These guys work some magic in their workshop

14 Nov 2019

Spiral Drillers with award
Spiral Drillers Civil at the Site Safe Evening of Celebration on November 6. Project Manager Baran Balaban holds the winning certificate and safety manager Leah Fry holds the trophy.


When Auckland’s Spiral Drillers Civil come up against a problem, they go into their workshop to come up with the answer.

Sometimes it is adapting something to do a new job, and sometimes it is coming up with a brand-new creation to fix a worksite issue.

Thanks to this "just get on with it culture" the company won the Bettabuilt Safety Innovation Award for large organisations at the Site Safe Evening of Celebration on November 6 after submitting not one, but six innovations they have come up with.

The creations were a pile carrier, an adapted container for welding, a pile splicing robot, a concrete pile shaver, a digger-mounted pile cleaner and a forklift mounted Pile Driving Analyser testing unit.

The judges said the work Spiral Drillers undertake is demanding, heavy and often hazardous, and the firm is known for creating specialist equipment that boosts productivity and enhances worker safety.

A previous Site Safe innovation award winner, the Auckland-based firm, run by Andrew Hannah and Jon Faber, has been going since 1971.

In receiving the award project manager Baran Balaban said a big thank-you to operations manager Geoff Paton who designed most of the tools.

“We are very lucky to have him in our team!

“Also, a special thanks to Site Safe for organising this great event and giving us an opportunity to showcase our innovations.

“Designing and building task-specific tools is a speciality of Spiral Drillers. We do it in our own workshop with our own team and innovation is the backbone of our successful business.

“What inspires us is the desire to achieve tight targets in the safest way possible without sacrificing quality,” Mr Balaban said.

“We also congratulate all the finalists for trying to make New Zealand’s workplaces safer.”

The award judges said in their decision that Spiral Drillers are true safety innovators, working in the tough area of drilled and driven piles, sheet piles and underpinning.

“The design and build work that goes on in their workshop helps to create an environment where hazards are eliminated or minimised.”

The judges could see “a start-to-finish, can-do attitude to identifying issues, analysing solutions and then doing something about it.”

Of the six innovations in the submission, the one that really impressed the judges was the concrete pile shaver which is a modified digging bucket with special drilling bullets welded on. The pile shaver gets attached to an excavator which can then quickly trim excess concrete from vertical surfaces, replacing the need to have workers on scaffolds using concrete breaker hammers.

Also particularly worthy of mention was the digger mounted pile cleaner and portable weathertight welding shelter that significantly reduces the environmental hazards for welders.

Kaine Robertson, General Manager of category sponsor Bettabuilt, said Spiral Driller’s proactive attitude and genuine commitment to improving the industry was admirable.


Geoff and Balaban

Spiral Driller Project Manager Baran Balaban with Operations Manager Geoff Paton who designs many of the innovative tools the company comes up with.


pile shaver

The concrete pile shaver which is a modified digging bucket with special drilling bullets welded on. When attached to an excavator it scrapes excess concrete from vertical surfaces, saving workers from doing it manually with breakers.