2022 ACE Awards

Read about our 2022 ACE Award winners. Winners will be awarded gold, silver or merit at the ACE Awards on Friday 2 September 2022 online. Register now

2022 ACE Award winners

The finalists of the Emerging Leader Award are:

  • Justine Quinn (Tonkin + Taylor)
  • Jordan Reynolds (Tactical Group)
  • Louisa Bloomer (Stantec)

The winners of the Student Award are:

  • Yunfan Yu (University of Auckland)
  • Euan Robinson (University of Canterbury)
  • Keegan Chin (University of Canterbury)

The Emerging Leader and Student Award winners are awarded at our Awards gala Dinner on Friday 2 September in Rotorua as part of our conference

A place to call home. Making everyday better for the mid-corridor community 

Consultant: Beca
Client: Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority

Since the late 1950s, Kwajalein Atoll has served as the primary testing site for US missile defense and space research programmes. The U.S. military evacuated a large section of the Kwajalein Atoll in the 1960’s to create a ‘safe zone’. The testing is supported by a large US base on Kwajalein Island. Whole communities were relocated from the ‘mid atoll corridor’ impact zone to a 2.5-acre (1.06ha) site on Ebeye Island for safety reasons 

Not only were the Mid Corridor Community removed from their traditional land and access to marine resources, but they were not given any land rights in Ebeye after they were displaced, leaving them without much of a say in their future. Underdevelopment has resulted in insufficient health and education services, ageing infrastructure, inadequate sanitation and poor-quality housing. The poor housing, due to a lack of building codes and the inability to maintain structures, is a significant social, health and safety issue. Ebeye’s low elevation and crowded living conditions make it extremely vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change including sea level rise, flooding and inundation, and coastal erosion. 

Most of the community have spent their entire lives on Ebeye and have an attachment to the land that they now live on. It was important to maintain this connection. In the past aAid projects were given to the Marshallese with little or no consultation with the community about what they wanted. This project was developed in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders to produce an outcome that the community embraced and was proud of. A variety of new consultation and engagement techniques were applied, many for the first time in the RMI, to deliver a robust outcome owned by the community.  

These new homes will make a significant difference and have a positive impact on the lives of the 800 plus Mid-Corridor residents. The Mid-Corridor Community will be able move on from the past and will soon have a place that they are proud to call home. 

Beca are recognised for consulting excellence in community engagement, community planning and master planning. 

Catholic Cathedral College

Consultant: WSP
Client: Catholic Diocese of Christchurch 

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch needed additional teaching spaces and a new administration block for Cathedral College, a leading co-educational secondary school in Christchurch. They wanted a building that was a comfortable place of learning and student development, which met sustainability and cost objectives.  

Through careful consideration of all the project drivers, close collaboration between the design team and the client, and early involvement with the selected contractor, the WSP team delivered a sustainable and innovative timber building.  The building comprises full height rocking Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) shear walls with CLT suspended floors, on a shallow concrete foundation. The design used 330 tonnes less CO2 than a traditional steel building, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of 110 average cars in one year. 

The outcome for the school is a comfortable space for staff and students alike, where they can thrive in a truly leading and inclusive educational environment. The school has used the high profile of the project to promote their values which are exemplified in the final structure, a successful multi-level educational facility. The design and functionality of the layout has been tailored to create a best practice modern learning environment. The welcoming entrance invites visitors into the school. The building has taken design cues from the former neighbouring basilica and responds to the historic significance of the site for the Catholic Diocese, thereby preserving this history for the future.

WSP are recognised for consulting excellence in delivering a sustainable, innovative timber building which met the client’s needs, responded to the challenging conditions on the site, and allowed for ease and speed of construction that would not have otherwise been achievable.

City Rail Link contract 1

Consultant: Aurecon
Client: City Rail Link

The City Rail Link will fundamentally change the way Aucklanders and tourists travel around the city and interact within the CBD and the waterfront.

Auckland’s need for more reliable and faster public transport options is crucial to its growth and maintaining a high standard of living.

Britomart’s transformation to a through rail station is at the hub of Auckland’s CBD revival and the commuter rail transformation. 

Given that most of the Britomart area was underwater until the 1870s this project has proved challenging due to ground conditions. Aurecon overcame these obstacles of geography and geology with technical consulting excellence and unique innovations.

Over a period of five years, the project works have included the construction of shallow tunnels beneath the heritage Chief Post Office (CPO) building and Lower Queen Street in soft ground conditions.  

Te Komititangathe beautiful new civic space, was constructed following the backfilling of the tunnels and the CPO building’s ground floor was reinstated to maintain the heritage features, along with reconstruction of the new Britomart Station entrance. This created a vibrant, people centric space to be shared by all. 

This was a huge engineering and construction feat. As with any major project of this size and complexity, the success of the project depended on multiple organisations working closely together as partners. 

Aurecon is recognised for their consulting excellence in the areas of project delivery, infrastructure resilience, structural engineering, geotechnical expertise and heritage preservation contributing to transformational change in Auckland’s CBD.  

Commercial Bay

Consultant: Holmes
Client: Precinct Properties

Commercial Bay, bestowed the name Te Toki i te Rangi (The Blade in the Sky) by the local lwi-Ngati Whatua Orakei, is the largest mixed-use development ever undertaken in Aotearoa.

This impressive NZ $700M redevelopment of a full waterfront city block consists of 10 separate components. The development combines two existing office towers with a new three level high-end retail complex, and a new 39-level commercial tower-all above three levels of basement car parking and two curved City Rail Link (CRL) train tunnels-with associated major complexities and structural transfers. Its scale and complexity with the integration of the multiple components make Commercial Bay one of the most technically challenging structural engineering projects ever completed in Aotearoa. 

As part of the NZ$5 billion City Rail Link project, two underground rail tunnels run through the site from midway along the east boundary, on a curved and gradually inclined pre­determined alignment-to exit as a twin tunnel box to the south-west. These rail lines had a major influence on project design-due to their alignment and loading requirements. Mitigating transmission of train vibrations into the commercial office tower above was critical. Extensive computer modelling simulated potential train vibration transmission through independent foundations into the tower structure. 

The impressive 39 storey, 5 Green Star rated tower is the tallest and most premium commercial office building in Aotearoa. This tower celebrates and showcases the structural form of the building. Working closely with the architect and the wider project team, Holmes designed visually striking columns and diagonal braces, which are clad to express and accentuate the structure. 

In a large complex project with many stakeholders and challenges, Commercial Bay is an example of a well-coordinated structure, underpinned by great execution and a willingness for project partners to work through challenges collaboratively. This was achieved through excellent collaboration and communication between all stakeholders and the consulting team.  

This project is at the heart of the transformational change that is occurring in Auckland’s CBD.

Holmes Consulting are recognised for delivering outstanding consulting services underpinned by technical excellence and a collaborative style.

Downtown Tāmaki Makaurau 

Consultant: Tonkin + Taylor and Aurecon
Client: Auckland Transport

Both transformative and visionary, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council’s ambition was to redevelop Downtown Auckland into a welcoming destination within the urban city landscape to encourage active modes of transport, create areas to reconnect with the Waitemata Harbour and its history, and provide resilience for the next 100 years. Above all, this destination would be recognisably Tāmaki Makaurau. 

In 2017, it was announced that Auckland would play host to the 36th America’s Cup in 2021, followed closely by APEC. Auckland Council and Auckland Transport made the bold and ambitious decision to accelerate their 10-year visionary transformation of the water’s edge` and deliver the programme in less than three. 

To deliver the Downtown Programme of works within the compressed timeframe ,driven by the 2021 36th America’s Cup and APEC, required a group of high-performing consultants who could align and understand the project’s vision and build trust quickly to enable higher levels of risk critical to delivery to be accepted and actively managed. This team would also possess the depth of technical expertise and collective dedication required to deliver the extraordinary - below ground, at ground and on water. Lead consultants Tonkin + Taylor and Aurecon were entrusted to deliver over $300 million of public infrastructure investment.  

The programme had multiple project interfaces, complex engineering challenges, an ambitious timeframe and emerging scope definition. T+T and Aurecon recognised that AT needed a novel, flexible and agile approach to delivery and proposed a novel Alliance-type project structure and decision-making framework that could work within AT’s traditional commercial requirements.  

The consulting excellence exhibited across the programme, and how that excellence unlocked new ways to deliver infrastructure projects of a similar nature, has elevated the role and mana of consultants within the industry. 

T&T and Aurecon are recognised for their consulting excellence, willingness to bring innovative and novel approaches to the table for the delivery of the project and their unwavering commitment to the project and its outcomes.

Duncans Building facade retention and building refurbishment 

Consultant: Ruamoko Solutions
Client: Duncans Lane Limited 

The Duncans Building is a prominent heritage-listed building on High Street in Christchurch. Constructed in 1905 the building is actually a number of smaller units joined together, and characterised by a decorative brick and Oamaru stone façade. The building was severely damaged in the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes, and this damage combined with the lack of a viable commercial case to repair the building was the reason for the closure of High Street for nine years following the earthquakes.  

Duncans Lane Ltd purchased the majority of the building units in 2016 and set out to save the historic façade and restore the street to the vibrant hub that it once was. Ruamoko Solutions were engaged both to design the securing of the historic façade so that the building behind could be safely demolished, and with designing a modern replacement structure to receive and earthquake strengthen the façade to 100%NBS. 

Duncans Lane led the project with a sustainability focus, looking to recycle the façade, imperial bricks from demolition, and propping frames used to secure the façade. Ruamoko Solutions played a key role in the recycling of the propping frames, but also in designing temporary works to be recycled into the new replacement structure. The design of the new structure presented its own challenges which were dictated by unusually poor ground conditions and brick party walls shared with adjacent units that remained earthquake-damaged.  

Ruamoko Solutions outstanding consulting was key to achieving the successful, buildable, technically robust, and commercially viable outcome for the client and for the city. Once on the infamous “Christchurch Dirty 30” list, this iconic building is once again the flagship of a vibrant boutique precinct within the city centre. 

KiwiRail innovation project - rail corridor scanning

Consultant: WSP
Client: KiwiRail

KiwiRail approached WSP to develop a system to help detect obstructions on or near railway tracks. WSP was challenged to develop a proof-of-concept prototype to be attached to a Hi-Rail inspection vehicle for field trial. The system needed to be accurate, low-cost, and easy to maintain and use. 

Obstructions have the potential to damage trains and interrupt the safe and efficient operation of services. KiwiRail’s current system relies on an inspector to visually detect them. However, items can be obscured by the lines, or missed because of weather conditions or other factors. The intent of the project was not to replace the inspector, but to provide an additional tool to reduce margins of error. This required not just an engineering response, but a human factors assessment. 

WSP Research has a team of multi-disciplinary engineers from mechatronics, mechanical, IT and data backgrounds. Their focus is to resolve technical problems using various forms of instrumentation, computer hardware and software, as well as GIS tools, to produce low-cost, highly effective, real-time measurement and recording techniques and systems for clients. This technical skill is supported by human factors experts, who largely come from a psychology background. They work with the team and client to ensure that the end users are able to use the instrumentation in the most effective and convenient ways.  

WSP developed a prototype which continuously scans the ‘corridor’ (the physical space in which trains travel) using rotating LiDAR. It then assesses measurements against an established corridor profile detecting potentially dangerous items that were missed by an inspector. Crucially, the system is so easy to use and understand that the Hi-Rail inspector can, within minutes, come to grips with the instrumentation - without high levels of training being required. 

WSP is recognised for their consulting excellence in delivering a simple, robust system using complex technology in a manner able to be easily understood and implemented. 

Leading Aotearoa's carbon reduction journey

Consultant: Mott MacDonald
Client: Watercare 

 

Climate change is a challenge facing us all, as we grapple with understanding what it means and how we can address it. In 2019, Parliament passed the Carbon Zero Bill and Auckland Council and others declared climate emergencies, placing sustainability and carbon reduction at the forefront of decision making. 

Watercare, a council-controlled organisation of Auckland Council, commenced a pioneering journey to reduce capital carbon in their infrastructure delivery programme by 40% over five years. They sought assistance with baselining the programme and developing methods to ensure their supply chain delivers these goals. 

In a New Zealand first, Mott MacDonald provided a combination of world leading carbon knowledge, their digital platform which already supports numerous initiatives at Watercare and Auckland Council and international and local expertise to assist Watercare in their journey. The outcome is a comprehensive carbon baseline tool, that forms the beginning of Watercare’s capital carbon management journey. This enables carbon reduction behaviours in the supply chain to be proactively managed, resulting in better social and environmental outcomes for communities. 

Mott MacDonald transferred carbon management know-how from their well-established UK knowledge base, adapting and applying it to the fledgling carbon market in Aotearoa, accelerating expertise and understanding in their local team, Watercare, and the wider local sustainability sector. 

Mott MacDonald are recognised for the excellence of their advisory services and their contribution to transforming Aotearoa into an informed low carbon environment, their contribution to knowledge sharing and the delivery of global expertise, shared locally, available to all. 

North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) self-cleaning rockfall canopy

Consultant: NCTIR Professional Services sub-alliance composed of Aurecon, Tonkin + Taylor and WSP 

Client: Waka Kotahi, KiwiRail and the NCTIR Alliance

As part of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) alliance, the  professional services sub-alliance were involved in the design and construction support to remediate a rockfall-prone corner of State Highway 1 for Waka Kotahi.   

To protect users of the South Island’s main transport route, the integrated team identified an innovative solution which led to the design and construction of the Southern Hemisphere’s first Rockfall Canopy – the world’s longest – and one that demanded consulting excellence.  

The Kaikōura self-cleaning rockfall canopy uses conventional rockfall fence componentry to form a radical new system shaped as a tensioned, sloping mesh roof over the roadway. Falling rocks bounce and slide over the mesh canopy, dropping from the outer edge into a designated safe zone in the sea.  

The reason there are so few rockfall canopies is that they require a specific set of site conditions, namely a narrow road at the base of a tall cliff with a safe and undeveloped area downslope of the structure to deflect falling rocks towards. They are exceptionally challenging to design and construct for linear sites with planar rockfaces and Waka Kotahi’s site had added complexity from the curve of the coast and the three-dimensional geometry of the rockface. 

The canopy structure is the longest in the world and the only one constructed over an active main highway. It provided Waka Kotahi with a rockfall solution that could be constructed with a single lane road closure. The canopy has a low visual impact on the landscape and is self-cleaning, significantly reducing the operational maintenance required compared to traditional rockfall protection structures. It also delivers a solution with a lower construction and environmental footprint than other options, and a shorter construction phase with less disruption for local communities and the freight industry. 

This project is an exemplar of outstanding consulting services delivering an innovative and technical challenging solution for the community.  

Airport to Botany Rapid Transit and 20Connect Single Stage Business Case (SSBC)

Consultant: Aurecon
Client: Auckland Transport and Waka Kotahi

Southwest Gateway Programme study area includes Auckland Airport as well as the Manukau and Botany cities. Connected and efficient transport within this area is therefore critical to the economy of both Auckland and wider New Zealand. 

The aim of the programme is to provide better public transport, walking/cycling facilities and safer, more efficient freight movements. The programme area traverses three Road Controlling Authorities being Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency (Waka Kotahi), Auckland Transport (AT) and Auckland International Airport Limited (Auckland Airport) 

The programme area covers the Puhinui Precinct, which is of high cultural value to Mana Whenua, in particular Te Ākitai Waiohua. The nature of the programme and client procurement needs resulted in Aurecon being engaged separately by both AT and Waka Kotahi to deliver two business cases for each client. 

A short-term business case was needed immediately to allow construction of quick win projects initially aimed at completion in 2021, just ahead of the APEC convention in Auckland, while the longer-term strategy for a rapid transit network was developed and agreed by all stakeholders. As the business cases were interrelated, Aurecon was able to lead the consultant team to successfully integrate these and create a single business case for the longer-term strategy. 

The success of delivering the early improvement business cases in a compressed timeframe led to Aurecon  being engaged to deliver detailed design and supervise construction for the early improvement elements of the programme.  

Aurecon is recognised for consulting excellence in delivering an integrated business case for multiple stakeholders with a diverse range of needs.

Stocking Stream Toliets

Consultant: Stantec
Client: Department of Conservation

Our National Parks are one of our tourism jewels. There has been a steady increase in visitor numbers to New Zealand National Parks over the past 20 years, Covid-19 notwithstanding. The Hooker Valley track has experienced one of the greatest increases in user numbers and as this is a ‘Day Visitor’ facility the existing toilet on the track became overwhelmed and insufficient. 

A particular issue for back country facilities, and especially alpine or semi alpine regions, is addressing human waste. For high alpine huts traditional ‘long drop’ toilets are ineffective due to the low temperatures and are either difficult or impossible to construct due to the rocky terrain. Similarly in delicate sub alpine regions, addressing human waste has become a significant issue, both technically and for cultural reasons. High alpine huts such as Plateau Hut on Aoraki Mt Cook is in an area of particular significance to Ngāi Tahu and the issue of addressing human waste is of particular significance. 

The Stocking Stream Toilets is a two-cubicle toilet facility constructed on the Hooker Valley walking track in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. There is no road access to the site and all construction materials had to be flown to site by helicopter. Because of the sensitive alpine nature of the site the waste is collected in drums and flown out by helicopter for disposal at the Aoraki Mt Cook oxidation ponds. The toilet cubicles are constructed from thin precast concrete panels with exposed aggregate finish which are formed to match the surrounding boulders at the site. The panels were specifically sized to allow helicopter transport to site. 

Stantec are recognised for their consulting excellence in delivering an innovative and novel design that visually blends in with the surrounding alpine environment and protects the sensitive alpine landscape. 

Tekapo A intake gate 

Consultant: AECOM
Client: Genesis Energy

Tekapo A is one of two power stations that form the Tekapo power scheme, owned and operated by Genesis Energy. After several dam safety reviews, civil due diligence and seismic assessments, it was determined an uncontrolled discharge from Lake Tekapo could occur in the event of the failure of critical downstream infrastructure as the result of a large earthquake. Genesis Energy commissioned AECOM to undertake the detailed design of a new intake gate at Tekapo A, on the foreshore of Lake Tekapo, that meets the high Potential Impact Category (PIC) structure requirements.

Close alignment of design and constructability was required to integrate high seismic demands with modern gate technology retrofitted to 1940s era tunnel engineering. This included excavating a 22-metre-deep shaft, creating a 13-metre diameter excavation in glacial outwash materials through the existing tunnel for the new gate housing.

Completed in 2021, the new Tekapo A Intake Gate protects one of the South Island’s key hydro power stations from alpine fault earthquake risks. The 50-tonne intake gate is designed to stop outflows from Lake Tekapo in the event of a serious emergency, such as a 1 in 10,000-year earthquake (Richter Magnitude 7+) that would potentially send up to 680 million tonnes of water surging from Lake Tekapo

AECOM provided multi-discipline engineering services throughout this project from concept design to commissioning, in partnership with the constructor, Downer Construction. The nature and timing of the project presented numerous challenges in terms of Tekapo’s remoteness from industry supply chains, working around our operational constraints, and the impacts of the public health response to Covid-19 on project delivery through 2020.

AECOM are recognised for consulting excellence in delivering increased resilience for this critical infrastructure asset. Genesis commented “We championed a safety-first approach for this project and are delighted with the commitment to this non-negotiable factor from all of our project partners. We commend AECOM for their professionalism, commitment and tenacity throughout, to help deliver a great result for Genesis.”

Toki Poutangata Bridge, Westport 

Consultant: DC Structures Studio
Client: Buller District Council

Westport’s Waterfront The Riverbank Project is revitalisating the industrial area between the Buller River and the town centre. 

The jewel in The Riverbank Project is the Toki Poutangata Bridge. As well as connecting the town centre to the river, it will also provide linkage to the Kawatiri Coastal Trail enabling the community and visitors  to enjoy active transport and recreation opportunities in Westport.  

The initial brief from the Buller District Council called for a traditional truss footbridge inspired by Westports coal mining railway heritage. After hearing more about the planned Pounamu Pathway, DC Structures asked a simple question that forever changed the direction of this project: “Do you think a bridge inspired by pounamu would be better?” Once the penny had dropped it seemed obvious: a pounamu inspired bridge connecting the pounamu trail to the proposed Westport Pounamu Museum could become a key element in the pounamu network and fit seamlessly into the planned overall strategy for the region. 

By taking the time to digest and listen to the needs of their client, DC Structures enabled the Council to see beyond the conventional solution and re-imagine their project into something original and exciting. 

DC Structures are recognised for consulting excellence which has delivered an inspirational outcome enabling the community and visitors  to enjoy active transport and recreation opportunities in Westport. 

Trentham to Upper Hutt double tracking 

Consultant: Aurecon
Client: KiwiRail

Let’s Get Wellington Moving. For the client, KiwiRail, the Trentham to Upper Hutt (T2UH) is a regionally significant project for the Wellington region. It involved the design and construction of 2.7 km of new track on the Hutt Valley line between Trentham and Upper Hutt stations to improve the frequency and reliability of services. 

KiwiRail challenged Aurecon to deliver the first BIM-enabled project on its network. In responding to this challenge, Aurecon has helped KiwiRail realise its digital connectivity goals by developing a common data environment where design outputs are derived from the digital models throughout the design, consenting and construction phases, and are accessible to users across the project.  

This accessibility to the digital model significantly reduced paper drawings, with associated time and cost savings and allowed the development of game-changing safety and productivity benefits with uptake by others.  

This project kickstarted KiwiRail’s digital engineering transformation by providing an exemplar of how best practice standards could be brought together with a model-first mindset to create significant and replicable benefits in terms of asset information quality. While the platform was developed as part of the T2UH project, it was designed to be scalable to allow KiwiRail to implement this way of working across their business. KiwiRail is now using the platform to deliver its $5B capital works portfolio. 

Aurecon are recognised for consulting excellence in digital engineering leading KiwiRail on its journey to  realise its digital connectivity goals by developing a common data environment where design outputs are derived from the digital models throughout the design, consenting and construction phases, and are accessible to users across the project. 

Visualising a new approach for transport 

Consultant: Abley
Client: Doppelmayr New Zealand 

Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s premier tourist destinations, is an ideal setting for the development of a large-scale public transport intervention. Due to its alpine topography and limited road networks, off-road transport solutions have been considered to meet increasing resident and visitor transport expectations. 

This includes the proposal for a new gondola development that would take people from Frankton up to the summit of the Remarkables mountain range and down to the ski base. Doppelmayr were ambitious in their plan for a gondola that extended and traversed across varying terrain, which would enhance the tourism offering of Queenstown and the prospects of the resort town. They wanted visualisation tools which could showcase their proposal with a real-world view, rather than the 2D static views they had previously used to showcase their pitch.  

Abley responded to the consulting challenge, prioritising the clients' need to communicate their vision (and the dynamics and impacts of the development) - and by putting the client in the ‘director’s chair’ of the final model – delivering a highly sophisticated result on time, without stress, and to budget.  

Abley’s technical team used raw data from the client, along with BIM data, drone capture, LIDAR, and GIS databases to build a sophisticated georeferenced digital twin of the surrounding environment and gondola structures informing the design and impacts of this engineering feat. The resulting model was cinematically produced, including realistic rendering that effectively communicated the vision of the client to support their stakeholder engagement. 

This project shows that any company, anywhere, can deliver world leading outputs at a fraction of the cost, time, and effort of more traditional approaches by using data, technical innovation, and by working closely with an ambitious client with a clear vision. It’s a testament to Abley’s consulting excellence that Doppelmayr have now adopted this technology for all their project pitches. They noted that the solution provided by Abley was “perfect amalgamation of technology and capability.”