DonoBrace in the market: Atco Steel Developments NZ Ltd

“Proven action speaks louder than anything else in this industry,” says Dave Olsen, General Manager for Atco Steel Developments Ltd. 

As specialists in steel fabrication and installation since 1939, Atco has stood the test of time for excellence in the construction industry. 

When it comes to bracing, Atco prefers working with the DonoBrace tension-only rod bracing system. “We’re looking for easier and simpler ways to do things,” says Olsen, “and DonoBrace provides that.” 

As a member of various steel construction associations, Atco prioritises quality and assurance for their clients. From key buildings for infrastructure to heritage sites to residential property, the firm works on projects large and small. 

Atco also has a particular focus on building structures in high load and seismic environments. This is particularly important as New Zealand straddles the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, with the Alpine faultline running through the country. 

Looking towards efficiency 

Atco has experience using a wide variety of bracing systems. Most commonly, their projects specify flat plate tension bracing, equal angle bracing, or DonoBrace tension-only rod bracing. 

Olsen highlights the distinctive ease of use for DonoBrace compared to alternative systems. 

With flat plate technology, the material has to be fabricated, then sent to another location for painting. Transportation and convoluted processes can cause delays getting the product installed. 

Using DonoBrace, however, cuts down on time and transportation. “No offsite fabrication is involved. The product comes ready to go and is already pre galvanised. We cut it to length and get it installed – and that’s it.” 

Reducing costs for clients 

“100% – using DonoBrace cuts costs on bracing.” 

Less transportation requirements, faster installation, and less people required means costs are consistently lower using DonoBrace. While Atco can require up to four rigger/fitters to install a flat plate system, DonoBrace installation only needs two. 

A recent heritage project in Wellington, for example, had originally specified using a different tension system for bracing. Atco, understanding the capacity efficiencies with DonoBrace, suggested switching to DonoBrace for the project. All told, the switch to a tension-only rod system ended up saving around 60% in bracing costs for the structure. 

Looking to the future 

It’s a rapidly-changing industry, with pressure building constantly on businesses like Atco. Like many construction companies at the moment, Atco is currently looking at projects 18 months in advance. 

Since 2005, when Olsen first joined Atco, he’s seen shifts in industry processes and better innovation – but also changes in expectations, communication, and relationship-building. Donovan Group, however, “has managed to consistently be very easy to work with, and easy to communicate with.” 

While automation is certainly becoming a larger part of the industry as a whole, Atco’s work is seismic-focused – involving a large number of one-off projects where total automation isn’t possible. Instead, Olsen says, “Products that are easy to work with – that’s our best way to automate for better efficiency.” 

Using DonoBrace has allowed Atco to adopt more time-efficient processes onsite that save time and costs for their structural projects. 


As specialists in the seismic market, Atco partners with suppliers who provide compliant, high quality products that are appropriate for extreme conditions. Choosing DonoBrace, for the team at Atco, is choosing a quality-assured design with a highly user-friendly process. 

Learn more about the DonoBrace system by talking to our expert team. 

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