A photo of abseil cliff stabilisation 100 metres above the ground and a sunny snap of two excavator operators opening up a sandbar to stop flooding in the Wairarapa took this round’s prizes in our EPIC Photo Competition.

Competition winner Rob North of Canterbury-based company Rock Control took the top prize in the second competition round – EPIC Projects – for his photo of cliff stabilisation work near Kaikoura as part of the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) project.

Rob said the job featured in the photo – stabilisation of slip 26 – included installation of an attenuator fence to stop rocks from the cliffs falling on the highway below, as well as installing ground anchors to stabilise the cliff side (pictured). That job meant a lot to him because it was his first project in a site supervisor role, also one of the biggest projects he had ever been involved in.

He has been working on other jobs to rebuild the region’s transport infrastructure following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquakes since 2017.

There are a lot of perks to the job, including great outcomes for the community, the opportunity to work in the great outdoors and a chance to abseil for a living while working with amazing technology, Rob says.

“In that photo, Ruby is installing anchors for a plinth. Bob is bailing the grout out of a hole. When we drill with a grout flush, you’re pumping grout directly down the centre of a hollow bar. That helps lift all the cuttings out of the hole so you get everything out. It’s a technique we usually use in bad rock conditions.

“The equipment we use is amazing. And then there are the other perks. It’s just such a beautiful place. Last week we saw a couple of humpbacks coming through. There are also native birds like fantails, they often come right up to us.”

Rob was able to get a job with Rock Control after completing a building apprenticeship in the UK, as well as IRATA rope access qualifications.

Competition runner-up in this round was James Sokalski of Wairarapa-based company JPS Earthmoving. He came a close second in the competition with his photo of two excavators opening the sandbar at Lake Onoke so the water could flow out to the sea.

His photo shows every kid’s dream job, in which two excavator operators are opening up a sand bar under a blue sky, so water can flow out to the sea.

James said the work was not only spectacular to look at, it was also satisfying because the sandbar controlled the water level for the flood scheme in the lower Wairarapa and its maintenance was very important for the region.

“It’s quite cool. We do a lot of work on water networks for the regional council. And most of the water from the region flows down through there eventually. We’re the contractor that sees where it goes – we see what happens after all the work that goes into managing the region’s water.”

James owns and operates JPS Earthmoving as Managing Director of his own successful business after achieving his first mechanical engineering qualifications while still at high school. Since then, he has worked his way up by building his skills, building a team around him, and building a reputation for delivering exceptional results for his clients.

Rob and James each won a gift card from Z Energy and a photo feature in Contractor Magazine as their prize.

Other standout entries in this competition round included a postcard-perfect photo of Northland bridge construction and earthworks to construct a causeway into a southern lake and a spectacular shot of rock breaking for house foundations above Kawarau Falls.

The third round of the EPIC Photo Competition – EPIC Technology – is now open to civil contractors and infrastructure workers across New Zealand. First prize is a $300 gift card from Z Energy, a feature in Contractor Magazine and a scale model of some of the awesome technology used in civil construction.

See the previous entries and enter the third round of the EPIC Photo Competition now at https://epicwork.nz/photocomp.