Biggins Fibrous Plaster was formally known as Biggins – established in 1943 by founder, Fred Biggins. Despite being long-past retirement age, Fred continued working in the business until it was sold to the current owners, Steve and Carlene Leitch in 1995. Although the business was no longer in the Biggins family, Fred continued to be a big part of Biggins Fibrous Plaster up until when he passed away at the age of 96 in 2007. Steve and Carlene welcomed Fred’s input in their business as his knowledge of the fibrous plaster industry was phenomenal, and his status with the workers was legendary.
Biggins Fibrous Plaster have always been a part of the New Zealand Fibrous Plaster Association (NZFPA) and the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries of New Zealand (AWCINZ). Both Fred and his son Barry are life members of the NZFPA, and Steve is currently President of the NZFPA and serves on the executive of the AWCINZ.
Hardly a year goes by when Biggins Fibrous Plaster is not recognised by the AWCINZ as a winner in one of their prestigious awards at their annual conference. In 2009, Biggins Fibrous Plaster won the heritage award for their work on the old Supreme Court in Wellington and in 2010, not only did they take out the heritage award but also the joint Australian/New Zealand people’s choice award for their work on Government House. (The people’s choice award is the most popular project from all winning entries from each state of Australia and New Zealand in all categories including residential, commercial and heritage.)
Biggins Fibrous Plaster is also a big believer in industry training with all workers given the opportunity to complete an apprenticeship to become qualified in their chosen trade. Steve holds National Certificates in Fibrous Plaster Manufacture and Installation, as well as Plaster Board Fixing and Finishing and serves as a member of the Building and Construction ITO’s Interior Systems National Advisory Group – the body that develops and reviews the National Qualifications for the Interior Systems industry. Carlene also holds the National Certificate in Fibrous Plaster Manufacture and is the person primarily responsible for training apprentices in all factory operations as well as being Biggins Fibrous Plaster number one caster.