Celebrating the very best in commercial construction

As this year’s competition draws to a close, we can reflect on the achievements of the sector in what has been a very challenging year. This year’s programme saw a range of extremely high calibre entries, reflecting the scale and diversity of commercial construction being done across New Zealand. One of the key standouts of the winning entries continues to be their focus on collaboration. This is an enduring theme of this awards programme and it is good to see tangible examples of how this contributes to project success.

Trends of 2020 – collaboration at the coalface

A common theme through all of the winning projects is a shift to strategise and engage in the council consenting process at the start of the project, rather than two-thirds of the way through the build. Some consultants are hiring employees into the business specifically for understanding and facilitating what needs to be pulled together early on. This frees up other project specialists from taking on this time-consuming task and means they are able to work more productively with council, speeding-up the consenting process and the build itself. 

Greater and earlier collaboration has also resulted in buildings being defect-free at the time of practical completion. Currently there is a three-month defect liability, but there is no reason why the defects cannot be solved during the build process. Technology is enabling this to be done quicker. Contractors can take photos of the defect and upload it onto the cloud or internal software, which not only streamlines the defect process, but also speeds up the inspection process. In some instances, we are even seeing companies create sample rooms that show the standard they are looking for, such as with painting or stopping, and these rooms can then be referred to throughout the build phase. Our judges were pleased to see so many companies taking a proactive and innovative approach to achieving a defect-free build. 

Collaboration through COVID-19

The sector’s willingness to come together was also evident in our approach to COVID-19. Prior to lockdown, through the Accord and our own working groups, we’ve been championing a collaborative approach in addressing issues within our sector. COVID-19 has accelerated this, and proven that it is possible, at short notice, to deliver leadership and guidance on specific issues for the sector. This was demonstrated by the health and safety protocols we were able to develop during lockdown to allow building and construction work to resume at Level 3. 

The lockdown will have caused substantial delays for projects around the country. And with our borders still closed, the challenge to find sufficient skilled workers remains. We are pleased to see the Government’s trades training and apprenticeship package is encouraging more people into the trades; however, we can’t wait years for these people to be qualified and ready to complete the projects currently in the pipeline. This will continue to be a focus for the Accord. 

Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all our winners – this year’s competition proves just how complex and innovative commercial construction in New Zealand has become. 

And the winner is...

Naylor Love Canterbury and their project partners took home the Supreme Award for their work on St Bede’s College Chapel and Performing Arts Centre. The team were tasked with the challenge of constructing a new Chapel and strengthening and extending the existing Performing Arts Centre. This was two distinctly interlocking building projects – burying underground to strengthen the foundations of the Performing Arts building, and building a new Chapel for the school to replace a temporary facility, which had been used since the 2011 earthquake. The works were challenged by the need to safely work around the school programme, and the judges were impressed with the excellent design solution and superb construction finish. 

To see the full list of winners and their projects, check out the NZ Commercial Project Awards website. 

The New Zealand Commercial Project Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Altus Windows System, CARTERS, Construction Marketing Services, GIB, PlaceMakers and Resene.

We asked our sponsors to share their highlights 

“For PlaceMakers, this is an important event for commercial construction. Our sponsorship presents a fantastic opportunity to support our customers and celebrate the amazing workmanship of the featured projects. We will continue to support our commercial customers by making it easier for them to do business with us in a contactless environment, which is evidenced by the number of recent innovations in the digital space. Our aim is to be accessible to our customers 24/7, 365 days a year – whether they are on site or sitting on the couch at home. We commend the awards planning team for their adaptability this year and for keeping us updated on the competition progress.” 

Sharon Lyndon, Head of Marketing, PlaceMakers 

“CARTERS is proud to be sponsoring the Commercial Projects Awards, recognising some of the best of New Zealand's commercial construction projects and the teams behind them once again this year. What sets these awards apart is the recognition of the whole project team’s contribution. The project entrants and partners this year demonstrated world-class innovation and harmonious collaboration that is highly commended.”


"It has been great to see the level of planning and detail within the designs of the projects this year – pushing parameters to enhance functional features of the buildings. The challenges the environment in 2020 has presented us with will inevitably bring about a change in the nature of design principles for the future as well as the world adapts to new ways of living, working and interacting.”

Ian Watt, General Manager, Construction Marketing Services 

"We are proud to be a part of this competition, which brings together and celebrates the dedicated professionals who deliver New Zealand’s best commercial projects. Altus Window Systems is a leading manufacturer of innovative window and door product design systems, and we’re delighted to see so many of our customers showcased in this competition."

Nigel Owen, Marketing Manager, Altus Window Systems

“The calibre of projects in the Commercial Project Awards illustrates just how important having a clear vision for the project is, which helps everyone focus on what’s important and ensure that their part of the work enhances the whole. Collaboration and clarity, particularly at the early stages of a project is a key theme from this year’s awards.”

Karen Warman, Marketing Manager, Resene 

“Winstone Wallboards (GIB) is proud to support the Commercial Projects Awards and to celebrate excellence, innovation, and quality within the New Zealand building industry. Congratulations to all the entrants and winners at this year’s awards.”

Clara Sumner, Partnership Manager, Winstone Wallboards (GIB)