NZIOB Charitable Trust announces winners of two $10,000 scholarships

Left to Right: Ged Finch, Professor Robyn Phipps. Photos supplied

The winners of the New Zealand Institute of Building Charitable Trust’s (NZIOB Charitable Trust) inaugural Scholarship Awards were announced last night at the NZIOB Awards of Excellent dinner in Auckland

The two winners, who each received a $10,000 cash prize, are Professor Robyn Phipps from Massey University Auckland and Gerard (Ged) Finch, a post-graduate student from the School of Architecture and Design at Victoria University of Wellington.

Gina Jones, NZIOB Charitable Trust Chair, said “The Trust introduced these Awards to encourage aspirational thinking with the potential to advance the design, construction or management of buildings in New Zealand, and thereby enhance the quality of our built environment.”

The Trust established the Awards to recognise, encourage and financially support recipients from a trade, technical or professional role pursue a project linked to building through research, practice or professional development.

A panel of three NZIOB past presidents reviewed 15 entries and selected the two winners.

“The panel was impressed by the quality of the entries and Robyn and Ged are worthy recipients of our inaugural scholarship Awards.”

Professor Robin Phipps has qualifications in building science and architecture, and is internationally recognised as a teacher and researcher in a range of building and construction fields. She has observed the problems faced by both the designers of new buildings, and by the consenting authorities, assessing building facades to ensure that they will not leak and that they perform all the functions required of modern buildings. There are a limited number of facade engineers in New Zealand because there are no home-grown courses of study available, so they have had to obtain their qualifications and experience overseas.

Professor Phipps, who is an NZIOB member, will use the Charitable Trust Award to travel to one of the World’s best-known centres of excellence in the field of facade engineering, to investigate how to deliver building facade training to suitably qualified building practitioners in this country.

Ged Finch is a Student Member of NZIOB, has a Bachelor of Architecture Studies and is currently completing a Master of Architecture degree. He has worked as an academic research assistant in New Zealand and for architectural firms overseas.

Ged is currently researching how best to avoid waste at the end of a building’s lifecycle. This research is significant given that some 50% of all New Zealand’s waste (amounting to 1.6 million tonnes annually) is generated by the construction sector. His proposition is that planning and designing for the disassembly of buildings at the end of their useful lives has the potential to greatly reduce the quantity of waste produced.

The NZIOB Charitable Trust Award will enable Ged to conduct full-scale tests of structural and architectural systems that have been designed to eliminate construction waste. This will effectively amount to a ‘real world’ test of those systems.

To be eligible for a NZIOB Charitable Trust Award, applicants must be New Zealand residents or citizens, actively involved in the building and construction industry, and be available for an interview with the selection panel if required.

Looking forward, the NZIOB Charitable Trust wants to offer these scholarships annually and has an active fundraising programme underway to raise funds, so the $20,000 scholarship grants are paid from earnings rather than from capital.

“The NZIOB Charitable Trust congratulates Robin Phipps and Ged Finch. The research proposals they submitted are well aligned with the aim of the Awards, which is to better the construction industry and the built environment,” Gina Jones said.