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111 Years of Forward Thinking

Construction | AE Smith | 3

AE Smith:

111 Years of Forward Thinking Innovation the key for one of Australia’s business success stories Submitted by AE Smith

June 2009 |


rom its humble beginnings in 1898 as a one-man plumbing business, founder Albert Edward Smith Senior set in motion an industry leading company that would become one of Australia’s most successful family-owned businesses. The growth of AE Smith into a formidable mechanical services company with 10 offices around the country, +700 employees and an intrinsic involvement in Australia’s built environment has been anchored around a combination of family values and innovative vision for the future. From its original business success enjoyed as a result of the huge demand for plumbing services during Melbourne’s settlement boom; then expanding the business to include mechanical services for heating, cooling and ventilation to

Darwin Convention Center, Darwin opening offices around the country as it added landmark projects to the company’s portfolio – AE Smith is regarded as the industry leader in mechanical services and a major player in shaping Australia and New Zealand’s building industry. Working with Australian and international partners, AE Smith collaborates on multi-million dollar projects, new developments and landmark buildings including the tallest residential building in the world; Melbourne’s 92-story Eureka Tower, the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach as well as the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. It’s these large scale projects played out on a world stage combined with a host of highly technical projects such as hospitals, the Australian Synchrotron, aviation, pharmaceutical, scientific and manufacturing companies that have | June 2009

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Fantech has been at the forefront of fan and attenuator technology since its launch in the early 1970’s, and continues to develop new and innovative products for virtually every air movement and ventilation need. Fantech worked with AE Smith to supply a range of fans to the wards, theatres, delivery rooms and administration areas of the Royal Women’s Hospital. The hospital offers specialist women’s medical and maternity services, as well as a new world-class Research Centre. Its construction was led by Bilfinger Berger Project Investments with builder Baulderstone Hornibrook. Royal Women’s Hospital Melbourne, Australia

June 2009 |

Eureka Tower, Melbourne.

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set AE Smith apart from competitors. “We pride ourselves on being the partner of first choice for the industry when it comes to HVAC and mechanical services - but also building technologies and sustainability services,” comments CEO Andrew Permezel, who continues the family dynasty at AE Smith. “Our complementary business units means we lead the way in offering a single source solution – we deliver both construction and service for our clients as well as environmentally smart solutions for buildings of the future,” Permezel adds.

drafting software packages in the country. “This latest 3D technology is creating new levels of problem solving for complex jobs that means we’re able to standardise components, improve accuracy, reduce errors and ultimately costs,” comments Andrew Permezel. Embracing the latest technology is not the only way AE Smith’s team of leading engineers, tradespeople and management are staying one step ahead: “We’re always benchmarking ourselves against our colleagues internationally and finding ways to train and educate our team in world’s Front foot with technology best practice,” adds Permezel who has sent Adopting the latest technology into work practices AE Smith team members around the world on has always been part of the AE Smith culture. dozens of courses, conferences and trade misAs one of the first Australian companies to sions to build skills and knowledge. introduce computer aided drafting long before AutoCAD become industry standard, AE Smith Partnering a key to success is on the front foot with technology again, having “Sometimes innovation is achieved through one of the largest installations of CAD-Duct 3D partnering,” comments AE Smith Construction | June 2009

Construction | AE Smith | 7

FACTS at a Glance Company Name: AE Smith CEO: Andrew Permezel Operations: Privately owned mechanical services Established: 1898 Employees: +700 Revenue: +AU $100 million General Manager, Peter Staedler. AE Smith has recently joined forces with one of their major competitors, AG Coombs to deliver a large scale project for the New Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. The $1 billion major renovation and expansion project scheduled for completion in 2011, presented a unique opportunity for creating a joint venture to deliver a highly specialized and significant mechanical services contract. “When we took on this job a year ago, skills were at a premium but between the two companies, we had all the necessary resources. It was a foregone conclusion that a joint venture was the smartest thing,” says Staedler. It’s not the first time AE Smith has adopted a partnership approach to deliver solutions on landmark projects. A three-way joint venture to complete the Crown Casino complex (one of the country’s largest scale construction projects of its time) was formed over 12 years ago, which June 2009 |

Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne. also resulted in the creation of a shared ductwork shop for the partner companies. It still supplies 150 tonnes of ductwork each month – and is likely to be used for future collaborative projects in the pipeline. “This type of forward thinking to work collaboratively and create shared infrastructure has proved a great investment,” says Staedler.

Energy Innovations

AE Smith is also recognized for pioneering various business stewardship issues that would never have been considered by founder Albert Smith 111 years ago – particularly major initiatives to reduce the impact of the air conditioning industry on the environment. Its work delivering Green Star and NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) accredited buildings; the first air conditioning company to support Greenfleet as well as pledging to plant 10 000 trees by

Andrew Permezel, CEO 2010 to help offset carbon emissions of the industry are examples of the keen eye AE Smith has on the future. Importantly, AE Smith has developed a new energy services business, Emerald Sustainable Performance – dedicated to improving the environmental performance of buildings. “AE Smith customers can now turn to our experts at Emerald Sustainable Performance to find ways to turn their commitment to being efficient with energy and water management of their property assets into reality,” says Permezel. Using a suite of tools, AE Smith’s Emerald team works with building owners to audit and also implement sustainable practices to improve a buildings overall efficiencies - focused on reducing costs, environmental impact and working towards a desired NABERS Energy Star Rating.

competitive advantage for AE Smith – who have had a dedicated National Safety Manager and consultative committee in place for over 15 years. The Committed to a Zero Harm policy within AE Smith and their contractors has recently lead to the company’s Workplace Health & Safety practices certified to AS/NZS 4801:2001 earlier this year – an achievement that’s also reflected in their industry low insurance premiums. “Workplace safety is high on the agenda in Australia at the moment, but we we’re well ahead of the game,” comments Staedler, who notes that AE Smith has reduced the total number Loss Time Injuries (LTI) by 60 percent in the last three years. From the passion and vision of Albert Edward Smith back in 1898, to its outstanding record of growth into a BRW Top 500 Private Company, AE Smith remains a proudly AustralSafety First ian family owned business that promises to live Safety in the workplace is key priority and on for another 111 years. | June 2009

AE Smith 21-29 Miles Street Mulgrave VIC 3170, Australia T: +61 (0)3.9271.1999 | F: +61 (0)3.9271.1992

111 Years of Forward Thinking  

AE Smith corporate profile featured in June 2009 issue of Construction Digital magazine -

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