Students gain on-the-job experience with council project

Four EIT architecture students are getting hands on experience of their potential future career paths, using the Hawke’s Bay Opera House arts and cultural precinct redevelopment as a real-life case study. Completing the second and final year of their New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology, the students are nearing the end of a six-week study into the ins and outs of a commercial construction project. They have been attending weekly site meetings and recording the minutes to get an understanding of the procedures at such catch-ups and have been creating accurate drawings of the buildings under construction. Student Jeffrey Omar said they chose the Hastings District Council’s Opera House project being one of the bigger construction jobs underway in the district at the moment. “This gives us some real-life experience so when we go into the field ourselves we won’t be going in blind,” he said. Opera House project manager Herman Wismeyer from Focus Project Management Ltd welcomed the students’ involvement, and said it was a valuable insight into the dynamics involved in such a project. “They are getting to see the interdisciplinary relationships from a perspective of project managers. “This includes the contractors, engineers, architects and other design consultants – it’s important to see the tension between the expectations of the architects and what can be achieved by the contractor and site, along with the budget and programme constraints of the project managers.” EIT tutor Andrew Caldwell said part of the aim of the course was for students to have a good understanding of the wider construction industry. “Part of that is to make sure they get to see and experience the ‘real world’ situations that they are likely to encounter when they start work. “We were grateful for the entire project team for allowing our students access to this major project.”