05 September 2023
4 min read
Chester Consultants began with one man’s simple desire to work for himself.
“He got two contracts for 20 hours a week and decided to go at it alone and set his own path,” shares Steven Rankin, Director and Principal Civil and Environmental Engineer at Chester.
Initially, Chester's services were primarily focused on Gary Chester’s experience in structural engineering. But as the years passed, Gary’s motivation to provide the best possible client and project outcomes grew. To do so, he needed to expand his knowledge.
Recognising the market’s evolving needs in response to building code changes in 1992, Gary upskilled in fire engineering and expanded the company's offering. “Structural and fire engineering are complimentary so, in 1992, Gary seized the opportunity to be able to provide a more complete service,” shares Steven.
Until 2008, this legacy formed the backbone of Chester. Structural engineering constituted around 80% of Chester's offerings, with fire engineering making up the remaining 20%.
The turning point came when Steven Rankin joined the company, bringing with him a background in land development and civil engineering. With his leadership, Chester's civil engineering division began to grow substantially, complementing the existing structural and fire engineering services. This marked the transition of Chester from a specialised consultancy to a multi-disciplinary powerhouse.
“Land surveying was the next dripline to be added as it was complimentary to producing a quality civil design and then being able to support a client through to the completion of the project,” adds Steven.
“Most recently, Chester added planning and project management to the multi-disciplinary picture which rounds out the core services that we believe enable a company to be truly multi-disciplinary in the built environment space; being able to plan, design, construct and deliver for our clients.”
Today, Chester boasts an impressive range of services, including structural and fire engineering, civil engineering, land surveying, planning, and project management. This range of service, all in one place, allows Chester to offer holistic solutions to clients.
At the core of the business is the skill of problem solving, which is benefitted by a collaborative, multi-disciplinary consultancy. “We are problem solvers,” shares Steven. “People come to us with problems or outcomes they require. The more problems or outcomes to be resolved with fewer interactions means less time, effort and stress is required by our client.”
Rather than continuously chasing the latest trends, Chester is driven by an unwavering desire to prioritise people and retain the same core values that they had as a small business. “Amidst the changing landscape of consultancy services, Chester has remained consistent in its core values and approach,” shares Steven. “We have a focus on genuine human engagement, valuing time and money, and being responsive to client needs.”
These core values are centred around five statements which promote positivity, collaboration, success, and balance: ‘Make it better every day, to make every day better’; ‘We succeed as one team together’; ‘We say it, we do it, we deliver’; ‘Positive people, positive outcomes’; and ‘Balance in everything’.
“We have tried to hold on to what made us successful when we were small as we have transitioned to a larger organisation,” Steven adds. “So picking up the phone, talking to people, moving a job forward. This engagement is now more precious and valued in the busy, time-poor environment we work in currently.”
Looking ahead, Chester aims to continue developing their project management and planning services. As they approach 40 years in business, they are aspiring to expand their market presence throughout New Zealand, while nurturing their existing office in Fiji for Pacific projects.
“We currently also have an office in Fiji which we would like to grow, as working throughout the Pacific is something we are passionate about,” adds Steven.
Collaboration, innovation, and professional development are deeply ingrained in Chester's work culture. “We don’t have a glass ceiling or hierarchy that can suppress individuals – we support, respect and empower staff and we are very quick to react and change as required,” Steven shares. “Professional development comes with trust, support and real world experience so we let our people find their place.”
For the team at Chester, the most fulfilling part of their business is witnessing the influence and betterment they can bring to their clients. With each project, they leave a lasting positive impact, solidifying their position as a trusted and reliable consultancy in the built environment space.
“We exist to solve problems, get outcomes, and make a difference,” Steven concludes.