What’s the workplace culture like in Auckland, and what kind of projects and employers are there in your industry? We’ll be sharing profiles of Auckland companies to give you an insight.

Read on to find out what it’s like to work at Southbase Construction.

Southbase Construction

Southbase Construction is an ambitious company with a clear vision: to have the best delivery track record in the industry, bar none. They are a national specialist design and build construction company that has delivered over $1.4 billion in projects in New Zealand, across the education, civic, residential, health and clinical research, student accommodation, industrial and commercial sectors.

They employ more than 150 industry professionals around the country, and are proud to be a leading Auckland employer. Southbase Construction’s current portfolio includes commercial, industrial, education, clinical services, fit-out and community projects. They are working on a number of iconic New Zealand projects across Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown.

Southbase has a reputation for industry-leading people, delivery, and leadership in construction technology, coupled with a dynamic and fun culture. The company is  determined to deliver for their communities, clients, whānau, and the next generation - as well as making Southbase a great place for their team to work.

Determined to deliver

Southbase Construction is recognised for its ‘determined to deliver’ attitude and leadership in construction technology. Founded in Christchurch eight years ago, the company recently won the Deloitte Fast 50 Master of Growth Award after an impressive 745 per cent growth in five years. And there’s clearly no slowing down.

Southbase Chief Executive Quin Henderson is quick to point out that the goal isn’t to become a construction giant. “We’ve got more growing to do, but we don’t want to be massive,” he says. “I never want to get so big that I don’t know everyone’s names, and the names of their partners.”

In the last three years, the New Zealand-owned company has delivered an array of projects in Auckland, from schools to commercial retail facilities and high-end residential apartments. It is their design and build capability, especially in the education, institutional and community housing market, which is highly sought after.  

“Working in the education space offers us a chance to give back to the youth of New Zealand – we find these projects really rewarding,” Quin says. “Once we’ve completed a school, we don’t just leave behind modern school buildings, we donate sporting equipment, books and pencils for the kids.”

A passion for construction

Southbase has created an environment of excellence for talented people who are passionate about construction. Southbase’s North Island Regional Manager, Paul Henderson, says: “You’re part of a team and everyone is doing their part to make the project a success. You have to have a passion for construction and building; the people that have it instinctively know what they have to do – you can’t teach it.”

Thanks to its size, Southbase has a flat management structure, which means the wider team has direct interaction with senior leaders every day. Paul believes this gives you the opportunity to impress and grow your career.

“There are no layers and layers of middle management here, you get a real voice and a real chance to share your ideas. However, that means management knows who you are – everyone is visible, and you must be accountable,” says Paul.

Investment in construction technology

Southbase Construction team on site

Technology and innovation are integral to the company’s growth strategy. Profits are invested back into research and development, allowing for technology such as digital layout, drone scanning, and interactive modelling, all contributing towards the company’s leading-edge technologic solutions.

The company’s latest education project is the Massey University Innovation Complex. The $120 million development includes a state-of-the-art research facility and highly specialised laboratory. Southbase is using some of the industry’s latest technology on the project, including giving the team instant access to the digital model information, introducing design coordination and clash avoidance, as well as using drone, total station and other technologies to improve the information management processes.

Going digital is a game changer and is transforming the construction business. The benefits of implementing digital construction and BIM process are huge. They not only increase project quality and productivity, but also reduce waste and administration overheads. These lead to Southbase winning more projects and growing the digital maturity of the entire company.

Work hard, play hard

Southbase offers career growth by backing ongoing education. Many of their people are completing graduate and postgraduate qualifications and the company has a comprehensive leadership programme.

There is a great sense of comradery at Southbase. This is strengthened by events such as golf days, fishing trips, team sporting events, social functions, pool competitions and barbecues on the rooftop garden bar of the central city offices.

Paul says: “We recognise that you spend a lot of time with the people you work with, you can’t just sit at your desk and work all day – there’s got to be some light-heartedness. We try to celebrate the small things and keep it fun.”

Marcus Beddis, Southbase’s North Island Commercial Manager, recently arrived in Auckland from the Middle East, after having worked in construction across the United Kingdom, Asia and Dubai.

“Auckland has totally met my expectations, there’s a better work/life balance, a much better climate, much better opportunities and lower taxes. It’s somewhere you can settle, and every weekend you’re at a new beach!”

Like the rest of the world, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is adjusting to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Our borders currently remain closed to anyone other than a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, those travelling from quarantine-free travel zones, or those granted a special exemption. Please visit our COVID-19 update for visitors and Aucklanders for the latest information.

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