Rebuilding is priority for Christchurch construction company

Last updated 05:00 11/12/2012
New World, Ilam

MODERN SUPERMARKET: New World, Ilam, is one of Armitage Williams' recent successes.

Armitage Williams' office building
COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: Armitage Williams' office building on Wairakei Rd is a shining example of its construction capabilities.

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Armitage Williams Construction has 27 years of experience building commercial properties in Christchurch, an achievement it doesn't take lightly.

It is likely most people in Christchurch would have driven or walked past a building constructed by the Armitage Williams team.

Armitage Williams Construction is a privately owned commercial construction company and one of the largest of its kind in Christchurch. It works on a range of commercial projects and its services include large-scale commercial construction, project management, property development and design and build.

Since the February 2011 earthquake Armitage Williams has been focusing its efforts on the rebuild.

The company was formed in 1985 and is now owned and operated by Christchurchlocals Ben Harrow, Mark Blyth and Paul Williams. Blyth says that it is the 27 years of business and experience that makes Armitage Williams stand out in the industry.

"We have a 27-year working relationship with our sub-contractors; we work closely with them throughout our projects."

Focusing on building has allowed the Armitage Williams team to continue what they do best.

"We have a solid, reliable and multidisciplinary workforce," says Harrow.

Many of the company's 90 permanent staff are long-service members and the sameapplies for the 140 sub-contractors the company has long-standing relationships with.

"Our clients like that we have a large number of fully qualified and permanent carpenters," says Harrow.
Armitage Williams' apprenticeship scheme is one of the most comprehensivecourses in the construction industry.

Site managers take on a mentor role and encourage the apprentice to experiencedifferent aspects of the industry and increase their knowledge base. There are often up to 15 apprentices being trained by the company at any one time.

Armitage Williams is also an advocate of site safety and demands that a very highstandard of safety is practised by all staff. The company has an excellent existingsafety record.

"Safety on site is our highest priority," says Harrow.

"It doesn't matter what the cost is, we promote safety in the workplace and it comes before profit margins."
Armitage Williams has grabbed the chance to contribute to the rebuild by working on projects that include suburban office buildings - a commercial property type that is in increasingly high demand.

Three35, a twin block, three-storey office building complex, is being constructed on Lincoln Rd. It is the largest office development since February 2011 and the $30 million project includes a car park building. The large scale of this project is consistent with other jobs Armitage Williams is working on and has completed.

The company prides itself on working to deadlines. The office building on Sir William Pickering Drive was completed by November 2011 ready for the occupancy of MYOB and BNZ who were grateful for the efficient relocation after their offices were damaged in the earthquakes.

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Other large projects that Armitage Williams has completed recently include, Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre, Cashmere Rest Home, a Lobster processing facility in Rolleston and cafe and wine tasting facilities at Black Estate vineyard in Waipara.

Armitage Williams is able to negotiate a variety of projects. This is demonstrative of its varied experience, ability to gather the right team and capability to work to the client's brief.

"We also work with clients closely throughout the project to consistently check if we are meeting the brief," says Blyth.

To further improve its reliability and accuracy, Armitage Williams has invested in new technology to assist with project pricing. The company knows the importance of setting a strict budget and adhering to it.

"We can produce detailed and accurate pricing and a quick turnaround," says Harrow.
Armitage Williams Construction has recently added AW Concrete Solutions to its business - a concrete repair division of the company.

The directors could see a need for a concrete repair business in Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake. Initially set up for their existing client base and projects in progress, the demand then grew and the division expanded its services to external clients.

Once a project is complete, Armitage Williams is dedicated to dealing with any client's issues or queries that occur after handover and resolve with any problems instantly.

"We are a personable company and only a phone call away," says Blyth.Q&A

Vision Statement

Armitage Williams aims to respond effectively and efficiently to each client's brief and requirements. Desired outcomes are to be achieved in a safe, timely and cost efficient manner with the highest standard of workmanship possible.

Past Success

Armitage Williams' success is based on solid foundations. It has established and maintained an enviable reputation for financial stability and a highly skilled, professional and experienced team.

Future Hope

Armitage Williams aims to build on past successes and to contribute passionately to the vision of a new and exciting Christchurch.

Greatest Moment

Celebrating 25 years of contribution to the Canterbury building industry and being recognised as the most innovative and successful contractor at this economically challenging time.

- © Fairfax NZ News

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