Armstrong Downes Commercial: Developer of Britomart Street

New to working with Housing New Zealand, Armstrong Downes Commercial is leading the Britomart Street redevelopment.

We talked to Tony Doile, Armstrong Downes Commercial’s Director.

Q. Who are Armstrong Downes Commercial?

A. We’re a private, owner-led, tier two construction company that strives for excellence in construction and health and safety. We are based in Lower Hutt and cover the greater Wellington region. Our projects range from $1 million-$30 million plus. We cover the full construction sector including education, human & animal health, retirement complexes, retail buildings and earthquake strengthening work.

Q. What’s your history with Housing New Zealand (HNZ)?

A. This is our first project with HNZ. We’re really looking forward to delivering a successful project and strengthening our relationship with HNZ. We’re looking with interest at other projects coming up in the Wellington region but especially those in Petone and Epuni.

Q. Tell us about some of your business innovations.

A. Our industry has a high propensity for waste, including demolition and material waste (both on and off site) and also time wastage. For us it’s planning, planning, and more planning.

We have adopted an online management software system which means we eliminate the need for unnecessary paper and work more efficiently. This ensures the project information is easily accessible for all involved in the project including the client, consultants and all subcontractors. All on-site personnel carry tablets and we have large screens available for viewing drawings which removes the need for a paper set.

We have site cameras on three of our current sites. A photo is taken every 15 minutes and is posted on our website. This gives clients who can’t get to site regularly the opportunity to see what’s going on. At the end of the project we are able to supply clients with a time lapse of their construction project.

View Armstrong Downes Projects(external link)

Q. What are some of the challenges of the Britomart development?

A. We’re building 34 apartments and we know they’re going to be here for 50 years, so they’ve got to fit in well within the neighbourhood.

It’s a very tight site. Site access and consent requirements are tight. Every site is different, so we do our best to mitigate conditions on the ground through excellent planning.

There’s a school and day care centre nearby. We made sure we met with the neighbours and have done a letter drop around the neighbourhood as well. We’ve done our best to mitigate noise and we have limited traffic movements between 8:30-9:30am and 2:30-3:30pm due to the school.

Q. What’s it been like working with Housing New Zealand?

A. We are just getting started but the initial signs are all looking good. We have a great relationship with Chris Bicknell (Programme Manager) and Renee Martin (Stakeholder Relationship Manager).

Every client has their own unique set of requirements and we are confident that we will meet HNZ requirements and have fun along the way. We are looking forward to this being the first of many successful projects that Armstrong Downes Commercial and HNZ complete together.

Armstrong Downes Commercial Team

Left: The Armstrong Downes Commercial team at Britomart (from l-r): Tony Doile - Director, Andrew Lusty - Project Manager, and Ron Agnew - Site Foreman. Right: Architect's render

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