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NIWA centre another success for Marra

Kim Stewart Oct 10
NIWA centre another success for Marra
NIWA’s new Rotorua premises, designed by Rotorua’s ARTO Architects, comprise a single storey building of about 480sqm for offi ces, laboratories, workshop, and staff facilities, and 250sqm of garage, boat shed, and storage space.

Marra Construction is celebrating its latest high-quality construction success with the on time and within budget delivery of a new office and storage building for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) at Scion Innovation Park in Rotorua.

NIWA’s new Rotorua premises, designed by Rotorua’s ARTO Architects, comprise a single storey building of about 480sqm for offices, laboratories, workshop, and staff facilities, and 250sqm of garage, boat shed, and storage space.

All this on a 2000sqm site where Marra Construction is organising the construction of new car parking, driveway, perimeter fencing, and landscaping.

NIWA is a Crown Research Institute with the purpose of enhancing the economic value and sustainable management of New Zealand’s aquatic resources and environments, providing understanding of climate and the atmosphere, and increasing resilience to weather and climate hazards to improve safety and wellbeing of New Zealanders.

It undertakes climate, freshwater, and ocean science and employs about 600 people working from 15 offices located between Whangarei and Dunedin.

NIWA was looking for a main contractor with a proven track record and experience in constructing similar commercial buildings, with the capability to deliver the project on time, and meet all of NIWA’s needs as well as legal safety requirements.

Marra Construction quantity surveyor Stan Weber says five companies tendered for the project and although tenders were assessed on price and non-price attributes, Marra Construction made a competitive offer.

The team started work on site in January, and completed the build by the end of June 2018. “This is the first time we have dealt with ARTO Architects and it was a straightforward tender process,” Stan says.

“The specifications were clear and the drawings at tender stage were very good. We negotiated with our suppliers and subcontractors to achieve the best possible price.” Marra Construction had two initial meetings with ARTO Architects to start on building up their relationship, and during construction ARTO Architects were on site a couple of times each week.

“This has been great because as soon as a problem occurs on site, it gets dealt with straight away,” Stan says. “Between ARTO Architects and our site foreman, any issues get resolved within 24 hours which is great.”

With NIWA’s head office based in Auckland, Marra Construction didn’t meet its client until the building was fully enclosed and the interior works started, about a month before the project was complete.

“When the client arrives on site at this stage, they can finally see what their building looks like, since most people don’t have an understanding of drawings. This is where the client picks up on any minor details they want changed.”

Projects like the NIWA facility – a standard office and warehouse build – have been Marra Construction’s bread and butter for more than 40 years.

Stan says it was a straightforward construction project with some initial challenges with existing geo-technical ground issues which required the project team to work collaboratively to find the best solution for the development. “We had to put in some more excavation and dig deeper than we had originally planned to.

“That was the biggest challenge for us and it delayed us by about two weeks, but we put some more guys on site afterwards to make up the time we’d lost, and we got it over the line. In fact we ended up finishing the build two weeks earlier than expected.”

Finishing early, sticking to the contracted price and not coming up with too many variations is always good for Marra Construction’s reputation, and for a quantity surveyor, Stan says it is always good to come in within budget.

“Finishing early is one of the most important things for us at the moment, because we have so many jobs on our plate and we need our site managers and builders somewhere else.”

He says the building industry in the Bay of Plenty and particularly Tauranga is currently booming, especially in the commercial sector. Marra Construction has projects lined up for the next two years, and continues to win more jobs.

Marra Construction has been established in the Bay of Plenty for more than 40 years and has been involved in some of the region’s largest construction projects.

The company brings a wealth of technical expertise and practical knowledge and experience to each and every project, embracing all areas of commercial and industrial construction including development projects and design and build projects.

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