Griffiths & Associates senior project manager Ben Tomason's work behind the scenes on the construction of a new $7 million, 10 classroom block at Hora Hora School has earned him a Highly Commended award in the 2017 NZ Institute of Building Awards for Excellence.
The awards, which are in their 24th year, celebrate and recognise the professional excellence of individuals in the building and construction process, rather than the project or completed structure.
The new classrooms were built to accommodate a burgeoning school roll, and to replace old classrooms. Within five years the roll grew from 250 to about 390 in 2016.
Mr Tomason brought the Hora Hora School project, and managed the entire team, through to completion and the trials and tribulations along the way.
He was one of four finalists and received the award - for projects costing $5m-$10m - which is issued only as the judges warrant worthy of recognition.
The project was the largest Ministry of Education project in Northland for some time, the judges said.
Mr Tomason was responsible for managing all aspects of the project.
The challenges began early; after winning the project, the ministry increased the scope significantly increasing the project's complexity. The original brief of four new classrooms with no site works, became a 10-classroom block with associated resource and ancillary spaces.
Demolition of dilapidated classrooms on the site was required (complete with asbestos removal), along with the need to bring in relocatable classrooms to keep the school operational.
With this massive change to the project, Mr Tomason was required to very quickly revise procurement and design guidelines, along with developing a revised construction programme, and associated budget.
"His style is to lead from the front, and with this project he led a diverse team of client representatives, designers and construction practitioners through an arduous and difficult process. The result is an extremely durable, flexible and efficient building," the judges said.