Tackling the housing crisis head-on

“The housing crisis in Auckland is a big talking point at the moment. It’s affecting families, students, and long-term renters. We need more homes in the Auckland region, and we need them now,” says Andrew Long, who is two papers shy of finishing his Bachelor of Engineering Technology. He was involved with a number of live projects throughout his time at Unitec, but working on the Hobsonville Point development was a particular highlight. “The work helped to ease the pressure on Auckland, and that gave me a real purpose in my work,” says Andrew.

Andrew worked on the drainage infrastructure and vehicle accessways for a superlot development within Hobsonville Point. He was the lead engineer for the detailed design and construction observation of the stormwater/wastewater. With such a complex task, Andrew was well aware of the pressures. “In a working environment where everything is needed yesterday, nobody is going to force you to follow the quality assurance procedure, it’s something you need to factor into your timelines.”

That’s where industry professionals come in. “It’s easy to get tunnel vision after staring at the same set of plans for days on end, so a fresh set of eyes can pick up any potential design issues,” Andrew says.

Andrew was working with Will Platts during the project, a Team Leader from Harrison Grierson who was always there to help out. “I let Andrew lead the project, and only stepped in when needed. Unitec students have been learning real skills throughout their qualification, so they’re really switched on,” says Will.

Andrew agrees. “It was good to have the freedom to develop the plans as I saw fit, but it was reassuring to have someone to talk with about any potential issues.”

This is where the real value of industry professionals became apparent. Will saw his support role not only as a mentor but also as a guide to help Andrew deal with some of the external pressures. “Andrew was more than capable of handling the demands of big property developers, and I was proud of the way Andrew handled himself in certain situations. Of course, I was always here for him if he ever needed me, but he already had the skills to manage any difficult request or issues.

That’s why Andrew values his time at Unitec and the hands-on nature of his study. “At Unitec, you learn more skills than just the theory. I’m able to deal with clients, manage projects, and be work-ready when I graduate. It gives me real confidence to know that on day one, I can handle the job and perform to a high standard,” he says.

Find out more about studying Engineering at Unitec:

Study Engineering Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil) Order Study Guide