Port of Tauranga

Just outside Christchurch, located in Izone Southern Business Hub, Port of Tauranga have an inland port. Following a tender process, we embarked on the design and build of a 20,000m2 storage warehouse for their tenant Coda. Coda are one of New Zealand's leading freight management businesses who, among their service offering, contract storage to companies such as Fonterra and Westland Milk.

coda port

20,000m2 was determined by current demand plus extra to accommodate future growth. The majority of the building is bulk storage, stacked on the ground, but they also have racking to hold ‘ready to market’ product. Initially only a small amount of racking was thought to be needed, but demand grew during the process and we were able to easily include this evolution into the design.

This project came with a very tight and solidly fixed deadline of January 31st 2019. This meant it had to be designed, consented and constructed within 11 months. For such a large building this is a significant undertaking, with at least four of those months taken up with the design development and consenting process alone. With stock from Coda’s clients scheduled to arrive there was no wiggle room.

Often, to accommodate our clients’ needs to get into their building early, we run a phased construction programme where part of the building becomes operational and can be handed over while we complete the rest. In this case, the challenge was that the building absolutely had to be fully completed before Coda could allow stock to enter the building. This is because of food grade standards and their associated MPI assessments.

To help get the jump on construction certain things were implemented during the design and consent phases. For example, the structural steel shop drawings were developed while the project was being consented. Fully aware of the risk involved in preempting Council’s decision, based on past experience we were confident our design would go through ok. Which it did. We also procured the structural steel so that as soon as consent was through we could start fabricating.

coda port 2

In fact, many of this project’s ‘features’ aren’t visible. They are instead, elements included in the planning and design phase to enable fast construction. Although construction methods are always a factor in our design build projects, this one was particularly influenced by it as that was our client’s main objective – an expeditious build.

This project was not without some level of challenge to confront. As we were operating within Port of Tauranga’s existing inland port, we had to be mindful of not interfering with daily operations such as container and train movements, which were happening at all times of the day. This was managed well so there were no issues; we isolated ourselves by way of fencing, signage and controlled traffic movements. We also communicated regularly with our client about what we were doing so there were no surprises.

Perhaps the most pressing challenge during construction were a few issues with site conditions/earthworks. After some intensely wet weather some of the ground didn’t hold up as well as we’d hoped so had to think of ways to keep up with and stay ahead of the programme while also improving the ground.

Luckily Port of Tauranga were a very engaged and educated client with a lot of knowledge and experience of going through construction. Our openness and inclusion proved beneficial and made for a mature relationship with a lot of trust. This meant they responded well to our challenge by allowing a few changes in ground improvement techniques.

All in all, this building is fit for purpose and successful. It is a classic Calder Stewart build that taps into all our business units; precast concrete, reinforcing, structural steel, distribution and logistics, and construction all played a part in its success. And thanks to meticulous planning upfront, it was well-executed coming in on time and on budget; exactly the promise we’d made from day one.