When you are building something complex and technical that is likely to throw up some novel problems, you go to a specialist company like FPC.

Isaac Hayes Project Manager, Fonterra

Project Duration

2-4 months duration

The challenge

Fonterra decided to convert its Tīrau site from ethanol to the more sustainable production of lactose. Rather than a new build, Fonterra (in consultation with FPC) decided it was better to repurpose a section of a final product dry store building at Tīrau. To achieve this, Fonterra needed to retain the integrity of the outer skin of the existing dry store, but totally repurpose part of the interior. This included excavating and re-piling the silo bases.

The solution

Careful analysis, planning, and execution of the plan was at the heart of this project. The FPC team had to identify a way to drive in 300 piles, all of them 12-15 metres tall, without the vibration affecting the surrounding milk processing plant. The frequency of the pounding, and the type, and length of the piles all had to be carefully planned. Inside the building itself, all the usual construction equipment, including a crane, had to be able to operate.

“You need a very clear plan and documentation of how you would safely manage this. FPC were able to do this and find a sub-contractor willing to take on the challenge of driving a crane into the building and then begin lifting heavy concrete panels around.” Isaac Hayes, Fonterra Project Manager

Inside the building, the work area had to be segregated from the construction using scaffolding and shrink wrap to prevent any pest or water contamination of the dry store product storage. This was carefully monitored and maintained by FPC and its sub-contractors.

“Any contamination would have raised significant food safety concerns for Fonterra Tīrau, but over the year of construction, not one single event occurred. FPC totally nailed our values around food safety and quality.” Isaac Hayes.

The value

When presented with challenges and the unexpected, FPC comes through with practical solutions. This project included dealing with soil that had safe levels of volcanic arsenic, but which couldn’t be taken off-site. The soil was repurposed for other uses on the site. FPC’s ability to negotiate issues was most evident in their handling of the year’s Covid pandemic disruptions.

“All credit to them. FPC, and their sub-contractors, managed to deliver the project with minimal disruption and minimal extra cost. I can’t underplay the significance of this; it is not what others in the industry have achieved. Many have faced significant costs in their builds.” Isaac Hayes.