Two Rotorua businesses have won gold at the 2017 New Zealand Commercial Project Awards.

The newly built "Mega Mill" at Red Stag Timber has won the Gold Award and Best in Category, Industrial, and the Health & Science Centre at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has won the Gold Award in the Education category.

Hawkins regional manager Peter McCawe said the wins were indicative of a growth in the quality of projects being built in the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

"We have several other major projects under way in the region. It's great to see such large-scale investment into provincial New Zealand."

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Red Stag Timber engaged Hawkins to build a purpose-designed structure to house the largest timber mill in the Southern Hemisphere - a project valued at more than $58 million.

Engineers Richard Spiers and Associates Ltd partnered to deliver the massive timber structure, which is a feat of engineering and construction.

The Commercial Project Award judges said "clever logistics have helped deliver this impressive production facility".

Most of the operating plant is on the first floor, atop a grid of 6m-high concrete plinths. The laminated timber superstructure has 5000sq m of floor space and a 45m span, while the roof apex stands over 18m tall.

"The building cost and total budget cost have both come in on time and under budget and the technology adapted by Red Stag Timber Ltd is the most advanced in New Zealand and Australia," said Hawkins project manager Brian Pope.

 Health & Science Centre at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology. Photo/Supplied
Health & Science Centre at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology. Photo/Supplied

The construction industry is moving towards using wood in larger and more complex jobs as technology is making it much easier, and less expensive, to get higher-pitched roofs, interesting roof lines, and overhangs on wood-frame buildings than steel-frame.

The trend towards green buildings is also apparent with the carbon footprint being 97 per cent less than a similar sized sawmill.

Sawmill manager Steve Roberts said Red Stag had invested $60m in the cutting-edge new sawmill.

"We are pleased that Hawkins have been able to construct this mega building under some pretty tight constraints, so that we can keep our specialist equipment secure. Winning Best in Category and Gold awards is just the icing on the cake."

Meanwhile, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology's Gold Award-winning multi-level health and science development is the newest addition to the campus.

It provides laboratories, lecture facilities, active learning classrooms, and simulation wards to improve clinical training. The layout and technological fit-out was designed by Darryl Church Architecture to allow continual adaptation to current educational best-practice.

 Health & Science Centre at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology. Photo/Supplied
Health & Science Centre at Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology. Photo/Supplied

In keeping with the move towards timber construction, the building finishes contain a higher proportion of timber materials (plywood macrocarpa and detailed pine). The three-level building has already won other awards, including an Architectural Designers Award (ADNZ), Resene Colour Award and a New Zealand Architecture Award (NZIA).

Local industry and business groups use the facilities on a regular basis to host events.

The centre is a prime example of the substantial investment being pumped into construction within the region.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has developed a master plan where almost 80 per cent of the old and outdated campus will be re-built over the next 20 years, transforming the 50-year-old campus into a modern and contemporary learning environment.