Planning her own future

Emma Newman

Construction Planner

You might think returning home from the great Kiwi OE would mean smaller projects and fewer opportunities. Especially when you are coming direct from Crossrail – Europe’s largest ever construction project.
But for Construction Planner Emma Newman, the return home has been ripe with opportunities. Touching down in New Zealand just as the construction boom took off, Emma has played an integral role in the winning and planning of some of this country’s largest infrastructure projects, including the Waikato Expressway Hamilton Section, Pūhoi to Warkworth PPP and Peka Peka to Otaki Expressway.

If Crossrail provided plenty of learning of opportunities, so too has Fletcher says Emma. “Coming from a rail project in central London to greenfields motorway projects was a steep learning curve… I didn’t know anything about earthworks when I arrived, and all of these projects (Hamilton, Pūhoi to Warkworth and Peka Peka to Otaki) are all about balancing earthworks. I’ve learnt so much about how things are done in New Zealand”. Each motorway project has also presented the opportunity to work with a range of discipline specialists (earthworks, structures, pavements) and further enhance her programming skill.

Though Crossrail remains her favourite project (understandably!), Pūhoi to Warkworth is a close second. Having transitioned from the bid to the delivery team, Emma has been responsible for implementing the proposed programme on site, working with Spanish construction giant Acciona, Fletcher’s partner in the Construction Joint Venture. The project has also enabled her to broaden her skillset into project controls (cost control and quality as well as programming) and gain a deeper understanding of the PPP model.

And with a range of major tunnelling projects ahead in Auckland – including the second Harbour Crossing, Central Interceptor for Watercare and the much-anticipated City Rail Link, Emma’s Crossrail experience will be invaluable. Over four years, Emma planned works across the £15b project, spending the first two years at one end of the tunnel programming the tunnel boring machine (TBM) works for two twin 6.2km tunnel drives and the following two in central London programming the works associated with a major interchange station including two platform tunnels, two ticket halls and the associated sprayed concrete lined (SCL) tunnels.

Working with large international contractors exposed Emma to technologies and systems we can apply here in New Zealand. And tunnelling in central London brought plenty of interesting challenges around planning and construction – including navigating utilities so old they weren’t even marked on the map, as well as a number of interesting archaeological discoveries.