Category Archives: Projects

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.”