Client name: Hick Spartan Joint Venture (HSJV) and Bloxam Burnett Oliver Ltd (BBO)

Duration: 2009 – 2011

Location: Hamilton, New Zealand

Coffey developed geotechnical and testing solutions to deliver this project ahead of schedule and under budget, in challenging and variable ground conditions.

Situation

Te Uku Wind Farm can power about 28,000 homes and generate up to 64.4MW of electricity. Built by Meridian Energy, the 28 turbine farm at the Wharauroa Plateau covers 55km2 of steep, challenging terrain. Extensive construction works were required to build a 26km access road and turbine foundations.

Our geotechnical and testing teams provided specialist advice to the Hick Spartan Joint Venture (HSJV) to manage these challenges.

The site was characterised by variable and poor ground conditions, including soft alluvial sediment, sensitive volcanic ash and deeply weathered basalt lava flows. These factors posed significant challenges for earthworks, turbine foundation and road construction.

During construction, unfavourable weather conditions threatened to interrupt the earthworks schedule on this steep, unstable and tightly constrained site.

Above average rainfall increased the need for due diligence and a strong safety focus.

Solution

Our geotechnical and testing specialists’ in-depth local knowledge of the varying ground conditions gave construction teams the confidence to make sound and timely decisions.

Te Uku Wind FarmContentTo mitigate risks caused by rapidly changing weather conditions, our team conducted frequent site investigations. These investigations identified opportunities to optimise earthwork design and road realignments – reducing construction costs and minimising safety risk to our client and workers.

Streamlining communications was crucial in delivering this project ahead of schedule. Our in-house capabilities allowed HSJV to deal with one contact for all earthworks control, testing and geotechnical work. Additionally, a senior staff member was onsite at all times, enabling rapid design optimisation and decision making.

Result

Our responsiveness, ingenuity and collaboration allowed us to effectively manage the client’s geotechnical risk to deliver the wind farm within budget and ahead of schedule.

The wind farm is now sustainably supplying energy to the local community.

This project was awarded Environment Waikato’s 2011 inaugural Earthworks Site of the Year, and was acknowledged as a finalist for the Deloitte 2011 Environmental Excellence Award.

‘The ability of all project team members including client, consultant and contractors to work together ensured a successful project. A focus on the project outcomes enabled the project to be delivered under budget and ahead of program.
Tony Keyte, Director/Civil Engineering Manager, BBO, 2011

‘It must be noted that the Te Uku Windfarm was a highly successful project for both the contractor and principal and was completed ahead of program, under budget and achieved an all-round high quality result in construction standards and environmental performance.’
Rob Fenwick,Construction Manager, SPJV, 2011