Can we learn from America’s Cup tactics when it comes to construction?


Can we learn from America's Cup tactics when it comes to construction?


There is no denying that construction is in hot demand but building costs are on the rise with it – New Zealand saw a national average increase of 7% compared to last year and a 17% increase in Auckland [NZ Herald].

The big question is how we build smarter and better quality buildings without huge increases in price. How can we save money for clients long-term by implementing systems that reduce operating costs, and how can we get buildings up fast in a market with a shortage on labour?

Traditionally the uptake of new technologies has been slow in construction with most of the changes being evolutionary rather than revolutionary. The future looks very different. We are now being forced to look at innovation and the use of new technologies that could potentially be adapted from other industries for the use in our own one.

The future is likely to see significant developments that will change the basic nature of construction. These developments will capitalise on advances already apparent in other sectors and driven by technological advancements globally. They will include direct technological impacts on the performance of specific construction activities and major changes in the manner of managing a construction business.

They will encompass things like new software design tools, mechanical innovation, an increase in robotics, online programming and ordering and the use of expert systems that will probably be the most important application of artificial intelligence techniques for construction over the next decade.

Globally we are starting to see how this future might look – we are seeing the quality of printed buildings improve both in robustness and scale. We are seeing people test the limits of robtoic technology. Innovative products are being tested all the time – look at Elon Musk and his solar products – and we are starting to see living spaces that are more comfortable and environmentally sustainable long term.

Bridge under construction using robotic printing technology, Amsterdam


At Arrow we have recently seen technology completely alter the way JUCY’s latest hotel in Christchurch was built – booking, checking in and room access all uses technology rather than people.

JUCY Reception, Christchurch


And we have seen early adapters like Ngai Tuhoe – taking on NZ’s first ‘living building’. showing New Zealanders how we can build a truly remarkable, functional building that has zero impact on the environment, creating something that pulls a community together and has a significant reduction on daily operational costs.

Te Kura Whare Opening, Taneatua


These are just two examples amongst many that are starting to make changes but we are still left thinking we could do more if the building industry was to start trying to catch up to the boat builders of this nation!

We know it takes risk. For JUCY innovation is a core focus of their business and it appears they knew where to get their inspiration from…

“Our first JUCY Campa was an innovation in itself – it was designed and built by the boating industry” Tim Alpe, CEO

We know it takes leadership. For Ngai Tuhoe it was a giant step – taking on a project that had never been done before but they had the belief that this was the only way to respect their past and change their future so they took an entire community on a journey to make it happen. There story was captured in the award winning documentary Ever the Land. And since then Tuhoe have applied the same principals to other construction projects in their region.

Lake Waikaremoana Visitors Centre


Arrow continues to invest heavily in time and money to meet the challenges faced by the construction industry. We have set up a team of people to focus specifically on innovation including modular construction. We are constantly researching overseas components and products to remain competitive without compromising on quality and we are investing in sending leaders to attend overseas conferences to stay at the forefront of new developments.

“Arrow’s core business has always focused around people. I believe that now more than ever before we need to encourage our teams to explore new ways of doing things and not just take inspiration from our own industry but collaborate with people in other industries and start exploring what could be possible. What can we bring to the table right now in terms of better building quality and reduced time frames and what can we start working on to embrace the exciting future of construction?” Nick Hamlin, General Manager – Southern Region

We continue to see the results of this investment realised though all our projects. Of particular note we have found a dramatic increase in productivity, quality and time savings by using modular components especially when we get involved in projects during the design phase.

In the future we will continue to explore and find better ways of doing things and look at ways overseas ideas can be implemented into the small New Zealand market place. And we look forward to the growing hype the America’s Cup will being to NZ in four years-time along with its crusade for kiwi innovation and ground breaking ideas!


  • Source NZ Herald