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Feature Article

Low risk, high reward

Trigg Construction has a proven track record mitigating risk and forging strong partnerships in Northland’s commercial construction sector. When the opportunity arose to do both by purchasing a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus from Keith Andrews, managing director Darrell Trigg says it was a no-brainer. 

Darrell and his wife Marlene started the business 30 years ago and built a solid reputation in the residential and commercial sector over two decades, before focusing on commercial, civic and industrial builds specialising in working with clients from pre-design to completion to better manage risk.  

While most commercial construction companies bid for tenders, Trigg Construction isn’t most companies. 

“We don’t bid for tenders,” explains Darrell. “We prefer to find clients who have an idea of what they want but need help fleshing it out. Our selling point is how we manage risk through the design phase, which means once we start on site, there are no variations because we’ve already solved those problems.  

There also tends to be less emotion involved in commercial projects, which makes things easier.” 

While that is true for the most part, Trigg Construction has proven itself adept at balancing the needs and desires of various stakeholders – particularly in award-winning community projects such as the Waipu Celtic Barn.   

Trigg Construction’s Darrell Trigg with his new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van

Featuring world-class acoustics, unique timbers and hand-made Celtic stained-glass windows, Waipu Celtic Barn is described as “a true fusion of function and form” and involved more than 150 highly committed local community groups. 

“It’s a project we’re particularly proud of,” says Darrell, whose team won a New Zealand Commercial Project Award in 2016 for its construction. 

Darrell and Marlene are deeply invested in the Northland region, favouring local subcontractors wherever possible. 

“The skills are here, you just have to give people the chance to prove themselves,” says Darrell. 

The business is also invested in its own people, which is why the decision was made to provide transport for staff – and there was one local supplier that came to mind. 

Keith Andrews is just such a well-known name in these parts,” says Darrell. “They’ve been around for years, so we just went to see them and told them what we were thinking.”

With many of his builders living in Whangarei and working on projects in Marsden Point, about 40 minutes away, Darrell decided to lay on a minibus to get them there and back in safety and comfort. 

“Construction is hard on the body and physically tiring, so having a long drive at the end of the day isn’t ideal for the health and safety of my team – and being able to take five or six cars off the road by having all the guys in the one vehicle is just better all round.” 

That vehicle is a 12-seater, 2143cc Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission and an array of safety features, including Blind-Spot Assist, Active Brake Assist, Hill-Start Assist and Crosswind Assist. 

Darrell says the Active Brake Assist feature has already helped to prevent a potential accident. 

“Another vehicle was overtaking dangerously and cut back into a space in front of the van that wasn’t really big enough. Luckily the safety features kicked in and helped our driver avoid a collision!  

“It also has great visibility on the road and, performance-wise, it’s as smooth and easy to drive as a car.” 

The medium wheelbase 314 model minibus has plenty of other features to ensure the team enjoys a comfortable ride. 

Trigg Construction’s Darrell Trigg with his new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van

“One of the things I really like is how high the roof is. You can stand upright in the Sprinter, whereas other vans I’ve been in, you have to hunch over and it feels a bit cramped. 

“The guys love it. It’s comfortable, there’s plenty of space, plenty of legroom, and every seat row has a USB port, plus there’s enough room in the back to fit all the guys’ gear.” 

The comfort is matched with practicality in the fit-for-purpose heavy-duty flooring and vinyl upholstery, says Darrell. 

In an industry struggling with workforce shortages, Darrell reckons it’s good practice to provide additional benefits to staff – like good-quality transport options. 

‘When people see you look after your people, it can help with recruitment and retention,” he says. 

“The environment we want to create is one where people enjoy what they do and want to come to work. Investing in a quality transport solution is part of that.” 

Darrell reports the Sprinter’s fuel economy has been good, although he is not watching it like a hawk, and it will do about 25,000-30,000km per year. He’ll replace it at around 100,000km, while it still has value as a second-hand vehicle. 

With a full pipeline of work for the next eight years, including bigger projects in Marsden Point, he might even put a second Sprinter on the road. 

“We’re all about strong partnerships,” says Darrell. “We now have a great partner in Keith Andrews and a quality transport solution in the Sprinter that we know does the job. We’ll have an easy decision when the time comes!” 

To view the rest of the Mercedes-Benz vans range, click here.