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Award-winning rooftop garden

A Christchurch rooftop garden that is small on size but big on innovation won gold at the Registered Master Landscaper awards recently. Natural Habitats installed the roof using an eco-pillow system. Weight is a natural concern when installing a green roof but the eco pillow system is lightweight, requiring no extra structural changes and has the added benefit of providing ideal growing conditions for plants.




The system utilised for both green walls and roofs uses recycled polystyrene that has been manipulated to mimic soil.

Incredibly, the plants behave like they are planted in soil and are happy living in materials removed from our countries’ waste stream.

The lightness of the polystyrene means green roofs are constructed off-site and then moved into place with established plants.

Because the polystyrene is so light, the pillows of plants can be easily moved on to the roof of the building.

The company’s South Island Regional Manager Ashley Shadbolt says, “Our cities need to be climate compatible and green roofs are fantastic because they can play a significant role in helping New Zealand reach its net carbon zero goals – we just need more of them.”



Rooftop and wall gardens contribute to better air quality, reduce city noise and provide a layer of insulation resulting in energy efficiencies.

They can keep buildings cooler in summer and warmer in winter. They also mitigate stormwater runoff and provide a habitat for birds, bugs and bees.

“We were delighted that the landscape architect and client chose to use the eco pillow system, it being the first to be installed in the South Island. This project proved green roofs can fit in perfectly in the residential environment as well as commercial,” Shadbolt adds.

Plants were carefully selected for the Christchurch climate, and a low-maintenance easy-to-manage irrigation system adds to the roof’s suitability for residential use.

Natives and exotics make up a mix of 13 beautifully textured species of 115 specimens, including succulents, ground covers, shrubs and Mexican grass trees.





Paving the way: Dragon Stone Paving

First impressions count and having the right paving helps enormously in setting the scene, whether it is residential, commercial or civil.



More than three decades of combined industry experience means Dragon Stone Paving Ltd adds a wow factor to your property, every time!

Its highly qualified tradespeople are experienced in all facets of paving, from BBQ areas, patios and pool surrounds to car parks, roundabouts and road crossings.

Attention to detail, professionalism and reliability have led Dragon Stone Paving to be the first choice for many projects. “From conception to completion, the team consistently delivers, offering a service second-to-none, advising on the best methods of instillation to meet budget, taste, scope and specific needs,” says business owner Lee Squires.

“The speed at which our team works got us recognised from the start,” he adds.

Alongside numerous residential jobs, the team recently completed large projects, the Avon River Precinct and at Christchurch Airport, Kaiapoi Riverside walkway and is currently working with Blakely Construction, paving in Kaianga Ora subdivisions. Steintec Accredited, amongst its clients are JFC, Fulton Hogan, Citycare, Sicon, Blakely Construction, Ongrade and Waimakariri District Council.

To discuss your project phone Lee on 021 292 2335 or email


Builders to trust: Edge Developments

When talking to Glen Foulkes of Edge Developments it becomes clear that it is not only houses that he builds, but also solid, trusting relationships.



Glen’s been in the profession for 20 years and word has gone around about how good he is.

But he’s not into blowing his own trumpet, so he pointed Metropol in the direction of some happy clients to do that for him.

“Glen is very easy to work with and he’s a great communicator,” says Mary-Ann Sidey. “He embraced our ideas and nothing was ever a problem.”

“And he liked Mary-Ann’s scones,” pipes in Pete, Mary-Ann’s husband.

The Sideys’ were impressed that Glen was on-site all the time and that he kept the place clean and tidy, which was important as they were still living there. Pictured here is their build in Fendalton, which was designed by Timothy Hogan of Intrados Architecture.

One thing that Glen thinks is hugely important is the relationships he has with his sub-contractors.

These have been established over the years and he trusts the tradespeople he works with.

Edge Developments are boutique builders, who work directly with clients and architects. Call Glen Foulkes on 021 276 3558, or email


Exciting river-front living: Street & Cook Construction

A second-to-none location on the banks of the Avon River is the location for an exciting new inner city townhouse development.



A Street and Cook Construction Ltd project in conjunction with local developer Grant MacKinnon (DMG Group), the Riverbank Quarter is a unique development of 17 terrace townhouses in Cambridge Terrace. The townhouses enjoy a wide Avon River frontage between Colombo and Manchester Streets in the CBD.

Project manager Brad Shotter of Street and Cook says the townhouses have proven so popular that they have all sold already.

Construction is to the same high standard as the company’s previous high-rise builds in Christchurch, and the location is hard to beat.

“The location is second to none, enjoying wide Avon River frontage between Colombo and Manchester Streets in the CBD. To the west is the open green space of the PGC Memorial site, Otakaro Orchard, the Town Hall and the band rotunda,” he adds.

“The recently opened Avon River Precinct runs past the front door, and Manchester Street passes to the east. They really are in an amazing location.”


Timeless architectural solutions: AQA

Creative yet practical outcomes are the forté of international award-winning Canterbury architect Alessandro Quadrelli when it comes to designing residential and commercial buildings.



Italian-born and trained, Alessandro is the man behind Alessandro Quadrelli Architectetto Ltd (AQA), combining his European origins and experience with a passionate love for the Kiwi lifestyle, landscape and people to create timeless architectural solutions to any clients’ vision.

AQA’s mission is to provide creative solutions by delivering high quality architectural services with scrupulous attention to the detail, and by pursuing efficiency and innovation.

The Dune House (pictured) is one such example in South New Brighton. Facing the beach dunes, its design is a direct response to its site and micro-climate. Alongside the client’s brief, sun, wind, sea and sand have all been considered, creating a stylish home that appears to hover towards the dunes.

The company’s multitude of satisfied clients cannot speak highly enough of Alessandro. Mark and Carmel Hooper of Christchurch loved his vision and creativity.

“He was knowledgeable, forward thinking and able to solve any problems that arose. Alessandro listened to our needs, was conscious of our budget and took responsibility for all aspects of the consent process,” they say.

Contact Alessandro at or phone 021 040 9176 to discuss your next build.


A new lease of life: Ingrid Geldof

Under the management of Christchurch Accommodation, the recently re-opened West Fitzroy Apartments has undergone a full earthquake repair, including foundation restrengthening, a total re-build of the ground floor, and redesign and replacement of all kitchens and bathrooms in all 70 apartments, by the same company that designed the original kitchens 20 years before, Ingrid Geldof Design.


The brief given was to upgrade the apartments so that residents could enjoy a living space both aesthetically pleasing and highly functioning for a further 20 years.

Such is the reputation of this award-winning design business, that Ingrid Geldof Design was also commissioned to design a new reception, lobbies, halls, and a gymnasium, as well as to provide input for the selecting of artworks, signage and exterior detailing of the building, which was achieved with the assistance of Room Interiors.

The refurbishment of the apartments was done on a tight budget, yet the team achieved outstanding results, providing a modernised building that is smart, easy to maintain, and all under budget.

With such a leading design company’s name once more connected to the building, the value of West Fitzroy Apartments has risen significantly, a win-win for the owners in these post-quake times.

Ingrid Geldof Design is located at 12 Bealey Avenue, Christchurch. Phone (03) 377 2557, or visit


Stunning design finalist: Sheppard and Rout

A prominent site adjacent to the Memorial Avenue Gateway Bridge called for a memorable design, and the judges of the NZIA 2021 competition agreed that Sheppard and Rout exceeded that brief with its stunning FMG Office building project, selecting it as a finalist in the NZIA national competition.



The client required a building with a very strong relationship to its site – it needed to form a key component of the point of entry to Christchurch Airport.

“The extruded building form is derived from its relationship to the adjacent motorway and Memorial Ave corridor,” explains Associate Director Matt Gutsell.

“The folded façade and angled sunshade screen provide a sense of movement, and an effect of parallax as you transition from the off-ramp to slower pace of the airport precinct.”

The building’s ground floor is set back to allow the form to hover above the ground plane and the undulating landscape forms below.

“The building is part of a sequence of events and forms that relate to each other, evoke dynamism and movement, to enhance the experience of arrival,” says Matt.

The effect is striking, a clear and vibrant marker of Christchurch’s international gateway. You can phone Sheppard and Rout on (03) 366 1562.


Making sense of asbestos: MBC Ltd

Five years ago the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations came into force and the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) for the management and removal of asbestos was first published. Mark Hamilton of MBC Environmental Solutions, asbestos removal specialists, looks back over those five years and has some salient messages for anyone that may have to deal with asbestos.



Asbestos-containing products were an integral part of the building industry in the 20th century and were used in the construction of many commercial and residential buildings, right up until the 1990s. Unfortunately, given the long time-span asbestos was used, a large percentage of buildings today still contain asbestos. “During the early years of the Canterbury rebuild, it was clear that major changes were needed in relation to the management of asbestos in New Zealand, which fell well short of international standards,” says Mark.

“A key milestone was the regulations in 2016 and the establishment of a new licensing system. Five years on, the industry has definitely come a very long way in a short period of time. However, it wasn’t just the asbestos industry that needed to up its game; it was anyone involved with the management of buildings. The new regulations also imposed duties on anyone that owned or managed a building, along with other duties relating to refurbishment and demolition work.”

“All pre-2000 buildings should have an Asbestos Management Plan, identifying any asbestos-containing material that could be disturbed during normal occupancy and routine maintenance. Any contractor about to undertake work should make a point of asking to see the plan to determine what risks a building presents and how those risks might be managed. When it comes to refurbishment or demolition work, an intrusive asbestos survey should be conducted by a competent person, prior to works commencing.”

“That’s a no-brainer. It’s to prevent or at least minimise exposure for workers and other people. If breathed in, asbestos fibres can cause serious lung diseases, including cancers. Asbestos is still the number one occupational killer in New Zealand today. Some people say that’s historical; however, if we don’t manage asbestos properly, those numbers won’t come down any time soon. You wouldn’t start digging on a site without checking where the in-ground services are, so why would you start disturbing building materials without knowing if asbestos is present?”

“Not necessarily. There is definitely room for improvement. Some businesses aren’t following the regulations, with many claiming ignorance even today. We have seen many instances where asbestos management plans aren’t in place. We also come across a lot of sites where asbestos surveys have not been carried out to identify asbestos prior to the work starting, only to result in delays and extra costs when it is discovered. Then there are the sites where it is never ‘discovered’ and those involved are unwittingly exposed.”

“For us, having our guys go home safely at the end of each day is our primary focus. We are immensely proud of the fact that our health & safely management system was recently accredited to the premier international standard, ISO 45001.
“MBC is proud of its membership of NZDAA (New Zealand Demolition & Asbestos Association) – the national voice of demolition and asbestos in New Zealand. It’s fantastic to have this body to represent us all, especially in discussions with decision-makers in Wellington, for example. I would encourage anyone who is involved with asbestos and who wants to stay up to date to join the NZDAA. It’s not just for removalists, but for other associated parties, such as suppliers and related trades and disciplines.”

“MBC is a licensed asbestos removalist, holding both Class A and Class B licences. We’re also qualified to undertake asbestos surveys. Our projects have been many and varied – from refurbishment work for the University of Canterbury, to multi-year, multi-stage projects on live school sites; from removing friable sprayed coatings at the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant, to undertaking surveys at numerous residential construction sites.
“We specialise in complex, challenging and technical removal projects, on sites that often still have to operate around us. That can mean having to build robust enclosures, so the hazardous substances can be safely removed while, for instance, school classes might be going on right next door to us.”

“The industry has come a long way thanks to the Health and Safety at Work (Asbestos) Regulations 2016. It can’t rest on its laurels though – continuous improvement is required to push the industry forward to ensure everyone is kept safe. It’s up to us to help drive further change and raise awareness, in partnership with other stakeholders, of course.”


  • Own or manage a building that may contain asbestos? Conduct a management survey and ensure you have an asbestos management plan in place, if needed.
  • Undertaking maintenance work? Ask to see the asbestos management plan first.
  • Undertaking refurbishment or demolition works on a pre-2000 building? Commission an intrusive asbestos survey by a competent person before starting work.
  • Need to remove asbestos? Engage a licensed removalist company that holds the correct license.
  • Having asbestos removed? Ensure any air monitoring and clearances are undertaken by an independent, licensed assessor. | 03 354 4377 Northcote, Christchurch


Doing your home work: Ferg Waddell Homes

If there’s one piece of advice Fergus Waddell would give to Generation Y looking to buy their first home, it would be to be realistic and start thinking about where their work is and building close to that. “It pays to be geographically smart these days and consider the wider Canterbury district rather than concentrate solely on Christchurch,” says Fergus.



It’s sound advice from the father of three sons who began his building apprenticeship aged 16 on Auckland’s North Shore and who now, 37 years later, runs his own construction company, Fergus Waddell Homes.

The wealth of building industry knowledge and experience that Fergus brings to every project is little short of prodigious.

“I’m open and transparent, and I’m a builder, not a salesperson, so clients never feel pressured.”

The point of difference with Fergus is that because he works from home and contracts everything out, his overheads are lower, thus enabling him to offer clients, at whatever stage of their lives, a more affordable build.

“My business ethic has always been to give value back to the client; that’s not about providing the cheapest option, but about tailoring the build to client budgets without compromising on quality workmanship.”

View the homes at the website below, at or on 027 446 1866.


Modern style from heritage roots: Stockman Builders x Engco

The new three-story office building at 135 High St is a tale of two companies – Matt Stockman of Stockman Builders and Josh Watkins from engineering company Engco. Their combined effort really is a feat of engineering, which took around 12 months to complete on the site of the original heritage building which could not be saved.



But, 135 High St was the first project of its kind for Stockman Builders, which has carried out award-winning restorations on a number of Christchurch heritage buildings.
“We knew we had to get an innovative engineer on the project and teamed up with Engco,” says Matt.

“The 135 High St project was definitely a logistical challenge, the site being 4.8m wide,” says Josh.

“It was a challenging, unique building to work on because it’s a slender building wedged between two existing buildings and the suspended floors cantilever 2.5-metres over the footpath.”

There were other challenges too, including weak soil that is susceptible to liquefaction and the construction methodology required a great deal of thought to mitigate any public health and safety issues.

The result though, from the Stockman-Engco partnership is a modern, stylish office and retail space nestled in the heart of the city. And there is still retail space available next to some well-established retailers in the area.

Stockman group has a portfolio of more than 25 commercial buildings in Christchurch offering a mix of retail, office, hospitality, and industrial spaces.

Engco has expertise in structural, civil and geotechnical engineering services, and also has Green Star approved professional accreditation for their involvement in sustainable, energy efficient projects.

Covering everything from residential to large commercial projects, Engco can offer individual solutions specific to your build.


Contact Stockman Builders on (03) 977 4986, email or go to the website.

Contact Engco on (03) 366 7955, email or visit the website.