Pacific Building Solutions : The Fundamentals of Tropical Construction

Jordan LeveyLucy Pilgrim
Jordan Levey - Project Manager Lucy Pilgrim - Senior Editor
Crane and construction site

As Fiji’s largest construction company, Pacific Building Solutions’ expertise in design and building spans an array of disciplines. We learn how the company has overcome the challenges of some of the most extreme and remote locations in the South Pacific.

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF TROPICAL CONSTRUCTION

As a 100 percent Fiji-owned company, Pacific Building Solutions (PBS) delivers state-of-the-art tropical construction solutions and has become renowned as a multi-discipline organisation based in Suva, Fiji’s flourishing capital city.  

 As the country’s largest construction company, PBS boasts a 3,000 square metre (sqm) workshop, diligently run by 800 members of staff.   

 Thanks to its highly skilled team, PBS has developed a reputation over the past 20 years for tenacity and perseverance, due to its many construction professionals who have adapted to overcome the challenges of the country’s harsh environments.   

Working in these areas brings obstacles such as unpredictable weather, lack of skilled workmanship, demanding logistics, and limited access to quality materials and equipment to the fore. Yet, PBS consistently rises to the challenge and goes above and beyond for its clients.   

 THOROUGH AND ALL-ENCOMPASSING

PBS’ journey first began with the construction of luxury homes in the early 1990s, and during this time, it soon learned the complex logistical challenges faced when conducting operations across Fiji.  

 As a result, the company decided to resolve these issues by proactively taking charge of the most critical elements of the building process and creating in-house disciplines, facilitating organic growth and acquisition for the business.   

PBS’ facility in Suva houses the company’s metal workshop, joinery workshop, art department, thatch treatment plan, as well as prefabrication processes, featuring a computerised timber wall frame and truss machinery.    

 Looking at each subsector in more detail, the PBS metal workshop was an inherited marine trade specialist operation, acquired when the company purchased the facility space in the city. As such, it also took hold of the retained skills of the factory’s employees.   

 Therefore, through the acquisition of the facility and its employees, PBS could extend its repertoire to practically any metal work task, ranging from complex, custom-made projects in aluminium or stainless steel to complete steel building super-structures.    

 A further branch of PBS is the joinery workshop that exists as the biggest subdivision of the entire Suva facility, and is a state-of-the-art manufacturer of tailor-made doors, windows, and cabinetry.   

 Utilising specialised tooled machinery and up-to-date computerised systems, the joinery team is self-sufficient in constructing custom profiled components. Moreover, due to the uniqueness of each project, diligent attention to detail is critical.   

 Unlike many other companies in the tropical construction market, PBS is proud to include an art department in the wider construction process. Each carver and sculptor has a clear passion for developing the traditional forms of art into a more contemporary form of architecture. As such, iconic South Pacific design is personalised and integrated into each project, through a variety of materials including timber, stone, resin, and concrete.   

 In a continuation of the art workshop, PBS’ thatching division heralds beautifully traditional methods that have been passed down for generations across Fiji, showcased by the exquisite ‘Na Bure’, which has become more desired in recent years.   

 The company sources its natural ‘soga’ leaves (palm) and ‘magimagi’ (twine) necessary for thatching from local villages, providing an income to families and clans on the western coast of Viti Levu. The soga is entered into treatment plants before being incorporated into buildings, in order to create the most authentic and traditional design possible.   

 Finally, PBS is a fully established, licensed wall frame and truss manufacturer. Its enviable services comprise precuts and prenails of timber wall framing, which are a result of the structural use of the latest pryda wall-builder software, to create highly-detailed structures that require the greatest levels of engineering.   

 The work of the structural designer can then be downloaded directly to PBS’ in-house equipment software for cutting, before the factory carpenters assemble and finish the components using pryda truss jigs and a pryda truss press.

Construction building. Mana Island, Fiji

DIVERSIFIED CAPABILITIES

PBS has an extensive array of capabilities, demonstrated by the variety of projects that the company has completed over the last two decades.   

For example, PBS has developed a key strength in the resorts and hotels discipline as the leading construction entity in the sector. Thus far, it has built over a dozen resorts throughout the South Pacific in remote areas with limited accessibility and infrastructure.   

This is most clearly evidenced in the Little Polynesian Resort project, amongst many more. Located in the Cook Islands, the resort offers the epitome of the Polynesian experience, as an intimate and luxurious offering.   

 PBS was responsible for 10 decadent beachside bures and four garden bungalows, all equipped with decks, courtyards, a central facility building, swimming pools, and custom-made furniture.  

 Additionally, the business is proud to have been awarded the design-build contract for Fiji’s first Pacific Eye Institute. This ambitious project houses a fully-equipped eye clinic; two controlled air procedure rooms, the first of its kind in the country; and classrooms and a resource centre for postgraduate students specialising in eye health.   

 Testament to the company’s efficiency, the facility was completed two months ahead of schedule. It showcases modern building techniques completed by the company, including precast procedures, polished concrete for a unique and elegant façade, local hardwood carving accents, and a specialised weather resistant glazing for the exterior cladding.   

 Each project is unique in the sense that it involves the contributions of different arms of the company, ensuring complete end-to-end solutions. Therefore, as the company rides the wave of the recent South Pacific tourist boom, it has generated over USD$1 million of resort work in recent years.

“The secret to our success, especially when building in the outer islands, is our one-stop approach to making sure we deliver on time, on budget, and at the highest levels of quality without excuses”

Pacific Building Solutions

A CONSCIENTIOUS APPROACH

PBS has developed a comprehensive opportunities and partnership strategy that complements the business’ own values whilst initiating ideal solutions for its customers and suppliers, demonstrating the company’s commitment to achieving the best possible outcome.   

PBS is also committed to traditional business values and safe construction practices that are supported by forward-thinking concepts and a consistent commitment to excellent client relations.   

The company culture further envisions the timely delivery and execution of projects, particularly when faced with challenges of location and budget restrictions.   

Furthermore, its team comprises people who truly have a passion for every project and contribute values of integrity, reliability, quality workmanship, strong communication, creativity, and problem-solving to each operation.   

It is also vitally important that the team’s skills and personal development are nurtured, providing optimum opportunities in their careers and beyond.   

PBS has become a cornerstone of the South Pacific construction industry, implementing comprehensive strategies through its expertly managed subdivisions and participating in each project with care and forward-thinking solutions.

Group of excavator working on a construction site
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By Jordan Levey Project Manager
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Jordan Levey is a Project Manager specialising in showcasing innovation and corporate success across the ANZ region. Jordan works with c-suite executives, industry titans and sector disruptors to bring you exclusive features.