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Grand Designs impress, Pipes and Ladders gets top score for Downer

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How often do you get a bridge small enough for a group of engineers to stand on as it is jacked up underneath them? Or see an engineer play with a mechanical digger in a sandpit to show why sheet piles are necessary to build a safe trench?

At SCIRT’s Middleton office today, watching the engineers and non-engineers test-drive and explain their own Grand Designs was the order of the day. The interactive models were part of an end of year challenge from SCIRT general manager Duncan Gibb to the teams designing bridges, retaining walls, new piping networks and more resilient wastewater systems through the city.

The models have been built to be used with students and communities in Christchurch as part of SCIRT’s aim to ensure that Christchurch people learn about the rebuild as it is happening.

The simplest design won – Downer’s Pipes and Ladders big board game, which is constructed to be rolled out anywhere and can be played by numerous people at any one time. Michael Emery, Downer communications and stakeholder liaison, said the game would get students thinking about the social, environmental, health and safety aspects of SCIRT works in their neighbourhood, as they move around the board.

“The pupils of today are our future leaders but the social impacts of the work we are doing are quite hard to communicate, which is part of the aim of our game. Students get to read and count as they play, the game itself is solidly constructed to last a long time and it appeals to a wide range of ages.”

The Downer Pipes and Ladders board game was the brainchild of Downer team members Michael Emery, Gina McCoubrey, David Maucor, Brian Boddy, Carol Moffatt and graphic designer Hee (Kwanghee) Na.

SCIRT CAD (computer-aided design) technician Brent Stewart, who spent many of his own hours building a model to show what happens underground to three sorts of pipes during an earthquake, said it had been a great building experience. “It really brings home to us that the designs we produce have to work in the field. Good design and detailing are crucial to success. If you can’t draw, describe and detail it then how do you expect the contractors to build it.”

The four judges were Keryn Davis of CORE Education, Will Doughty, head of SCIRT’s client management team at the City Council, Deon Swiggs of Rebuild Christchurch and Jahna Miller, a student at Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti.

Michael Emery, of Downer, explains the Pipes and Ladders board game.


Teams also designed:

• A build-your-own retaining wall complete with pipes, a house, road and fill (Fulton Hogan - Norma Kloosterman and Adam Nichol with help from City Council SCIRT client management lead Will Doughty, left. Other designers and builders were Michael Cherry, Tim Clemens, Helen Goy and Sandra Wilson)


• A dewatering model showing how pumps create a safe, dry trench to lay pipes andd water purification system (City Care - Tracy Walsh and Max Smith, Avon Hammersley out of sight)


• A model based on three mini-sandpits, using diggers to vibrate sheet piles into place (MacDow - Jamie Campbell, Ellen Worthington and Tom Angus, right)


• A big picture model of Christchurch’s new wastewater network, showing what happens to the different technologies and pipes if the ground shakes (SCIRT's main office staff - Brent Stewart, Paul Dickson, Jeanette White, Kevin Westeneng)


• A mini-bridge, big enough to be walked over, which can be jacked up for repairs and continue to be used by pedestrians. (Fletcher Construction - Charlie Palmer, Lisa Perry and Mel Wright, fourth designer Jake Dickson absent)


Published: 14 December 2012