Containers help build brighter futures


On a busy construction site at Unitec’s Mt Albert campus in Auckland, three houses are being built by students from a carpentry course that will set them up for work in the industry.  

Joseph Pitovao, who runs the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills – Carpentry, says New Zealand’s construction boom has seen demand for the course grow and it attracts a diverse range of people. 

unitec hero  

“Traditionally it was for students out of high school, but recently there are more women, who really are doing well, and adults who are retraining or retirees who want to supplement their retirement,” he says.

With the course being 75% practical, the main focus for each class is building a house from start to finish. The current class is building four houses as part of a contract for Kainga Ora with the homes destined for Gisborne and Opotiki.

To support better educational outcomes for students, Pitovao had a vision to transform the site by providing quality amenities, secure storage for tools, and to replicate a construction site as closely as possible.

Royal Wolf containers were key to this transformation.

Needs of the client:

  • Two containers for storage of tools and equipment  
  • One container site office
  • Safe, highly secure storage
  • Relocatable portable container buildings  


Royal Wolf’s Business Development Manager James Norman worked closely with the customer to design and create two 20-foot modified containers which met their specific storage and access needs.

One container was modified with a large entrance way and roller door to enable easy access for large tools. A second container was adapted by adding a rectangular servery opening for the easy return and storage of hands tools and other equipment.           

Both containers were painted in Unitec’s distinct green colour. Royal Wolf also supplied a 20-foot office which acts as the central site office for the course.

“We try to ensure the course is as close as possible to the real building sites the students will be working on after they graduate. Royal Wolf’s bespoke containers, which you see on most construction sites these days, are a big part of creating that environment,” says Pitovao.

“At the same time, and on a very practical level, they also provide highly secure storage for tools and materials on site.”

Solutions provided:

  • Modification and container design expertise
  • Reliable service
  • Creative modification solutions
  • Two modified containers with bespoke entrance ways, doors and opening
  • 1 x container site office


“We used to have to wheelbarrow our tools to site each day but now everything is in one place,” says Pitovao.

The site is more productive, efficient and the learning environment has been transformed into something that strongly resembles a real work site.

“It’s helped us take what we do to the next level. Our joint venture with Kainga Ora is an example of that. We’re providing housing for those who are in need, and people who really need support with top quality, warm dry homes.”

Pitovao says the course is producing top quality graduates who leave the course to go on to good jobs in the building and construction sector.   

“So many of our old students come back to say hi and they love showing off their new trucks and new tools. They are doing really well, running their own projects, and they’re really successful. It’s great to see.”

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