Author Archives: HGB

‘Stepping back and seeing what you’ve built’: Best part of the job for site supervisor Ricky

Site supervisor Ricky Codd joined Connell two years ago, after arriving in New Zealand from South Africa.

With a background in commercial and residential housing and civil contracting, Ricky had worked in England and South Africa before migrating to New Zealand.

In his role as site supervisor at Connell, Ricky specialises in infrastructure works, and has helped deliver many high-profile projects across the North Island.

Since joining Connell, Ricky has completed his Connexis Level 4 Site Supervision. He is now undertaking the Level 5 Project Management qualification.

Ricky enjoys applying new technology to the projects Connell delivers, such as the use of Total Stations – a surveying instrument that combines an electronic theodolite and an electronic distance metre to accurate measure angles and distances.

“We’re moving more toward Total Stations for surveyors to accurately plot points on the building. This technology makes us more accurate and efficient, enabling us to capture up-to-date imagery from a site.”

When asked what he enjoys the most about the role, Ricky says, “I like the complexity of the large structures – all the fine details and how the pieces fit together.”

“You take a 2D plan and then you make it into a real thing, from setting it out, making sure it’s in the right position, and at the right heights.

“I like stepping back at the end and seeing what you’ve built – the creativity of it.”

Ricky says he also enjoys learning the ways different countries operate and work.

“Things are very different everywhere you go. I’ve learned a lot, both in the way that New Zealand operates, and how people work here.

“Take health and safety, for example. It’s a far bigger focus in New Zealand than South Africa,” says Ricky.

Ricky’s advice for anyone considering a career in civil contracting is ‘commit.’

Diploma opens doors for Connell Estimator TJ

A Diploma in Quantity Surveying opened the doors to the civil contracting industry for Connell Contractors’ estimator/quantity surveyor TJ Sadhar.

TJ joined Connell in 2016, shortly after completing his Diploma through Wintec in Hamilton.

“I was looking for a job where I could keep learning and growing – and Connell offered that,” said TJ.

As an estimator and quantity surveyor, TJ helps determine and manage the costs of construction projects, and helps ensure projects run smoothly and efficiently.

TJ has taken his study even further since joining the team, progressing to a Bachelor in Construction through Massey University, which he is set to complete in 2024.

“Studying while working has been a challenge – but I’m lucky to have a really good team, and supportive bosses and family around me,” TJ says.

TJ said he was attracted to a career in civil contracting because of the resilience of the industry.

“There’s plenty of opportunities and unique challenges, and there’s always exciting projects on the horizon,” TJ says.

This year, TJ is looking forward to developing his skills and experience in the renewable energy space.

“We have more renewable energy work in the pipeline, and I’m excited for that. It’s rewarding to know you’re contributing to positive change,” says TJ.

TJ’s advice to people considering a career in estimating and/or quantity surveying is ‘work hard and you’ll go far.’

“Don’t be afraid to jump into it. It will get challenging but if you put your head down, you’ll succeed.”

Connell helps power New Zealand with greener energy


Following the success of the Kaitaia Solar Farm, the 32MW Edgecumbe Solar Farm is
poised to be a game-changer, providing clean energy to over 6,000 small businesses,
farms, homes, and apartments annually, and Connell is playing a critical role in its

Nationally award-winning Connell has been instrumental in shaping the physical
foundation of Lodestone Energy’s vision. Since early 2023, Connell’s dedicated team
has been on-site, transforming the landscape to accommodate this milestone in the
Far North.

“Our extensive planning and preparation, coupled with the right people and resources,
allowed us to overcome challenges, particularly in the demanding winter conditions.
We’re proud to have played a pivotal role in maximising Aotearoa New Zealand’s
renewable energy output in a sustainable manner,” says CEO Lester Foxall.

Connell Contractors continues to be a key player in New Zealand’s green infrastructure
development, helping lay the foundations for vital energy projects. As Lodestone Energy’s
Edgecumbe Solar Farm takes shape, Connell’s commitment to excellence is helping pave
the way for a greener and more sustainable future.

Genesis Energy and Connell Contractors Celebrate Blessing of the Prestigious Toki Paraihe, Commemorating the Legacy of Kupe.

In an occasion celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Aotearoa, Genesis Energy, and Connell Contractors commemorated the blessing of the esteemed Toki Paraihe. The blessing, conducted by Mahana Toka of Waikato Tainui, marked a significant milestone in the journey of the prestigious national project award recently awarded to Connell Contractors at the CCNZ Construction Excellence Awards 2023.

Crafted from Kauri wood, the 2023 Toki Paraihe serves as a powerful symbol embodying the enduring legacy of Kupe, the legendary Maori navigator who embarked on the historic journey from Hawaiki to Aotearoa aboard the legendary waka, Tokimatawhaorua.

The Toki Paraihe not only embodies the remarkable saga of Kupe’s voyage but also encapsulates the essence of whakapapa, symbolising the profound interconnectedness of past, present, and future.

The blessing ceremony, graced by Connell Contractors owners Dave and Margo Connell and Lester Foxall, alongside Genesis Energy’s Bachir Ibrahim, exemplified the shared commitment towards fostering more meaningful relationships between project owners and contractors.

“We express our heartfelt gratitude to Waikato Tainui for their invaluable guidance and for the blessing of this Toki, signifying a powerful union of tradition and contemporary achievements,” expressed Dave Connell.

The event concluded with a pledge from both Genesis Energy and Connell Contractors to uphold the values enshrined within the Toki Paraihe, fostering a spirit of respect, collaboration, and continuous progress in all endeavours.

Connell reigns Supreme at Waikato Civil Contractors New Zealand Awards


Connell Contractors took home three significant awards at the Waikato Hynds Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) Construction Awards on Friday 11 August.

Connell’s work with Genesis Energy on the Poutu Intake and Tunnel Erosion Repair earned the team top place in the $1 – $5m projects category.

Connell also took home the Health and Safety award which is assessed across all project entries, and the overall Supreme Award.

The Poutu Intake and Tunnel Erosion Repair project took place in early 2023. Connell was engaged by Genesis Energy to carry out repairs on the Poutu intake in the Tongariro Hydro Scheme during a six-week shutdown in early 2023.

Connell CEO Lester Foxall said the team were humbled to be recognised for their effective, efficient, and safe work on this complex and challenging project.

“Working in a tunnel, protecting the environment, navigating challenging craneage requirements, and delivering to a short timeframe all added to the complexity of the project,” Lester said.

Lester said the project presented significant health and safety risks, including working at heights, confined space, water management, and isolated works.

“Much of the work was undertaken in the tunnel, which had limited lighting, difficult access, and water ingress. Every day our team navigated five storeys of scaffolding to access the work area.”

Lester said significant planning and preparation took place to ensure the team had mitigation measures for every possible scenario. They also invested heavily in training and safety equipment.

“As with all our projects, our strong health and safety performance is due to our excellent planning and preparation, and our overall culture of safety,” added Lester.

As well as the unique project requirements, the Auckland Anniversary weekend floods and Cyclone Gabrielle impacted the river and delayed some of the project timeframes.

Lester said despite the challenges, the project was delivered on time, to budget, and to a high quality, receiving recognition from the team at Genesis.

Genesis Energy Civil Engineer Bachir Ibrahim said “Connell’s site team showed the passion and commitment to get the job done within the requirements of Genesis Energy and its stakeholders. The team was collaborative when it came to coordinating with other contractors, which helped to get the job done on time and to budget.”

Connell has been announced as a finalist for the CCNZ Construction Excellence Awards, with awards to be presented during the CCNZ National Conference in September.

Founded in 1978, the CCNZ Hirepool Construction Excellence Awards represent the pinnacle achievements of New Zealand’s civil construction industry. Expert judges tour the nominated projects and assess comprehensive information provided by the entrants.

Connell’s own wins top industry award

Connell Contractors’ Taranaki Regional Manager, Fabian Bracken has been honoured at the recent Z Energy People Awards, receiving the 2022 Z People Emerging Leader Award.

The Z Energy Emerging Leader Award is given to people under the age of 30 who have innovated, impressed and made a difference to the industry, their peers and their employer. These people have excelled in their career and demonstrate a well-rounded character with exceptional leadership qualities.

Recognised for his natural ability to communicate, lead and motivate those in his team, Fabian is considered by those at Connell Contractors to be one of the best bits of recruiting the company has conducted.

“Fabian is one of those exceptional talents that comes along and excels at virtually all tasks he is given,” explains Connell CEO, Lester Foxall.

“He has earnt the respect of all his peers and clients because of his hard work and dedication to the industry. His skillsets extend far beyond just his practical knowledge on site. He has become a leader, a customer-centric manager and performs all his duties with pride and passion.

Fabian was presented his award at the annual Civil Contractors New Zealand (CCNZ) National Conference in Christchurch in front of hundreds of his peers and civil construction industry leaders.

Speaking about the award, Fabian says it’s nice to receive recognition for his work and commitment to Connell over the last five and half years.

“I’m appreciative of everything that the team at Connell have allowed me to do and achieve. Owners Lester Foxall and Dave and Margo Connell really trust their team, and myself, to lead my own way. They have given me the support over the years and for that I’m appreciative.”

Fabian began at Connell in 2015 and has since worked on some of the company’s largest and most demanding projects including the $7 million Kinleith Substation and the logistically challenging Turitea Windfarm project.

The Connell team’s trust in Fabian was demonstrated when the decision was made to back Fabian in starting up a regional office in his home region of Taranaki. He has been instrumental in making this region hugely successful and under his management, the company has set up a steel fabrication division in Taranaki to support Connell projects with bespoke components.

Lester adds, “Fabian’s all-round ability and knowledge is a key reason why our company is perceived to be a leading civil contractor in the power sector. Having worked on many high-value projects throughout New Zealand, Connell – and the industry in general – are lucky to have such a skilled and committed person as a future leader.”