment plant, owing to the chemical composition being different. Complex controls are needed to manage the flows from the different sources – pump speeds, blend ratios, etc,” says Chris. The other challenge was the significant change to the reticulation network from two supplies to one. “A large portion of the work was installing pipelines, large scale valve installations and deep trenching. The building and balance tank were the other main elements. The building contains high lift pumps, UV units, caustic soda treatment, emergency chlorine treatment, surge vessels, mixing units, and electrical-mechanical controls.” Hawkins’ senior project engineer Thomas Maw says the three kilometres of pipework involved pipes of various sizes and types, with piping work beginning as far from the plant as possible, so as to tie in with the works at the plant site once ready. “After the earthworks had been constructed, the slab, building foundation and building was erected. This is a tilt panel building that has considerable portal frame and bracing steelwork to meet level one earthquake asset specifications. The balance tank foundation was also completed at this point,” he says. “The tank slab was constructed with no construction joints and in one pour to eliminate potential leak points.” Another major phase was getting the process pipework right. “[This] had been designed with no flexible couplings, dissembling joints or gibaults. Therefore the whole plant was hard piped and had to be perfect to ensure fit.” For his part, the most challenging part of the project was integrating the existing infrastructure, which required proving the build approach in 12 carefully-considered and strategic stages. This approach was necessary to ensure Council buyin and stop risk, as well as to enable minimal interruption to existing water supply or outages. “Once commissioned, to start sending water to supply it had to be integrated, which significantly increased the risk and challenge of the task, but saved the client a significant portion of capital because we re-used infrastructure assets that were capable and would have otherwise become redundant and abandoned,” Thomas says. The Hawkins team also had to take an innovative approach to research and development, in particular with how they achieved

the exposed aggregate pattern on the pre-cast panels. “As the exposed aggregate faces were on the face down site for the casting bed it meant that there was the need to develop an innovative approach to achieving a sharp edge to the exposed area and not having the retardant run or travel past this edge. “We had to achieve this without reducing the cover to the steel reinforcing. The approach was to weld R6 steel rod to the bed to create the negative detail and an edge to the exposed area while stopping the retardant from running and affecting

outside of this area.” Thomas credits subcontractors Gibbons Construction with going the extra mile to ensure quality and testing out the different ideas around how to achieve the pattern. The next phase of work is the commissioning and trial operation of the plant. Commissioning will take place between January and April and trial operations will start once the plant is successfully commissioned. The project is on track for completion by the end of July.

HYDRO-Excavators Professionally designed and built for New Zealand conditions





MARCH 2015 41


Lawrence Schäffler looks back on how the looming threat of WWII kick-started the development of the NZ Air Force’s infrastructure and how a shortage of reinforcing and structural steel demanded unusual designs during the construction of concrete runways and hangars at the Whenuapai and Ohakea air bases.

PLANS FOR CONCRETE runways and hangars at Whenuapai and

Ohakea began in the late 1930s when the government decided to build new bases for heavy bombers. These aircraft would carry out pre-emptive strikes on enemy warships lurking too close to our shores. But the existing infrastructure, it was acknowledged, would be hopelessly inadequate for the twin-engine Hudsons and Wellingtons – and later, the four-engine American B17s and B39s. At Whenuapai, for example, the grass runway lay on a 35 metre deep bog and wasn’t ideal for light planes – particularly in wet conditions – let alone bombers. Laying steel-reinforced runways, though, wasn’t an option. Reinforcing steel was in short supply and importing it from Britain was not only prohibitively 42 MARCH 2015

expensive, it would also take some 15 to 20 months to arrive. Despite these hurdles, the job was given to the then Public Works Department (PWD), and one of its civil engineers was the young Bob Norman. He later (1964) became a founding member of the NZ Prestressed Concrete Institute, and later still, its president. “The only solution was a runway that didn’t use steel. Instead, PWD developed a design for a pattern of interlocking, hexagonal concrete blocks (3.5 metres across the flats) using tongue-and-groove joints.” The hexagon block design was used at both bases. Ohakea received two runways – both 1500 metres long and 45 metres wide. Each comprised some 60,000 hexagons. Engineers’ notes (sourced from the NZ Air Force Museum) show that these

Just before WW11 the government decided to build new bases for heavy bombers Whenuapai and Ohakea, as the existing infrastructure was hopelessly inadequate for the twin-engine aircraft.

runways consumed around 82,000 cubic yards of concrete. Some 20,000 tonnes of cement was used, provided by Wilsons (Portland), Milburn (Otago) and Golden (Nelson), with smaller quantities from Australia and the US. Greywacke gravel from the nearby Rangitikei River was used for aggregate. Each hexagonal block held 2.25 cubic yards. Forms were removed four to eight hours after pouring (depending on air temperature). Pouring proceeded continuously over 24 hours, with three shifts being worked. The best day’s output was 1313 cubic yards. Three runways were built at Whenuapai. One is no longer in use, but remarkably, the other two are. Runway 03/21 (2031 metres long and 45 metres wide) was resealed with asphalt in the 1990s. Runway 08/26 (1581 metres long and 45 metres wide)

retains its original hexagonal concrete. Whenuapai was opened to civilian aircraft after the war and in 1947 National Airways Corporation (Air New Zealand’s predecessor) began a regular passenger and freight carrying service from the base. This continued until 1965, when the new international airport at Mangere became operational.

Hangars Pre-WWII – in Europe and the US – hangars were typically built with structural steel but as with the runways, says Bob, the difficulty in accessing steel in New Zealand demanded a novel design for the new hangars. Ohakea received its new hangars first – Whenuapai’s followed MARCH 2015 43


Laying steel-reinforced runways wasn’t an option as the material was in short supply and importing it from Britain was not only prohibitively expensive, it would also take some 15 to 20 months to arrive. Despite these hurdles, the job was given to the then Public Works Department (PWD), and one of its civil engineers was the young Bob Norman. He later (1964) became a founding member of the NZ Prestressed Concrete Institute, and later still, its president.

a few years later. A report in the Evening Post newspaper (11 January, 1938) outlined the scale of the Ohakea project – as well as the problems it faced: “The twin hangars for which tenders are being called will be the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Each hangar will have a ground area of 220 feet in width and 190 feet in depth, with a door opening 25 feet high, closed by sliding doors. The roof design is unusual, for in place of one or other of the forms of standard construction adopted in the Royal Air Force stations in Great Britain, the roof span members will be 10 great arches of reinforced concrete, the feet of which will sweep down far outside the walls proper. “The design has been adopted to meet the difficulty in 44 MARCH 2015

obtaining heavy structural steel at the present time, for the sections required for so great a span are not rolled in Australia, and England would not have been able to fulfil the order for over a year, and as the contract period is of 15 months from the commencement of work the simultaneous programme of expansion would have been seriously delayed. Even were the delays acceptable, the cost of such sections would be considerably greater than the reinforced concrete arches decided upon.” The PWD’s chief design engineer – Charles William Turner – designed the hangars. A canny Welshman born in 1901, Turner immigrated to New Zealand in 1925 and landed a job with the PWD in Wellington. He became involved in seismic

Water National Qualifications


Infrastructure Works Works


Infrastructure Works - Excavation and Reinstatement


Infrastructure Works - Infrastructure Pipelaying Technician


Water Reticulation - Planned and Reactive Maintenance Technician


Water Reticulation - Supervisor


Infrastructure Works Supervision - Water and Wastewater



design following the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake and this work formed the basis for the country’s first earthquake design code. Turner used the identical monolithic design for the four hangars (two at each base). As described by Geoffrey Thornton in Cast in Concrete (a history of concrete in New Zealand), they comprised “huge arched roofs with a total span of 82.9 metres and … 0.6 metre deep ribs with a 100mm thick slab. The ribs were anchored outside the hangar proper.” Ohakea’s hangars (18 metres high) were completed in 1939 at a cost of £76,750 each. In the late 1980s they received a corrugated iron cladding, and some of the arched buttresses on the sides of the hangars were enclosed. These alterations have extended the life of the hangars – and they remain in use today. In 1990 the hangars were recognised by the Institute of Professional Engineers of NZ (IPENZ) as one of New Zealand’s most significant engineering achievements. They were among the world’s first large, stressed-concrete arch buildings. IPENZ organised the awards to celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary. Despite the ingenuity, innovation and sheer bloodymindedness displayed by those concrete pioneers, the history of the Ohakea and Whenuapai runways and hangars carries an unfortunate footnote: the bombers never arrived. When WWII broke out, the Wellingtons remained in Britain (where they were needed far more urgently) – though they were deployed as the New Zealand Squadron. 46 MARCH 2015

A hexagon block design was used at both bases. Ohakea received two runways – both 1500 metres long and 45 metres wide. Each comprised some 60,000 hexagons. Each hexagonal block held 2.25 cubic yards. Forms were removed four to eight hours after pouring (depending on air temperature). Pouring proceeded continuously over 24 hours, with three shifts being worked. The best day’s output was 1313 cubic yards.


Taking the

HIGH ROAD DR BRYAN PIDWERBESKY, Fulton Hogan’s resident pavement and surfacing expert,

reviews the country’s current approach to roading design. DESIGNING AND CONSTRUCTING the country’s roads is a challenging and complex task with a whole host of factors demanding careful consideration. The process is always a juggling act with health and safety elements, environmental factors, design costs, and construction costs all clamouring for undivided attention and optimal capital expenditure. While these contending factors prompt trade-offs in the budget of the project, it is important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. The total life span of the road must be accounted for and, when this is considered, aspects such as the quality of the pavement design and materials become non-negotiable and should be optimised as much as possible. While opting for lower cost pavements is appealing from a bottom-line standpoint, it ultimately means a shorter life span for the road and any up-front savings are offset by long term costs. There is more maintenance and, consequently, more traffic delays. Lower cost materials or pavement types can also result in rougher roads, which mean higher fuel consumption. These unintended consequences are all absorbed by all road users. As designers and contractors, we need to make sure that we are taking holistic views of our projects and that we see the importance of investing upfront to ensure greater quality of delivery and performance. The SH 18 Hobsonville Deviation exemplifies the benefits of emphasising quality pavement. Working with the head contractor, our paving crews and technical team worked tirelessly to deliver New Zealand’s smoothest pavement. This smoothness combined with the design, which features several layers of structural asphalt, will greatly lengthen the life span of the road, meaning less maintenance and greater fuel efficiency.

Setting standards I am energised by the new standards that are being ushered in through the Roads of National Significance (RoNS) programme. These projects have set a solid benchmark here in New Zealand and all facets of the project are required to be fully optimised. The RoNS programme, which started in 2009, has paved the way for seven projects deemed to be urgent priorities within the State Highway system to be fast-tracked. This programme is comprised of the Puhoi to Wellsford route, the Auckland Western Ring Route, the Auckland Victoria Park bottleneck, the Waikato Expressway, the Tauranga Eastern Corridor, the Wellington Northern Corridor, and various upgrades to Christchurch’s motorway network. Fulton Hogan’s work on the first stage of the Christchurch 48 MARCH 2015

Southern Motorway serves as a good example of how the tradeoffs in projects can be properly addressed and of how high standards can be met. The project was unique due to the fact that the NZTA required that the pavement design incorporate recycled crushed demolition concrete (RCC). The design and construction teams worked with the NZTA to deliver a robust pavement including a number of sustainability initiatives, such as the RCC in the pavement and 30 percent recycled asphalt in the structural mixes for the first time in a New Zealand highway, all while not compromising on the quality and life span of the road. This is a win-win outcome, with added foresight boosting the life span of roads while lessening the environmental footprint during construction. I’m looking forward to seeing more innovation and creative thinking as the RoNS programme continues to roll out nationwide.

Using engineering judgement While robust standards like those of the RoNS are highly useful in improving delivery, they need to be accompanied by the use of engineering judgement in order to ensure the constructability of the design and achieve the required life cycle performance. That is why it’s always important that our design team works closely throughout the project with the project managers and crews who will be constructing the roads. The design and optimisation stage, the construction stage and quality assurance testing all feature close collaboration between the parties in order to mitigate whatever issues arise and to ensure that the design adequately balances risk management, use of resources and project cost. The Te Rapa section of the Waikato Expressway serves as an excellent example of collaboration between the project owner, the designer and the contractor. In an alliance contracting model, the NZTA, our pavement designers and the project delivery teams were united in their approach from the design stages right through to the completion of the road and the partnership resulted in a positive outcome for all parties involved. This is best practice, whereby the designers have direct contact with the client, project delivery managers and construction crews to ensure that the designs are constructible and that adequate emphasis is being made on the investment in a quality pavement. These collaborative approaches serve to deliver better quality and performance to our roads, helping to futureproof our infrastructure, connect our people and keep our economy moving.

Need finance for capital equipment?

Kiwi Asset Finance Limited

0800 523 111 | Talk TO us abOuT asseT fiNaNce 100% New Zealand owned-experienced asset lenders. When you put a proposal to us we’ll give you an honest appraisal and a quick decision. Our objective is to assist your business success with the funding of your capital equipment requirements.


Emily’s great bridge

Constructed in the 1870s, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in New York is legendary for several reasons, one being the pivotal role Emily Warren Roebling held in its construction. By MARY SEARLE BELL. IN THE 19TH CENTURY gender stereotypes were clear: men

were the thinkers, the explorers, the discoverers, the shapers of the world, and women kept house. It was a time of great innovation and rapid technological and scientific advancement. Naturally, men held the monopoly on the big achievements, with a few notable exceptions and one of these was Emily Warren Roebling. Emily’s journey into the history books, and into the field of engineering itself, was accidental. Literally. An accident leading to the death of one man and the crippling ill health of a second left Emily in the role of chief engineer for most of the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Her father-in-law, John Roebling was the designer and original chief engineer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Connecting 50 MARCH 2015

New York’s boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, it was the first steel-wire suspension bridge ever constructed. One of the largest engineering projects in American history, the bridge is 1825 metres long, with the main span stretching 486 metres. It soars 84 metres above the East River. John Roebling began design work in 1867 but two years later, while doing some surveying work for the project, his foot was pinned against a piling by a ferry. This injury required his crushed toes to be amputated and he subsequently developed a fatal tetanus infection. However, before he died, he placed his 32-year-old son, Washington Roebling, in charge of the project. Under Washington’s leadership construction began in 1870. Washington had been working as assistant engineer on

Right: Portrait of Emily Warren Roebling – Charles-Émile-Auguste Carolus-Duran. Brooklyn Museum.

the Brooklyn Bridge at the time of his father’s death, and he designed the two large pneumatic cassions that became the foundations for the two towers. However, in 1872, Washington developed decompression sickness (the bends) from working in the cassions (along with at least 110 of his workers). This ruined his health and left him physically unable to supervise the project. Enter his wife, Emily Warren Roebling. Bedridden, blind and partially paralysed, Washington was confined to his apartment and he relied on Emily to carry out his plans for the completion of the bridge. Washington writes of his illness: “I

thought I would succumb, but I had a strong tower to lean upon, my wife, a woman of infinite tact and wisest counsel.” Until its completion in 1883, Emily’s dedication to the Brooklyn Bridge was relentless. As well as being Washington’s nurse and confidant, she became secretary, answering mail and keeping records, and acting as messenger for the remainder of the bridge build. She took it upon herself to learn about bridge construction and took over much of the chief engineer’s duties, including the day-to-day supervision and project management. With her husband confined to his bed, she also became the face of the project, MARCH 2015 51


Left: Brooklyn Bridge looking east from Manhattan, 1899. Above: Construction of Brooklyn Bridge, ca 1872-1887.

representing him at all official engagements. It is hard to distinguish where Washington stops and Emily starts when it comes to the Brooklyn Bridge. To some, she was merely Washington’s mouthpiece, relaying his wishes. And to be fair, given the thinking of the time, Emily possibly encouraged this view as people were unlikely to entrust such a significant task to a woman, especially one without formal qualifications or experience. Others were convinced she was the brains behind the project. As David McCullough writes in his 2007 book, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge: “It is not at all surprising that the stories spread. As was apparent to everyone who met her, Emily Warren Roebling was a remarkable person. “Since every piece of written communication from the [Roebling] house … was in her hand, there was, understandably, a strong suspicion that she was doing more than merely taking down what her husband dictated. “But by and by it was common gossip that hers was the real mind behind the great work and that this, the most monumental engineering triumph of the age, was actually the doing of a woman, which as a general proposition was taken in some quarters to be both preposterous and calamitous. “In truth she had by then a thorough grasp of the engineering involved. She had a quick and retentive mind, a natural gift for mathematics, and she had been a diligent student during the long years [Washington] had been incapacitated.” McCullough writes that when bridge officials or representatives for various contractors visited the Roebling house in Brooklyn, it was seldom Washington Roebling they saw. Instead Emily would undertake the interview on his behalf, “asking questions and answering theirs with perfect confidence and command of the facts”. Apparently, some left convinced Emily was in fact the chief engineer after all and 52 MARCH 2015

“their future correspondence was addressed directly to her”. Emily was born on September 23, 1843 in Cold Spring, New York, to state assemblyman Sylvanus Warren and his wife Phoebe. She received a well-rounded education, most unusual at the time, attending the Georgetown Visitation Convent in Washington DC from the age of 15. There she studied a range of subjects including history, geography, rhetoric and grammar, algebra and French, along with the more ‘ladylike’ housekeeping, tapestry and piano. In 1864, during the American Civil War, Emily visited her brother Governor Warren who was then commanding the Fifth Army Corps. There she met Washington who was serving on staff as a civil engineer. The pair immediately fell in love and on January 18, 1865 got married. In the early years of their marriage they travelled to Europe for Washington to study bridge construction and cassion foundations. When he became chief engineer on the project, Emily studied the bridge’s construction. She developed an extensive knowledge of strength of materials, stress analysis, cable construction, and calculating catenary curves through Washington’s teachings. Emily worked tirelessly on the Brooklyn Bridge until it was finally completed in 1883. In advance of the official opening Emily was the first to cross the bridge by carriage. She carried a rooster with her as a sign of victory. Her dedication to and work on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge was honoured by Congressman Abram Hewitt at the opening ceremony. He said the Brooklyn Bridge would be, “an everlasting monument to the sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred”. Today the Brooklyn Bridge holds a plaque dedicated to the memory of Emily Warren Roebling, her husband and her father-in-law.


3.25% 301.7DCR

3.36% 325DFM




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

East Cape, Hawkes Bay & Wairarapa Steve Goss 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

Central North Island Paul Roche 021 954 376

Otago & Southland Brent Duncan 029 222 4682

Taranaki, Manawatu & Wellington Carl Southee 021 981 850

Branches Nationwide | Phone 0800 93 39 39 |

*Conditions Apply. Offer on New Cat Excavators from 301.7D - 336 and Purpose Built Forestry Machines only. 18 Months with 15% Deposit, delivered before 31 March 2015. Machine must be financed by Gough Finance. Offer is valid until 31 March 2015. Subject to Stock Availability.



RETENTIONS ARE A HOT TOPIC at the present time with the Minister for Building and Housing, Dr Nick Smith, proposing a Supplementary Order Paper for the Construction Contracts Amendment Bill. Given the often large scale, complexity, cost and length of construction projects, the risk of something not going according to plan is almost certain. Accordingly, a common approach contracting parties take in order to mitigate this risk is to include retention provisions within their agreements. Let’s consider the aspect of retentions and in some respects why we may need these and bonds in the first place. Please remember I am not a lawyer, but this column is to present the view that I have gained from my experience in the construction industry and to provide comment on the choices we have when considering the inclusion of retentions within the Construction Contracts Act. There are two processes used to ensure performance with the intent of providing certainty to the principal and/or head contractor. There is frequently confusion between performance bonds and retentions with some suggesting they are the same thing. First, why do we have performance bonds as there are some that confuse bonds with retentions and consider they are for the same purpose? The difference could be considered subtle. Performance bonds are put in place when the contract is awarded with the intent that if a contractor cannot complete a contract or is in default the principal can call in the bond. Default by the contractor can be due to a number of issues related to failing to carry out contractual obligations but is most

It is my strong view that contractors must only provide conditional bonds which means they can be called up only if the contractor is in default under the contract. often due to bankruptcy, liquidation or having a receiver or statutory manager appointed. Where the principal contends that the contractor has failed to perform its obligations the conditions of contract require an estimate of the cost be made of remedial work, work to be completed and other liabilities at the time the contractor becomes in default. It is this estimate that is used for determining the value of the bond being called in. The value of a performance bond is not to complete the physical work but to provide compensation to the principal to 54 MARCH 2015

Retentions are a carrot encouraging the contractor to complete the work by the required time and then to remedy any defect during the defects notification period. have the site secured and fund the costs of finding a replacement for the original contractor. Then of course we need to consider the issue of ‘on demand’ or ‘conditional’ bonds. It is my strong view that contractors must only provide conditional bonds which means they can be called up only if the contractor is in default under the contract. Bonds should also have an expiry date to reduce the costs of bonds that have not been released when practical completion is achieved. Performance bonds protect the owner against defaults while retentions, unique to the construction industry, provide an incentive to the contractor or subcontractor to complete the project. Retentions are part carrot and part stick. Retentions are a carrot encouraging the contractor to complete the work by the required time and then to remedy any defect during the defects notification period. Conversely, retentions are a stick to punish the contractor for perceived (real or not) performance or quality issues and are withheld or payment delayed – sometimes indefinitely. The use of retentions dates back to the construction of the United Kingdom railway system in the 1840s. In particular, retentions were used extensively by Isambard Brunel. The size of the railway projects increased demand for contractors, which led to many new contractors entering the market. These new contractors were inexperienced, unqualified and frequently unable to successfully complete their contracts. As a result, the railway companies began to withhold as much as 20 percent of contractors’ payments to ensure performance and offset completion costs should the contractor default. The point was to withhold the contractor’s profit only, not to make the contractor, and its subcontractors, finance the project. Many submissions made on the Construction Contracts Act Amendment Bill suggested that provisions be included to cover off the issue of retentions and how they were applied in practice within the industry. In response to those submissions and approaches by industry bodies Nick Smith sought Cabinet’s approval in August 2014 to draft a Supplementary Order Paper to address the issue of retentions.

Many submissions made on the Construction Contracts Act Amendment Bill suggested that provisions be included to cover off the issue of retentions and how they were applied in practice within the industry. In Smith’s submissions to Cabinet he provided a brief background to the retentions issue noting that subcontractors risk non-payment of retentions due to insolvency of clients or head contractors, and suggested they are not the best party to manage this risk. He further noted that there is a high risk of insolvency in the construction market (relative to other markets), and therefore the higher risk of loss of retentions, detracts from the sector’s growth and productivity. And finally Smith noted the use of retentions as working capital, by clients and head contractors which he says supports poor practices such as low-price tendering. From the Cabinet Papers it is proposed to amend the

Construction Contracts Act 2002 by a Supplementary Order Paper that will clarify the ban on “pay when paid” including any tactics that delay payment of retentions beyond the date specified and provide for a default rate of interest where late payment of retentions occurs. The big issue will be the proposal to require retentions to be held “in trust” where retention monies are (there is no requirement for a formal trust to be formed) to be held in trust for the project, with the head contractor or principal owing a fiduciary duty to the subcontractors to exercise proper judgement. The primary requirement in this proposal is to ensure the funds are spent on the project that they were received for. Finally penalties will result where the fiduciary responsibilities are not met with monies being used for other purposes not related to the project. I understand there will be transitional arrangements included because if this proposal is passed there will be costs associated with changing to the “in trust” requirements. As an industry we need to understand both bonds and retentions and discuss how they may best be managed. We need to consider whether retentions are required or as an industry can a change in bonding arrangements provide the same surety.

Postal Address: PO Box 12 013 Wellington 6144 Physical Address: Margan House, 21 Fitzherbert Terrace, Thorndon, Wellington 6011 Phone 0800 692 376

New Isuzu Tipper Truck Fleet has landed at Hirepool

Contact our experienced team at Hirepool Vehicle Rentals today to book

MARCH 2015 55



HERE’S THE SITUATION – the contractor has gone belly up and the principal wants to take possession of the plant and temporary works on the site to complete the works. On the face of it, the step-in rights contained in the New Zealand Standard Construction Contract NZS 3910:2013 allow for this. But are these rights effective? And what can the principal do to better protect its rights? Clause 14.2.3 of NZS 3910:2013 allows the principal to ‘take possession of, use, and permit other persons to use materials, plant, temporary works, and other things which are on the site owned by the contractor and are necessary for completing and remedying defects in the contract works’. So provided that the contractor owns the plant and temporary works, then the principal can use it. Simple? Well, unfortunately no. The first hurdle is that the contractor has to own the plant, so if it is leased or owned by a subcontractor, or a subsidiary of the contractor, then the principal has no rights to use it under clause 14.2.3. For this reason, it is always a good idea to maintain an inventory of what plant and temporary works are actually owned by the contractor on the site. Even if the contractor does own the plant and the temporary works, there is a second hurdle – the Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) regime.

So what can a principal do to protect its step-in rights? First, it will need to register its interest on the PPSR. Then it will need to search the PPSR to see if there are any prior security interests registered in relation to the contractor’s plant and temporary works. A case from the Mainzeal collapse has commented on the principal’s rights to use the contractor’s plant in such situations. In McCloy v Manukau Institute of Technology [2013] NZHC 936 (McCloy) Mainzeal had entered into a contract with Hobson Gardens to carry out remedial works on an apartment complex. The termination clause allowed Hobson Gardens to use all materials and construction machinery to complete the works. While the contract was not based on NZS 3910, the provisions relating to the principal’s rights to step-in in the event of termination were similar to those in NZS 3910. At the time 56 MARCH 2015

of Mainzeal’s collapse they were placing two hoists on to the exterior of the building. After Hobson Gardens terminated the contract, it notified the receivers that it wanted to use the hoists to complete the works. The problem was that Mainzeal had entered into general and specific security agreements with BNZ that applied to the hoists used by Mainzeal on the project. BNZ had registered its interest under these security agreements on the Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR). The question was – did the BNZ’s registered interest in the hoists trump Hobson Gardens’ rights under the contract to use the hoists to complete the works? Hobson Gardens lost. The receivers (on behalf of BNZ) were entitled to take possession of the hoists, and trumped Hobson Gardens’ rights under the contract to use the hoists to complete the works. The court held that the wording of the step-in rights clauses to use the materials and construction machinery under the contract amounted to a ‘security interest’ under the PPSA. The practical effect of this finding was to bring Hobson Gardens’ step-in rights under the ambit of the PPSA. However, Hobson Gardens needed to register its interest in the PPSR to gain priority, and the interest was subject to the priority rules under the PPSA. The good news is that a principal can register its step-in rights as a security interest in the PPSR, but the bad news is that it is then subject to the PPSA priority rules. As is common in large projects, the principal will have to compete with higher ranking and earlier registered security interests, such as that of the BNZ in the Hobson Gardens case. So what can a principal do to protect its step-in rights? First, it will need to register its interest on the PPSR. Then it will need to search the PPSR to see if there are any prior security interests registered in relation to the contractor’s plant and temporary works. In most cases, the contractor’s bank will have a general security interest registered over all present and future acquired property. The bank may also have specific security interests over certain property. If a principal wants to be able to enforce its right to use the contractor’s critical plant to complete the works, it will need to consider entering into a priority agreement or tripartite with other secured creditors (which can be a time consuming and expensive exercise) or alternatively getting consent from any first-ranking secured creditor. For the majority of projects these options are not practical. However, for larger projects with critical plant and temporary works, a principal may wish to consider these options.


J U LY 2 0 1 4 $ 8 . 9 5 ’S CIVI L CONT R







RY 2015


201 - March Februar y ING - No 1 | & MIN Volume 12 NG ARRYI ND QU LA A .95 NEW ZE | $8 2014

e Volum

11 - No

ril 2 | Ap

Increase production and improve profits with the latest in wheel loaders

BACK G O I N GA LU E V FAmOuri LimRe “couHitldnac’t hibewhhaeeppledier”


second with its m CablePrice loader fro

- May


t scr e rSigAHhEAD

on decisi

es s. cienci s effi get at new resource bring rouDrpury Quarry to r Gits orteing .

take new Hyun n delivery of thre dai exca e Porter Eq vators from uipment.


Schick Construction completes Aucklandnew roundabout at Tirau crash hotspot thYEAR TranspConstruction INgG 15 0 ort’s Dr Le Awards winner Going bush on the Coromandel: Waikato Compreh ster Levy ensive co NS Y CZAR MakLOiOKn M AA RO theeveP lop es bisy red

lied n Resourc Stevenso supp

and t her job

the indus


design ta A331 verage of T ks abfetyouTraffic modelling – shaping Margoa Co W ITH SA rate maSnaAgeFrEtal dvik Q the ever-e lks about himself nnSkippers ell on smRoad A San CH AT TI NGsources’ corpo n ore.dare – the and hi A notorious xpan NEW nd in mine saENTDrive itraifiroyou all Mt Re ou VE STM Pilba Bathurst invest in O Ts exHteIEEnsivMe INbackEgrneIN s arm to RY INDDG’SplTainsAUhiionSS a mi ral OUNT sets up C eration TALFoKTO ex E rstedr Corporat IN Tod Tony E IN W ago schist op OW? -MAD t of an Ot E TO N HAiliNngDthe developmen WHclimEbRout of trouble – Prof Y ENERGd company’s SOLtinIDg the state-owne CoverSection.indd 1


Maungan 21/01/15


3:20 pm


d 1

ui compa

business ding baum s job es ny’s intern and working fam a China ilies ational aw ard for ro ad maint enance 20/06/14 9:12 am

1 Mar.indd




4:09 pm

Purchase an annual subscription to CONTRACTOR for only $79 (incl GST and post within NZ) and you’ll get CONTRACTOR every month and Q&M every other month.

Fill in your details below and either post or fax this form to: Contrafed Publishing Co Ltd, PO Box 112 357, Penrose, Auckland 1642 Fax 09 636 5716, or scan it to or simply call us: 09 636 5715 Name .............................................................................................. Job Title............................................................................... Company Name .............................................................................. Address................................................................................ ....................................................................................................... Postcode.............................................................................. Phone ............................................................................................. Email................................................................................... I would like




Amount paid......................................... (An annual subscription is $79 including postage)

l MasterCard l Visa l I wish to pay by cheque l Direct credit into 02-1269-0018670-00 Card no:

_ _ _ _

_ _ _ _

_ _ _ _

Name on card....................................................................................

_ _ _ _


_ _ / _ _


Why Government needs to take water funding seriously JOHN PFAHLERT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, WATER NZ IT TOOK OUR Prime Minister less than 12 hours to dismiss the latest request by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) to entertain a conversation about alternative means of funding local government in New Zealand. It isn’t the first time central government has dismissed such an approach.This is a pity, given that the substantive driver of increasing water reticulation costs at a local council level actually originates in Wellington. The LGNZ paper suggests that central government decision making in areas that have cost implications for local government should be guided by two principles: Effective consultation with local government, detailing the costs and benefits of policy proposals at a local, not just national level; and where policies generate national as well as local benefits, central government should provide a proportional amount of co-funding to meet implementation costs. This isn’t radical stuff. Central government already funds up to half of the costs of building and maintaining local roads (not state highways) because there is a perceived benefit to the nation of having an efficient regional transport system. While local government delivers around 50 different functions under a wide variety of legislation and regulations, 44 percent of all local council spending goes on just two of these – roading and water-related infrastructure – storm water, drinking water and waste water. The promulgation of just two new central government policies over the past decade in the water space is driving massive new spending in reticulated water infrastructure alone. These two initiatives were: Drinking Water Standards 2005 (Revised 2008); and National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management 2014 – affecting investment in improving storm and waste water discharges. A small amount of money was made available to assist poorer rural communities upgrade their drinking water supplies, but it pales into insignificance in relation to the hundreds of millions councils will be required to spend to meet the standards imposed by these two policies over the next 30 years or so. For example, the Clutha District Council reported to the Local Government Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group that it had spent or planned to spend $6 million on water supply plant upgrades as a result of the new drinking water standards. In 2014 the Local Government Amendment Act (No 3) was passed which established a requirement for councils to prepare and adopt a 30-year infrastructure strategy which deals with water supply, sewage and treatment and disposal of sewage, storm water drainage, flood protection and control works and the provision of roading and footpaths. The Government is fully aware of these planning initiatives, with the National Infrastructure Unit within Treasury currently working on the next iteration of the National Infrastructure Plan. The total replacement value of the existing three waters infrastructure was assessed two years ago at $35.7 billion. As councils develop their long-term infrastructure plans and assess 58 MARCH 2015

the current state of their assets I wouldn’t be surprised to see that figure double. If the Christchurch earthquake has taught us anything, it’s that some city and district councils know very little about the state of their in-ground reticulated assets. The other aspect of the LGNZ paper that all media and the Government appears to have completely overlooked to date are proposals for specialist regional organisations to manage the three waters infrastructure. Managing and funding infrastructure through corporate or “public utility” models such as Watercare in Auckland is another alternative to funding by rate increases. The clear separation between policy and service delivery functions has seen significant reductions in planned capital expenditure. Water New Zealand has long been an advocate for metering of water use and adoption of direct user charges for water and waste water provision. When people pay for what they use it sets the correct incentives for optimal use and conservation. You don’t value what you don’t pay for – or in the case of water services – pay for directly and not through a fixed charge through rates over which you have no control. Auckland and Tauranga both use residential water meters. Consumption is 25 percent reduced over the period before their installation. While some councils have adopted the public utility model, and some are currently considering it, there is still significant scope for improvement in the governance and management of the three waters infrastructure by councils. Some commentators have called for discussion on fettering the powers of councils, constraining them to core services rather than seeking a broader range of income sources to fund current activities. Sure, this is worthy of consideration. However, the fact remains that the LGNZ report identifies 32 councils facing absolute declines in population over the next 15 years. They contain a disproportionate number of increasingly older people with static and in real terms, declining income. The Office of the Auditor General last year identified a $7 billion shortfall between what councils say they need to spend on three waters assets over the next six years and what they actually intend to spend. The pressure on elected officials within local government to restrain rates increases means much needed maintenance and replacement of assets is simply not occurring. This is a bit like ignoring the repeated letters from a debt collector hoping the problem will go away. The CEO of LGNZ, Malcolm Alexander, was quite clear at the press conference launching the report that the current system is not broken. His organisation sought simply to stimulate a discussion, one which the Prime Minister seems reluctant to engage in. Still, as the size of the infrastructure asset replacement programme becomes better defined as councils complete their 30-year infrastructure plans, perhaps there will be a change of heart. It is critical to the resilience of local communities away from the beltway and other main centres that we have this discussion, even if it makes us somewhat uncomfortable.


A case for concrete intersections ROB GAIMSTER, CEMENT & CONCRETE ASSOCIATION AND NZ READY MIXED CONCRETE ASSOCIATION EVER PULLED INTO the car park of your local shopping precinct, come to a stop at the traffic lights in the centre of town, or turned at a roundabout close to your kid’s school, only to feel as if you have driven over a cattle grid? The car shudders, the driver and passengers are shaken, the keys jangle loudly beneath the ignition and the rear view mirror vibrates to distortion. Sound familiar? Intersections of various types are routinely damaged by traffic more than almost any other point on the road. Heavy vehicles stopping and turning stress the road surface (pavement) at intersections, which by their very nature experience greater traffic volumes compared to the approaching lanes. The asphalt surface at these busy junctions is prone to premature deterioration, rutting and ravelling under the strain of buses and trucks travelling at low speed around a tight curvature. The deformed driving surface becomes an expensive maintenance problem for the roading authority, as well as a comfort and ultimately a safety concern for road users.

Concrete option While intersections form only a tiny percentage of our total roading network, their importance to the overall level of functionality warrants the careful consideration of alternative design and construction models. While not traditionally a widely used pavement material in New Zealand, concrete pavements for intersections offer a range of advantages that are worth summarising here: • As a relatively low maintenance asset a concrete pavement is competitive in terms of repair or replacement; • Reduced maintenance translates to less disruption to traffic and local businesses; • Generally thinner than alternatives, a concrete pavement requires less excavation; • A concrete pavement is less susceptible to softening or deterioration caused by oil and fuel spillage; • Good light reflectivity of a concrete pavement enhances pedestrian and vehicle safety at night and during inclement weather; • A concrete pavement’s surface texture and skid resistance can be tailored to meet specific requirements; • Constructability of concrete pavements over a short time period allows for rapid re-use of the intersection. In short, the rigidity of a suitably designed and constructed concrete pavement is well suited to withstand the loading and turning movements of heavy vehicles at busy intersections, which in turn means the expense associated with frequent maintenance is substantially reduced.

Design consideration When planning to construct an intersection, the concrete pavement should cover at least the ‘functional’ area. This

includes the longitudinal limits of the approach and exit lanes, as the distress caused by braking of turning heavy vehicles extends beyond the ‘physical’ area. Concrete slab thickness will be influenced by traffic density and vehicle characteristics, but is most likely to be thicker in the physical (central ) area of the intersection, compared to the approach and exit lanes. The most important design aspect of concrete pavement intersection is jointing. However, by applying simple jointing fundamentals that consider spacing, type and layout concrete expansion and contraction can be managed effectively for longterm performance.

The deformed driving surface becomes an expensive maintenance problem for the roading authority, as well as a comfort and ultimately a safety concern for road users. Concrete mix and construction An appropriate concrete mix is essential to ensure a successful outcome for any concrete pavement. The capability to meet strength requirements within the specified timeframe is particularly crucial. Adequate strength goes a long way to safeguarding a hard, durable, skid-resistant surface, as well as accommodating the tensile stresses resulting from shrinkage and loading. The construction of concrete intersection pavements can incorporate a variety of methods, including fixed-form and slip-form equipment. The latter will most likely be used if the intersection is considered large enough by the contractor. Although various types of equipment can be used, a relatively standard set of construction steps apply to the majority of concrete intersection projects. These include, the removal of the existing intersection, subgrade / subbase preparation, setting forms, placing in-pavement objects, concrete placement, surface texturing and jointing.

Uptake and exerience Overseas experience with concrete pavement intersections has been encouraging. The concrete roundabouts constructed across New South Wales for instance have performed with very low maintenance demands. In South Africa, Canada and the United States concrete pavement intersections are becoming more commonplace, supported in-part by the work of the relevant concrete associations. Here in New Zealand, where investment in roading is at levels not seen for decades, the adoption of concrete pavements to provide long term durable solutions for road sections that are highly stressed merits consideration. MARCH 2015 59


Traffic management plans


THE ROAD CONSTRUCTION season is well underway and this time of the year this Association receives frequent reports from both transport operators and road project managers about the difficulty that they frequently have with trucks – and those with oversize loads in particular – negotiating through their work sites. With the planning involved, the required Traffic Management Plans (TMPs) and with the specialist traffic management companies that are frequently brought in on contracts to manage this process, I would have thought that over time there would be improving outcomes for all parties. However at this time every year it is brought home to me exactly how this process isn’t working. The problem is a combination of the following factors: 1. The size of oversize loads Quite literally, oversize loads can have problems fitting down roads that do not have roading projects – let alone when there are construction or rehabilitation projects underway. 2. Work times Typically, road work projects schedule their crews to undertake the work at non-peak travel periods to ease the burden on traffic flows. Oversize loads also have bans on travel during times that are peak travel. So both sets of crews end up working during the same time slots. 3. Lack of planning This issue is on both sides. The transport operators need to better plan ahead for where there are potential restrictions – but they need better information about what is happening and where; and roading project managers need better information about what loads might come through, but they also need to plan for when these oversize loads will inevitably turn up.

Things to consider There are some issues that need to be considered. The first of these is whether the works are on a route that typically allows for overdimension or overweight loads. There are maps available of these on the NZTA website, but the Association’s website provides direct links to them. The second point is duration. Simply put, the longer that works are to be in place, the more likely that an increased number of oversize loads will want to proceed through the worksite. Finally, the scale of the works’ impact on the restriction on road width; it is less likely that a shoulder closure will impact on an oversize load than will a lane closure or a full road closure.

What are we asking for? 1. Is it a heavy haulage route? When a TMP is scoped for any particular section of road, the first question to ask is whether this road is also an identified overdimension (OD) or overweight (OW) route? The same type of question as – is this a public transport route, or is it frequented by school children? If in doubt about whether it’s an OD or OW route check with the Heavy Haulage Association. 2. What plan is there for communicating with the heavy haulage sector? This Association operates as a good contact for communicating with the heavy haulage industry what works will be happening where, and if notification by the transport operator to the roading project manager/STMS is requested. 3. What contingency plan is there? If a heavy haulage load wants to move through the site, what plan do traffic management staff have for dealing with a large load travelling through the work area? 4. Advance notice If a detour is required, or if the contingency plan is to divert heavy haulage loads, then a minimum of two weeks’ notice needs to be given to the industry so that operators can scope alternative routes and gain permits for these routes if required. The overall request from the heavy haulage industry is for inclusion by those people who develop traffic management plans of a plan for oversize loads that need to travel through the site, and to provide good communication about this to the road transport industry. Then, transport operators will not be surprised by the scale or nature of road works and can arrive armed with good info and a good attitude towards working through with the traffic management guys onsite to manage the load through the road works site. At a bigger picture level, this Association has been lobbying NZTA and other local roading authorities for many years to develop a centralised oversize load notification system that will enable STMS and other people to see ahead of time what big loads will be moving across the roading project. We are gaining more confidence that NZTA will progress this soon, but in the meantime we need the support of all parties to make the process work better with the current tools that we have – including more comprehensive traffic management plans.

Postal Address: PO Box 1778, Wellington 6140 Physical Address: Level 3, iPayroll House, 93 Boulcott St, Wellington 6011 Phone: 04 472 0366 Fax: 04 471 2649 Email:

60 MARCH 2015



A BELATED HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all. Well it now feels like we are well into 2015 and it’s going to be another big year for the NZTA and our industry partners. As we started the New Year we have taken stock of the challenges ahead and we remain confident that through closer collaboration we will continue to be successful. So I thought I’d take the opportunity to run through some of the key activities that await us in 2015. We continue to roll out the biggest capital programme we have ever delivered, we are on track to implement our new maintenance contracts and we also have legislation change in health and safety that will change the way we work.

Relationship with suppliers Our relationship with our suppliers is critical to everything we want to achieve. Over the past few years there has been much talk about industry collaboration and I think we are beginning to see the benefits of these ongoing conversations. The feedback we receive from our contractors and consultants is generally positive and our relationship is in good shape. However, there are clearly some areas of improvement and given the importance of this relationship we are seeking to lift our interaction with the industry so that we can gain more insights from the people who do the work on the ground, and continuously improve the way we work with our suppliers. We feel that we enjoy good interactions with our regular more established suppliers but could still do more to hear from the wider industry. Accordingly we are proposing to undertake

We are on track to implement our new maintenance contracts and we also have legislation change in health and safety that will change the way we work.

where the two big projects, the Huntly and Hamilton bypasses have received funding and are currently being tendered. These two projects with a combined value of over $1 billion will substantially complete the Waikato expressway and deliver huge benefits to the Upper North Island. The other RoNS projects coming to market this year are in Christchurch and include Western Belfast Bypass and Christchurch Northern Arterial. We are also making good progress on the Auckland Acceleration and Regional Roads programmes. Both of these packages received additional government funding last year and we have now developed the projects and can bring them to market. The widening of the Auckland Southern Motorway is the largest of these projects coming out this year, and the first five of the regional projects around the country will also commence in 2015. We will also be progressing our part of the cycling programme, which has been the subject of additional government funding. This money has been combined with the existing cycling allocation within the national land transport programme and funding contributions from local authorities to provide an investment package which will transform cycling infrastructure in our urban areas. We are working closely with our partners in local government to package up a number of exciting projects and we aim to get them to the industry as soon as possible.

Maintenance contracts The roll out of Network Outcomes Contracts (NOCs) continues to progress to programme. While we are generally happy with the way it is progressing, we are continuing to monitor, review and learn from each contract that we let. Again the success of these contracts will be down to the quality of the interactions we have with our contractors and how we as an industry can demonstrate genuine collaboration to continuously improve efficiency and lift our offering to our customers. This is not easy but we must continue to build on the good dialogue and ensure we keep working together.

Health and safety legislation two interactive industry briefings during this year. These will be open to all our suppliers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants and other advisors and will be designed so that we can download all of our upcoming activity and any changes in work practices and more importantly get the chance to gain feedback from those parts of the industry that we don’t have regular contact with. We hope that this will be beneficial to you all and we look forward to some good conversations.

Capital programme The Roads of National Significance (RoNS) continue to move forward and we are seeing good progress on the projects underway. In terms of new starts, 2015 sees the focus shift to the Waikato

Clearly the new health and safety legislation will have a big impact on how we work. New legislation always brings challenges and changes, and the NZTA is gearing up so that we are well equipped to embrace the new way of working. We are keen to play our part in this industry challenge. Again we have worked closely with our suppliers in sharing ideas and experiences. We want to assist all parts of the industry and all contractors, big or small, to share and adopt best practice. We have invested in a dedicated team to help this to happen. Our Zero Harm team are developing new minimum standards and tools and there is an open offer for them to share these with all contractors. We are all looking forward to a successful rewarding and safer 2015. MARCH 2015 61



LET THE GOOD TIMES roll: unemployment is down and the economy is one of the best in the world. Construction is at an all-time high as the Government invests in infrastructure. The economic forecast for the next few years bodes well for the country. However, have you given any thought to the cycles of boom and bust that the country has gone through in the past 100 years? Those businesses that have been around a while know of the struggles that a downturn in the economy brings and they have learnt over the years how to get around that boom and bust cycle. Here are some simple steps that you can take to help mitigate the impact on your business. Small low-cost changes can have a positive impact on your business.

opportunities to increase public awareness of your business and generate more revenue. You should consider including new business prospects and new services, or discounts and you should be looking at ways you can promote your business.

Find online opportunities Using the internet to communicate and do business can help you reach a much wider market both locally and potentially overseas, as well as saving you money and time. Taking advantage of new and less expensive technologies can benefit your business in times of difficulty. Check out free source software on the internet. If you want to build a website then check out

Evaluate your expenditure

Create an innovative business culture

Start by reviewing your day to day costs such as rent, telephone usage, energy consumption and transport expenses. Determine whether you can reduce these costs; for example using video conferencing instead of travelling inter-city to attend meetings in person. Keep your stock levels as low as possible to reduce the amount of capital you have invested in inventories. Look at whether it’s more efficient and effective to out-source some of your in-house activities. Negotiate better deals in services that you use, and ensure that you have done your research before making purchases.

Look to your staff and customers for ideas that you use to make your business more innovative. This may include ways to be more efficient and improve internal processes, or looking for ways to improve customer experience.

Invoicing and debt collection You can also improve your invoice and debt collection practices. Ensure that invoices are sent out daily, and that outstanding debtors are followed up for payment. You may find it useful to consolidate your debts, and shop around for the best credit card, business account or loan for your business needs. Many of us are very loyal to long-term providers but it always pays to check out the market at renewal times to ensure that you are on the best deal.

Business Advisors Your bank has a business support service that as a customer you can use for advice in preparing your business for a downturn and can advise you on issues such as obtaining finance, managing your cash flow, retail leasing, and marketing. You may even need to see a specialist who can advise you on dealing with stress and hardship.

Revisit your business and marketing plans If you haven’t got a business plan then you don’t have the roadmap to your business future. Having a business and a marketing plan and updating regularly can develop 62 MARCH 2015

How we know this works This is what the association has done in the past 18 months and will continue to do so in the future. We have evaluated our expenditure and moved offices, reduced our telecommunications account, and are using video conferencing to reduce meeting expenses. We hold very little stock in-house now and have an arrangement with our printer to print on demand and post. We have re-negotiated our insurances and put in place member insurance and fuel benefits that will reduce your costs. Our invoicing used to go out at the end of every month, but now it goes out daily and we have more control over our accounting through our online accounting package, Xero. Our bank business support service along with our accountants have given us good advice which we have implemented and we are now putting aside for the future when times aren’t so great. Our business strategies and plan are now a dynamic part of the management of the Association and are reviewed regularly to ensure that we are on track with our vision and opportunities. We have invested in a new website (, database and online shop ( which we have built for virtually nothing and then we pay online costs to keep them. Our website and shop is mobile friendly so they can be accessed from any smart phone or tablet. The resources on the website are available to you on the worksite. Use them! Don’t be shy, ask your staff and customers how you can best help them to help you. It is a win-win situation. You can’t lose if you have those discussions. We know that this works because we practise what we preach.



SINCE FEBRUARY THE Government’s Rules of Sourcing have been mandatory for a whole bunch more organisations than previously, which could change the tendering environment for both suppliers and clients, in some surprising and welcome ways. It’s nearly two years since the government introduced its Five Principles of Procurement – which every government organisation, from councils to ministries, is required to build into their procurement processes. While broad, these cover good procurement practice across the board, such as debriefing with unsuccessful suppliers, staying impartial, and making it clear how tenders will be evaluated. It’s taking time for those principles to be known, let alone embraced, by many government organisations. Every time I run a course for tender evaluators operating in our public procurement environment, there are still seasoned tender evaluators who have never heard of those five principles. But time is running out for the unaware, as procurement requirements tighten up on projects that are funded from public organisations. Although the Government’s Rules of Sourcing introduced in October 2013 are only mandatory for some government organisations, all government organisations are expected or encouraged to use them as a good practice guide. However, the list of those organisations for whom the Rules are required has now grown significantly, to include Crown Agents, Autonomous and Independent Crown Entities, and publicly funded companies. In practical terms, this list (see ) now covers organisations as diverse as the Earthquake Commission, the Transport Agency, District Health Boards, NZ Trade and Enterprise, and scores of others. What does this mean for tendering processes? The short answer is that the processes will be managed in a more transparent, consistent, and robust manner. Procurement trends will aim to encourage competitive, healthy markets; costefficient processes; and greater levels of accountability from government organisations in their supplier selection processes. Not surprisingly, the Rules of Sourcing are far more prescriptive than the Five Principles. The rules specify welldefined standards for most aspects of procurement, including, for example: 1. Allowing set minimum time periods for tender responses (mostly these are around 20 – 25 business days, with some deductions possible); 2. Openly advertising opportunities on GETS; 3. Preparing and using Annual Procurement Plans and Extended Procurement Forecasts, aimed at giving suppliers advance notice of possible contract opportunities; 4. Avoiding applying technical specifications or conformance standards that would create obstacles for some suppliers;

5. Including the evaluation criteria and an indication of the relative importance of each, in the RFT. All of these requirements are well recognised in many government organisations who have well-developed procurement practices aimed to deliver best value for money. There will also be some organisations for whom these requirements will prompt a long (and potentially uncomfortable) look at their procurement processes, followed by some revisions and re-training for their seasoned procurement staff. The reforms that Government is driving in procurement are welcomed by suppliers, as well as by well-informed client organisations. In fact, they are rapidly securing New Zealand’s place at, or very close to, the top end of global best practice in procurement. Our procurement environment is more processdriven, and less relationship-driven than in most other countries. It’s more about what you know than who you know! International procurement trends are promoting more sustainable solutions; less focus on tender box price in favour of lower cost whole-of-life solutions; greater emphasis on social and environmental factors in purchasing decisions; and higher levels of transparency, accountability and defensibility for public spending. In all of these areas, the Government has welldeveloped principles – even if knowledge of, and adherence to those principles is taking time to achieve. The move to extend the Government Rules of Sourcing to an increasing number of government organisations deserves a round of applause. It’s now up to our public sector procurement people to take on board their responsibilities under those very sensible rules. As the ‘bite’ of the Government Rules of Sourcing firms up, it will be less and less acceptable for a council (for example) to ignore the rules or actively dismiss them. Even those organisations that are not legally required to follow the Government Rules are expected or encouraged to use them as a good practice guide, to apply them to their procurement policies and practices, and to train their staff to apply the Principles to their tendering processes. It’s also the job of our supplier community to understand and (where necessary) to remind government clients of their responsibilities to drive effective practices through their tendering tools. The Rules of Sourcing have not been put in place to make things difficult for procurement people. On the contrary, they’re aimed at providing a consistent, fair, fit-for-purpose and costefficient framework for procurement processes. One that encourages competition and innovation, that inspires suppliers to give their best to the contracts they bid for and win; and one that builds healthy, viable regional economies to support New Zealand Inc. MARCH 2015 63










Caterpillar 651

With the arrival here recently of two secondhand Cat 651Bs, the time is probably right to have a closer look at the largest two-axle, single-engined scraper that Caterpillar has produced so far. BY RICHARD CAMPBELL DESIGNED FOR FLEET USE in really serious bulk earthmoving situations, the first Caterpillar 651 appeared in 1962 along with a host of other Caterpillar scrapers in its new “600” series. Some of the new scrapers did not last long in the company’s catalogue, however the model 651 was a stayer and evolved over the years into a real brute of a machine while its competitors fell by the wayside. One of the secrets of the machine’s longevity has been its simplicity and the ability to be remanufactured, often more than once, making it an extremely cost effective way of moving large amounts of material. 64 MARCH 2015

Due to its size, the 651 is ideally suited to larger projects where it will spend a lot of time. Another mitigating factor is the availability of suitable push tractors, as a single engined scraper of this ravenous capacity needs a decent sized push tractor to maximise its potential. In the US, 651s are more often than not tandem pushed by D10-sized tractors for optimum payload and cycle times. Fleets of these machines can be seen on YouTube carving up the countryside in spectacular fashion, many wearing the battle scars of a long hard life.

Caterpillar 651 development When it was originally introduced, the Caterpillar 651 was powered by a 450 flywheel horsepower Caterpillar D346T, 60° V8 diesel engine mated to a Caterpillar nine-speed, barrel type planetary powershift transmission. Bowl capacity was 32 cubic yards struck, 44 cubic yards heaped and all operations were fully hydraulic. Engine power was soon boosted to 500 flywheel horsepower when it became obvious that the machine was a little underpowered. These scrapers were known by Cat as the 33G series and weighed around 48.5 tons empty.


1. Cat 651B in California, US, being tandem pushed by 2 x D10Ns (the blade of the second machine can just be seen outside the front tractor’s tracks). This veteran 651B has seen a lot of hard work and is fitted with sideboards to increase the bowl’s capacity. Owner Peter Sukut & Sons has a huge fleet of these machines. Photo: SoCalEarthmovers

2. What to do when the bowl on your scraper is all worn out. This 651 has been retrofitted with a Rome Tool & Plow “Roman Wheel” compactor for high speed compaction on this US dam construction job. Photo was taken in 1965 but no other details are available. Photo: Author’s collection


3. Green Construction’s 651 dumps another load of shale on the fill on a US Interstate Highway job. These were the good ’ol days – no ROPS, no hiviz, the only token slant towards safety is the pressed steel helmet the operator is wearing! Photo: Author’s collection

4. Heading up this interesting lineup of equipment is a Cat 651B with a Klein 10,000 gallon water tanker in place of the scraper bowl. Certain elements of the scraper have been retained – the cutting edge and side cutters, plus the lift rams so the unit can double as a haul road maintenance and fill trimming tool. Quite a cool idea. F or those who are interested, the other machines in the lineup are Caterpillar 660 3-axle scrapers, another 651 water cart and a D10 push tractor. Photo: SoCalEarthmovers


MARCH 2015 65



5. Caterpillar factory shot of one of the first off the line 651s. Worth noting is that big Cat D346 engine, rigid hitch and the overall clean design of the machine, a trademark of the early 600 series Cat scrapers. Photo: Author’s collection

6. The 651B looking very business like in this Caterpillar factory photo. Gone are the smooth lines, replaced by ROPS, cushion hitch and a muffler. Sharp-eyed folks will notice that the tractor mudguards have also been squared off compared to earlier production machines.


Photo: Author’s collection

While industry acceptance of such a big machine was at first slow, this was not to last.

Cushion hitch added Following extensive development and testing by Caterpillar on the model 631B scraper, the cushion hitch ride control system was made optional for the 641, 651 and 657 in 1967. As this was a factory only modification, and could not be retrofitted to existing machines, those 651s equipped with the cushion hitch were given a new serial number prefix, 44M, to distinguish them from non-cushion hitch machines. Apart from a hefty weight increase to just over 57 tons, all other specifications remained the same.

The 651B The 651 was given an upgrade in 1968, becoming the 651B. Engine horsepower was increased to 550 at the flywheel and the new 8-speed powershift transmission, which was being introduced across the entire Caterpillar motor scraper line, replaced the 9-speed powershift used previously. ROPS mounting pads were also made standard and more tyre options were added. This turned out to be a very popular scraper for Caterpillar with the vast majority of the machines manufactured still in service, either as scrapers or modified as water carts. The 651B was in continuous production from 1968 up until 66 MARCH 2015

1984 when it was officially replaced by the all new 651E.

The 651E First manufactured in 1983, the 651E had a raft of new features, not the least of which was a new engine, the 550 flywheel horsepower Caterpillar 3412TA. This was a 65° V-12, turbocharged and aftercooled diesel with a whopping 1649 cubic inch displacement which was a little more environmentally friendly than the D346 previously fitted to all 651s. While capacity of the machine remained the same, some fairly major redesign had taken place increasing the structural strength of the tractor, bowl and hitch and changing the machine’s appearance along the way. Empty weight had now risen to 65.5 tons making it the heaviest of all 651 variants, but it could still zip along at just over 30mph with a full load on board. Unfortunately, the 651E currently represents the last of the 651 line, Caterpillar not having announced a replacement when it upgraded the similar, but twin powered 657G in 2006. So, effectively, production of the 651 has ceased for the time being leaving only the 631K and 621K scrapers in the single engine, open bowl category in Caterpillar’s catalogue.

Competition Caterpillar did not have too much opposition at this end of

the scraper size scale but competition did exist. Principal competitors were the Euclid (later Terex) S-32, Michigan 410, Allis-Chalmers (later Fiat-Allis) 460 and MRS 250A. All of the above were gone by 1985 leaving Caterpillar alone in the field. Wabco did not offer a machine in this size category and neither did International Harvester.

Attachments Along with cabs, heaters and the like, there were other options to outfit the 651 to suit your needs. Athey products offered a hydraulically operated 50 ton rear dump in place of the scraper bowl, Rome Tool & Plow could provide compaction equipment to replace tired scraper bowls, and both Southwest Manufacturing and Klein offered water tanker conversions.


The Kiwi connection As mentioned in the opening text, two used Caterpillar 651Bs have been imported for use on an irrigation project in the lower South Island. At the time of writing these machines had yet to go into service. Watch this space!

For the Model Collector 8

The pickings are really slim here unless you have very deep pockets and connections overseas but surprisingly there is a model of the 651 available. It was limited to a production run of 50 items and was made in 1:50 scale by Black Rat Models in the UK. The model represents an early production machine without cushion hitch and a European style cab. It was based on measurements obtained from a French machine that is still operational and is very accurate and impressively large. At well over $1300, it is a rare and highly collectable piece if you can find or afford one. The author would love one to add to his fleet!

BRIEF SPECIFICATIONS 1977 Caterpillar 651B Engine: Caterpillar D346TA, turbocharged and aftercooled V8 diesel rated at 550 flywheel horsepower @ 1900 rpm Transmission: Caterpillar 8-speed semi-auto planetary powershift transmission Top speed: 34mph Steering: Full hydraulic, 90° to left and right of centre Turning circle: 53’10” Brakes: Air operated S-cam expanding shoe Capacity: 32 cubic yards struck, 44 cubic yards heaped Length: 50’ 4” Width: 14’ 2” Height: 14’ 1” Op.weight: 62.1 tons (empty), 114.2 tons (loaded)


7. How to properly load a 651, in this instance a 651E belonging to Ralph Miskell & Son. The 651E is the current, and at this point last, production model of the 651, Caterpillar not having announced any plans for further production. Push tractors are D10s which will fill the 44 cubic yard bowl in under 20 seconds. Photo: SoCalEarthmovers

8. Awaiting its next call to duty, this 651 is located in France and is probably the machine that was used to create the Black Rat model alluded to in the text. It has a European designed cab but apart from that is pretty stock standard. Photo: Paul Roberton

9. Photographed by Nick Worthington at the Port of Lyttleton is one of New Zealand’s first two Caterpillar 651Bs (push block of the second machine is just to left in photo). These will be put to work in the lower South Island on an irrigation scheme. Photo: Nick Worthington

MARCH 2015 67


END OF A REPUBLIC In 1918, the Republic Truck Company was the biggest truck manufacturer in the world. Not a lot of people know that. Republic had 3000 dealers in the US, and outlets in 56 other countries. Then, suddenly, the firm fell on hard times. Reason? When the First World War ended thousands of army trucks were dumped onto the civilian market at cheap prices. Buyers snapped them up. Republic’s production of 30,000 units a year in 1918 dropped to 1400 in 1921. The receiver was called in. Whatwas left of Republic was merged with the La France Company which became Sterling. A number of Republic trucks came to New Zealand and one has been restored in Invercargill.

Dialling up stiffness It may be the only luxury car whose brand name can also be seen on earthmoving equipment, but the Hyundai Genesis is a genuine attempt by the South Korean concern to climb into the market space occupied by Lexus, Audi, Jaguar, and BMW. It arrives in New Zealand about now. It’s a 3.6 litre rear drive limo. Hyundai expects to sell between five and eight units a month. Price tag is $99,990. Asian limos aimed at the US market, as this one is, often have soft riding suspension which does not suit our generally harsh and winding roads. Hyundai has re-tuned the suspension for our market, and has added a dial-your-own stiffness feature. I’m getting to be a high mileage item myself, and do you know, at times, I wouldn’t mind being able to simply dial up a bit of stiffness. (Assume you’re referring to your suspension, Peter. – Ed)


68 MARCH 2015

Ron Berry is an affluent retiree in Utah. He may be physically retired, but his mind is more active than ever. This VW Kombi is the latest in a line of real roadgoing vehicles that he has, for want of a better word, cartoon-ised. They are street legal and are used on the road by the good Mr Berry. This VW is based on a 1950s’ Microbus, as Kombis were called in the American market. It has 24 inch chrome wheels and a rearmounted flat four engine in the style of the original, although Ron’s engine is bigger in capacity at nearly 2.2 litres. It is also supercharged, which is a frightening thought in an old VW van. My thoughts on retirement, when it comes, are to play a few rounds a week (of croquet, that is) and prop up the bar of the Kerikeri RSA. So good on you Ron for doing something creative. It’s just the more I look at your creation, the more I wonder whether my best option is to either reach for a sick bag or change my brand of sherry.

Mid-air nightmare It’s the car whose silhouette was first sketched on an air sick bag. One assumes that seconds later, the sketcher used the air sick bag for its intended purpose, because clearly he was not well when he designed the AMC Gremlin. Richard A Teague was chief designer for American Motors Corporation, manufacturer of the Rambler brand. He was on a flight in 1968 when he sketched what was to become the Rambler Gremlin compact car. It went into production in 1970. The idea was that it was a small car by American standards, about the same length as a VW Beetle. In the eight years that it was manufactured, only 670,000 were sold, small numbers by US car market standards of that time. Not only was the styling psychiatric, but they named the car after a problem. Webster’s dictionary defined Gremlin as “a small gnome held to be responsible for the malfunction of equipment”. Just looking at the picture, I find myself reaching for a sick bag.

AMBITIOUS HEIGHTS Ford will bring out a new SUV later this year called the Everest. Some industry observers say it’s based on the highly successful Ranger ute. Others say it’s a stand-alone model. This observer reckons it’s got a lot of Ranger in it, added to by some original design features. The vehicle has been penned by

the design team at Ford Australia. That team needed something to do now that the Falcon is to cease production. Customers will be able to choose between reardrive only and four-wheel drive versions and between diesel and petrol. Models for New Zealand will be built in Thailand.

MARCH 2015 69


New tyre design for telehandlers

Revolutionary 3D scanner The Faro Freestyle3D is a high-precision, handheld 3D scanner that quickly and reliably documents rooms, structures and objects in 3D, creating high-definition pointclouds and letting the user view the data in real-time as it is captured. The portability of the lightweight, carbon fibre-bodied Freestyle3D enables users to manoeuvre and scan in tight and hard-to-reach environments. It scans to a distance of up to three metres and captures up to 88K points per second with accuracy better than 1.5mm. “Faro leads the way in long-range scanning and is trusted worldwide by the civil construction industry,” says Mike Milne, managing director of New Zealand Faro importer and consultancy firm, Synergy Positioning Systems. “Just as accuracy is of vital importance to Faro’s end-users, portability, ease-ofuse and rapid data realisation are also key factors in entities successfully adopting this groundbreaking technology. “The new Faro Freestyle3D incorporates all of these attributes in a comprehensive package that will open up the possibilities of 3D laser scanning to entirely new sectors of industry.” Further info:

The new Constar tyre from Balkrishna Industries (BKT) has been specifically designed for telescopic handlers and wheel loaders. The tyre is said to feature high vertical and horizontal stability. It handles heavy loads due to the wider lugs which provide an increased contact area on the ground. Currently the Constar is available in 400/70-20, 400/8024 and 440/80-24 and has a load/speed of 168A8, meaning it can carry a maximum load of 5600 kilograms while travelling at a speed of 40km/h. TRS is the distributor of BKT Tyres,

Handy footings machine Ditch Witch has released the SK850 footings machine, designed to create trenches up to 41cm wide and 91cm deep for slab construction. With its specialised, heavy-duty chain and Tier 4, 37hp diesel engine, the SK850 footings machine creates cleaner, more consistent trenches than an excavator can, and in less time. The machine is more compact than an excavator, so it can be more productive in tight jobsites. Plus, it can trench from either a centreline or offset position, so the operator can dig right up to the backer board. With 109cm of track on ground, the SK850 footings machine also has the stability to effectively cross-trench.

CONTRACTORS’ DIARY Date Event 9-10 Mar 25-26 Mar 28-30 Jun 16 8-10 Jul 15-17 Jul 5-7 Aug 12-14 Aug


Road Lighting Conference Road Infrastructure Management Forum Hillhead Quarry Exhibition Crane Assoc of NZ Conference QuarryNZ Conference Civil Contractors NZ NZ Heavy Haulage Conference


Langham Hotel, Auckland Rendezvous Grand Hotel, Auckland

Lafarge Tarmac’s, Hillhead Quarry, England Trinity Wharf, Tauranga Claudelands, Hamilton TBC James Cook Hotel, Wellington






12-14 Mar 15

Central District Field Days

Malcolm Abernethy


National Finals

Please send any contributions for Contractor Diary to, or phone 09 636 5710

70 MARCH 2015

Towbars are not equal A good towbar is one that has been designed especially to suit the vehicle to which it is fitted. There is no such thing as a generic towbar, says John Frear, general manager sales and marketing of Best Bars. “A towbar fitted to a vehicle that it was not designed for could be a recipe for disaster,” he says. “If it has to be adapted to fit the vehicle or does not have the correct fittings it could lead to failure whilst towing on the road – with unfortunate consequences. “You should never fit a second-hand towbar, either, even if it is designed for the right vehicle, as there may be hidden corrosion or metal fatigue.” Fear advises drivers to have a towbar fitted by a reputable vehicle dealer or specialist fitter and to ensure that it carries at least one of the following statements; one that reads ‘Genuine/Approved Accessory’ and the other should indicate ‘Manufactured in accordance with NZS5467’. These signify the towbar is made for and approved as a genuine accessory by a motor company and/or that it also meets the required safety standard.

Two machines in one The Kobelco ED160 Blade Runner model is new to New Zealand, with the first machine arriving in April and combining two machines in one — a dozer and an excavator. MIMICO is the New Zealand distributor of Kobelco excavators and its general manager, James MacPhee, says: “The Blade Runner is designed with productivity in mind, integrating both excavator and dozer technology into a single product. “Unlike most excavators, this 92.8hp, 15,700kg model is equipped with more than just a backfill blade, and also features a six-way power-tilt blade with float, tilt, lift and angle options.” Designed for heavy dozing, the ED160 has a rugged, oversized undercarriage for excellent durability and performance as well as curved track pads for optimal traction and higher flotation. In addition to dozing, the ED160 has a 0.5 cubic metre bucket and a zero tail swing radius — making it ideal for digging, even in tight spaces. “If your applications are restricted by space, transportation size, or you just want the most productive piece of equipment you can buy, the Kobelco ED160 Blade Runner is your best choice,” MacPhee says. (Some features/specifications pictured are not available in New Zealand.)

A DV E RT I S E RS IN D E X AB Equipment


Hirepool 55

Slopemowing 31

Advancequip 9

Hynds Pipe Systems


Southeys Group


Kiwi Asset Finance


Synergy Positioning

OFC, IFC, 1, 16, 17, OBC

41 5

Connexis 7

Mimico IBC

Taylor Built

Counties Ready Mix


Porters Group

Transdiesel 11

DitchWitch NZ


Position Partners


Primary ITO

45 35

GeoFabrics 47


Global Survey


Prime Pump

Gough Group


Rocktec 69

Youngman Richardson



MARCH 2015 71


Working for members Health and Safety Industry-wide safety initiative

Our current and ongoing activities

A leadership forum of senior NZTA officials and chief executives of leading contractors is introducing a sector-wide approach towards the safety of staff and others who visit or travel through worksites. In particular, several projects to improve health and safety performance across the state highway sector have been identified. NZTA has introduced a Zero Harm Reporting Tool that allows for realtime reporting of health and safety incidents that occur on the state highway network or on a project site. A number of minimum standard documents are also being developed with Safety in Design and Personal Protective Equipment review completed and available on the NZTA Zero Harm Minimum Standards web page zero-harm-minimum-standards Two further documents will be available in March: Reporting Health and Safety Incidents and Underground Utility Identification on Road Projects.

• WorkSafe – regulation development for • General Concepts and • Worker participation and representation – Approved code of Practice for Excavations – Certificates of Competency training for mines and quarries

Certification for infrastructure workers The civil infrastructure industry has taken a major step forward towards establishing a recognised trade qualification for its workers who have until now had no industry wide and transferrable trade qualification. A Civil Trades Certification Board has been established to oversee the initiation of the new trade regime and the registration of Civil Infrastructure Tradespeople and to maintain and govern the trades’ certification regime on behalf of Civil Contractors New Zealand. Inaugural chair of the Civil Trades Certification Board, Dave Connell, says taking the first step towards trades certification for civil infrastructure is exciting but well overdue. “A regulated trades regime will see certified tradespeople take ownership and provide the craftsmanship required for delivery of a product or construction activity. It will be game changing for the industry and the people who work in it,” he says. See for more details.

Another shot at RMA reform Environment Minister Nick Smith says; “bloody red tape gone mad” harms not only the economy, but does nothing for the environment as the Government sets out to reform the Resource Management Act. Smith argues, for example, that some councils have done little about managing water for 15 years. After the failure of proposed RMA reforms because of a lack of wider support last term, Smith and Prime Minister John Key have set their sights on building a broad constituency this time, even though they have the numbers. Smith has signalled the Government is reviewing its previous contentious revamp of act principles that were seen by critics as pandering to developers. But he remains set on changes that give greater effect to issues such as liquefaction, urban environments and affordable housing.

• MBIE – Construction Contracts Amendment Bill including retentions – preparing a submission – Standards and Accreditation Bill submission made – Voidable Transactions – waiting for Supreme Court Decision • NZTA – Industry Advisory Group for Network Outcomes Contracts – Zero Harm at Leadership level and Advisory Group – CoPTTM at governance and operational levels – RCA Forum – Draft Speed Management Guide – Driver Licensing review – Training – Slinging Lifting and placing training – Interactive couch sessions with lawyers, accountants, bankers and HR for small business administrators – Qualification reviews for Asset Management and Procurement procedures – NZIHT National Advisory Committee • CCNZ – Engaging with Local Authorities around the country on a range of issues – Procurement issues – Bitumen sprayer certifications – H&S compliance requirements – Subcontract Agreement review – Small contracts agreement review – Resource Management Act for Plant Operators under review – Operator Safety Manual Review with Connexis (at the printers) – Blue Book Plant Hire Rates Review (at the printers) – Regional and National Excavator Operator Competitions – Annual Conference planning • Cable Price theme dinner • Z Energy People Awards • Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards

Industry Liaison • Construction Safety Council for rollout of compliance testing • Engineering Leadership Forum for engineering industry related issues including capacity and training • Construction Industry Council for Resource Management review and earthquake prone buildings • Industry representative organisations for responses to common issues.

Construction Excellence Awards

National Excavator Operator Competition

Entries are being sought for the Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards with categories and entry details being available from March. Contact Malcolm Abernethy

The 2015 final of the National Excavator Operator Competition will be at Central District Field days held at Manfeild, Feilding on 13 and 14 March.

72 MARCH 2015

We’re a

big part of your business

Z N n i ! g 5 n 1 i 0 v i 2 r r l i A r p A in

Note: Some features/specifications pictured are not available in New Zealand.

Two machines in one - Kobelco ED160 Blade Runner The Kobelco ED160 Blade Runner is designed with productivity in mind, integrating both excavator and dozer technology into a single product. Designed for heavy dozing, the ED160 has a rugged, oversized undercarriage for excellent durability and performance as well as curved track pads for optimal traction and higher flotation. In addition to dozing the ED160, with a six-way power-tilt blade, has a 0.5 cubic metre bucket and a zero tail swing radius — making it ideal for digging, even in tight spaces.

Talk to the team at MIMICO. We are the New Zealand distributors for KOBELCO excavators, parts and service. Freephone 0800 806 464 | E-mail | Auckland, Matamata, Christchurch Our brands




.7%* 

0800 346 275

Match your nance rate with the model you’re buying!


With rates starting from a low 1.7%* the time has never been better to add one of our selected Hitachi excavators or wheel loaders to your fleet. For more information, including specifications and options visit or contact your local CablePrice equipment sales specialist on 0800 555 456. Offer available on selected new Hitachi excavators (up to 7.5 tonnes) and Hitachi wheel loaders (up to 14.2 tonnes). Deposit from 25%. Offer valid until 31 March 2015 or while current stocks last. *terms and conditions apply. Visit for terms and conditions.




ZX17U-2 ZX33U-5 ZX38U-5 ZX48U-5 ZX55U-5 ZX65USB-5 ZX75US-5

1.7% 3.3% 3.8% 4.8% 5.5% 6.5% 6.5%

17 months 36 months 36 months 36 months 36 months 36 months 36 months

(17U - Includes trailer package deal) WHEEL LOADERS



ZW40 ZW80 ZW100 ZW140 ZW180

4.0% 5.0% 6.5% 7.0% 7.0%

36 months 36 months 36 months 48 months 48 months

0800 555 456

Millions discover their favorite reads on issuu every month.

Give your content the digital home it deserves. Get it to any device in seconds.