Gold award for Te Henui Chapel project

Gold award for Te Henui Chapel project
Pepper Construction received a gold medal award at this year’s Master Builders Commercial Projects Awards, for the Te Henui Chapel project in New Plymouth.

When this reporter commented to Pepper Construction (2013) Ltd’s General Manager, that it must be with a sense of pride he drives past buildings constructed by his grandad Len Pepper, who founded the company in 1936, the answer isn’t what was expected.
“I drive through whole suburbs that we built, not just a few buildings,” says Andrew Pepper. Houses, schools, churches, commercial buildings, the whole range of community buildings.”
The legacy of what Len began all those years ago has continued in the quality of the company’s culture and in its philosophy to attend to every project with passion and commitment. Andrew took over control of the day-to-day life of Pepper Construction in 2013.
It was a time of re-establishing relationships his father Graeme had evolved after he took over the reins from Len. “Certainly I had to prove myself in this role.”
Today, Pepper Construction offers an array of building services, from Design and Build, Consulting services, general contracting, a range of construction services across the residential, civic and commercial sectors. And echoes from the past continue to come around.
This time it’s the era of Kiwibuild, shades of the state-house build phenomenon of decades ago, that Andrew and his team have become involved in. “We wanted to find a way to deliver high quality affordable housing into Taranaki.
“I came across EasyBuild™, a company with an established record who had been state-house builders in Wellington. We are now able to offer their range of house plans, bringing the benefi ts of this company’s own history to our region.”
Andrew says he holds strong convictions about how important it is to fi nd ways to address the affordable homes housing dilemma, a crisis he describes as looming ever since 1987’s ‘Black Monday’.
“You know it is not simply about wanting to have people living in warm, well- constructed homes. “There is so much evidence that the impact of renting, shifting often, plays out in serious social consequences for generations.
“We want to play a part in turning this around and help people onto the property ladder.”
Pepper Construction recently received further industry accolades in the form of a gold medal award at this year’s Master Builders Commercial Projects Awards, for the Te Henui Chapel project, announced at a gala event at Auckland’s SKYCITY.

Gold award for Te Henui Chapel project
The Te Henui Chapel features stylish acoustic plywood ceiling panels, extensive windows bringing light into the spaces below and a high tech audio/visual set-up.

The award adds to the national House of the Year award the company received in 2015.
“Not many companies have been awarded both residential and commercial awards,” Andrew says. He sayss the Te Henui Chapel build, at New Plymouth’s historic Te Henui cemetery, was a great experience from start to finish.
“We had worked with Jackson Architects Ltd before and the owners of the project were a longstanding and successful New Plymouth company, so the fundamentals for this project to become something special were all in place. “We decided at the outset that we would enter the chapel project in this year’s awards.
The fact that this was not simply a new build, but a complete and stunning redesign of an existing structure even added to the projects’ appeal.
“The owners’ brief to the architect was to create a beautiful space to deliver a positive funeral/life event experience and stepping back and looking at what has been created, certainly delivers on this vision.”
What was the old NPDC Parks Dept depot has been transformed into a professional, open, welcoming and highly useable space. “I first recognised the creativity of the build during the tender process.
“You could say the design made the silkiest purse out of the worst sow’s ear. Even though it’s a chapel it is more like a stylish function centre.”
The project was constructed using stylish acoustic plywood ceiling panels, extensive windows bringing light into the spaces below and a high tech audio/visual set-up.
“The use of cedar inside goes well with it’s exterior use around the building and the heritage of the existing building has been reflected in the use of metal cladding.” Work began on the project September 2016 and was completed March 2018, just in time for this year’s awards process.
Andrew remembers some pretty special moments in the construction which started even before the build got underway.
“We acknowledged Maori Tikanga from the outset. To have Taonga buried on the site and blessed was very special.”
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