Innovation category entrant wins NZIOB Supreme Award for first time ever

Supreme Winner Farzam Farzadi from Beca (holding certificate) surrounded by Beca colleagues and friends, along with Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams (far left), Winstone Wallboards general manager David Thomas (third from right), and NZIOB national board chair John Hemi (far right).

Innovation category win reflects a global surge in technology adoption across construction, driven by the considerable investment into companies developing construction technologies.

The New Zealand Institute of Building (NZIOB) announced the winners of the 2021 New Zealand Building Industry Awards a gala evening at the Cordis Hotel in Auckland recently.

“These awards showcase and celebrate the commitment to excellence of those working in construction, thereby contributing to the NZIOB’s goal of raising standards across the building industry,” NZIOB chief executive Malcolm Fleming says.

“A key feature of this year’s entries was the degree to which entrants had embraced new technologies and the impact such technology has had on construction programmes.

“For the first time in the awards’ history, an entry in the Innovation category won the Supreme Award. That reflects a global surge in technology adoption across construction, driven by the considerable investment into companies developing construction technologies.

“Industry outsiders have formed a view that we are the last large industry to undergo digital disruption in a meaningful way.

“The 2021 Supreme Award winner is an example of the project upside that such innovation yields,” Fleming says.

The GIB Supreme Award was won by Farzam Farzadi from Beca for Digital Delivery Processes on the Waikato River to Redoubt water supply programme.

This project encompassed the design and construction of infrastructure to deliver an additional 50 million litres of treated water per day from the Waikato River to Auckland.

Farzadi used innovative technology to compress a three-year design and build to one year, delivering the water supply infrastructure project within the critical and non-negotiable one-year time frame.

This innovation helped the client, designers and the construction team coordinate continuously, providing rapid and efficient feedback on the practicality and constructability of the design information each day.

The judges commented that that was an exceptional result, and that they had not seen competency like this for a long time.

This year the judges awarded the BCITO Young Achievers Award to Michael Xu from Aurecon NZ.

Xu’s construction industry career began with a summer internship at Aurecon. Upon completing his Bachelor of Engineering at Auckland University, he joined Aurecon as an electrical engineer.

After working on various projects and achieving his Chartered Professional Engineer (CPEng) accreditation, he progressed to project leadership roles.

The judges commented that Xu is highly motivated and committed. Five years into his career, he leads a team of multidisciplinary building services engineers on some of New Zealand’s most technically challenging healthcare projects.

Fleming says the standard and number of entries in this year’s awards was again particularly impressive, and the projects they have delivered have made a significant contribution to the quality of the built environment.

“Furthermore, many of those who received recognition are still in the early stages of their careers. This fact demonstrates the rapid career advancement that is possible in the construction industry,” Fleming says.

“The winner of the GIB Projects $45m to $75m category, Matt Primm, graduated from university in 2013, and has just completed running a $55m project.

“And Michael Xu, the BCITO Young Achiever, is leading a team of multidisciplinary services engineers for Aurecon NZ a mere five years after graduating with an engineering degree.”

For a full list of award winners visit

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