Partnership signals building industry cultural shift

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Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy.

The announcement of a three-year partnership with AUT’s School of Future Environments signals the cultural shift needed in the industry as it adapts for a changing world, Fletcher Construction chief executive Peter Reidy says.

The 112-year-old New Zealand construction company has partnered with the multidisciplinary school to ensure collaboration between architecture, engineering, construction management and creative technologies is at the heart of how New Zealand builds for the future, he says.

“Fletcher has established the inaugural Chair of Future Environments to tackle head on the challenges facing New Zealand which will require a new way of working to achieve a more sustainable future.

“AUT is the first university to bring all of these disciplines together for an aligned view of why and how we operate. That’s a vision we wanted to be part of,” Reidy says.

New Fletcher Chair Professor Charles Walker says the challenges facing the industry require greater collaboration and a common language between construction professionals.

“When we established the School we purposefully brought together disciplines that have historically not worked together. The reality is that to achieve a more sustainable future, we need to change the way we think about the design and construction of our future environments,” Walker says.

Students, academics and Fletcher practitioners will share learning experiences around design, sustainability, resource management and future trends. For Fletcher, AUT will provide a key talent pipeline and the ability to provide an industry viewpoint on the school’s curriculum.

“As an industry we have been slow to adapt to change and disruption. We have been risk averse,” Reidy says.

“But as construction employs 10% of all New Zealand workers and contributes 6% of GDP, that has to change. The world is changing and we need to too.”

Fletcher Construction’s purpose — We Make Places Better for Generations to Come — marries perfectly with the School’s vision Huri Te Ao, or change the world, Reidy says.

“To do that we need to change the way we work and learn. Over the years Fletcher has built a lot of AUT’s campus. Now, together, we are helping build the workforce of the future.”

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