Buildings are an intrinsic part of our society. They affect the way we move, live, work, feel and interact. But the story starts even before the first person walks through the door, with the construction itself also playing a part. 139 Greys Avenue is an exciting example of construction for the community, by the community. Using a social procurement model, Kāinga Ora are ensuring the building delivers more than housing alone. Through the construction it is providing training, experience, jobs and support for businesses. Worker wellbeing is at the forefront of the project, as is the environmental footprint.

On site, there has been a real focus from Kāinga Ora on providing employment through apprenticeships with a focus on encouraging women, Māori and Pasifika, long term unemployed, local residents and youth into the construction industry.

Students of various ages have been provided the opportunity to learn more about the construction on site, attend site visits and learn from the team working on site. Supplier diversity targets have ensured that over 5% of total spend on site has gone to Māori and Pasifika businesses. Women-owned businesses have also been targeted through procurement. Workers are supported with mental health programmes, including MATES in construction. The project has considered the environment throughout, with the buildings being built to the New Zealand Green Building Council 7 Homestar rating, with a target to also achieve 85% diversion of materials from landfill throughout construction.

Community engagement has been key on this project with the local community being involved from the beginning. The local school children designed a large section of the hoarding around the site and the project team has been running sessions with local students to increase knowledge around construction and to encourage school age children, particularly females, to consider a career in the construction industry.

In addition, Kāinga Ora and the project team have partnered with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei since the very early stages of the project, with a number of iwi artists and designers being involved throughout. Reflecting its place in Tāmaki Makaurau, the building design is based on a narrative gifted to Kāinga Ora which encompasses the mauri or life force and vitality of Wai Horotiu, a stream which once ran close to the site. The mauri or life force wraps around the buildings, providing shelter to the people who live, work and visit the building by cleaning, healing and protecting them.

The approach to the construction of 139 Greys Avenue aligns perfectly with Brevity values of diversity, sustainability and collaboration. We were honoured to be invited to participate in the project. It includes the construction of over 276 new homes, many of which are catering to those with complex or higher needs. Brevity have been engaged by The Building Intelligence Group (TBIG) and are working closely with the main contractor ICON. We were asked to provide the PS1 in 2019 and have been working on the construction monitoring for the steel stud partition walls throughout the project. This includes three buildings ranging from nine to thirteen levels.

For the standard partitions we have used the software webapp Prenguin, which has enabled us to create PS1s quickly and accurately. This allowed us to spend more time working through creative solutions for the more complex challenges. We were able to resolve the brace clashes with ducting and other building services through CANs and onsite discussions with the installers, Alpha Interiors. There were also instances where electrical services penetrated areas of the steel stud partitions we had designed, so we provided a strengthening solution to accommodate the compromised wall elements.

The new social housing development, just up the hill from Auckland’s Aotea Centre, will replace a 60 year old building that many considered a slum. It’s been an inspirational project to be part of. There is a real sense of the community coming together to deliver something unique. The new construction promises a fresh new connected living space where residents will feel proud, safe and connected with the community. As a result of the construction, a diverse representation of new apprentices are being trained, providing the construction industry with skilled labour. The new apprentices represent a broader range of Kiwi’s, and provide role models for underrepresented groups to become part of the construction industry. We are proud to be part of this holistic approach to construction. The benefits of new career opportunities,reduced environmental impact and the creation of new housing that will continue to benefit the community well beyond the installation of the final partition wall.