Award winners from the Nelson Marlborough Civil Contractors Awards at Annesbrook Church on Friday are, from left, Young Achiever Danyon Hutt, Nelmac's Paul Barratt, Duncan Renwick, Belinda Reburn, Richard Smethurst, Richard Lester and Conor O’Riordan. Photo: Barry Whitnall

Nelmac walks away with top award

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A challenging project that required a combination of specialist technology and old school methods won the Hirepool Supreme Award at the Nelson Marlborough Civil Contractors Federation Awards held at Annesbrook Church on Friday night.

The award went to Nelmac for the Suter Art Gallery Landscaping project that was a key element in the $12 million redevelopment of the Nelson’s historic art gallery.

Nelmac designed and installed a new boardwalk through native bush outside the gallery that connects the gallery to the neighbouring Queens Gardens and features the Pastorius Waller International Sculpture Walk.

Although constructing a boardwalk may sound straightforward, Nelmac’s Belinda Reburn and Richard Smethurst say working in a unique environment like the Queens Gardens presented many challenges.

“There was nothing simple about this project,” Belinda says. “We had to work amongst the heritage trees so there were a lot of resource consent conditions around the project.

“The guys were hand-digging around the tree roots to put the board walk in and we were very restricted with what we could do working within the tight confines around the buildings. There were a lot of on-site decisions because we were working in such a sensitive environment – it was a very challenging project.”

Richard says they used small excavators at the start of the project but then had “go back to old school of wheelbarrows and hand-digging” as they worked around the roots of heritage trees.

In some areas, arborists used “hydro-vac equipment” to wash out and vacuum up soil around tree roots so that boardwalk foundations could be installed.

One of the judges, Bruce Taylor says Nelmac did a great job of working in such a restricted workspace under tight resource consent conditions. Bruce encouraged everyone attending Friday’s awards to go to the Suter and wanderer around the boardwalk to see the result of a well-managed project.

The big budget Hynds Projects Award, valued over $1.5million, went to Donaldson Civil Ltd for the Nelson City Council Hampden Street Little Go Stream Upgrade. The $4.7million project involved upgrading

The $4.7 million project involved upgrading stormwater system along Waimea Rd to prevent a repeat of the flooding that hit Nelson College and Rutherford St in 2011.

Donaldson Civil director Gary Donaldson says one of the biggest challenges was managing peak traffic flows while laying the stormwater pipes in the middle of Waimea Rd.

“We looked at the site mid-morning when we were tendering for the contract, so we underestimated the volumes of traffic when everyone’s driving to school and work. We had a 2.5m wide trench in the middle of a 7m wide road, so keeping the guys safe and having two lanes of traffic going was a challenge.”

Despite those challenges, Gary says they finished the project ahead of schedule.

The other awards were:
ASB Bank Health and Safety Award: Bryant Earthworks Ltd for their Wither Hills Farm Park Remediation Pyramids Vineyard and Reservoir project;

Humes Young Achiever Award: Danyon Hutt of Nelmac;

GRUNDFOS Projects valued at up to $50,000: Concrete and Metals Ltd for the Kaiteriteri Beach Sand Relocation;

Crowe Horwath Projects valued from $50,000 to $200,000: Downer NZ Ltd for the Nelson City Council Structural Bridge Repairs;

Cable Price Projects valued from $200,000 to $750,000: Taylors Contracting Company Ltd for the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre Coastal Protection project;

Land Dimensions $750,000 to $1.5million: Donaldson Civil Ltd for the Calder Stewart Port Nelson Warehouse;

Judge’s Innovation Award: Fulton Hogan Ltd for the Trenching Shield and Lifting Beam for improved safety work for the Brook St pipeline.