Calder Stewart - Experts in Rural Construction

Over 60 years of experience, great flexibility and long-lasting relationships with stakeholders in the farm industry make us the trusted experts in rural construction.

What makes Calder Stewart experts in rural construction?

Is it the 60+ years’ experience in construction? The more than 5000 rural buildings we’ve constructed? We reveal what really makes us the tried and trusted experts in rural construction.

What does ‘rural construction’ mean to us at Calder Stewart?

We build any kind of farm building. Over our long history we’ve built pretty much everything, from really common buildings like dairy and milking sheds or a wool shed right through to stuff that’s quite specialised, like a helicopter hangar or honey extraction shed, for example.

We’ll also build them anywhere. We’ve built where there’s no road access; remote places such as Minaret Station outside of Wanaka. With our own logistics division, we have the resources and know how to get equipment and materials in and out. We’ve built up a full kit of equipment over the years, everything from the basics like scaffolding to specialist plant like 200 tonne cranes. What this means for our rural clients is that we’re not having to wait around for third parties to turn up and set up equipment. Having control of this minimises the risk of delays in the construction process.

What's our approach when working with farmers?

We understand it’s a long game. Deciding to invest in a new rural building can take years (and maybe a couple of good seasons) so we’re not going to rush you. But when you’re ready, it all starts with a conversation about what you need. We come to your farm to get to know you, your property and your business.

During this consultation stage, we’ll also take you to visit similar builds to see them action. They’re not necessarily our builds either; we’ve travelled with a few clients to see examples of well executed compost barns in the North Island, for example; we’ve even gone as far as America for this kind of research!

There’s no obligation or cost to you to engage in these initial consultations either. It’s not often you can get such good advice for free so there’s no harm in starting a conversation.

We’ll work with clients any way they need, whether that means you want it all taken care of - a full design and build with total project management built in; or you just need a simple kitset delivery.

What sets Calder Stewart apart in the rural construction industry?

We believe experience sets us apart from other rural builders. Having been in the sector for over 60 years, we’ve gotten to know farmers really well. We understand your challenges and what drives you, where you’re coming from, the things you’re worried about and what you are trying to achieve.

We’re also very flexible. Experience means we have a backlog of thousands of plans that can be used as a starting point. Some companies will only do things stock standard but we customise every build for what you need; things like adjusting where doors and windows are, the layout of the various rooms in a dairy shed, do you want clear light strips in the roof, where do you want water off the roof to go, do you want to include solar? These are just some of the examples of how the subtleties can make a big difference in getting a good outcome, no matter how simple or basic your farm building might appear.

Time has also allowed us to build scale and a good reputation. This really comes into play in areas like resource consenting. We have a staff member dedicated to knowing and keeping up with the various Councils’ regulations, so we can give the right advice no matter where you’re located. We’re also known and trusted by many councils for doing things properly and to a high standard. This can sometimes work in your favour, keeping consent application times to a minimum.

But history is only part of what sets us apart. We’re also very future focused. Sometimes we’re selling more than just ‘bricks and mortar’, especially with dairy barns. We’re selling a solution, an innovation, something that’s going to achieve a business goal for you, so we keep up with technology in order to deliver what’s needed.

Because of our long history we’ve had the privilege of building some really beneficial relationships with some big name suppliers. For example, we have partnered with GEA when constructing our Dairy Barns. GEA establishes benchmarks and develops new innovations across cubicles, pens, beds and mattress systems to feeding fences and drinking systems, climate management, ventilation technology and stall cleaning solutions – all by environmentally conscious and economic animal-friendly means.

How do we know the rural sector so well?

As we’ve just mentioned, it’s years of experience; not only in commercial construction and project management, or building and architectural design, but rural backgrounds too. It all comes together to create quite a unique point of view.

Graham Petrie, Calder Stewart’s Rural Business Development Manager isn’t a builder, nor is he a farmer, but he’s worked on farms and in the rural industry all his life. It’s a genuine passion; he loves getting out onto farms and talking to farmers. Having spent many years in client-facing roles in the sector, being fluent in ‘rural stuff’ was why he was chosen for the role.

Over their careers, Graham and the team have been in hundreds and hundreds of rural buildings and talked to their owners about what works and what doesn’t, what they enjoy and what they think they need etc. You really can’t top direct knowledge like that, straight from the farmers’ mouths.

What's our secret to long-lasting relationships with stakeholders in the rural industry?

It’s no secret at all really. It’s all of the above combined to offer farmers advice and services of real value to their business. We get a lot of repeat clients or work comes from word of mouth so we reckon this means we must be getting it right.

Have we seen our clients succeed?

Again, farming is a long game, so results come over time. One project we think is really interesting is the dairy barn at Chertsey. Built circa 2014, production numbers here have soared. This is a farm focused on production so there are other factors at play, apart from a well designed dairy barn; cows bred to be high producers and to cope with barn living; cow nutrition, with a diet focused on top production. These are an important part of the equation too. This farmer was producing a very good 600kg of milk solids per cow on the feed pad. His autumn calving cows in the barn are now averaging 749kg of milk solids!

Need a rural building? Let’s talk smarter construction solutions today. Get in touch. As we said, it’s free of charge to start a conversation and we’re not afraid of saying we think you’ll get real value out of it.