When civil engineer Dave Dews and his wife Mandy sold their home and business in Yorkshire England, and moved to New Zealand, they never imagined being responsible for the mechanical digging of graves, maintenance of local parks in Upper Hutt, and the building of kerbs and channels across the greater Wellington region.
“I arrived to a job for a civil engineering firm in Upper Hutt but after a while realised that having my own business again was the natural thing to do” Dave says.
In 2008 when the couple established Dews Construction, they had no staff and didn’t own a single vehicle or piece of equipment. They have since invested in a significant fleet of vehicles and equipment to fulfil short and long term contracts for the Ministry of Transport and many city councils in the greater Wellington region including Upper Hutt’s.
Buying land in Kaitoke, north of Upper Hutt, has been the perfect solution for the Dews’ business and family.
“Our work generates a lot of waste which we are committed to recycling onsite so it’s a huge advantage to be based in a rural yard” Dave says. “We rebuilt the house which came with the land so our commute to work couldn’t be shorter!”
Dave and Mandy are proud to recruit almost all of its 45 strong team of contractors from Upper Hutt with a handful commuting daily from the Wairarapa, and to have their son and daughter involved too. Mandy explains “We’re close to Upper Hutt – we get to enjoy its beautiful parks and open spaces, traffic isn’t an issue and we have access to the river and reserves for walking. It’s the ideal lifestyle”.
Dave insists that being able to offer his customers a diverse range of skills and services needed for civil works has stood the business in good stead – water and drainage, the building of bridges, maintenance of local parks and roads, directional drilling, traffic management, pumping and paving…
“Having worked for councils and civil engineering firms for over 20 years, I can solve problems with everyone’s needs in mind. And many of our customers prefer to deal with one rather than multiple contractors. It’s more cost effective and efficient”.
Investing in specialist vehicles and equipment has opened up new business opportunities along the way. Its latest ‘hot box’ can keep 6 tonnes of asphalt hot for up to seven days which makes taking on small jobs possible and avoids wastage.
Dews’ services were in high demand following the Christchurch earthquake in 2011. It is on call 24/7 for the Upper Hutt City Council in the event of a civil emergency.
“We’re often called out in storms and after heavy snow. No one knows when a natural disaster is going to hit so we have to be prepared. We make sure our vehicles are distributed around the region with staff after-hours to increase the chance of them being accessible when needed urgently. It feels good to know our business is making a difference locally”.