Steel manufacturing has strong foundation in Seaview

Inside the factory at Petone Engineering showing the heavy machinery. banner image

Published: 22 May 2023

Will and Kieran from Petone Engineering showing the team the factory.

The structure of the Naenae Pool and Fitness Centre is rapidly coming together on Everest Ave.

With towering 16-metre concrete panels and manufactured timber beams now in place, the structure is ready for the addition of the roof.

Our goal is to use at least 80% of trades and materials from local businesses, and Petone Engineering in Seaview are making the steel components. They will cut and assemble 215 tonnes of steel for the build, which their team will also install on-site.

With more than 60 employees, Petone Engineering is a leader in structural steel and earthquake strengthening. Production Manager Kieran Houssenloge showed the project team around their 3000-square-metre factory in Seaview.

The steel is preassembled and manufactured onsite then delivered to site and bolted together to form the structure. Kieran says when a fabrication is particularly complex, they’ll do a pre-assembly on site to make sure everything connects.

“We trialled connecting some of the steel knee connections, which weigh about a tonne each, to the glulam (glu-laminated timber) columns here at the factory because …we have more control with the crane without weather being an issue. And then we take them to site and they're all good to go.”

Kieran Houssenloge, a pakeha male wearing a high-vis vest, is standing next to stacked raw steel for the build in the yard.

Kieran with the raw steel for the build in the yard.

The steel is International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC)-accredited and imported from countries like Thailand and Australia by Seaview company HJ Asmuss & Co., and all steel is ILAC accredited with a quality control system at the point of manufacture.

“Without that accreditation we wouldn’t bring it into the country - it’s made to our high standards,” says Kieran.

The steel is cut to length, drilled and cut by machines working from computer-generated files. “Not many human hands have to touch the machines to work,” he says. From there, it’s picked up and taken by a crane or trolley to the workstation where all the component parts are put together.

A close up of steel with a QR code attached help trace and track it.

The cut steel with its QR code to help trace and track it.

Each assembled piece is stamped with a QR code, so the team leaders on the worksite assembling the structure can scan the code as they go, and the next stage in the process is recorded.

“Our workflow is recorded in real time, which ticks the boxes on a quality assurance and traceability point of view.”

Kieran says their approach is to put the effort in the developed design stages of the process so towards the end of the project everything should be seamless. “I favour taking just a little bit longer to get the design, so you don't have to do really expensive reworks towards the end.”

He says working on the new pool is something that brings a lot of pride for everybody at Petone Engineering.

“That pride transfers to the workshop environment. The guys have that pride, and they want to come to work because they see the buzz about the job we're doing.”