I've followed with interest the need for additional classrooms for schools in Havelock North.

My family business Cottages NZ has been involved in the construction of prefabricated buildings for many years for the residential and commercial market. Since 2001 we have built and transported over 350 buildings throughout Hawke's Bay and beyond.

In 2010/11 we undertook a major project of understanding the needs of the education sector. We conducted market research with schools after it was identified that many of the old prefab classrooms were well past their used by date.

At the end of the research and development we launched a new building design specifically for the education sector called the "Excel Series" which was developed along the lines of Whole of Life Costs. The aim was having learning environments that had low maintenance and provided less operational funding such as Solar energy.


The new range was officially launched by Prime Minister of the time John Key in September 2011. The timing was pretty good as the Government soon announced a tender to roll out replacements to the old prefab classrooms.

As a local business we submitted a tender in partnership with a larger construction company in order to provide scale to the tender where construction and delivery could be provided in the North Island.

However the Government decided that they wanted one single provider in NZ for these buildings and as a consequence we were unsuccessful.

Undeterred we submitted our design to the Ministry of Building and Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for a Multi Proof Certificate which guarantees a building consent within 10 working days from any Building Consent Authority in New Zealand. This enabled us to build classrooms for schools and early childhood centres in Auckland and Wellington.

Fast forward to 2016 the Government announced that 8 new classrooms would be provided to three Havelock North schools due to growth in rolls.

With our experience of building classrooms, as well as a successful roll out of small police stations to rural areas across New Zealand, you would think that this track record, backed by the fact that we're LOCAL would have provided the Government with a quick solution to solve the classroom shortage.

I am now surprised and disappointed to read in HB Today that local children will be forced to learn in substandard learning environments such as school halls for longer than expected due to construction delays by a building firm based in the South Island.

A LOCAL solution to a LOCAL problem could ensure our children and teachers are in best practice learning environments in time for Term 3, as first promised.

John Roil is a local business owner and a former Hastings District councillor. Views expressed here are the writer's opinion and not the newspaper's. Email: editor@hbtoday.co.nz