An unintended consequence of excellence

March 10, 2022
In this article published in CBRE’s Inspect Magazine, we hear from Tom Locke, Principal and Senior Architect at Warren and Mahoney and Dale Anthony, Infrastructure Development Manager for Fisher & Paykel Healthcare who share their experience, lessons learned and the successes that helped them deliver the award-winning Daniell Building.
“A really unique environment which connects everyone to what and why you are there.”
Dale Anthony, Infrastructure Development Manager, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare

A focus on manufacturing as a core

As a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of healthcare products and systems Fisher & Paykel Healthcare are about looking after the needs of people. This core focus is wholly reflected in how they imagine workspaces to realise their team’s full potential.

Situated on a 100 acre campus within East Tamaki, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s reach isn’t small. They boast 140,000sqm of built asset within New Zealand, another 60-70,000sqm in Mexico and sales offices across the globe. Developing a new building approximately every five years has provided the opportunity to continually evolve and create.

In 2015 when Dale Anthony joined Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, he looked for an architect that would work alongside their business, understanding their values, needs and the unique way the organisation continued to grow. “Tom and the team from Warren and Mahoney immediately shared our vision and understood our business’ direction, innovating and working to deliver on our sometimes fluid requirements.”

Anthony continues: “The vision of this building was returning to our roots. We revisited the O’Hare building, the first on our campus, which was focused on manufacturing. This drove the desire to bring manufacturing into the core of the Daniell Building, designing and connecting all other areas of the floorplan around this central focus.”

Evolution not revolution

Knowing they required a 35,000sqm building to house 700 people, manufacturing and a distribution space, there were high-level spatial requirements but the rest was a moving target. “We didn’t know what we would be manufacturing within the building when we began developing,” says Anthony. “We didn’t know what type of equipment, machinery, loading we needed, so this created some challenges for the design team but they were flexible in seeking the right solution.”

The process undertaken was a philosophy of continual improvement, and this made up part of the brief when thinking about design. Locke states: “we looked to take the best bits from the older buildings, what worked well, what hadn’t, lessons learned and incorporate the strong internal culture of Fisher & Paykel Healthcare into the final product.”

Anthony adds: “Some of these lessons were operational, including movement of goods and people. Additionally there were facilities driven lessons learned from understanding the old generation of buildings. After 20 years, some were starting to show their age and highlighted how we needed to future proof the developing campus and incorporate sustainability going forward. Fundamentally, the building needed to deliver on the same purpose - a focus on manufacturing products across multiple buildings, different work streams in Research & Development and the space to house and support people in the work they do.”

All the research helped design a space that supported staff and connected them to the manufacturing part of the business, the campus, environment and landscape. It has created an internal work space that opens up to natural light, offering deeper and wider floor plates with everything across one floor and has made all areas and levels of the business accessible.

“It was a ‘back to the future’ move – ensuring that you had visibility through the building.” Anthony says. “I can sit at my desk at one end of the building and see all the way through with manufacturing on one side and R&D on the other. Manufacturing is ever present in the office; it’s a really unique work environment which connects everyone to what and why you are there.

“O’Hare had the connection to manufacturing, but you can feel isolated in the office pods and it is hard to move around. For the Daniell Building, Tom’s team managed to deliver inter-office connectivity and create a core hub in the office space, providing a focal meeting point and an area to make connections and spark ideas. Our aim was to connect people from all different aspects of the business and this drove design decisions all the way through the process.”

The proof is in the pudding

Even though the Daniell Building is an award-winning example of excellence, there’s always an opportunity to learn and improve for the next project.

Locke says, “We know for the next building we need to focus on the design at the entrance and sequence. With the Daniell Building all staff and visitors come through the main reception entranceway which was driven by the idea of creating more space to mingle and connect no matter what part of the business you were in. This had the unintended consequence of the doors to reception often being open and an environment that is harder to maintain.

“We definitely improved on other parts of previous buildings including acoustic issues which often disrupted work and R&D areas. In the Daniell Building we got this right, providing good spaces for privacy without the worry about breakout noise.

The building has brought everyone together, on one level with no hierachy which speaks to Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s culture - it’s what has made them successful.
Tom Locke

“The connection to manufacturing has been massive – it’s one of the major changes within this building where the lab space is more visible from general areas, so team members and visitors can often see some of the exciting work happening within the manufacturing or R&D space. This was a real driver for the CEO who wanted everyone to have access to this view as a reminder of the work they were achieving. The building has brought everyone together, on one level with no hierarchy which speaks to Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s culture – it’s what has helped make them successful.

“The added efficiency of having manufacturing in the centre of our building is that the whole team is in one place. If there is an issue with a product or process, the team is literally sitting right behind them and able to provide a solution and roll it out. If we had the design team in one country and manufacturing in another it takes time to resolve problems. This improves business outputs and delivers great outcomes.“

Revisiting our identified four themes

In our article: Transforming industrial sheds into award winning projects, the industrial judges outlined four key themes: scale, efficiency, culture and collaboration. We posed these to Anthony and Locke asking what influence they had on the delivery of the Daniell Building.

Locke says scale and efficiency went hand in hand. “The design had to be efficient and have scale as we were designing the building for a product that hadn’t been manufactured yet. It deliberately allowed us to be flexible, efficient and adaptable. It was such a huge scale, we sought to design half a building and then flip it. Different functional requirements meant we weren’t entirely able to do this but we worked had to maximise the repetition of elements.. We achieved excellent quality through scale by creating a modular type design, working incredibly closely with Leighs Construction on the first section, making sure it was of excellent quality and finalising it together. We then left them to replicate this another five times to make up the building.”

Anthony highlights that culture is incredibly important and strong at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. “We are focused on people and creating a space that brings out the best in everyone. The Daniell Building allows them to be efficient and effective but we also wanted them to enjoy coming to work.

“While many organisations are struggling to attract their teams back into the workplace, we’re providing a space that is focused on our people’s health, wellbeing and providing confidence in a work setting for an essential business.”

The other interesting outcome from this development was the intense collaboration of the delivery team, which enabled Anthony to continually provide a source of truth for key stakeholders and the Board. It created a highly unusual situation where all consultants worked off a digital platform, sharing information and designs that were open to discussion, critique and review. The transparent approach and seamless communication ensured everyone was on the journey together.

Locke says, “We only had a year to define and finalise the design so it sparked the discussion on how we could do this better and make sure the process was really transparent and accessible.”

Anthony is passionate about this topic: “I think collaboration is a word that is used often but rarely done well. Our entire delivery team worked in a highly collaborative, high-trust environment. We shared models freely within the consultant teams and our Fisher & Paykel Healthcare project team provided a daily update on progress. It created an underlying efficiency as no one wanted to let the team down, but also a strong delivery team culture as we all worked incredibly close to achieve an outstanding result. We used a digital igloo to provide a 360 view of what the Daniell Building was going to look like; this was incredibly engaging and people started to take ownership of their space. Overall it was an incredible achievement; we delivered on programme and slightly under budget even with the unexpected COVID-19 delay.”

One telling element is that the delivery team continues to work together as they commence another five projects, encapsulating all lessons learned, more sustainable initiatives and continue their incredible collaborative approach.

So what does winning the PCNZ Industrial Excellence Award mean for this incredibly connected delivery team?

Anthony had attended the awards back in 2015 and was blown away by the size and scale of the industry and quality of who was being awarded. “It inspired me both professionally and personally to one day achieve a project that would reach these heights. These types of projects take their toll on people, there’s a lot of pressure without adding lockdowns into the process. Being awarded this has really highlighted that everything we did, the effort we made and the decisions that drove the final outcome were worth it.”

For Locke and the Warren and Mahoney team, “It was a huge thrill and something we had as a goal throughout the whole project process. It was a very satisfying way to put an exclamation mark on the overall achievement of finishing this complex building.”

View this article in CBRE's Inspect Magazine here, and more about this project here.