RANZ Roofing Excellence Award Winners 2019

The prestigious biennial RANZ Roofing Excellence Award was won in 2019 by Richie Powell from RANZ foundation member, Project Unite Ltd.

Congratulations also to the runners up:

Adam Baxter from Roofing Hub Ltd
(About Roofing Wanaka); and

Michael (Lockie) Lochhead from
TH Commercial Roofing Ltd, Tauranga

The award winner Richie has clocked up 39 years in the roofing industry and 25 of them with Project Unite Ltd. When licensing was introduced Richie was the first roofing LBP to be registered under the scheme.

His roofing service has hit many milestones but Richie’s longevity of experience, roofing ability and skill pervades his career to date. It all began with Delta Manufacturing and Plumbing in Hamilton where he learnt sheet metal fabrication, welding, soldering and lead beating. After a brief stint on the Gold Coast Richie returned to Hamilton and joined Project Unite Ltd (PUL) where he is now Operations Manager, acting as the link between the administration and site teams and managing all projects – up to eight projects at a time – and the staffing of those over the last ten years.

Rena Schuster, Commercial Manager at PUL, says Richie’s problem-solving ability and attention to detail is second to none. “He is highly regarded by all constructors in the industry and shares an equally close relationship with designers who know they will receive an honest, straight-forward answer from Richie to find the best way to achieve a detail and ensure a high quality, reliable finish.”

Among award-winning projects 53 year-old Richie has managed and QA’d are the Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery in Titirangi, the bus/train interchange at Manukau, and the Delegat winery in Hastings. Also, worth mentioning is Richie’s role in every expansion PUL has performed on the terminal at Auckland International Airport Ltd over nearly two decades. The company is currently engaged on Auckland’s convention centre.


Much of the company- and project-specific safety in the workplace is in Richie’s domain.He is training consistently to further his
knowledge to ensure those in the team are safe on the job and he holds safety certification/qualifications in health and safety to the highest New Zealand standards.


Nearly all staff training is undertaken by Richie who has built a large module at PUL headquarters where regular teaching sessions are held. Given that PUL is primarily involved in the commercial sector, lessons on the module are of enormous benefit to trainees registered in the NZQA roofing qualification, to familiarise them with the residential components of the National Certificate. Trainees are also helped with work books and specific theories of installation best practice. The module has proven a worthy device to gauge the ability of trainees before they register with Skills for the National Certificate. Richie is a workplace verifier for NZQA. Richie says the pre-requisites for becoming a good roofer are the ability to work in a team, stickability, working willingly outside in all weathers and enjoying hard work.


There’s always something new to learn in roofing and Richie spends much time both in New Zealand and overseas researching new methodologies and products. Late last year he was in Houston gaining passive fire certification to better understand an area which has been causing some issues; he wanted a better understanding in order to offer solutions when problems arise. The Manukau train/bus interchange project was one that stands out for Richie. It offered challenges that were different from the norm including him becoming site manager after losing the previous site manager in the early stages. Continuing to perform all his other duties as operations manager, the contract at Manukau was performed to the highest standard and the complex has won multiple awards – both locally and internationally. The designers, the NZTA and the constructor have thanked Richie for his efforts to ensure the roof was installed in a timely manner – the roof is a major feature of the designer’s aesthetic intent – within budget and to the highest quality standard.

On a daily basis Richie is involved in decisions on health and safety, detailing, materials, programming, resourcing and quality on up to eight projects at any one time. Those who have worked with him know his efforts are always delivered with good humour and a smile no matter how tough the situation. His reputation in the commercial construction sector is legendary. Thomo (award founder) would be proud that Richie’s 39 years of dedication to the roofing industry has been awarded.