Airport takes over redevelopment project

Airport takes over redevelopment project
Hawke’s Bay Airport is undergoing an exciting transformation with an expansion project that is building a brand new facility over top of the old terminal.

The main gateway for air services into the region, Hawke’s Bay Airport is undergoing an exciting transformation with an expansion project that is quite literally building a brand new facility over top of the old terminal building.
As if construction within a live airport is not complex enough—throw in the liquidation of the lead contractor and complexity is lifted to a new level.
But the story about how the project was put back on track with only three weeks downtime is a good news story showcasing excellent continuity planning, risk management and positive relationships.
Arrow International was awarded the contract to deliver the expansion project, successfully completing and handing over Stage One—the new arrivals lounge—in January this year.
Stuart Ainslie, the Airport’s CEO, says there had been murmurings around Arrow’s liquidity which he and the board were tuned to, enabling them to explore what they would do if Arrow fell over before completing the two year project.
“I said to the board, ‘Look, we could go back to the market to find a replacement construction company but that would arguably take us 3 – 6 months and there mightn’t be much change out of $3 – 4 million in additional cost.
“As we started to look at these factors we said, why don’t we start up our own subsidiary construction company?”
A senior airport executive with over 16 years experience in public and privately-owned hub and regional airports in the UK, Australia and Papua New Guinea, Stuart had worked for a large construction organisation in Australia – circa half a billion annual turnover – that had also gone into voluntary administration.
“That experience enabled me to see it from everyone’s perspective, including the subcontractors and principal contractors.
“On the 28th of February Arrow went into voluntary administration and we had already done some work in terms of a fallback plan.”
Stuart says having carefully crafted project plans, gantt charts and time-lines helps the team focus on what is needed to be done but at the end of the day it is people that make projects happen.

Airport takes over redevelopment project
Hawke’s Bay Airport has kept its terminal redevelopment firmly on track despite the liquidation of the project’s lead contractor.

“So we had formed our own construction company and saw value in keeping the people on side,” he says.
“We spoke to people like Callum Sutherland and Paul Bannister, employed by Arrow International as the Project Manager and QS respectively, and said if they were keen to subcontract to us we would support them.”
That discussion gave Callum and Paul confidence to establish their own entities—something that both men had aspired to achieve for some while.
“Arrow’s administrators were fairly engaging and it was clear they were keen to work with us to do our transaction so that we could take the project over,” says Stuart.
“We had a number of meetings after the voluntary administration and actually kept every single subcontractor on the project.”
Stuart comes back to his point about people, saying that if you have the wrong people on a project the scale of the Hawke’s Bay Airport’s expansion, things can go off the rails very quickly.
“We have a really good team, like design consult-ants, subcontractors, construction management and safety management on site.
“We’re delighted with progress and Stage Two has just opened.
“The exciting part for me is that when Arrow fell over we had a concrete slab with some steel frame on it.
“Now we have a closed in building and baggage system running inside – so it’s a great outcome,” he says.
The Hawke’s Bay Airport expansion is in response to a long-range view of growth, ensuring it has the capacity to go into the future.
“Over the last three years we have seen a 50 percent growth in passengers coming through the terminal.”
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