Firth wins Conference Choice Award 2018

Attendees at the recent Brick and Blocklayers Federation Conference awarded the presentation of Firth’s Temple View project by Stuart Girvan, the inaugural “Conference Choice Award”.

“The project is a shining example of collaboration and cooperation” said BBFNZ CEO Melanie McIver, “and totally deserved to be recognised with a Gold at the 2018 Commercial Project Awards.”  

The project was first conceived in 2007 when The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints decided to close their school in Dinsdale just out of Hamilton. This freed up a whole lot of land they decided to develop into a housing community for their members. The school was demolished, but a number of houses were to be retained and brought into line with the sweeping new architectural and landscaping vision developed by Walker Community Architects, to be built by Livingstone Building.

The vision included a critical requirement to be strongly white in use of building materials, according to Latter-day Saints doctrine. The white needed to be very precise as it was going to be used across brick cladding for the houses, blocks for the nearly 6km of walls and extensive paving work in the landscaping design.

This saw Firth trialling different mixes of lime and cement to achieve the perfect balance of colour and strength. In fact, they ended up devising a completely new process for production – a massive effort by the team at Firth, but one that definitely paid off.

The existing houses, built back in the 50s, were already built in white brick and the fact they only required additional paving to integrate them cleanly into the community, provides testament to the staying power of brick.

All was running to plan when the Latter-day Saints were informed their President was flying out from the US to open Temple View as a very significant achievement for the Church. This meant the completion deadline needed to be bought forward so that everything was pristine for the grand occasion.

The site was suddenly full of masonry contractors. Dave Taylor Blocklayers were in charge of the 6kms of wall and put in a huge effort to complete. OE Paving had one of the more intricate large- scale paving contracts they have ever had, with each paver individually designed to be placed according to a master plan.

All this activity happening at once put enormous pressure on Firth in Tauranga to keep the supply pipeline pumping. The plant was working overtime to keep up – but constant communication between all masonry contractors and Firth ensured downtime was never an issue.

The project was completed on time and looked amazing. The judges at the 2018 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards agreed, with the project winning a Gold Award in the Civic category.

 In their comments they noted “The underlying idea was one of permanence which, like a religion, is a rock in society and a trusted element.”

Which we think, sums masonry up nicely.