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Innovative approach key to success

Kim Stewart Nov 11
Innovative approach key to success
CB Civil and Drainage completes the full range of civil infrastructure projects, either as a main contractor or subcontractor.

An approach which produces a good product, fulfills promises, professionalism, and a point of difference, has developed CB Civil and Drainage into one of New Zealand’s fastest growing civil contractors, employing 150 people in Canter-bury and Auckland.

Originally a small, post-earthquake drainage contractor established in Christchurch in 2012, CB Civil and Drainage expanded into Auckland in 2015 and now completes the full range of civil infrastructure projects, either as a main contractor or subcontractor.

General manager Ben Lawlor says CB Civil and Drainage’s point of difference is its engineering focus.

“We try to be innovative,” he says. “We’re not focused on the lowest price, but we do bring value to what we do.

“It’s about giving our customers a positive experience, with early contractor involvement through to collaboration during the project. That can mean different things to different customers.”

It was the nationwide shortage of good, skilled people that took CB Civil and Drainage up to Auckland in 2015, and today, getting good staff and skilling them up remains a major challenge for the company.

“We concentrate on developing our staff,” Ben says.

“Our philosophy is if we can create an environment where people know they can grow and develop, then people will want to stick with us.

“People want to work in an environment where they have a positive culture, and ours is based on operating ‘above the line’.

“Training is a big part of that.”

As a contractor, core competency is vital and all staff undertake some form of training.

Innovative approach key to success

CB Civil and Drainage is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing civil contractors.

 

“When you are our size and self-performing, the risk is people who say they can do things, you put them out on the job and they can’t,” Ben says.

“Putting our guys through that training and having them recognised as competent is a big thing.”

Staff regularly undertake training in short course modules, and training is offered across all roles in the business from project managers, supervisors/foremen, engineers, operational crews, tradesmen, and labourers.

CB Civil and Drainage operates a cadet training programme and about 30% of the company has recently completed or is working towards more formalised training like Civil Trade Certification or New Zealand Diploma in Engineering.

The company is currently putting about 10 engineering cadets through their engineering training, as well as providing them opportunities to apply that training on the job.

“We then expect our senior cadets to train our junior cadets,” Ben says.

“It’s empowering them, recognising them for what they can do, and having interesting opportunities to work on ‘above the line’ culture.”

CB Civil and Drainage is also a qualified trainer and assessor for industry body ConstructSafe.

Last year, CB Civil and Drainage was recognised as New Zealand’s number three civil contracting company for the amount of training it is doing at the Civil Contractors New Zealand Construction Excellence Awards.

The company took home the Connexis Company Training Development Core Competency Award for turnover of $10 million to $100 million.

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