Crosby: Andrew, nice to see you again in this new venture. It sounds innovative, can you give me your 30 second pitch?
Andrew O: Aquacomb is the innovative stormwater detention solution for new builds and renovations. Our modular system of lightweight pods allows any volume of water storage to be built into the foundation or landscape of a dwelling, saving land, time and money while needing no additional excavation. With over 10,000 installs across Australia in 10 years, customers and industry professionals are choosing Aquacomb as their preferred detention solution. Aquacomb is also suitable for potable water retention. BRANZ appraised and Auckland Council approved, Aquacomb is being specified and installed in residential dwellings, apartment buildings and commercial premises where stormwater detention or retention is needed. Ideal where Invert levels are too high, or surcharge issues limit buried tanks or where space is at a premium, increase yields may be possible by developers burying the Aquacomb pods in the slab, freeing up more land.
Crosby: That is very interesting, and what are you currently doing for UH?
Andrew O: We have successfully carried out 2 installs at Hobsonville Point which were well received by the Construction team and plumbers on site, and hopefully have several projects in the design stage, although have not been advised as yet.
Crosby: How did UH find about your product? – and how should someone else interested contact you?
Andrew O: Probably a mixture of building industry contacts, word of mouth, Build NZ magazine, LinkedIn and various industry trade shows
Crosby: What are the benefits to UH as you see them?
Andrew O: A saving of time in the build process, create more useable space in tight sites by replacing unsightly and bulky above ground tanks, giving Universal's customers more useable recreational area and also saving money on install costs whilst satisfying Council's requirement for storm water retention and/or detention. Also, in larger projects you may potentially achieve higher development yields due to the saving of space, enabling a better return off the same land area.
Crosby: What are UH concerns? And how are you responding to that?
Andrew O: Their concerns were mainly around a new building product with no proven history in the NZ market. They have adopted a cautious approach on that basis. To satisfy their concerns, and others in the industry, we have needed to go through a process of education and accreditation. UH has been provided with a number of references in Australia for contact. We have worked closely with Engineers and Architects as well as a process of acknowledgement and approval by Auckland Council. We are BRANZ Appraised and will go live on Masterspec in August.
Crosby: What are the easiest and worst things dealing with us?
Andrew 0: The only area that may be good to improve is better visibility of specified installs to help with production planning especially as demand is increasing at an exponential rate!
Crosby: Ahh yes, everyone wants to tie in the future pipeline of houses! To finish off here are some comments I have from our head of construction and head of design.
“We are currently trialling this system on a number of builds to assess the suitability for using it on builds going forward. The system is relatively easy to install and has a number of merits, mainly around the space gained to the outside living court by incorporating the tank in the concrete slab.”
“From a design point of view the under slab Aquacomb tanks mean we can provide about 3m2 of useable yard space by removing the need to have an above ground tank. They are better than an a large inground tank as well. That is because of installation issues on smaller sites and health and safety concerns over manhole access lids in people’s yards. Aquacomb has now been trialled, the design team has done a thorough benefit assessment and we will see how it goes/works for future projects.”