Laying the foundations

In 1961 two entrepreneurial New Zealand engineers had a vision of doing things better than the company they worked for. They established McConnell Dowell, and since then innovation and creative construction have remained at the heart of everything we do.


1960: Christmas morning 1960 and Maclom and Jim are banging pegs in the ground on their first subdivision. The fledgling company possesses a backhoe, a concrete mixer, some spades and an unshakeable “can do” attitude

1964: The successful demolition of Auckland’s ageing Panmure Bridge from a 48 year old barge called ‘Mahua’, helped Malcolm and Jim conclude that the ocean offers just as many opportunities as the land.

1965: A massive step forward when the Company wins the contract for the Marsden Point off-shore circulatory water cooling system, then the largest submarine pipeline in New Zealand. The design solution was a world first in marine technology.

1960s: As natural gas reticulation takes off in NZ Malcolm and Jim realises the potential for gas pipeline construction; and that competing with existing players with current technologies is very difficult. So Malcom spends two months in the USA studying pipeline construction. Amazed to see the US pipeliners laying 6 times more pipe per day than the New Zealanders, he filmed the process and brought some US experts to NZ to train the MCD crews. The company was able to lay its first pipeline with a speed and skill that left the other contractors in their dust. A pipelining dynasty was born.