In 2001, three months before their much-planned wedding day, Phil and Sharlene Broadley took a leap of faith and bought a business that designed and manufactured wall frames, trusses,
beams, floors and rafters.

Phil, an Architectural Draughtsman, explains “Buying the business meant delaying our honeymoon for a while but it was worth it! I’d been involved in the business we bought, as a client and then an employee. I could see its potential so despite the inconvenient timing, we raced around arranging finance and before we knew it, it was ours”.

Prenail Frames and Trusses Limited (Prenail) has since grown to a team of ten staff – with half dedicated to design and half focussed on production.

Its customers include building contractors and building merchants, residential clients and high-end housing companies across the Wellington region and lower North Island.

The Trentham-based business prides itself on its design, technical expertise and comprehensive production systems. Phil mentions that historically the frame and truss industry was renowned for delays, mistakes and a lack of skills but he has turned this into an opportunity, building a reputation for high quality rather than the cheapest price. “Our sound design and highly trained staff means we get things right from the start – we leave no stone unturned”.

Our many regular customers appreciate our approach and are prepared to pay for the quality of our workmanship”.

Phil works proactively with New Zealand’s Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) to help set standards and develop qualifications which support the sector.

Prenail offers a cadetship programme which allows a young person to work in its technical team while studying for a Diploma of Architectural Technology or Construction Management.

“It’s a win-win for everyone” Phil says. “Our first cadet worked for us for nine years and is now a lead Architectural Technician for a company that designs and builds retirement villages nationwide”.

While some of Prenail’s competitors are much larger and rely on automation to produce large volumes, others are much smaller and depend on manual labour.

Phil explains “We have found a sweet spot in the middle. Being medium-sized allows us to combine highly skilled, manual labour and automation to achieve great efficiencies and high quality products”.

Prenail’s pre-fabricated wall frames and trusses can be quickly erected by builders onsite. “A building can be made weather tight and secure earlier than if the frames were constructed onsite. By carefully considering how we design, manufacture and supply our frames and trusses, we save builders and their clients time and money overall”.

Sharlene points to Upper Hutt’s central location as a major bonus for the business and its staff. “We and our staff enjoy living in the region. It’s only a 12 minute drive to work against the traffic and we’re close to our clients. Our staff get together regularly at the local golf clubs and social events. Everything is on our doorstep in Upper Hutt and it’s only a quick trip to the Wairarapa or the Kapiti Coast to meet clients or get away as a family”.

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Click on an image below to read local success stories from businesses and how they found success in Upper Hutt.

Last updated on 21 May 2018