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The 4 Key Construction Project Stages in New Zealand

LeadManager is purpose built for the construction, mining and architectural sales environment. Our platform offers comprehensive details across the key milestones in establishing a project, broken down into four stages: Concept, Design & Documentation, Pre-Construction and Construction.

We examine the key details of the project stages below—specifically for projects in New Zealand—complete with a brief overview of what each stage includes.

  • Design Tender/Competition
  • Design Contract Awarded/Competition Winner
  • Early Planning
  • Rezoning
  • Mining, Oil & Gas Exploration
  • Mining, Oil & Gas Scoping Study
  • Deferred
  • Abandoned

Before any project can commence, a basic outline or concept must be established. During this early planning stage, a feasibility study may be conducted. This is where the developer looks at the financial viability and demand in the area for their project.

For smaller projects, feasibility might be quite informal. For larger projects, and those involving government departments, a formal feasibility study may be required.

Formal feasibility studies examine the potential of the proposed development. Studies may include environmental assessments and assess any effects on existing heritage values for the community—there is usually a community consultation period.

The site for a development may be chosen before early planning takes place. Once chosen, there may be activity or rezoning issues that need to be considered. The new development must meet the zoned and activity use of the land set out in the District or Regional Plan in order for the development to be built. If it does not, and the proposal requires the District Plan or Regional Plan to be altered, then a private plan application will be required.

Councils decide whether a request for a private plan change is necessary. They will accept or reject the application, or convert the private plan change request into a resource consent application.

Concept: Summary
  • Proposing the project
  • Evaluating the business model
  • Deciding whether to proceed
  • Appointing a designer

Design & Documentation
  • Plans In Progress
  • Resource Consent Application
  • Resource Consent Approval
  • Documentation In Progress
  • Building Consent Application
  • Building Consent Approval
  • Appeal Lodged
  • Mining/Oil & Gas Pre-Feasibility Study
  • Mining/Oil & Gas Definitive Feasibility Study
  • Site For Sale
  • Deferred
  • Abandoned

Once an architect or designer has been appointed, sketch plans can commence. Sketch plans are early drawings that help define the scope of the project as well as pave the way for submitting the resource consent application.

A resource consent application, submitted to the Council, seeks approval to use or develop resources, and/or to carry out an activity that affects the environment. Some activities may not require a resource consent; this is determined by Regional and District Plans.

There are five types of resource consent:

  • Water permits
  • Discharge permits
  • Coastal permits
  • Land use consent
  • Subdivision consent

Documentation In Progress refers to the detailed designs that are usually undertaken after the resource consent has been approved. These designs form the blueprints for the project and are commonly completed by an architect, engineer or the builder. These documents will be used for the tender process and to submit a building consent application.

A building consent application, submitted to the Council, seeks approval to carry out specific building works. These works must comply with current building code regulations. It is the last approval that needs to be obtained before construction can commence.

Building consent applications can, and often are, submitted in stages, for instance, for civil works, structural works, and architectural works or fitouts. Work that is considered minor or low risk may not need building consent under the Building Act.

Design & Documentation: Summary
  • Defining how projects fit into the local area
  • Defining exterior characteristics and specifying exterior products
  • Submitting plans for approval, appealing decisions, gaining approval
  • In-depth planning and drafting of architectural drawings or schemes
  • Specification of products to be used internally
  • Engaging consultants and engineers
  • Preparation of tender documentation

  • Expressions Of Interest
  • Tender Called
  • Tender Called (Tenderers Listed)
  • Tender Closed
  • Tender Closed (Tenderers Listed)
  • Contract Awarded/Builder Appointed
  • Deferred
  • Abandoned

Builders can be appointed at any stage of a project; they can also be appointed in a number of different ways.

Many projects, particularly government-funded developments, require builders to be selected via the tender process. This can happen at almost any stage of the development process, but it most commonly occurs after development approval has been granted and when more detailed documentation has begun. Potential builders, or contractors, are notified or invited to tender for the contract to build.

Once the tender is invited, a set time is allocated for the decision process to take place. This is commonly two to four weeks, but it can take several months on some projects.

Some common contract types include:

  • Open tender: The tender is openly advertised to all building or contracting firms to lodge a bid.
  • Select tender: A select few building or contracting firms are invited to submit a tender bid. An expression of interest (EOI) or registration of interest (ROI) may be extended beforehand.
  • Prequalified tender: More specific government tenders often require the builder to be prequalified to a certain capability level before they can be considered for tendering. In most cases, the building or contracting firms need to be registered with the government. Prequalified tenders may be specified as open or select.
  • Negotiated contracts: The development team may already have one or two builders in mind for a project based on the builder’s reputation or an existing relationship from previous projects. The developer will negotiate cost, timeframe, special conditions, and, once agreed, will sign contracts to appoint the builder of choice.

Other contract types include design-and-construct and develop-and-build, which is an informal contract type used by BCI for projects where the company developing the project is also building. For large projects, popular contract methods include early contractor involvement (ECI); engineering, procurement and construction (EPC); engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM); public-private partnership (PPP); construction management; and project management.

Pre-Construction: Summary
  • Advertising for contractors to submit a bid/proposal
  • Contractors source pricing for specified products, labour, or services
  • Shortlisting preferred contractors
  • Evaluating contractors based on price, quality, experience, timeframe, and choice of subcontractors
  • Awarding main contract

  • Main Contractor On Site
  • Site Works Commenced
  • Construction Commenced
  • Deferred
  • Abandoned

Main Contractor On Site refers to when the main contractor, rather than a subcontractor, is undertaking the forward/civil/site works. A project is reported as Main Contractor On Site if the forward works will take longer than four weeks; if the works will take less than four weeks, then the project will be reported as Construction Commenced.

When a subcontractor carries out the early works, the project is reported as Site Works Commenced. These forward works often involve demolition, clearing and grubbing, and site remediation. A project is then reported as Construction Commenced once the concrete slab is being laid or the foundation is being established.

Construction: Summary
  • Selecting trades/subcontractors
  • Establishing site presence/commencing early and enabling works
  • Commencing building works
  • Managing construction budgets and timeframes
  • Handover to client

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