Recreation Construction’s growing services demand more team players

Recreation Construction co-owner Josh Soper said the team does as much as they can from their Oamaru workshop, including fabricated steel and woodwork.

The team at Recreation Construction are not your average builders or engineers – they are a combination of both, setting them apart from others across the sector. For the sake of all adventure-loving New Zealanders, the team specialises in ensuring the country’s great outdoors are easily accessible and their structures are well-maintained.

Recreation Construction welcomes a wide range of projects, whether it’s maintaining backcountry walking tracks with the Department of Conservation, or creating new cycleways or bridges. One of their recent projects was the construction of a 25-metre twin-span steel frame bridge, complete with timber handrails. The bridge features a new trail at Millbrook, which will eventually end in Queenstown.

Recreation Construction co-owner Josh Soper said the team does as much as they can from their Oamaru workshop, including fabricated steel and woodwork, an ideal situation that means their work is not weather-dependent. They then take those materials to wherever the work is, which has so far been widespread throughout the South Island.

Recently, they have completed work in Fiordland, including a 7 metre x 7 metre shelter on the Routeburn Track and constructed a clip-on bridge on the Hollyford Track. They also constructed a 1.6-kilometre boardwalk through the wetlands at Lake Waihola, a job that started just after COVID, which meant a series of delays due to the shortage of materials during that time. Although they spent about six months on the tools, the job took a year and a half to complete, and now it is being put to good use.

“We’re pretty much kitted out to do all of [the] stuff.”

“We’ve had plenty of good feedback that it’s very well used and word of mouth has travelled because of that project.” Other projects have also seen the team venture to Hanmer Springs and Mt Cook – if they can fit the project into their schedule, they do their best to make it work.

“We don’t shy away [especially if it is] in the South Island. We have a look at it and see if we can do it,” Josh said. “In our line of work, there are opportunities out there.”

The team also does maintenance work, including jobs for district councils, which can be anything from replacing handrails and bridges to installing completely new structures. “We’re pretty much kitted out to do all of that stuff.”

Recreation Construction is made up of six staff, including fellow co-owner Fergus Watt. Josh and Fergus bought the business from their previous boss, who was gearing up to retire. “So, we decided to take it on,” Josh said.

The team also has two apprentices and an administrator and will be joined by a leading hand in the new year. As demand for their services grows, so does the team, as and when the right person comes along. Due to the specialised work involved, anyone who joins the team needs to be an “all-rounder” and right fit for the job – or jobs as is often the case.

Preferred candidates need “to be prepared to do everything,” including digger driving, steelwork, carpentry and everything in between, Josh said. Until then, the team will continue providing structures and facilities to enhance our great outdoors.

© Waterford Press Ltd 2024 – Independent Print Media New Zealand

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