The Milldale Development: Woods’ project coordination key to an on-track rollout

Jamie Whyte
Jamie Whyte
Senior Associate - Project Co-ordination
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Project coordinator and engineer Jamie Whyte takes a look at Woods’ approach to achieving client aspirations and delivery targets on the Milldale project.

Since 2016, Woods has been involved in one of New Zealand’s largest residential developments – Milldale. This large greenfield subdivision is an extension of the successful Millwater development and will eventually supply 4500 much-needed homes to the Auckland region.

Woods was initially involved with the rezoning of land through the Auckland Unitary Plan hearing process before moving on to project delivery. Now, five years on, we have delivered over 1000 sites for new homes.

The aspirations of an ambitious client

This project was already quite complex due to its large scale and volume of works required, but the client also aspired to produce 400 lots per year. This is quite a large quantity of lots to deliver at a rapid rate. It also required large infrastructure projects such as new roads, new bridges, new sewer pipes, and new water mains to be completed to match the rate of development and enable that housing supply.

Here's how Woods meets clients’ delivery targets for large scale land development projects:

  • Programming to identify the critical path.

Our ability to hit our client’s delivery targets for Milldale starts with project management. My role as a project coordinator is to program the works three to four years ahead at a high level so that I can identify what our critical path is – the sequence of the most critical works to be completed so we can achieve the target.

  • Planning the works to ensure completion of the critical path.

Once I understand what the critical path is for a particular delivery, I can plan the works required, break the project down into a series of key tasks and assign appropriate resourcing. If any of the critical works are delayed or not completed on time, we are at risk of falling behind schedule and not meeting our delivery targets. This is why it is so important to identify the critical path upfront. Staying ahead of that critical path becomes the focus of day to day works, regularly checking in with key staff to make sure we stay ahead of the game.

  • Resourcing the work with a good team.

Once the programme of work is planned, it is about getting it resourced with the right people. The key to each project is to have a strong performer as the project lead and then set up a team around them with appropriate support to deliver on the project.

Every day I come to work, I know I have the best engineers, surveyors, planners, and urban designers to draw knowledge from. With this group of people around me I know there is a solution for any problem we encounter.

  • Keeping an eye on the bigger picture.

Sometimes it is easy to get stuck on the details and constantly look at those more detailed aspects of the development, but it’s important to step back and look at the overall project progress. Keeping an eye on the high-level programming allows me to make sure we're tracking on the right course and will hit the client's delivery targets – both this year and three or four years down the line.

Kicking the goals

It is great when you get to see 3-4 years’ worth of planning come together with a stage of the development that is completed on time, on budget and looking great with brand new urban designed streets and effective landscaping. Then revisiting over the following years, it is rewarding to see that once baren construction site now filled with a range of well-designed new homes and a community of residents enjoying the space you have helped create.

Whether we have constructed a new stage or series of stages, seeing it all come together looking really good and knowing we’ve hit the client’s target in terms of delivery - makes me very proud as a project coordinator.

Jamie Whyte - Engineer (Project Co-ordination), Senior Associate