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Covid-19 doesn’t slow down High-Tech Greenhouse Construction

Covid-19 doesn’t slow down High-Tech Greenhouse Construction

Apex MD James Harris excited about future

 

Recently I met with James Harris, Managing Director of Apex Greenhouses, at a project currently being built near Auckland, New Zealand.  I wanted to talk to James about the state of the industry post the Covid-19 lockdowns NZ has endured so far this year.  

Six months ago, in the first NZ lockdown, James was unsure how or if upcoming projects would go ahead. However, not only are they going ahead but business is thriving in both New Zealand and Australia.  Currently Apex have brand new high-tech glasshouses under construction in both countries.  James is excited about the future and delighted with the current situation - he is absolutely thrilled they have been able to retain their loyal, knowledgeable and talented staff throughout these tough times. Without these vital manufacturing and construction teams, no greenhouses would be built.  Apex directly employ over 30 staff both in NZ and Australia combined and have experienced contractor partners for every type and size of project.

Apex Greenhouses (formerly Faber Greenhouses), has been building greenhouses in New Zealand and Australia for over thirty-five years. Apex are a trusted brand; their greenhouse structures stand the test of time and can be found throughout NZ and Australia.   They are a leader in adapting new technology, enabling them to engineer greenhouses to suit the individual needs for all their customers.  Investing in new machinery has been a game changer and keeps them at the forefront of high-tech greenhouse construction.

 

Greenhouse horticulture, or protected cropping, is starting to accelerate in New Zealand, after years of moderate growth, both smaller and larger businesses appear to be investing in new structures and new technologies.  Covering an extensive range of greenhouse cultivars, from traditional vegetable & flower crops and now expanding into berry, herb, plant raisers and medical cannabis nurseries. 

 

Benefits of building a high-tech Glasshouse:

There are endless benefits to growing in a high-tech glasshouse structure. The capital costs may initially be higher but they are extremely low maintenance, which makes these structures an attractive option.  I asked James for a list of the main benefits of building an Apex Greenhouse:

  1. Low maintenance
  2. Longevity
  3. Equipment integration
  4. Crop support
  5. Durable
  6. Greater light transmission
  7. Sustainable (the life span of Glass is huge)
  8. Height of structure

Another major benefit is the module nature of the Venlo style glasshouses that won’t outdate.  This makes it easy for growers to add to their greenhouses if they wish to expand.

 

This glasshouse has been built with a 6-meter post height.  This gives high-tech glasshouses a major advantage over other structures as many growers prefer and understand the climate benefits that taller structures offer their crops.

 

Turnkey Options and Support Network:

“Every growing operation is different; some customers will simply purchase the structure. However, others will require and want turnkey options offered by us”. Apex have built partnerships with a large range of trusted suppliers providing their customers bespoke or traditional internal fitouts.  This service is beneficial for new companies entering the horticulture industry as well as existing business’s looking to move into glasshouses and those looking to upgrade current structures, that may not be familiar with the latest technologies and equipment available.

 

Listed below is some of the key systems and equipment available:

  1. Screens
  2. Heating systems
  3. Irrigation systems
  4. Environmental computer systems
  5. Water storage tanks
  6. Cooling fans and wet wall systems

To view more click on the link to see the extensive range of equipment that can be provided. https://apexgreenhouses.com.au/equipment/

 

Apex has recently constructed a brand-new purpose-built structure at the Auckland Domain.  Big or small anything can be achieved.

https://apexgreenhouses.com.au/project-auckland-domain/

 

Building Consents:

Organizing building consents is a daunting prospect for most.   Apex will assist with this part the process, which is sometimes seen as a massive hurdle for those entering into the industry unsure of the rules and regulations surrounding building a high-tech glasshouse structure.  Apex will help with requesting information from councils and help you navigate through the regulations.

 

Repairs and back up services:

Despite maintenance on a glasshouse being low it is still necessary to offer growers a repair and back up service. This is available in both New Zealand and Australia and can be called upon to maintain or carry out essential repairs as and when required. 

 

“Proof is in the longevity”:

Over the past 30 years large investment has been made to ensure Apex is at the forefront of high-tech greenhouse construction.  James said they work hard to stay on top of new designs, to understand and work with the different requirements for growers.  As an example, many growers are now using energy or diffused screens and some growers even have double screens.  By having partnerships with other suppliers, they work with them to make sure fitting such products into their design’s is seamless

As for the future James said the ‘Proof is in the longevity” and that the Venlo style greenhouses Apex construct are proven and stand the test of time.  James is confident, even with Covid-19 causing massive disruption around the world, that they will continue to progress and invest in new technology to best support the need of the New Zealand and Australian high-tech glasshouse market.

 

Apex recently completed a Medical Cannabis growing operation in Australia. This client chose for a diffused glass system, venting with insect netting, rolling benches, shade screens and blackout screen systems and an LED lighting system.

 

Apex Greenhouses also offer plastic greenhouse solutions for crops or areas more suited to this type of structure.

If you are interested to learn more about the opportunities Apex can offer click on the link below and contact them today: https://apexgreenhouses.com.au/contact/

Cover Image: James at a new build under construction in New Zealand.

 

I appreciate your comments.  Please feel free to comment on the grower2grower Facebook page:

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Article Written and compiled by Stefan Vogrincic, Consultant, Grower2Grower

Article Edited by Marie Vogrincic, Editor, Grower2Grower