Crossing the Line @ Darfield

Posted 13 Apr 2013

Calder Stewart Completes its Biggest Project to Date

Darfield - On January 12th, 2013 Calder Stewart handed over the final stage of Fonterra’s Dry Store Complex at Darfield, measuring in at 54,000m2 & 500m long, marking the completion of an extraordinary project for the company. Taking just over a year to build, the Darfield project is a testament to the Calder Stewart work ethic and willingness to go the extra mile.

Joint Managing Director PETER STEWART is modest about the company’s achievement. “It’s how we’re wired,” he says, describing the project as “a classic Calder Stewart design build – just a little bigger than usual.” It’s true that the design of the Darfield store carries the essential Calder Stewart signature; it’s also true that there aren’t many companies with the capability to build on this scale using almost entirely their own materials and equipment.


Organised out of Revolution Hills, Calder Stewart brought much of the project’s team all the way in from Milton. The travel was probably “the hardest part of the job”, with the construction team doing working weeks away from home over the course of the 14 month project, but it gave the project a “real sense of community,” says Peter, where “everybody knew everybody.”

The strength of Calder Stewart’s culture around this project is reflected in the construction team’s safety record, which saw no serious accidents. Health and Safety Officer RAY McLELLAN deserves credit for monitoring safety performance, along with Safety Manager ALLAN McDONALD. Peter notes that Fonterra themselves also took the initiative to focus on health & safety. The dairy exporter arranged for regular leadership workshops, designed to build community, increase communication and “basically make everything run smoother.

Now fully operational, the Darfield project is an incredible testament to Calder Stewart’s enterprise construction skills, which included the logistics of integrating a total of four 14-metre-wide, 7-metre-high rapid-rise doors from Finland into the build, as well as delivering massive tonnage of steel to the construction site every week like clockwork.  The project confirms our place in a select group of construction firms able to undertake such large scale projects.


Calder Stewart Construction's long-term presence on-site netted a number of additional jobs as well.The team were responsible for laying much of the site’s external concrete slabbing, providing concrete work for its waste water and water treatment systems, building a tanker workshop, as well as constructing an engineering workshop and associated stores.


There is clearly something satisfying in working for New Zealand’s largest exporter, and contributing so fundamentally to the growth of New Zealand’s agricultural sector. The store’s 75,000 ton storage capacity is a critical component in Fonterra’s operation, which in turn gives a massive boost to the local economy. “The recent letter we received from Fonterra management expressing their sincere appreciation says it all,” mentions Peter. “It’s moments like these make our team’s effort all worth it”. 

(Reprinted from an article appearing in InSite Magazine 13 - April, 2013)