LB Collision Repair Group is a leading repair centre in Whangarei which has a successful history going back to 1994.
Largely driven by strong values of superior customer service and quality workmanship, the business grew over the years and needed to find a new location to be able to expand.
Planning For An Innovative Future
After spotting a site in a new commercial development area around Port Nikau, proud local owners Mel and Carl Henty secured the land and partnered with Rob Pascoe from Kinetic Electrical Whangarei and building specialists ARCO Group to design a custom-built workshop and offices which were more than double the size of their previous location.
In typical New Zealand fashion, energetic and passionate owners Mel and Carl live on the same street as Rob. This strong friendship served as the foundation to align the electrical design to the needs of the building and encompass the aspirational business vision and innovative technology being used by the team on-site.
“They wanted to have state-of-the-art technology. They had come from this older building, and so this was their chance to purpose-build and get it exactly how they wanted it. Not only for business reasons but for their staff as well. They wanted to create an environment where they could more easily attract and retain staff.” says Rob
The Design Phase
The building had several needs and requirements. On the ground floor, a welcoming reception with a relaxing and inviting waiting area for customers, along with offices for their administration team. Both customer and staff bathroom facilities were also located on the ground floor next to a large expansive workshop space and storage area for parts. The workshop also contained an area for parking and servicing large vehicles like trucks, which was a first for the local area. Upstairs contains a warm and welcoming staff kitchen and TV room for breaks, with a comfortable sofa for relaxing and windows to soak in the natural light and views of the local area. An additional office area is located upstairs, which although currently sits empty, showcases the owners’ business growth ambitions have not yet reached their peak.
Many Moving PartsFor Rob designing the electrical plan for a project of this size with many literal and figurative moving parts with specialist repair equipment across the facility wasn’t easy and required careful planning and agility. “Carl had done a lot of research, so he had a pretty clear vision in his mind of what he wanted, which was helpful. However, as you could expect with any project of this magnitude and complexity, as things progressed some of the initial decisions needed to be adjusted, but our team just had to adapt to that.”
A Solid Recommendation
One thing that didn’t change was Rob’s recommendation to use the PDL Pro Series range for the switchgear solution in this project.
“That was a bit of a no-brainer really for this environment. They are working in a pretty high-risk area for damage and knocks, and I knew the Pro Series range could transition well between both the workshop and the office area,” he says. Being a hardwearing range with IK08-rated power outlets, meant Pro Series met all the needs of this demanding business.
This was the first project that Kinetic Electrical used the switchgear range for, and it did not disappoint the experienced electrician and his team. The unique design of Pro Series which has been specifically designed for the commercial sector has custom features that make installation in a site like this simple and easy. The purpose-built windows in the product which make labelling easy and sleek was definitely a favourite for Rob.
“Rather than sticking a label on the outside of a 600 Series power point, we had the proper windows there so it identified the switchboards and circuits that were feeding those outlets, and in a way we know will stay looking good long term.”
The Devil Is In The Detail
From the first glance at the new building, it is obvious the precision and thought that has gone into every decision that has been made throughout the design and build process. From the stunning backdrop behind the main reception showcasing the local Whangarei Falls to the meticulous labelling of everything around the building. Everything has its clearly defined place to help ensure the business’s smooth daily operation, efficiency, staff and customer satisfaction. This attention to detail and cohesiveness was very important to the owners.
“Carl wanted everything to match, and if things were not the same, it wasn’t good enough. So making sure we had the same plate range which could cover everything we needed was essential. Pro Series having the data outlets, the USB mechs, the PIR sensors, 15A outlets and even the automation options all in the same offer really covered it. They wouldn’t have wanted a power outlet next to a data solution that wasn’t from the same range.” says Rob.
Thinking Outside The Box
For such a unique working environment there were some custom solutions that Rob and his team needed to carefully think through to keep with the vision and needs of the workspace requirements. “We had to create custom droppers to get power to some of the central working bays. We couldn’t have power running up from the floor. So we ran an overhead tray, which is about 5 metres up in the air, and then we had to run a wire down and bound the 56 Series outlets to it, and then put a Pro Series mounting block on the back of those. So essentially, they are floating in the air, which enabled more power options and flexibility in the workshop.” The innovative solutions from Rob’s team didn’t end there, with other droppers also needed for the car hoists, and Pro Series power outlets mounted on those as well.
Efficiency At The Forefront
With so much to consider in this build, it might have been easy to overlook sustainability and energy efficiency, but Rob and the Kinetic Electrical team made sure this was built into the electrical plan from the outset as well. A Schneider Electric EVlink charger was included in the workshop so the team can swiftly and easily charge any EVs that come in, and PIR sensors were included in the bathroom walkways, toilets and shower room to ensure lights are only on in those areas when motion is detected to help save power.
The building also uses automation so that Mel and Carl can easily open and close the building each day. With a couple of touches of the app, they can turn the lights on or off in the site. “It wasn’t something that was top of mind for Carl when we first started the project, but now that it is there, he’s so glad. Mel and Carl are busy people, so it’s just that peace of mind and convenience when they walk in or out the door each day. It’s something we recommend to basically all of our customers now.” Rob says.
The Ease Of A Complete Solution
From the PDL switchgear, contactors, RCBOs, EV chargers and automation, Schneider Electric’s comprehensive electrical range alongside Rob and the Kinetic Electrical team’s expertise has helped these local Whangarei owners’ vision to be fulfilled.
Way of the Future
A business that has been designed for efficiency and showcasing best-in-class innovation today, while also having the flexibility to be primed for future expansion and success tomorrow.
Download the Pro Series brochure
PDL Pro Series is the range of sockets and switches designed specifically for commercial buildings such as retail, offices, schools and public spaces.