Dunedin plumbers win hospital contract

A Dunedin-based business which started nearly 90 years ago has come up big in the construction of the new Dunedin hospital — and it will not be the last.

Foleys has been awarded the contract for the plumbing and drainage aspects of the new outpatient building of the hospital.

Foleys, which started in Dunedin in 1934, and is now right around New Zealand, hopes to start work on the civil drainage aspects this year with piping to follow in collaboration with other contractors.

The company expects to have 25 of its employees working full-time on-site at the peak of construction.

The hospital project would be one of the largest for the Dunedin-founded company.

"Getting this contract is a major accomplishment in Foleys’ history" Foley director Chris Sutherland said.

Southbase chief executive Quin Henderson said the majority of contracts had already been awarded.

Sixty-five percent of trades had been approved and formally awarded to the supply chain with the remaining 35% being generally architectural trades. Southbase is the main contractor for the outpatient building.

The process of procurement would continue over the next six months with more Dunedin businesses expected to get businesses.

Mr Henderson said that the rules adhering to broader customs on using local labour were "quite stringent".

He said 62% of all trades by value were likely to be awarded to locally owned businesses, 27% to national subcontractors and 11% to Australian businesses, all of which will or currently do have local branches and workers living in or relocating to Dunedin.

"The tender process has included a focus and priority on supporting local workers and businesses in mind via our detailed non-cost assessment of all trade tenders, which includes the confirmation of a local works force, the capacity and relevant experience to deliver a successful hospital project in Dunedin," he said.

"Southbase is committed to train, develop and use local labour wherever we can."

Mr Henderson said previously giving opportunities to young people was important to him.

He had gone to polytechnic, studied at night and worked hard, but it was the people in similar roles to the one he had now who had given him the opportunities he needed to reach his full potential.

Now he was relishing the chance to pay it forward.

The long timeframe of the hospital rebuild meant people would be able to start without knowing anything and launch their careers from Dunedin, Mr Henderson said.