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Good supervision seals success

Good supervision seals success
As part of the makeover of Whanganui’s St Johns Club by H & G Pepper Construction, the club’s internal layout was completely changed.

Astute project management supported by well organised off-site support and administration are keys to H & G Pepper Construction’s (HGPC) success.

The Whanganui firm is steered by long-time managing director Phillip Houghton and director Brendon Lawrence, who joined the business three years ago.

Phillip and Brendon are both experienced in project management and quantity surveying, and work closely on every project both on and off site.

A busy workload means eight qualified builders and three apprentices are employed to keep jobs on schedule, a good percentage of which are commercial, including schools, new offices and refurbishments.

These are supplemented by some “very top end” architectural residential builds, partly as a result of architects recognising HGPC’s ability to tackle technically challenging projects.

“They are coming to us because of the service we deliver,” Phillip says. During the past two years about 80% of HGPC’s contracts have been negotiated, rather than tendered.

Two very different recently completed projects represent some of the range of work the company has become known for.

One is Whanganui accounting firm Moore Stephens Markhams’ new 600sqm premises, a conventional build in Wicksteed St, and another, St Johns Club, a major refurbishment in Glasgow St.

Good supervision seals success

A busy workload means eight qualified builders and three apprentices are employed by H & G Pepper Construction to keep jobs on schedule.


The 13-month, $1 million-plus first stage refurbishment to significantly modernise the club was won in a tender process.

The project was a collaboration between HGPC, architect Paul McKenna, project manager Robert Jaunay and club manager Denis Dorgan.

“There was a lot of discussion regards detailing, especially around the new bar area, and how the works would be staged, with the club manager and the project manager,” Brendon says.

A critical component of the refurbishment works was the reconstruction of a membrane- lined roof which had an internal gutter. “We repitched that roof so all the rainwater would flow to an external gutter.

“The membrane was in bad condition. That was the main concern, especially with a new suspended ceiling underneath.” As part of its makeover, the club’s internal layout was completely changed.

A key consideration was undertaking construction while the club was still operating. This meant work had to be done in multiple stages to minimise disruption.

Consequently some work could be done only from Monday to Wednesday, so that noise was not a problem for patrons. Work was halted during the very busy Christmas, January and February period.

Internal work started in a redundant space at the west end of the club previously used for old bar chillers, a bottle store and a large staffroom area.

This was gutted and transformed into a pool and darts area, executive offices, staffroom and laundry.

Also receiving a makeover were the club’s bar, its popular central sports lounge with a television bank, TAB, betting and pokies area. Because the latter are important to the club’s income, these were temporarily relocated without causing any disruption.

A lift was installed to provide for disabled access to the first-floor facilities. “That involved cutting a slab out, forming a pit and shaft and installing the lift.

“That was heavy, noisy work which had to be controlled as patrons were utilising the facilities adjacent.” The refurbishment also included an outdoor deck overlooking the club’s bowling green.

“Originally it was pretty much a space that was unusable. There’s now a deck and a large seating area they can use in the summer.”


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