When BlueScope Steel acquired Pacific Steel’s rolling mills they wanted to fundamentally change the way steel is produced for the New Zealand market, extending the economic life of the steel mill and maintaining local job opportunities.

In order to produce both steel slab (for flat products) and steel billet (for long products), two new units needed to be installed at New Zealand Steel's Glenbrook plant – a ladle metallurgical furnace (LMF) and a billet continuous casting machine (BCCM).

The challenge was how to achieve this within a 15-month timeframe, in the middle of the existing steel plant, and all while the plant continued to operate 24/7.

Our project managers and engineers formed a tightly integrated team with our client and contractors. We worked for six months to design the solution, which involved the use of common utilities and cranes, relocating or tying into existing plant and systems, and upgrading foundations to meet new seismic requirements.

The complexity of this project can't be underestimated. The space, time and budget constraints and the extremely hazardous environment required precision and fresh thinking. We developed a detailed 3D-model through which every design and construction activity and detail could be planned, tested and verified, allowing maximum efficiency. The project was completed within the board's expectation and has been consistently producing well above the business case plan.

The success of Project Atom means almost all the steel products of the appropriate quality can be manufactured locally rather than being imported, delivering continued sustainability and supply of products through Glenbrook for years to come, as well as keeping jobs in the community. 


  • ACENZ Gold Award 2017


Years working with NZ Steel


Month project timeframe


Hours to design and install

Our Team Says

Opportunities for engineers to work on a project of this nature in Australasia are probably once in a career. It meant we had no boilerplate design to work from, but overcoming the many challenges was hugely rewarding for the team.

Lee Roberts

Operations Manager

Our Client Says

Project Atom, which covered the acquisition of Pacific Steel as well as new assets in the form of a billet caster and ladle metallurgical furnace, has delivered more value to the business than was originally foreseen in the business case. The focus and determination of the team to deliver this result was first class.

Garry Toner

Engineering Services Manager – NZ Steel

Our People

John Barrett

Manager, Beca - NZ Steel

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Lee Roberts

Operations Manager - Beca Industrial

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Michael Higham

Principal - Structural Engineering

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