As a qualified engineer and experienced project manager, Brookfield Multiplex NZ Managing Director Dan Ashby understands the multitude of challenges that are tackled daily on a work site. “The demolition environment is tough. The work is hard and the hours are long. People are out there working in the mud, the dust and the grime every day – in all conditions”.
Demolition teams are a critical part of the construction process. Working on large-scale projects with high commercial risk is a key part of the industry landscape. In this industry a positive, committed attitude is non-negotiable.
“At Brookfield Mulitplex we look for relationships that give us more than the sum of the parts. One plus one equals three,” says Dan. Management expertise, insight and a pro-active approach are more important than just technical experience in solving the problems that arise on-site daily. “Peter Ward and the team at Ward Group exemplify that approach”.
The success of the Sylvia Park project is one example of how adopting a collaborative working model can achieve remarkable outcomes on a grand scale. From a demolition and recycling perspective, the project has some impressive statistics.
At the time, Sylvia Park with a total construction value of $235m was the biggest building project the country had seen in years. The 24 hectare site (equal to 34 rugby fields) was the location of a former World War II American Army base. The sheer quantity of waste material generated by the demolition provided significant challenges for the project team.
Ward Group demolished over 40 sheds and recovered all salvageable timber – with untreated timber being recycled into mulch. Waste material from the demolition of foundations and roadways were crushed and re-used on-site rather than disposing to landfill.
A key benefit of working with Ward Group was their commercial ability to recycle large volumes of waste material both on and off-site. Dan believes that Peter is “way ahead of his time” in terms of his commitment to sustainability. “Often people and organisations talk of ‘Green Building’ and ‘Sustainability’ with little understanding of the practicalities behind the concepts. Whereas people like Peter and his team are genuinely living it every day at the coalface and have been doing so since well before Green initiatives became mainstream”.
There were also the environmental and safety issues of asbestos removal and ground contamination to contend with. Detailed investigations were conducted, and by drawing on Ward Group’s practical experience, the teams planned and executed the disposal and clean-up safely and effectively.
Ward managed site workflows efficiently by disconnecting activities – allowing previously linked tasks to continue independently. By having specialist equipment and the expertise to recycle material on and off-site, the team could manage the process smartly and achieve better rates of productivity – ensuring pressing deadlines were met.
From Ward Group’s perspective the success of the Sylvia Park demolition and recovery comes down to project management. Tactical planning was made possible by open communication with Multiplex at every stage of the project and was critical in achieving such successful outcomes.
Though in different words, both men state that keeping an open mind and a pro-active approach is an important part of the relationship – it allows their people to work in innovative ways and achieve great things.
*In 2006, Multiplex won Auckland Regional Council and New Zealand Contractor’s Federation Environmental Excellence Award for managing key environmental issues during development of the Sylvia Park project.