‘Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom’ – which means 'new stream' in Maori and Dutch – is a multi-cultural community centre in Foxton on the west coast of New Zealand’s north island. Completed in November 2017, the NEC-procured project won the NEC Project of the Year Award in 2018 for its strong emphasis on collaboration.
Client Horowhenua District Council appointed local contractor Caldow Builders to deliver the building under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) Option D (target contract with bill of quantities) in June 2016.
The NZ$6 million (£3.1 million) project involved extensive remodelling of an existing riverside warehouse structure, including inserting a new mezzanine floor, building new gallery space and installing extensive full-height glazing and red-stained plywood cladding.
Designed by Bossley Architects and Opus, the 24,000 m2 centre features Dutch and Maori museum spaces, an exhibition gallery, a café, meeting rooms, education facilities and library.
Accredited ECC project manager Marc Palmer says NEC aligned with the community-driven project’s aims to maximise collaboration between the key groups supporting it as well as harness the skills and capacity of the community.
‘The client considered five criteria in the selection of a contract. These included collaboration – motiving the parties to work together, and transparency – achieving open-book assurance of fair value. A weighted scoring of potential contract forms showed that NEC3 ECC Option D was the most suitable for this project.’
He says the participants worked as an integrated team. ‘Their enthusiasm to work together softened organisational and hierarchal boundaries, and the respect for diverse skills enabled them to work collaboratively in pursuit of the project’s objectives. Most significantly this appeared as a mutual trust and respect for each other’s expertise, which was contributed generously and not used in pursuit of personal or corporate interests.’
Palmer says the cooperative environment enabled effective problem solving. ‘For example, when the mechanical services pricing exceeded the estimate, all parties were invited to contribute. The outcome was a consensus that the design was optimal and the price fair, providing the client confidence to approve an early release of contingency.’
He says the council recognised the value of acting as stated in the contract so gave the contractor training as well as practical support. ‘For example, the council approved of the project manager sitting in on the contractor’s discussions with its subcontractors so as to help draft the NEC3 Engineering and Construction Short Subcontract (ECSS) contract data.’
The council also engaged a programmer to help the contractor prepare programmes for acceptance. ‘This ensured the ECC clause 3 time requirements were achieved for the benefit of the parties and the project. It also provided the client with the open book assurance of fair value that it needed. It was efficient, collaborative and transparent.’
DOING THINGS RIGHT
Palmer concludes, ‘NEC was a great fit with the client’s aspirations for this community project. It combined a project management system for transparency and good decision making with an ethos that encouraged everyone to contribute. NEC helped us in doing things right and doing the right thing.’
Council chief executive David Clapperton said winning the 2018 NEC Project of the Year Award was, ‘a real achievement and a testament to the great work carried out by project managers Marc Palmer and Cathy McCartney, the team including Caldow Builders, the project, and the collaboration by project partners Horowhenua District Council, the Dutch Connection Trust and Te Taitoa Māori o Te Awahou Trust.
‘Using NEC allowed us to achieve our objectives for this community-led project, with the awarding of the contract to Caldow Builders from Foxton and only one non-local subcontractor being used. This is an award we can all be proud of and will assist is raising the profile of this fantastic facility’.
The NEC Awards judges commented, ‘There were many good examples of collaborative behaviour in this project, with inclusive problem solving, creativity and support between participants towards their deliverables’.
BENEFITS OF USING NEC
- NEC aligns with the collaborative nature of community-driven projects.
- The co-operative environment engendered by NEC enables effective problem solving.
- ECC target cost options provide clients with open-book assurance of fair value.
- Collaborative ethos is extended to the supply chain through back-to-back ECSS subcontracts.
Contact: Marc Palmer, Marc Palmer Project Management, Christchurch, New Zealand