Gisborne school named Supreme Winner in Build-Ability Challenge

Lytton High School has been named the Supreme Winner of the 2016 BCITO Build-Ability Challenge.

The Gisborne school picked up three of the four awards on offer, topping the public vote to be named the People’s Choice and also picking up Best Video Entry.

Over the past few months, teams from 19 secondary schools across the country have competed to design, build and decorate the best playhouse.

Lytton High School built a ‘yellow submarine’ which has been donated to Te Whare Whai Hua Childcare Centre.

The challenge has put the students’ building skills to the test while also highlighting the benefits of a career in the trades.

Lytton High School Build-Ability Team

Lytton High School's Build-Ability team members along with their impressive 'Yellow Submarine' Playhouse.

The quality of this year’s entries has been truly outstanding, says judging panel spokesperson Glenn Duncan.

“Lytton High School’s entry is testament to the skill of these students and the hard work they have put into this challenge,” he says.

“The work of all participating schools, and in particular the Supreme Winner, shows great promise for the future of the construction industry in New Zealand.”

Lytton High School has been awarded a $1,000 voucher for their school’s technology department, a GoPro Camera and a “team shout” by their schools BCITO Skills Broker.

Judges were impressed with the school’s documentation of the build’s challenges and successes, their skilled presentation and acknowledgement of sponsors.

“Lytton High School presented excellent plans and design with discussion of their thought processes.

“The quality of the build was fantastic with great attention to detail. The laser-cut windows that include marine-life images were fantastic and it is clear that care was taken to prepare and landscape the site.

“The school’s creative videos were also a stand-out, winning them the Best Video Entry. The school found team members outside the realm of carpentry who put their Photoshop talents to great use. This made the presentation of Lytton’s ‘Builders Log’ (Blog) first-class.”

The Challenge was judged in a two-step process, with the completed project being inspected onsite, and the design and planning being judged by a national judging panel.

The judging panel were also impressed with the school’s consultation with the preschool, saying the team really thought about what would work best for their client.

“The ‘yellow submarine’ playhouse is surely any kid’s dream come true and will serve its purpose well.

“It is clear that all team members were involved, focused and having fun throughout the Challenge. The team put in many hours of hard work and achieved an amazing end-result.”

Palmerston North’s Awatapu College was awarded the Dulux Best Decorated Playhouse. The team will receive $1,000 worth of paint and materials kindly supplied by Dulux, and each student will also receive an individual prize pack.

Awatapu College's Build-Ability masterpiece

Awatapu College's crazy, colourful, award-winning playhouse

Throughout the Challenge the schools shared their progress in blogs and videos at

The challenge is part of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation’s strategy to meet the growing need for apprentices. BCITO currently has a record 10,000 apprentices in training but still needs more if New Zealand is to keep up with the demand for housing.

This year, Challenge participants also learnt skills that contributed towards unit and achievement standards in Building, Construction and Allied Trades Skills (BCATS) National Certificates. Both the Challenge and BCATS aim to develop literacy, numeracy and communication skills, as well as connecting with the Technology Curriculum.

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