2 Feb 2024

Local and regional councils face many challenges, and one of the most pressing issues is the difficulty in finding experienced talent for their land development projects. Smaller councils, in particular, grapple with this due to their locations or limited resources. The consequences are high levels of staff burnout and teams wearing multiple hats to compensate for the lack of specialised expertise.

Sharlene McGaughran, CKL Engineering Manager, has 23 years of local government experience working for councils and recognises that CKL emerges as a solution, offering a one-stop-shop for council services that addresses these challenges head-on.

"Smaller councils can sometimes struggle to attract the required talent due to their location, making it challenging to build a team with the necessary skills. This can lead to burnout and stress among staff."

CKL's approach goes beyond traditional consulting services. The company provides development engineering, in-house civil design, project and contract management, and infrastructure builds, forming a comprehensive suite of services covering subdividing, planning, surveying, civil and infrastructure engineering, environmental engineering, transportation engineering, contract management and construction monitoring, including Engineer to Contract services and Developers Representative.

CKL's one-stop-shop model also tackles a common problem of siloed work within councils. "Outsourcing to CKL means getting a better overview of the project. If the same team handles surveying, design, contract management and construction monitoring, it saves re-learning, offering total oversight over the entire project. This can result in better project timeframes and budget management."

CKL's agility and responsiveness set it apart. With the ability to provide support to councils with only days' notice, CKL's strength lies in its diverse team and the ability to be flexible in the allocation of resources across projects. They can quickly reallocate staff and equipment, ensuring timely coverage and rapid responses to urgent requests.

A great example of this was the recent request by Auckland Council to conduct three critical topographical mapping projects of the seawalls at Brown's Bay, Waiwera and Orewa following the extreme weather events triggered by Cyclone Gabrielle in 2023. CKL’s rapid response and accurate data capture has provided indispensable data for emergency responses and long-term adaptation planning for the council.

The essence of CKL's support is a dedicated team of experts offering a customer-focused approach. Sharlene highlights, "CKL has a bespoke approach to servicing project needs. We create a council's dream team specific to the project requirements, ensuring it's done right within all necessary parameters. This streamlines the whole project process for councils so that they don’t have to try to work across different departments internally or with a larger company that may be less adaptable thanks to its size and internal processes.”

CKL has a phenomenal culture when it comes to mentoring staff and encouraging professional development. The expertise of CKL’s staff also comes into play as an important factor. You’re going to be working with a team of extremely experienced and talented individuals that pride themselves in staying at the forefront of innovation in the land development and infrastructure space.

This journey of continued learning is encouraged by bringing in new recruits via the graduate programme and through supporting and encouraging staff to continue their training and learning via mentorship with directors and managers and through achieving external industry certifications and accreditations.

In recent times, there have been legislative changes around storm water and flood risks. Leaning on the expertise of their surveying and environmental engineering teams, CKL has been able to contribute to providing crucial data, modelling and guidance to help councils with their adaptation planning.

“Outsourcing land development projects to smaller consultancies like CKL emerges as a strategic move for local councils,” says Sharlene. “It offers a tailored, comprehensive, and agile approach that addresses the unique challenges they face.”

Outsourcing land development project management could be the key to success for local councils