Waitaki Hydropower Station Refurbishment, New Zealand

Waitaki Hydropower Station Refurbishment, New Zealand
  • location:
    Waitaki Valley, North Otago, New Zealand
  • Value:
    NZ$40 (£20 million)
  • Contracts Used:


  • Start-Finish:
    2012 − 2016
  • Employer:
    Meridian Energy
  • Contractor:
  • Project Manager:
    Caroline Rea and Chris Baldwin, Project Delivery Team, Strategic Asset Management, Meridian Energy

This case study is part of the Spotlight Campaign for Water. To read more on how NEC Contract suite has been utilised in the Water Spotlight, please click here.


Waitaki hydropower station is located in the Waitaki Valley in South Island, New Zealand. Built in the 1930s, it has seven 15MW turbines generating up to 105MW. The station is owned and operated by Meridian Energy, the country’s largest renewal electricity generator and a major user of NEC contracts since the early 2000s.

Meridian is investing more than NZ$40 (£20 million) on a 4 year project to refurbish the dam, power station and surrounding infrastructure using over 50 NEC3 contracts. These include the Professional Services Contract (PSC), Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC), Supply Contract (SC) and associated short contracts.

Suppliers for this project include ABB, Damwatch Engineering, Electrix, E-Type Engineering, Farra Engineering, McConnell Dowell Constructors, Mitton Electronet, Mace Engineering, Otis Elevator Company, PSC, TLJ Switchgear, Transfield Services, Wormald, PB Power.


The complicated refurbishment and upgrade programme has been split into two projects with a total of nine works packages.

The site refurbishment project consists of erosion remediation of surrounding civil engineering structures; seismic enhancements to the powerhouse; modifications to the dam uplift drainage system; and a package of site enabling works ranging from refurbishment of the historic wood-panel lift to an upgrade of the site road junction with the state highway.

The unit refurbishment project includes overhauling two 80 year old generating units; installing new protection upgrades and fire-suppression systems to all seven generating units; the commissioning of unit 3 which seized in 1998; and another unit-outage-dependent package of work ranging from new intake screens to new priming-valve arrangements.

The projects and packages include input from a range of specialist hydropower consultants and contractors in the mechanical, electrical, civil and structural engineering disciplines. The overall programme started in December 2012 and is due for completion in December 2016.


The nine work packages are being procured using more than 50 different contracts from the NEC3 suite. These range from small task orders carried out under a master PSC to multi-million dollar ECC option A contracts (priced contract with activity schedule). 

Other ECC variants include option B (priced contract with bill of quantities) and option C (target contracts with activity schedule).  Also in use are the SC, Engineering and Construction Short Contract (ECSC) and Supply Short Contract.

According to Meridian’s project manager Chris Baldwin, ‘The NEC3 suite of contracts has been core to ensuring this programme of work is, and continues to be, delivered in a fair, collaborative and productive manner.’ 

Meridian’s project managers Chris Baldwin and Caroline Rea are using a web-based contract management tool from NEC licenced partner Conject to tender and administer the various NEC3 contracts.  

This has been key to standardising administrative tasks and ensuring contractors understand what is sometimes new terminology and often a new way of working with the employer,’ says Baldwin.


  • Integrated suite of contracts provides a consistent procurement approach across a wide range of specialist services and suppliers.
  • Offers a wide range of procurement options, from priced contracts to target cost, from small task orders to major works and from simple to complex supply contracts.
  • Ensures a complicated programme of specialist work is delivered in a fair, collaborative and productive manner.

Further Information

Contact: Nick Horswell, Project Delivery Team, Strategic Asset Management, Meridian Energy
Tel: +64 3 353 9522 
Email: nick.horswell@meridianenergy.co.nz
Web: www.meridianenergy.co.nz

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