The arrival of Costco is exciting news in any country. But when it occurs during a pandemic, the grand opening is even more significant. Learn how Costco NZ overcame significant challenges to build its first membership warehouse in New Zealand.

The arrival of the first Costco membership warehouse is exciting news in any country. But when the planning, development and construction occurs during a pandemic, the grand opening is even more significant. This is certainly the case for Costco’s first New Zealand membership warehouse.

A project this size can only occur when there are multi-disciplined teams involved. In this case, Northcroft Australia was tasked with managing every aspect of the first Costco warehouse in New Zealand – from due diligence and inception to practical completion, working with two separate design and project management teams in two countries, through the pandemic with lockdown and border closures.

Many local specialist teams were engaged to assist with the project including architects, engineers, town planners and building contractors. But with international border closures, the Northcroft team had to adapt, relying heavily on technology rather than site visits. They also needed to select capable and reputable local project partners, build rapport and trust among all the stakeholders in order to achieve Costco’s project goals.

Technology, Trust and Cooperation were key

The building itself is a one-off custom design for a Costco Warehouse.

Northcroft worked with the two teams across two countries by utilising a number of collaborative tools, including video site walks, and video teleconferencing. Design development was coordinated and managed across the multi-disciplined teams through the use of a collaborated Building Information Model (BIM). By embracing technology, the teams could each check and coordinate their design among the specialist teams and adopt changes and new implementations as required.

Stakeholders can access to the latest project information and virtually go through the latest design model through this collaborated model.

Border closure, remote working, lockdowns and material shortages all provided challenges, but the two-stage project was delivered with relatively minimum disruptions due to the diligence, perseverance, professionalism and absolute trust of every individual team member. It was an extraordinary project that was completed through an extraordinary time of our lives.

Completion of Stage 1

In April 2022 Costco opened its first fuel station in Auckland, New Zealand. All the major NZ media attended the official opening and it was quickly trending across social media platforms.

Construction of Costco’s first New Zealand membership warehouse was close to completion so the media were invited to tour that facility as part of the Stage 1 opening ceremony.

Completion of Stage 2

A few months later, the membership warehouse was also open for business. This first warehouse in Auckland is a $100m investment for Costco. To embrace the local culture, the warehouse was opened by a traditional Māori haka and signage in the membership warehouse are in both Māori and English.

In all, the Costco membership warehouse and fuel station took almost four years from planning to completion with a 30 month design and construction period through the pandemic with border closures, lockdowns and supply issues. Northcroft will continue to be involved for the next 12 months as part of the defect liability period.

A culture of team work

One of Northcroft’s great strengths is their ability to foster strong relationships and build rapport across multi-disciplined teams. This skill was critically important during the Costco NZ project where consulting and construction teams were working remotely and relying on the trust among each other to achieve Costco’s project goals.

If you are contemplating a significant or greenfield project that requires the expertise of a multi-disciplined and cohesive team, get in touch with Northcroft.