2021 ACE Awards

Read about our 2021 ACE Award finalists. Finalists will be awarded gold, silver or merit at the ACE Awards on Tuesday 22 February 2022 online. Register now

National Climate Change Risk Assessment for New Zealand 

Consultant: AECOM, Tonkin + Taylor, NIWA, Latitude, Victoria University of Wellington, Lincoln University 
Client: Ministry for the Environment

National Climate Change Risk Assessment

The National Climate Change Risk Assessment has identified, for the first time, risks to Aotearoa of climate change. The vision of the assessment is to ensure our nation is resilient to the impacts long term. 

The consultant team were commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment to help the government identify where it needs to prioritise action and inform facets of a New Zealand adaption plan from government policy through to central and local government and the work of iwi/hapū. 

The project is recognised by the ACE Award judges for the large-scale consultation required to generate the data and information needed to develop the plan, even throughout COVID lockdowns!  

The client was ‘delighted’ with the technical robustness of the report and recognised the political pressure to deliver on-time. 

Exchange 106

Consultant: Beca
Client: Mulia Property Development

Exchange 106

Rising almost 100m higher than the Sky Tower, Exchange 106 in Kuala Lumpur sits 445.5 meters above ground and is the 22nd highest building in the world.  

Conceptualised, designed and constructed by the Auckland-based team at Beca, the exceptionally complex office building and apartment building was completed in four years with one floor constructed every three days. 

To meet the tight timeframes, Beca designed the building concurrently with the build. Reticulation zones were established for each trade to minimise clashes and floor layouts were based on a modular design allowing the layout of a quadrant of the floor to be mirrored to the remaining floorplate. As well as saving time, it reduced any installation errors.  

To add complexity to the project, the project team was based all over the world. The client was delighted with the close collaboration between each consultancy, especially Beca. 

The efficient use of plant space allowed a significant reduction in comparison with other similar buildings. A high level of sustainability meant the reclaim, treatment and reuse of wastewater for toilet flushing and cooling tower make-up (received a Green Building Index Gold Award).

In particular, ACE Award judges recognised Beca for successfully challenging local consenting authorities around requirements for basement carpark smoke control and fire protection design.

2016 Kaikōura earthquake response, temporary works and retrospective base isolation of the lift core

Consultant: Beca
Client: Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rankine Brown Library

The 2016 Kaikōura earthquake significantly damaged the Rankine Brown building at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, in particular the lift shafts.  

Beca was hired by the University to fix and strengthen the lifts so that tens of thousands of Wellingtonians who use the building, could continue to do so. Initial assessments of the building after the quake revealed large cracks and gaps large enough to fit a fist.  

Beca is recognised by the ACE Award judges for its innovative base isolation scheme for the existing lift shaft resulting in the Rankine Brown building now being one of the most resilient in the University’s portfolio. 

It was essential that the library remained open while the lift shaft was being repaired meaning Beca had to work creatively in a short time frame to prepare a technically sound and carefully considered construction sequence all while keeping the library users safe. 

Judges were impressed at the collaborative approach by Beca working together with contractors and subcontractors to work as a team for the client.  

Considerate stakeholder management by the team at Beca meant library staff especially were reassured that the building was safe to continue working in.

Te Hono - New Plymouth Airport Terminal 

Consultant: Beca
Client: New Plymouth Airport

Te Hono - New Plymouth Airport Terminal

The new terminal at Te Hono – New Plymouth Airport Terminal is distinctly Taranaki – an embedded sense of place and connection to the local people and their story.  

As the consultancy team, Beca provided project management, architectural and engineering design services for the client New Plymouth Airport.  

The ACE Award judges recognised Beca for its partnership and co-design approach with local hapu, Puketapu to create an iconic gateway to the Taranaki region catering for over 550,000 passengers each year.  

Puketapu have a deep bond to the airport site having had the land unceremoniously taken under the Public Works Act in the 1960s to build the original airport. The project was an opportunity to step well beyond a normal consultancy role to establish an inclusive design process that would both acknowledge and transcend the conflicts of the past.  

For Puketapu this project has given them a presence back on the land that was taken from them, by interweaving their cultural narrative throughout the form and function of the terminal building and also providing them with a commercial space, Tatai, to operate from in the terminal.  

Woodford Grace 

Consultant: Lewis Bradford and Oculus
Client: Dorset Family Trust

Woodford Grace

Woodford Grace is a low energy home in Christchurch based on a 1920s two-storey house damaged in the 2010-2011 quakes.  

Lewis Bradford and Oculus were hired by the Dorset Family Trust to re-build their dream family home requiring extensive alterations to retain the homes original form and high-quality internal timber finishing.  

The stringent performance specification for a certified low-energy retrofitted dwelling saw the consultants strip out the existing building and develop a retrofit solution for building consent that was a ‘voyage of discovery’.  

The consultants worked closely with the contractor to identify issues and develop solutions to provide:  

  • Temporary support for the structure 
  • Re-level the building 
  • New foundations and 
  • Main structure remediation 

The second stage of the project covered the development and construction of the new extension that links into the original building to provide kitchen, guest room, garage, and sleep-out facilities. The architectural form and required construction detailing were complex and again required close coordination between consultants, contractor and client. 

In addition, there was a steep learning curve to understand and implement the requirements for low energy performance to be achieved in the retrofit of an existing two-storey timber-frame building. The consultants readily took on the challenge and worked well with the client and contractor to achieve a world-class result for a warm comfortable home that has a very low energy demand. 

This project is recognised by the ACE Awards judges for the exceptional cooperation and coordination of the various parties and the way the consultants, Lewis Bradford and Oculus, met the client’s expectations by responding positively to their brief. The client is very happy with the comfortable family home that has been created.  

Mount Albert Tunnel Sludge Pipeline Repair 

Consultant: Stantec
Client: Wellington Water

In 2020, two pipelines that transferred wastewater sludge in Wellington burst. The sludge then had to be transferred using road tankers named ‘turd taxis’ by the local community, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at a significant cost. 

Wellington Water hired Stantec to develop and deliver a solution for the burst pipelines which are cast in concrete and located 1.7km inside a wastewater tunnel.  

The judges recognised Stantec for its collaboration with the client, contractor, community and key stakeholders to resolve the problem in record time, made even more difficult to an already complex problem as it occurred during some of the COVID-19 lockdowns in Aotearoa.  

Stantec led a collaborative team to a solution that involved pulling through 1.7km of non-structural liner. It's one of the first times this liner had been used in New Zealand and the longest pull of this liner ever in the world. To the satisfaction of the client and community, materials and specialist personnel were rapidly mobilised from Germany despite lockdowns, and sludge operation resumed 3.5 months after the bursts were first identified, taking the tankers off the road

Technology innovation, know-how and data to manage critical risk in the meat industry 

Consultant: TEG Risk & Sustainability Services
Client: ANZCO Foods, Bremworth, Sanford, and Alliance Group

To meet the requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, ANZCO Foods, Bremworth, Sanford, and Alliance Group engaged TEG Risk & Sustainability Services to identify and come up with a plan to manage risks at its seven meat processing plants across Aotearoa.

One of the biggest meat processors in the country with 2,800 machines and 5,000 employees, Alliance Group needed a pragmatic and risk-effective approach. TEG worked on a massive scale to identify nearly 7,000 risks.  

TEG was recognised by the ACE Award judges for the data-driven, mass-data approach that was delivered to the client in a useful and understandable way. With a tight timeframe, the consultants at TEG were able to deliver narrative-style reports with photos and aggregated management reports for planners.  

TEG was also recognised by the judges for its stakeholder engagement dealing with everyone in the company from the people working on the machines through to the CEO and leadership team. The people working on the machines typically accepted risk and injury as part of their jobs but now report feeling more comfortable with their working conditions. By translating risk in an understandable way, TEG has helped to transform machine safety not only in the meat industry but potentially for other high-risk industries. This is a real plus for Alliance Group as it is committed to the health and safety of its employees. 

TEG continues to have an exceptional, ongoing relationship with Alliance Group.

Plexus 5.0 

Consultant: Tonkin + Taylor
Client: Nelson City Council

Plexus 5.0

Storm surges, sea-level rise, heavy rain, droughts; as climate change takes hold, all are taking an increasing toll on New Zealand’s vulnerable three waters infrastructure. Pinpointing a network ‘problem child’ has often been a complex, time consuming – and at times impossible – an exercise in analysing years of data using Excel. Plagued by issues with wastewater infrastructure, Nelson City Council needed a better system to reduce the unpleasant flow-on effects for the community. The solution, grounded in simplicity, lay in the smart application of data science rather than a traditional engineering approach. 

Delivered by Tonkin + Taylor, PLEXUS 5.0 (PLEXUS) is a water-sector gamechanger: a data-driven approach to resolving complex water engineering issues, which also allows clients to prioritise accurately emergency works and capital spending. A big leap away from traditional models, Tonkin + Taylor’s PLEXUS combines existing supervisory control and data acquisition data with that gathered from low-cost, real-time sensors to analyse current issues, identify trends and build predictive models. The result is a more resilient wastewater system in Nelson, with nationwide roll-out potential. 

The project was recognised by the judges for its data-science approach and digital innovation to solving complex, water engineering issues. The wastewater system is now so much more resilient for the community of Nelson and there is potential for a nationwide rollout.  

Kaituna River Re-diversion and Te Awa o Ngātoroirangi / Maketu Estuary Enhancement

Consultant: WSP
Client: Bay of Plenty Regional Council

Kaituna River Rediversion and Maketu Estuary Enhancement 

For the tangata whenua of Te Tumu, Te Tumu Cut where the Kaituna River meets the sea was a wound that never healed. In 1956, the ‘cut’ or diversion of the flow of the river away from its natural outlet to be drained and turned into farmland, came at a significant cost.  

The health of the estuary collapsed due to the loss of freshwater flows and 90% of wetlands were lost. Populations of finfish and shellfish plummeted, and along with environmental damage, traditional practices and generations of cultural knowledge were lost. 

WSP was hired by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to restore the mauri of the estuary by increasing the volume of water from the Kaituna River, maximising the ecological and cultural benefits, limiting the economic cost and adverse environmental effects, and ensuring flood protection and access for boats.  

This was no small feat. The ACE Awards judges recognised WSP for its consulting excellence in consenting and stakeholder engagement. The outstanding depth and extent of technical expertise in securing RMA consents were critical to the success of the project.  

The client was so happy with WSP’s knowledge of and commitment to the project that it asked WSP to be project managers during construction, a task it wasn't initially asked to do.  

Key stakeholders such as local iwi and the coastguard were thrilled with WSP’s engagement. WSP was praised for listening to the needs of the community and adapting its solution based on feedback they received. Since the 1970s, council had been trying to fix the problem but with not much success. Now, because of the excellence in consultation by WSP, the council has a better, closer relationship with local iwi.  

Most importantly, the project goals were achieved. The wetlands are now a thriving place for local fish and kaimoana. The fish are now the main source of protein for some locals in the area.  

Road to Nature 

Consultant: WSP
Client: Tūhoe Charitable Trust

Road to nature

The rugged, remote rural area of Te Urewera in the Bay of Plenty relies on a section of State Highway 38 for locals to travel and tourists to visit. The stretch of road was becoming dangerous due to dust and potholes. Something had to be done.  

Kaitiaki (guardians) of Te Urewera, Ngāi Tūhoe have fierce protection of the land that holds such a special place in their hearts. Tūhoe commissioned WSP to investigate environmentally friendly and sustainable options for resurfacing and maintenance of the road in keeping with Tūhoe values.  

WSP conducted in-depth research, lab testing and analysis to find a by-product substance of the wood pulping process that was effective in binding gravel and keeping it in place. The substance replaces the usual bitumen we see on roads and can be recycled on-site without additional aggregates.  

Road to Nature was recognised by the judges for the considerable consultation and engagement with the local community, fulfilling their role as kaitiaki by monitoring and reporting on road-wear. The project gave locals skills and jobs and the pairing of matauranga Māori, multidisciplinary science and engineering formed a strong platform for further development of non-bituminous sustainable materials in Aotearoa. 

Roading Resilience Management System (RRMS) 

Consultant: WSP
Client: Waka Kotahi

One thousand kilometres of state highway in Northland connects 195,400 residents in and out of the region. Most of the highway has unstable geology, frequent weather-related events and a lack of viable alternative routes sometimes resulting in communities being completely isolated.  

The management of work to improve this stretch of highway and to deal with natural hazard events in a timely manner have been hampered by the lack of background data on sites, the inability to prioritise risk and correct assignment of funding, confusion around funding and responsibilities, and a lack of awareness of existing resilience issues. These have resulted in inefficiencies, long response times, and costly repairs and improvements. 

WSP was hired by Waka Kotahi to improve the way the data was collated and analysed.  

ACE Award judges recognised the WSP team for bringing data into one place using an out of the box technology platform Waka Kotahi staff were already familiar with. The consulting excellence in this project was the fact that WSP delivered exactly what the client was after. 

The client is highly satisfied with the RRMS tool that it wants to roll it out into other regions.  

Wellington East Girls' College 

Consultant: WSP
Client: Ministry of Education

Wellington Girls' College

The main teaching and administration building of Wellington Girls’ College was built in 1924 on the western side of Mount Victoria with subsequent buildings constructed on benches cut into the hillside to form a college campus over seven levels. In the early 2010s, a detailed seismic assessment rated the main block as ‘earthquake prone’.  

In 2012 WSP was engaged to provide a comprehensive master plan for the college to redevelop the main building and wider college campus for a 20 to 30-year horizon. 

In the new plan, the main building’s heritage façade and main foyer were retained, a new building constructed behind was integrated with the remaining buildings into a comprehensive campus upgrade, including services, to provide a far more effective college environment. 

The geotechnical input assisted the master plan to identify where unstable cut batters behind existing buildings required cutting back, and where the cut material could be used on site to enhance the college facilities such flat areas and better access ramps to service the building at various levels. 

The close coordination and cooperation during construction was challenging to retaining the college operation on site. The college appreciated the efforts of the contractor and consultants to put in place an operation that was focused on minimising the impact on the college. Regular consultation was key to the success of the construction phase for the college. 

ACE Award judges recognised WSP for the masterplan development of the college environment which more than met the college’s expectations and was to a high standard. The client was very pleased with the consultation process and how its ideas were understood and generally incorporated into the plan in a holistic way. The form and architectural treatment of the modified campus has markedly assisted in the development of the college’s current strong multi-cultural education outlook. 

36th America's Cup Infrastructure Project 

Consultant: Wynyard Edge Alliance - Beca, Tonkin + Taylor, Auckland Council, McConnell Dowell, Downer, and New Zealand Government
Client: Auckland Council, MBIE

36th America's Cup Infrastructure Project 

America’s Cup Village on Auckland’s waterfront is a globally visible project set on a sensitive marine environment with complex risks and an immoveable deadline. Created by The Wynyard Edge Alliance, it truly is a design and construction masterpiece.   

The Alliance was responsible for designing and building the infrastructure needed to host the 36th America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021. It was tasked with creating a stage for the race, and an attractive, welcoming waterfront destination Kiwis and visitors would love.  

With a high level of political attention and public spending under scrutiny, the project was high-profile and could not afford to fail.  

The stakeholders were complex and strong working relationships were rapidly formed with key groups including Emirates Team New Zealand, Panuku Development Auckland and mana whenua to gain a deep understanding of requirements and constraints. They also worked with the individual race syndicates to ensure the space was ready to receive such high-value boats. 

Some of New Zealand’s leading planning, design and construction specialists came together to form the high-performance team required to deliver this internationally significant infrastructure project. 

Beca’s involvement in the design and construction of the 2000 America’s Cup infrastructure around Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, including Halsey Wharf, enabled the team to draw on an unmatched depth of technical insight. Both Beca and Tonkin + Taylor’s involvement in the Wynyard Quarter developments, and Tonkin + Taylor’s strong downtown project experience further added to the team’s local knowledge. 

The project had to incorporate changes to stormwater outfalls and the SeaLink ferry terminal, accommodate the existing sea walls and environment, and deal with challenging ground conditions - all within a sensitive marine environment.  

The team created new marina space to protect the race boats and superyachts, formed wharves and landside platforms for visiting syndicates, developed new public spaces including a park in the heart of Wynyard Quarter, and improved crucial transport links for Aucklanders.  

The project had multiple conflicting priorities, including a short timeframe, an immoveable deadline and a challenging budget for the proposed scope that had to be delivered.  

Beca and Tonkin +Taylor established an ‘alliance ready design leadership team that drew on key learnings from other recent major projects such as the Waterview Connection and the Puhoi to Warkworth project. By applying processes and lessons from these previous projects and adapting them to support the America’s Cup Village, the team delivered excellence in consulting and design.  

The team created detailed design delivery programmes for each phase of the project with standardised verification procedures, interdisciplinary workshops and reviews, and robust decision making or ratification processes.   

They used agile processes with parallel workstreams and, in some instances, detailed designs were being progressed in tandem with alternative options to enable changes and optimization as the project progressed.  

The project was completed on time and under budget and, most impressively, this was done without a single lost-time injury over the life of the project. 

The team have gone to considerable lengths to share their knowledge within the profession in New Zealand via technical papers, presentations and videos. Their performance and desire to share their experience leaves a legacy that will benefit the industry for years to come.

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