Christchurch City Rebuild

Dec 18, 2015

Fitzroy Engineering is about to finish its largest structural steel contract ever – a multi-million-dollar construction project in central Christchurch as part of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Programme.

“About 18 months ago, we were looking at options for further diversifying our client base and our core businesses,” says Fitzroy General Manager of Projects Paul Charteris.

“And we were considering the growth in structural steel work around the country. We had carried out structural steel work before but not as a core business.”

So Fitzroy became interested in the potential of winning work in the multi-billion-dollar rebuild of Christchurch and attended events held by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). Fitzroy was subsequently put on the tender list for the central city rebuild programme, which comes under CERA’s Christchurch Central Development Unit.

“And we won a significant contract with one of our first bids,” Paul recalls.

The contract, where Fitzroy is a sub-contractor to Leighs Construction, was awarded in early 2015 and Fitzroy started site work in central Christchurch a few months later.

The contract involving the fabrication, supply and erection of 1300 tonnes of structural steel, is part of the Cashel Street Stage Two Business Retail Development.  The contract included a significant New Plymouth component, with Fitzroy’s Waiwhakaiho workshops fabricating a large proportion of the steel, including blasting and painting, and then transporting the finished product to Christchurch.

A team of Fitzroy staff from New Plymouth travelled to the garden city to erect the five-storey steel structure, working 12-day rosters.  Erection started in May and is due to be finished by the end of 2015.

“We took a fully integrated approach for all aspects of this contract, which was challenging in some respects because the majority of our previous steel work had been for the energy industry. But we successfully modified some procedures, with those modifications including retraining welders.

“We made our procedures more ‘fit for purpose’ and improved our efficiencies.  Our previous biggest structural steel contract had been the fabrication, supply and erection of 600 tonnes of steel for the construction of New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium. So this Christchurch job is the biggest by far, more than double the Yarrow project. And we now have a Christchurch presence and on-going work.

“And, following on from the success of the Cashel Street project, we have won another contract, again as part of the Hawkins Canterbury Recovery Project, involving the fabrication, supply and erection of about 1000 tonnes of structural steel for the redevelopment of Aranui School.”

“We are about to commission our new CNC coping and drilling line (installed at Fineline Services) which will increase our capacity by 15-40 tonnes per day and cement our position in the structural steel market for both local and national project opportunities” says

“Fitzroy Engineering is now a larger, more diverse group of companies than we were a year and a half ago, which augurs well for the future.”