September 26, 2018

MJH Engineering gears up for a ‘Big is Best’ approach

The notion ‘think big’ is entirely applicable to MJH Engineering. The steel fabrication company, based in Seaview, Lower Hutt houses industry-leading automated machinery, and some of New Zealand’s largest building construction projects can be attributed to its name.

The notion ‘think big’ is entirely applicable to MJH Engineering. The steel fabrication company, based in Seaview, Lower Hutt houses industry-leading automated machinery, and some of New Zealand’s largest building construction projects can be attributed to its name.

Founded by Malcolm Hammond in 1982 as a factory and machinery maintenance firm, MJH Engineering quickly evolved into the construction industry and from one employee it has grown to over 100 today and now spans three sites and includes a 5,000sqm workshop.

Fabricating for clients across New Zealand, on any given day the MJH team could be working on a range of structural steel works for industrial warehouses, commercial buildings, multi storey tower-blocks, steel art works, residential buildings and seismic strengthening projects.

“Our experience and capacity ensures we can undertake multiple large scale projects safely, smoothly, and on time,” says Managing Director, Malcolm Hammond.

A heavyweight when it comes to industry accolades as well, MJH has recently been named a finalist in the Steel Construction New Zealand (SCNZ) Excellence in Steel awards for its involvement in Wellington’s Deloitte House (20 Customhouse Quay) and for the Rankine Brown Emergency Shoring for the Liftshaft.

The landmark construction of 20 Customhouse Quay – a 15-level seismically advanced office tower featuring a diagonally braced diagrid perimeter structure with base isolation, represents a new generation of safety and resilience and meets up to 180% of the building code, says Hammond.

“The diagrid structure is stiffer than conventional tower frames,” he said, “But it also uses about twenty percent less steel than conventional building designs.”

The complexity of the project brought the skill of the MJH team to the fore as they created unique, precisely angled parts for components of the diagrid structure.

Other notable projects the MJH team has been involved with include the iconic 32-meter-high Wellington Airport Control Tower, which leans into the prevailing northerly wind at a 12.5 degree angle and the award winning $100 million dollar Manukau Institute of Technology Tertiary Centre and Transport Exchange.

Fabricating and installing Wellington’s largest sculpture Lightwing

MJH was also integral in the recent construction of Wellington’s largest sculpture, Lightwing, designed by Andrew Thomas, at the Seaview roundabout.  The $250,000 sculpture stands 6m high, 10m wide and is made of 20 tonnes of steel, which was very carefully fabricated and installed by the MJH team.

Lightwing was a result of a five year collaboration project between the Hutt City Council, the E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust, the Seaview Business Association and local businesses.

“Seaview is a manufacturing distribution centre not well recognised for its economic value – we wanted a sculpture that was highly visible for people travelling to and from work and something for the local businesses in the area to be proud of,” said Angus Kincaid, Seaview Business Association Chairperson.

A collaborative project, designed to celebrate the big impact manufacturing businesses in the area have on the local economy and community, the Seaview Business Association approached businesses in the area and were delighted when MJH Engineering, Seaview Blasting, Dulux and GK Shaw Seaview came on board to build, paint, blast and install the sculpture.

“The sculpture served as a way of connecting local businesses, building relationships and ultimately creating something to be proud of for years to come demonstrating the capability of businesses in the Seaview area.” said Allan Brown a trustee of E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust.

Innovation the key to business success

Hammond says the company is currently working on local projects including the Paramount Theatre, Wellington’s historic Stewart Dawson Corner, construction of Alpha Apartments and the Comfort Hotel and re-strengthening of the earthquake-damaged Queensgate Shopping centre.

And while business has been booming over the past couple of years, Hammond says Wellington is currently experiencing some flatness in the commercial sector, while Auckland remains busy with new builds.

“Business comes in waves and the escalating costs in the building industry, the current economic climate and change in government could be contributing factors to work being flat in the Wellington market,” said Hammond.

The break in intensity has allowed MJH to put more effort into innovation and introducing new machinery thus expanding their operations.

“We are proudly SCNZ Steel Fabricator certified (SFC) to category 3, which awards us with an independent certification that our quality management systems consistently result in compliant fabricated steelwork,” said Hammond.

“We also utilise the latest technology to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy.”

So, what’s in the kit?

  • An augmented reality device called a Microsoft Hololens, which allows the team to view 3D objects from any angle and interact with the model, assisting with fabrication accuracy and confirming access for welding.
  • The Faro S150 – a high resolution 3D scanner to take very accurate site measurements.
  • The Total Station, an electronic/optical instrument to get accurate angles, measurements and point co-ordinates.
  • Two large workshops and a machine shop, which are covered and craned, housing CNC cutting and drilling devices, a robotic coping machine and a Berardi large 5 axis milling machine. The Berardi is one of only a few available in its size in the world and was previously used in the United States aerospace industry for the machining of jet engine turbines.

With the company having just extended its workshop space to accommodate the new automated machinery, it seems big is best.

“We are constantly looking for new ways to improve our performance and output,” said Hammond.