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Inside Mainmark: Mike Baker, Around Wellington

What is your role at Mainmark?

As Mainmark New Zealand’s Area Manager in Wellington, I’m on the ground, working closely with our customers throughout their ground remediation journey. From first contact, initial site visit and assessment of the issue and ground conditions, I liaise with customers until completion of works, making sure everything runs smoothly. I enjoy being able to invest time with customers because they are relying on us to get the right results and the best possible outcome – whether it is their own home, business, or government managed infrastructure.

What drew you to the industry?

I started my career in civil construction and engineering in England where I was working on everything from laying underground pipes to concrete reinforcement, drainage and deep excavations. With five years of experience under my belt and a broad understanding of civil construction, I moved to New Zealand. My background in civil was invaluable when I joined Mainmark New Zealand in 2013, because I was able to draw on this knowledge in supervisory roles for projects, such as the Christchurch Art Gallery, which needed to be resupported and re-levelled following the 2010-2011 earthquake sequence.

During your time with Mainmark New Zealand, what changes have you witnessed?

The Mainmark business has really diversified to meet the changing needs of all regions in New Zealand. Up until 2018, we were servicing Wellington remotely, and now we are on the ground, with an office in Lower Hutt. We now also have a dedicated Rig and a team of people that live and work in this community. Some of us, myself included, moved here to help Mainmark establish the Wellington office, and we consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to live and work in New Zealand’s capital city. We’ve recently moved our Wellington office to a larger facility to help cater for the growing volume of work in the area.

What do you most enjoy about living in Wellington?

Wellington is a very friendly city with a welcoming community. I genuinely love where I live, the city is only 20 minutes in one direction and there is incredible nature 20 minutes in the opposite direction.

What are the most common issues and remediation solutions in Wellington?

The Wellington climate is wet and windy compared to other New Zealand regions, and consequently foundation issues can often relate to poor drainage or flooding. Wellington soil types can also vary from street to street, and we carefully assess every project so we can determine the most appropriate solution.

The 2016 Kaikoura earthquake has motivated residents in Wellington to proactively undertake preventative work and remediate any outstanding ground issues, helping to ensure the foundations of their home or business are well prepared to withstand future seismic events.

What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on so far, and why?

I would have to say the Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant liquefaction mitigation project using our proprietary Terefirm™ Resin Injection. This was the first project of its kind whereby the client proactively prepared vital infrastructure to prevent failure or downtime during a seismic event.

For Mainmark, it was an amazing opportunity to establish the first commercially viable solution that is able to mitigate the impact of liquefaction by treating the ground beneath existing structures. Terefirm™ Resin Injection is unmatched by other solutions as it enables us to allow structures, including vital infrastructure, remain fully operational while the ground underneath is treated. For the technicians that worked onsite at Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant and the team involved in the Christchurch Red Zone trials, it is an incredible achievement that proves what we’ve long suspected in terms of the capabilities of Terefirm Resin Injection, as a proven ground improvement and liquefaction mitigation solution.

Photo Mike BakerMike Baker is Mainmark New Zealand’s Area Manager in Wellington. After joining Mainmark in 2013, Mike supervised remediation of the modern Christchurch Art Gallery which was shaken by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that hit New Zealand’s South Island. In 2019 he led the first of its kind Seaview Wastewater Treatment Plant liquefaction mitigation project in Wellington.