Costco Westgate


  • Stairs
  • Hatches


  • Retail

Promising high quality warehouse savings on quality merchandise, Costco has finally arrive in New Zealand. With a range of goods across fresh and long-life food items, electronics and furniture, fuel, a pharmacy, an optical department, a food court and even a tyre centre, Costco is looking to shake up buying on a big scale.

For their flagship (and first) store in NZ, Costco chose Westgate, Auckland with great accessibility and a stunning view. Getting the new site right also meant investing in innovative solutions from top to bottom – and that’s where we came in with a range of high tensile marine-grade aluminium solutions.

Woodhams Meikle Zhan Architects approached us in the beginning of 2020 for this project. The designers understood the benefits of having us in early and helping them design a stair solution that was not just unique to their site, but a first for Costco worldwide. In addition, we also provided some short access stairs and hatches, and balustrades on the tyre centre.

We were able to work with the architects early and show them the superiority of aluminium and our XBEAM products. We designed five aluminium stair units – two indoors, three outside – each reaching around five levels. We also included a brand new application of Monkeytoe’s XBEAM: as a central column that would support the stairs and further reduce the footprint. The base of one stair runs alongside a delivery lane, giving us just 2.5m to work with – and in which we were easily able to fit.

A structural steel solution would have been possible, but it would have required a redesign of the 2sqkm+ Costco site. Steel is, of course, around 2.5x heavier than aluminium (and a stair and balustrade solution in steel can weigh as much as 3.5x an aluminium option), which means it requires a bigger footprint on site – and also changes to the foundation depth. This is especially true on this prime Westgate site, which is built on swampland and required substantial piling work. Here, every square metre counts in a big way.

Rather than needing 10 tonnes of steel, we were able to use just 2,800kg of aluminium, and save the designers from having to over-engineer their foundations. Plus, we can say with confidence that our aluminium solutions and design contributions have created savings for this project that structural steel simply can’t match.

Fitting out these stairs presented its own unique challenges. In particular, one stair needed to be installed next to a waterway, limiting our ability to drive in cranes. Instead, we used smaller spider cranes on the roof and installed the stairs from the rooftop carpark without the need for hot works or heavy machinery.

We’re proud to have done our part to bring this exciting project to life with cost-effective, high-quality aluminium products.