Business Profiles

Drainways – from supporting role to lead position

Hawke’s Bay has been a sea of traffic cones and fenced- off infrastructure work sites as large-scale civil projects such as the Hastings District water network rebuild and the many residential subdivisions and industrial projects take off.

At the heart of some of these private enterprise projects and local and central government work is local civil and commercial infrastructure business Drainways, which has shed the sub- contractor role to become lead contractor in recent years.

Drainways managing director Mark Currie said the time was right to come out of the shadows of other businesses and step up to lead contractor status on the confidence of a strong regional economy that has attracted people to move to Hawke’s Bay; a housing shortage; and local government securing Covid-19 recovery funding from central government for ailing infrastructure and upgrades of roads and pathways.

A licensed drainlaying and certified water reticulation company, Drainways was established in Hastings in 1976 by Owen Currie, who today remains active in the business but has handed over the day-to-day reins to his sons: Mark (managing director) and Brendan are responsible for business development; Jaydon is the training administrator and H&S coordinator; and Carlton is a project manager.

Experts in underground life support systems, Drainways specializes in civil and commercial water and drainage systems, working with water pipe sizes from 20 mm to 500 mm and drainage from 100 mm up to 1,200 mm plus.

“We had built a strong reputation as a sub-contractor but we weren’t in charge of our own destiny. In 2012, we decided it was time to step up as a lead contractor and we haven’t looked back.

“Like the projects we usually do – which are below ground – that’s what you could say about us as a business, that we’ve operated out of the spotlight, but now we’re front and centre.”

Since then, Drainways has been pre-qualified by Hastings Council as a ‘Complex A’ contractor, which enables it to undertake large council projects, and it is also a preferred supplier to the Napier City Council.

As a result, Drainways has been involved in leading some of the projects within the Hastings District Council’s $65 million water network investment, and has secured civil works and town house service connectivity on two large-scale retirement villages for the likes of Ryman Healthcare and Oceania Group.

These days you’ll see Drainways branding on safety fencing on major projects across Hastings, Napier and beyond.

At the heart of the business is a culture of inclusion for its growing staff, something that both Mark and Brendan say sets them apart from the large national firms.

“Our staff all know what’s happening with the business, what our targets are, our sales and how projects are tracking. We celebrate our successes together and we also invest in our staff to continue upskilling and progressing their careers within the business.

“We’ve recently had several of the team complete their tickets, either for reticulation, which is outside the land’s boundary, or drainlaying, which is inside the boundary.”

Brendan says it’s been great to work on two high-profile commercial projects and says this is an area where Drainways hopes to secure more residential and commercial development work across the region.

He says the Gracelands project was Drainways’ first major commercial job as lead contractor and involved all the civil works for 50 retirement apartments and dwellings in Pakowhai Road.

Soon after, Drainways was awarded lead contractor for all civil and town house drainage, earthworks, roading, surfacing, paving and topsoil on the $100 million Ryman Healthcare retirement village in Havelock North.