Local manufacturing alive and well in the Wellington region

A photo of the Project Team at the Techlam factory in Levin. banner image

Published: 13 March 2023

In early February, members of the project team travelled to Levin to visit the site of two factories where structural parts of the Naenae Pool and Fitness Centre are being made.

Members of the project team at Techlam. From left to right: Quantity Surveryor Bryn Anderson of BBD, Main Contractor’s Representative Mark Wilson of Apollo Projects, Engineer to Contract Sarah Bergquist and Engineer’s Rep Hamish Lobb of AECOM, and Project Manager for Hutt City Council Andrew Quinn.

Techlam is New Zealand’s largest glulam manufacturer, and on the day the team visited materials for Naenae pool took up about 25% of their large factory.

Glulam (glued laminated timber) is a structural engineered wood product made of layers of timber bonded together with structural adhesives. It’s used for a range of purposes and is perfect for long span projects such as a public pool. Among its many benefits are its flexibility, strength, durability, and visual appeal.

Glulam is made with a fraction of energy it takes to manufacture steel, and Techlam use locally available and environmentally sustainable timber.

Their experts are making glulam timber portal frames to create the structural beams for the pool centre. Spanning in the north-south direction, the portal frames will support the building’s lightweight roof cladding.

A technical drawing of the superstructure layout of Naenae Pool and Fitness Centre

Kiwi owned and operated, Techlam employs 57 full time staff and on the day the Naenae pool team visited several were working on beams to be installed as part of the roof structure.

Managing Director Brett Hamilton gave a tour which showcased the epic scale of the construction. 34 metre completed beams that make up the width of the centre lay in wait to be transported to the site of the build.

Brett said, “The team really enjoys working on a large-scale projects like this, and being able to create such bespoke products for a public building that thousands of people will enjoy.”

Next stop for the team was a visit to the Lattey Group factory, where pre-cast concrete panels that will make up the walls of the centre are being made in a purpose-built 4,500 square metre plant.

Pre-cast concrete panels save time as they are made offsite and then sent to site ready to be installed. They’re used for their strength and durability as they’re reinforced with steel, and the curing process ensures they’re built for maximum strength as opposed to cast-in place concrete. They also have lower maintenance costs than insulated metal panel systems.

A photo of a wooden box containing a concrete panel curing.

The Lattey factory opened in Levin in 2019 and contains 12 large tables where concrete is poured into wooden moulds with steel rebar (rods) and then cured to make the panels, which can be made up to 14 metres tall.

Precast Foreman Pererika Nepia showed the team concrete being poured to make panels that would cure in about 48 hours and then be sent to the work site in Naenae, where they’re currently being installed along the Eastern side of the site along the fence of the bowling club.

Employing 40 local people, Pererika said the team at Lattey were very hard working and meticulous with their work.

“It’s exciting to see the building starting to take shape, and to see our panels being loaded onto trucks bound for Naenae,” said Project Manager from AECOM, Sarah Bergquist.

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One of the precast panels at Lattey Group being lifted by the overhead gantry onto to a truck to be transported to Naenae.

First published 28 February and image updated 13 March.

Contact information

Name: Kat Saunders

Phone: 0274290874

Email: kat.saunders@huttcity.govt.nz