A force to be reckoned with …


This month we announce the merger of Hamilton-based McCracken Surveys Ltd with Cheal Consultants Ltd, two highly respected and long-established organisations in the central North Island with an impressive combined history in the land development sector.


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So, who are they and what’s behind the change?
Dave McCracken, Registered Professional Surveyor, Director and owner of McCracken Surveys Ltd, has built a highly successful business over the past 26 years.  With a reputation for quality, efficiency and sound professional advice, Dave and his team of highly skilled professionals provide a range of Surveying and Resource Management Planning services throughout the greater Waikato region. 

Laurie Cheal established his Surveying practice in Taupo in 1940.  His original involvement in the growth of the Taupo township has developed over 79 years into an organisation with 70 employees across 6 offices in Hamilton, Taumarunui, Rotorua, Napier, Ohakune, whilst its head office remains in Taupo.  As a salute to Laurie, the Cheal name has been consistently applied through many different organisational structures and business partnerships over the years.  No longer just a Surveying practice, Cheal now employs Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers, Surveyors and Resource Management Planners along with a strong support team.  The Directors and Shareholders are all full-time employees and play an integral part in the business, both from a strategic and technical perspective.


Grabb Photography

One might say these are two very similar operations. Why combine them when they are both successful in their own right?
Phil Rielly, Director of Cheal and a Chartered Professional Engineer says “Whilst Cheal as an organisation provides a wide range of services, its Hamilton office, established just three years ago, has focussed predominantly on Structural, Geotechnical and Civil Engineering.  The organisation’s growth and development in Engineering continues to meet the needs of its expanding client base in the Waikato, and now with McCracken Surveys joining Cheal, the combined skills and service offering across Engineering, Surveying and Planning provides a far greater range of project solutions for the clients of both companies”. 

The New Zealand Surveying industry is a highly specialised, niche market and it is widely recognised that there is a major shortage of Surveying professionals throughout the country.  “Any company employing Surveyors will have regularly experienced the difficulties associated with finding this rare breed” says Rebecca Hawke, Cheal’s Business Manager.  She goes on to say “Add to this the shortage of suitably qualified Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers, it is clear that the joining of the two organisations provides both parties with the unique ability to offer a full range of services to the Waikato region, and a point of difference in the local market.”

ChealRebecca explains “Cheal’s loyalty to our land development background and the ability to stay up close and personal with our clients, employees and communities is one of the key elements of our culture.  Critical to the success of joining with McCracken Surveys, are the values and integrity shared by both organisations.  Both hold their employees in the highest regard, both are committed to professional development, client service, trust and loyalty, and running a sound business that will be sustainable long into the future.”

In terms of services, Cheal is all about Land Development, though in a good way.  Their Vision reads “To be Leaders in the Sustainable Development of our Environment” – which underlies a true commitment to their work having a positive and sustainable effect on the environment that existing and future generations of New Zealanders share.  It is this Vision that influences all aspects of projects undertaken by Cheal, from below the ground to the top of a structure.

Development of a piece of land is costly and requires many processes and red tape to be overcome.  The multi-disciplinary offering that Cheal provides ensures that all aspects of a development can be dealt with under one roof using qualified professionals who are hand-picked for the job.

The projects Cheal is involved in vary immensely and are treated with equal importance by its team.  At a grass roots level, the company continues to be fully invested in its client base for small residential subdivisions, boundary adjustments, simple land use or resource consents, domestic geotechnical investigations or small retaining walls.  Thinking bigger?  Cheal carries out Civil Engineering design for roads, residential, commercial and industrial multi-lot subdivisions, structural design and strengthening for earthquake-prone buildings, geotechnical analysis of liquefaction-prone ground, design and construction of irrigation dams, surveying of large-scale property boundaries, plan changes, affected party submissions and more.  Bigger still?  3D Laser scans on the inner workings of hydroelectric and geothermal power stations, survey set-out for ski-field gondolas, drone surveys, mapping for mountain-biking parks, the list goes on and the company is proud of its involvement across a wide range of sectors.

ChealSetting and maintaining high standards starts with the inner workings of the business and Cheal prides itself in having created exceptionally strong systems, values, brand and a dedicated leadership team.  Add to that a consistent strategy of recruiting the right people for the business at all levels and across the disciplines of Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Surveying and Planning, the blueprint is one that sustains ongoing growth and a strong team culture.

In such a technologically advanced industry it is critical to stay ahead of the competition.  Cheal is not a company that follows, nor a company that ignores development.  Cheal is a leader – 3D Laser Scanning, Drone surveys, a high level of investment in hardware and software, and a team that is highly skilled in using it.

The Cheal workforce is diverse, with technical professionals from 12 countries, highly qualified, experienced, and absolutely what you might expect from a company selling professional expertise.  Cheal believes that the recruitment of the right team is critical to the success of the organisation and its ability to deliver to its most important stakeholders – the clients.  McCracken Surveys is a direct fit into the culture and aspirations of Cheal.

What does the future look like?
Exciting for all those concerned. Dave McCracken joins Cheal as a Shareholder and Regional Manager for the company’s Hamilton office.  He will continue to play a vital part in looking after clients and projects as well as the day to day running of Cheal’s Hamilton operation.  Dave’s entire team of 11 people is also joining Cheal and during the next month they will move into Cheal’s offices at 533 Anglesea Street. 

Cheal is excited about the opportunities that McCracken Surveys brings to its operations in the Waikato, and to the wider company.  The addition of such a well-respected and long-standing successful business strengthens Cheal’s already strong commitment and involvement in the Waikato region. 

The merger of McCracken Surveys and Cheal will benefit all existing and future clients of both companies and delivers a clear point of difference in the Waikato market.  So what does the future look like for McCracken Surveys, Cheal and their clients?  It’s certainly bright!

Rebecca Hawke is Business Manager and a Principal at Cheal. www.cheal.co.nz

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