Fletcher Building's Graham Darlow is optimistic about the New Zealand blue chip's prospects in nailing a number of the major construction projects up for tender in coming months.

Darlow, who is chief executive of Fletcher's construction business, released a list of the company's top prospects to the Herald (see below).

Fletchers already has an order book worth more than $2 billion -- in essence work that has been won but has yet to be built.

"It's a long time since Fletcher Construction had so much opportunity," he says. "It's a great industry to be in at the moment."


Top of Fletcher's prospect list is the NZ International Convention Centre that SkyCity plans in Auckland. "We are really excited about this project because its the first really decent sized vertically constructed project that's been had in Auckland for a long time," Darlow says.

"I know that SkyCity are taking a little bit of time to make sure everything's right before it goes to market. But they're telling us before Christmas we'll be in a process for that.

"There's some international competition for that but we'll be going pretty hard for it being locals."

SKyCity recently revealed it had dramatically increased the scope of its planned Auckland convention centre, announcing plans for a five star hotel and a 50 per cent increase in spending on the new project pushing the cost up from $402 million to more than $500 million.

Next on Darlow's list is the redevelopment of the Auckland Downtown Centre site owned by Precinct Properties. This includes a tunnel so that the city rail service can extend beyond Britomart.

Then there is the Central City Rail Link itself -- a 3.5 km double track tunnel -- extending from Britomart to the Mt Eden railway station. Says Darlow: "That's a really good engineering project we'll be chasing hard."

Other potential projects include the new Christchurch Hospital which is attracting strong international competition and the PPP for the Puhoi-Warkworth motorway which has to pass through "really tricky geology and geography and is a quite a tough job from an engineering sense."

Darlow believes the uplift for the sector is well within the NZ construction industry's scope as it has been under capacity for a long time.

"We've already had one recruiting trip to the UK in the early 2000s when we recruited some fantastic people who are still with us now -- engineers, quantity surveyors and planners.

"They're very, very good and proven to be really valuable employees since they arrived 10 years ago.

"We are anticipating the need to travel overseas again."

He notes that firms may need to team up with others -- including international players -- to build the mega-projects.

Fletcher projects

Top projects - August 2014

• Fletcher EQR. Total Value of Repairs $2.5 billion - Contract with the Earthquake Commission to manage the repair of 70,000 homes plus install heat pumps (17,000) and do emergency repairs (47,000).
• SCIRT Fletcher Share $500 million - Fletcher is a participant in the Alliance to repair the horizontal infrastructure in Christchurch along with McConnell Dowell, Downer, Fulton Hogan and City Care. The owner participants are Christchurch City Council, CERA and the NZTA.
• Wiri Prison PPP Fletcher Share $275 million - A design and construct project for the 850 bed Wiri Men's Prison for the Secure Future Consortium who has a 25 year PPP contract with the Department of Corrections.
• MacKays to Peka Peka Fletcher Share $400 million - An Alliance contract with the NZTA to plan, consent, design and build a 23km long expressway in the Kapiti Coast with partners Beca and Higgins.
• South Pacific Games - PNG Fletcher Share $120 million - Construction of the aquatic centre and the main athletics stadium for the 2015 South Pacific Games.
• Waterview Tunnel Fletcher Share $430 million - A $1.3 billion Alliance contract with NZTA to build the Waterview Connection including a 2.5km long twin tube, 3 lane (13.9m diameter) tunnels. Partners include Beca, Tonkin & Taylor, Parson Brinkerhoff, Obayashi and McDonnell Dowell.
• Fonterra Head Office Fletcher Share $90 million - development with Goodman to design and build the new head office for Fonterra in Wynyard Quarter.
• Auckland University Science Block Fletcher Share $140 million - Demolition, upgrading and construction of the new science block for Auckland University.
• Rangiriri Bypass Fletcher Share $80 million - Contract with NZTA to design and construct the bypass of Rangiriri on the Waikato Expressway.
• Justice and Emergency Services Precinct $240 million - Construction of the first anchor project in Christchurch as part of the Canterbury Rebuild.

Top prospects - August 2014

• New Zealand International Convention Centre - Construction of 3500-seat convention centre in Auckland adjoining SkyCity.
• Downtown Development - Redevelopment of the Downtown Centre in Auckland by Precinct Properties.
• Central Rail Link - Construction of electrified, double-track rail tunnel underneath Auckland's city centre running approximately 3.5km.
• Christchurch Hospital - Redevelopment of the Christchurch Hospital for the Canterbury District Health Board.
• Puhoi to Warkworth - Construction of a 18.5km four lane motorway between Puhoi and Warkworth for the NZTA.
• Huntly Bypass - Construction of a new 15.2km of four lane expressway between Rangiriri and Taupiri as part of the Waikato Expressway for the NZTA.
• Hamilton Bypass - Construction of 21.8km of four lane expressway between Ngaruawahia and Tamahere bypassing Hamilton for the NZTA.
• Mangere Treatment Plant Upgrade - Major upgrade of Watercare's Mangere Sewerage Treatment Plant to increase capacity.
• Auckland Motorway Widening Projects - widening of several sections of the Auckland motorway network to relieve congestion for the NZTA.