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Leighs Construction has nailed a hat trick

23 August 2005

Leighs Construction has nailed a hat trick

Christchurch company Leighs Construction has nailed a hat trick of New Zealand Institute of Building Awards announced on Friday, including the top national award.

The awards recognise the work of Anthony Leighs, Matt Searle and their team on the Hillary Field Centre at Scott Base.

The team picked up the Hays Construction Award for Projects Under $5 Million, the Placemakers Innovation Award, and the GIB/James Hardie Supreme Award. It is the first time in 15 years that the same entry has won these three awards.

Leighs completed the $4.7 million project in November 2004, 22 days ahead of schedule, with no accidents and within a "zero footprint" environmental policy.

It was the first construction project undertaken by a private company at Scott Base. Leighs not only managed the construction project, but procurement and logistical management.

The sole shipment of materials and equipment, managed in conjunction with the United States Antarctic Program, was the single largest shipping requirement ever undertaken for the New Zealand Antarctic programme. Because there was only one shipment, Leighs had to plan perfectly - even forgetting a box of nails could have jeopardised the project's tight completion schedule.

Leighs also had to recruit a team that was hardy enough to handle the physical and mental stresses of the environment, and integrate Antarctica New Zealand's strict environmental policies into its own construction methodology.

Managing director Anthony Leighs says the project allowed the company to build upon its track record for innovation in construction, and provided opportunities to learn more about environmental sustainability in construction and best-practice management of projects and people.

"We are intentionally taking on challenging projects that might deter other construction companies and this has enabled us to build our capability and our reputation, as well as honing our innovative edge," said Mr Leighs, who set up the company 10 years ago at the age of 24.

"We've built on our experience of the Scott Base project, integrating these innovations into all our construction work," he said. This has been borne out by subsequent building projects, including the Hallensteins Building in Cashel Mall, which attracted the 2005 Canterbury Registered Master Builder of the Year award for Leighs Construction last month.


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