Case Study 1

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Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC) – Tranche 2 Conditions Surveys

Customer name:  Housing New Zealand Corporation (HNZC)

Dates & Location

11 May to 10 July throughout Auckland.

A Description of the Engagement

In April 2015, Alexander & Co. was awarded a competitively sourced contract with HNZC for the provision of condition surveys. The surveys were a key input into HNZC’s ‘Complexes Remediation Programme’ for the next four years. The information required by the HNZC included:

  • The degree of damage, spread of damage and the criticality of the defect (consequence of failure).
  • To provide adequate cost information for construction budgets.

Alexander & Co. were contracted to provide condition surveys of 21 sites comprising 69 buildings and 555 units. The following deliverables were required for each survey undertaken:

  • Risk profiling sheet
  • Visual condition survey and prepare a repair scope of works
  • 10-year maintenance schedule
  • Photographic record of damage/defects

All surveys and resulting reporting information was required to be delivered in 8 weeks following contract award.

A Description of the Outcome

Alexander & Co. successfully completed all surveys and delivered the required reporting on time, in budget and to the required quality.


Any Issues Encountered and How These Were Resolved

The two main issues encountered were complying with the project schedule and health and safety.

 (a)       Reducing Schedule Risk

To deliver the required surveys within the timeframe available, we established a stand-alone, dedicated team of surveyors.  A pilot survey was undertaken by the entire team to ‘test’ the end-to-end process. This included the development of the required reporting template.  Once completed, this was used as the benchmark for all future surveys.  The additional focus and management support following project initiation enabled the tight deadline to be met and quality maintained.

To ensure client engagement and de-risk the project, we actively engaged the HNZC during the pilot survey.  This included onsite liaison and regular project reporting.  This approach ensured that our final submission would satisfy their needs and eradicate schedule risk.

 (b)       Health & Safety

The health and safety of our people is always paramount in our day-to-day business operations. This contract was our first with HNZC. It provided a new challenge to our workforce and required a new approach to be adopted.  The two main changes included implementing a ‘buddy’ system.  All surveys had to be completed by a team of two surveyors. To further enhance Health and Safety, each team was required to check in and out of site and maintain effective communications during the surveys.

In addition to the project deliverables, we provided HNZC with immediate reporting on concerns/issues discovered at each property.  This enabled HNZC staff to mitigate risk to the building occupiers through prompt HNZC’s management/response to concerns.

Lessons Learned

The following lessons were learnt:

  • On high volume, quick turn-around instructions, it is essential to establish a dedicated team of surveyors. This enables the team to be completely focussed on the task in hand.
  • We invested time up-front to run a pilot survey with all team personnel so that all staff:

(a)            Become fully engaged to ensure success.

(b)            Understood the deliverables early.

(c)            Had early opportunity to contribute to project success through a collaborative process.

  • Having in-house, fully integrated capability spanning both surveying and QS disciplines was critical to the success of this project.
  • Assigning full P&L accountability to one of our senior associates provided the focus required to satisfy our client’s needs.
  • We allowed for/trained additional team members to ensure a reserve of resources in the event of unforeseen staff unavailability during the project term.

Added Value Provided

The primary value added by Alexander & Co. is our corporate knowledge. The main focus of the client was to identify the maintenance requirements (both activities and cost) of their assets.  Drawing on our remediation and building enclosure experience, we were able to include wider building defects including ‘weather-tightness’ and structural issues in our assessments.