Designing and building a world class new correctional facility in a remote semi-rural location comes with its own set of challenges, that are being overcome with the clever use of business information modelling (BIM) and off-site prefabrication.

It’s just another example of how our digital technologies add value by supporting engineers on site, simplifying how we work, and optimising our capability.

Pulse spoke to John McCullough CPB Contractors Engineering Manager Building NZ, learning more about the challenges of the Waikeria Corrections and Treatment Facility Public Private Partnership (PPP) project, and how they are being addressed. John is leading the design and engineering for the new facility in the Waikato region (central North Island) of New Zealand.

Digital engineering and prefabrication

The remote semi-rural location of the new facility, poses a significant challenge for the build, requiring a high reliance on prefabricated materials being shipped to the site.

Supported by EIC Activities’ Principal – New Zealand Anthony Butler, the team has used BIM modelling to prepare for early engagement with the structural steel and pre-cast fabricators.

“We're progressing the structural steel shop drawings and pre-cast fabrication drawings ourselves ahead of bringing the fabricators on board and we're feeding that detail into the digital model,” said John.

Building digitally first enables us to accurately brief fabricators on scope, design and delivery. It speeds up the process and allows us to use the model for its true benefits of coordination and clash detection.

John McCullough CPB Contractors Engineering Manager Building NZ

“The results are better cost management, construction efficiencies, programme reliability and an end product that meets all of the client’s specifications.”

The new facility in numbers:


bed facility


additional beds in a dedicated mental health and addiction service facility


steel driven piles across the plate to take the foundations


precast flat panels


panels for containment fence


hectares project site






plants planted in 2018; 100,000 more in 2019.

About the project

Piling has already commenced at our Waikeria construction site as we hit the ground running building the new facility.

The new facility will have accommodation for 500 prisoners and an additional 100 beds in a dedicated mental health and addiction service facility, which represents a new approach to the treatment of mental health in the New Zealand prison system.

The project is being delivered by Cornerstone Infrastructure Partners (CIP) in partnership with the NZ Department of Corrections.

CIMIC Group has led the development of the project, with Pacific Partnerships leading the CIP consortium formation and providing equity financing for 25 years, and CPB Contractors undertaking design and construction of the facility.

The consortium also includes our partners HRL Morrison for financing, Cushman & Wakefield in providing facilities services and electronic security services provider Honeywell.

The Waikeria facility will be operated by the Department of Corrections.

The new facility is being built adjacent to the existing Waikeria Prison and is currently on track for delivery in early 2022.

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