Rebecca joined Piritahi last August as a Design Coordinator but quickly moved to Neighbourhood Design Manager for Oranga. We caught up with Rebecca to learn more about her role at Piritahi and experience working in an alliance.
Tell us about your role?
As Neighbourhood Design Manager, I’m responsible for managing the delivery of all the civil design work within Oranga. We're delivering a huge programme of work involving many moving parts. An important part of my role is making sure everything is well-coordinated so each project is buildable and delivered on time, on budget and to a high quality. Of course, I don’t do this alone. I have an awesome team of three - Sebastian Hicks (Design Lead), and Land Development Engineers Paresh Jesani and Oliver Tan. Together we create and progress Oranga’s designs through each development and consenting stage. On a typical day, I spend a lot of my time in conversations with different teams within Piritahi and Kāinga Ora, talking through solutions and overseeing how our projects are tracking.
What’s happening in Oranga?
Things move at pace here and it definitely keeps me on my toes. With Oranga we’ve been busy getting land build-ready for new warm, dry homes and have already handed over fifteen superlots to Kāinga Ora. A huge part of this involves designing and constructing new or upgraded infrastructure across the neighbourhood. Our upcoming 'berm works' project is a big piece of work that has recently kicked off. This involves upgrading and undergrounding utilities, resulting in tidier streetscapes and services that are protected from weather events and other potential damage. There are many boxes to tick off each day but it’s a great feeling to know that the work we are doing is helping to future proof the neighbourhood.
Tell us about your experience working at Piritahi?
Before Piritahi, I worked overseas and mostly on highway projects in the mountains where existing utilities are few. Working in live neighbourhoods, or 'brownfield' developments, in busy urban environments with plenty of existing infrastructure involved a scope of work that was relatively new to me. However, the transition was much easier than I thought it would be! I feel so energised working at Piritahi because you can always unofficially go up and chat with anyone - it’s really refreshing. The whole work environment is amazing and I always feel supported by my team as well as everyone across the alliance. The pace is much quicker here, no day is the same but that’s what makes the work so exciting and interesting. It’s like I'm working on a giant puzzle and constantly coordinating how all the pieces fit together – it’s a lot of fun.
What are some of the challenges of your role?
We are delivering large programmes of work and it takes a lot to get across everything that’s happening within the neighbourhood...but it's this very challenge that drives me. In Oranga alone we're developing land for approximately 1,228 new homes along with all of the required infrastructure to support them. To keep things on track, there are many conversations that need to happen every day with different people from different disciplines. It does get busy but working so closely with such hardworking and talented people helps keep things moving forward.
What do you enjoy the most about working in an alliance?
It’s a completely different way of working and there is so much opportunity for collaboration and innovation. Previously I worked at fairly sizable consultancies where you’re expected to come up with the design plan and stick to it. In the alliance, there’s much more freedom and flexibility to collaborate and innovate because of how closely our design and construct teams work together. Instead of being process-bound and creating bullet proof designs, the alliance is all about figuring out how we can deliver the best end result as one big team. In the end it’s much more meaningful because you’re involved throughout the whole process and get to see the big picture. Personally, the design-construct relationship has taught me a lot and I remind my junior engineers that this experience will provide so much career growth. The close contact with constructors is really unique in an alliance structure and the holistic approach to delivering designs provides so many learning and growth opportunities.
It’s also super exciting and refreshing to be part of a civil construction project that will have a really positive social impact. It’s a great feeling when you reached a project milestone within your neighbourhood because ultimately, it’s a one more step towards more new, warm dry homes being built for the community.
A massive thanks to Rebecca for this insight into life as a Neighbourhood Design Manager at Piritahi. To learn more about opportunities to work with us, check out our careers page.