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Dental build brings work to local trades

Tuesday 28 November 2017 10:23am

The Faculty of Dentistry’s new Clinical Services building is beginning to take shape - and is bringing plenty of work to local sub-contractors. Photo: Fiona McDonald.

Otago sub-contractors are employing more staff, boosting the local economy and showcasing their expertise – all by winning contracts for the Faculty of Dentistry new build and redevelopment at the University of Otago.

They have been employed by the main contractor – Leighs Cockram JV - to work on New Zealand’s national centre for dentistry and only dental hospital.

Leighs Cockram JV project director Daniel Tessier says the company is committed to employing local contractors with local knowledge whenever possible and is taking a collaborative approach to one of the city’s most exciting projects ever.


Tansley Electrical general manager Steve Donaldson says the company will be hiring about 10 more staff, including four trainees new to the industry.

He is pleased the 59-year-old Dunedin company will be feeding its success back into the city’s economy through the opportunities staff working on the project will experience.

Tansley recently finished the electrical services at the Burwood Hospital development in Christchurch and Mr Donaldson is happy the company’s next major project also benefits its community, because the project involves New Zealand’s national centre for dentistry and only dental hospital.


Miller Creative Group chief executive Keith Cooper says the dentistry project is one of the largest in the company’s 105-year history because it is spread over 24 months.

The project also gives Miller Creative greater confidence to plan for growth and employ more staff – it has hired nine in the recent months, bringing the total to 48.

Because more large projects are also underway in Dunedin, Miller Creative and other subcontractors have been gearing up – which includes Millers reconfiguring its factory to streamline its operations, he says.

Pre-cast concrete

Balcrom Engineered Concrete chief executive officer Jason Money says the firm based in Balclutha and Cromwell is supplying about 180 precast concrete tilt slabs for walls and the same total number of stairs, landings and treads.

Working on such a high-level project “always has an air of excitement surrounding it – you are working with a group of highly experienced teams so always have to be on top of your game”.

It brings out the best in people, but more importantly, everyone learns from this type of project so can improve and develop their businesses, ready for the next challenge.

“Local companies supporting local projects in our eyes should be encouraged by all – this way we all benefit from the area’s growth and improvements. We would like to continue working with the teams involved with this project on other future projects,” Mr Money says.


Foleys general manager Bruce Muldrew says the company will also be hiring more staff as needed and the project will continue to build the 84-year-old company’s skills with larger scale projects.

A special aspect of the project for Foleys is working in a sector that underpins such a large part of Dunedin’s economy, tertiary education.