Business partners Jay Rawiri (Ngāti Paoa, Ngāti Toro) and Komene Admore (Ngā Puhi) are the directors of Lite Civil Ltd, a South Auckland-based contracting company providing an array of civil services for residential, commercial and subdivision projects.
The company prides itself on being a one-stop-shop for civil construction, offering services in excavation, site prep, drainage, roading, concrete, hot mix and more.
With an office in Takanini, they service the wider Auckland region, with 80 percent of their contracts coming from South Auckland.
“We work directly with private developers and also subcontract to bigger construction companies,” says Jay. “We have built some great relationships in the industry and are still in the growth stage of our business, leaving us open to a number of opportunities moving forward.”
Although the business is young, the pair have more than 25 years’ experience between them.
“When I left university a friend offered a cadetship at a civil construction company,” adds Jay. “I was there for 12 years, working my way through the ranks and, eventually becoming a construction manager.”
Using his experience, and the business degree he attained at Auckland University of Technology, he started Lite Civil in 2016.
Within the first year, he employed three staff and one contractor. The focus at that time was on small residential developments, but he had great ambitions to grow.
Komene had been a bricklayer by trade and following his apprenticeship, worked for a civil supply company. He started on the yard and, over 13 years, worked his way into a branch manager role. When he became a partner in Lite Civil in 2017, the business gained double the management, which quickly saw it double in size.
One of the motivators for growth was to create more jobs and opportunities for others. Today, Lite Civil employs 18 staff and an additional five contractors. With a predominantly Māori workforce, the pair have hired both skilled labourers, as well as supported unemployed locals find pathways into work.
“We wanted to give others the same opportunity we were given when we were first starting out. For us, it’s about having the right attitude,” says Jay, when he talks about how they fill their team. “You can teach skill, but you can’t teach attitude.”
With an operations manager recently added to the team, there are plans to hire even more staff as the company continues to grow.
“We’re still a small business,” adds Komene. “Which means we can be more flexible than some of the bigger companies when it comes to quick turnaround on jobs, schedule changes and availability.”
Running 4-6 jobs at a time, having completed about 60 contracts over the past year, the energetic pair have a can-do attitude that thrives in the dynamic, ever-evolving civil industry. Current contracts include a series of subdivisions in Papakura, as well as commercial and residential jobs that see them working with a range of clients, from big business to private home owners.
With rapid growth, and a doubling of turnover every year, the pair are phasing their way out of doing the more physical aspects to the job to focus solely on managing and growing the business.
“We love the challenge of the work and we want to build a reputable brand that reflects our honesty and reliability. We have a proven record and have built a good reputation, people know when they bring us in, we deliver.”
Both men are fathers and with an array of ‘big boys’ toys’; five diggers, three trucks, seven company utes and a tractor (with the option to hire more when needed), they have some eager children ready to take over the business when their time comes.
“My five-year-old is always saying he wants to come to work with dad and jump on the machines,” laughs Jay.
With an industry that relies on a constantly changing economy, the ethos that ‘no job is too big or small’ is one that will keep this advantageous, problem-solving pair in good stead.