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DESIGNED AND MADE FOR WOMEN. Built for hard work. Blundstone Women’s Safety Series



Our Cover: Minister for Employment, Skills,

Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash.

INSIDE Regulars


Executive Director’s Welcome...........................................07

Senator Michaelia Cash ....................................................... 10

Leading Lady............................................................................. 10 Odd woman out .......................................................................16 Finance .........................................................................................18 Health and Wellbeing ...........................................................36 Mental Health............................................................................. 37 Business Matters ..................................................................... 53 Q&A Five Minutes with... Kirstee Copley......................42

Small business key to recovery Denita Wawn .............................................................................12 Rebuilding an Industry Elena Potenza .......................................................................... 22 Turning a vision into success Rick Simmons ...........................................................................39 Building in uncertain times

Day in the life.............................................................................62

Editor: Josie Adams; Editorial Coordinator: Amanda Kelly; Design Concept: Angela Carroll; Designer: Alyssa Welke; Cover image: Senator Michaelia Cash. Custom Publishing Manager: Brooke Gardner Advertising inquiries: 07 4690 9309. Editorial Enquiries: 0437 819 696 Email: josie.adams@news.com.au Subscriptions: 07 4690 9360. News Corp Australia is the exclusive Publishing Partner of Florence magazine, in conjunction with the Master Builders Association of New South Wales. ABN: 63 009 820 035. Phone: (07) 4690 9309; Website: www.newscorpaustralia.com. PRINTED BY: Greenridge Group 4 Freighter Ave Toowoomba QLD 4350. This publication is copyright. No part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the permission of Master Builders Association of NSW or News Corp Australia. Disclaimer: The information contained within Florence magazine is given in good faith and obtained from sources believed to be accurate. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. News Corp and the Master Builders Association of New South Wales will not be held liable for any opinion or advice contained herein.


FLORENCE THE WOMEN REBUILDING AN INDUSTRY Welcome to the first national edition of Florence magazine, digitally distributed to every member of the Master Builders Association in Australia. A collaboration between Master Builders NSW and News Corp Custom Publishing, Florence tells the stories of everyday women running small businesses, working on-site and in the board rooms of multinational companies, to construct a new perspective in the male-dominated building and construction Industry.

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This issue is different to its predecessors for the simple reason that the times have been unprecedented. It was mostly written from home, in between varied stages of lockdown and home-schooling. It’s been a challenging time for the industry and a challenging time for many women trying to balance it all. What I have noticed though, is how well women have coped. How resilient and creative we are at finding ways to navigate this ‘new normal’ to remain productive. In this issue of Florence, we talk to two women at the forefront of the nation’s recovery. Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Michaelia Cash talks about the importance of small business to the economic recovery (on page 12) and how the changes to the way we work could benefit women in the industry. On page 14, Denita Wawn, CEO of Master Builders Australia, talks us through her typical day in lockdown, while working to ensure the viability of the industry. One of the most inspiring stories for me to date, is the life and career of the incredible Elena Potenza (page 22). Read about her first construction job as the only female on a work-site to her current roles as a director, board member and mentor to women. Elena’s story is a perfect example of how women have fearlessly forged their own paths in the industry.

Josie Adams Editor


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t never ceases to amaze me that after decades of observing the most dynamic, innovative, and might I say the most necessary industry in the country that it overcomes challenges with ease. As our sector moves into the post COVID-19 rebuild phase, the industry demonstrates how it adapts to its new environment. Interestingly, when you talk to people involved in the building industry, while some may have horror stories the greater majority continue to push through. I recently spoke with a young builder, 28 years old, who told me a little bit about his thriving business. The business worked safely through the months of March, April, May and June and in fact not only won new projects but also engaged two new employees, a carpenter and an apprentice. He told me about his apprenticeship and how his mother said you’ve got to get a trade because with a trade you can go anywhere. He told me that he was building up his business, but a lot of his work was done behind the scenes, such as preparing tenders, looking after employee entitlements, doing BAS returns, paying super and insurance

payments on time and this involved a lot more work than he anticipated. This is the typical plight of small business. The building and construction industry engages more small businesses than any other sector in the economy. The sector employs and trains more apprentices, even though not enough at this time, than any other sector in the nation. So who runs the back-end of this business, this typical small business. You guessed it none other than Mum. It should be noted that he sings the praises of his mother, who not only looks after his business but also has to look after her business. Maybe this demonstrates the resilience of small business and particularly women. I think most of us can picture Mum, the wife, the fiancĂŠe or partner doing exactly this sort of work and supporting small business in many households across the country. I hope you enjoy our first digital copy of Florence and thank you to all of those who have sent their enthusiastic support for Florence. FLORENCE || 7

Florence Taylor was a formidable force in publishing in the building industry. PHOTOS: MITCHELL LIBRARY, STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES AND COURTESY ACP MAGAZINES LTD.


A FEMALE VOICE In the masculine world of construction, Florence Taylor made her voice heard ALYSSA WELKE


hief among Florence Taylor’s many accomplishments were her work as a writer and publisher. This was arguably her most significant contribution to Australian culture. It was her marriage to George, in 1907, that drove her change in career from design. She transformed herself into a writer of technical journalism, editor of journals and books, and an extraordinarily long career as managing director of the Building Publishing Company. Together, Florence and George started the Building Publishing Co. Ltd which produced trade journals, three of which Florence edited: Harmony, Young Australia and the Australian (later Commonwealth) Home. Through their journals they campaigned for urban planning, improved construction methods and better materials; through them, they also promoted the interests of engineers, architects and builders. For more than five decades, two of those together with George, Florence steered the Building group with the journal, Building, the flagship publication of the Taylor publishing house. Building was the brainchild of George and in his introductory statement in September 1907 (reproduced March 1908) he stated: This Magazine is published in the interests of Architects, Builders, Craftsmen, and Property Owners, to record their doings, study their requirements, watch legislative and other movements that may affect their interests, lay before them the cream of the world’s research in their various lines, and study for them the fluctuations in property and building materials. Building set out not merely to describe events but to point out what was good, bad and indifferent. Florence played a key role in the development of Building, firstly as a sub-editor, regular contributor and feature article writer initially, but assumed the

senior editorial role upon George’s death in 1928. Although forced to cease publishing eight of their eleven journals, she maintained Building (later Building, Lighting and Engineering) (1907-72), Construction (1908-74) and the Australasian Engineer (1915-73), editing them herself. She continued to produce town planning schemes, but relied on others to draw them as she was unable to spare time from publishing.


SMALL BUSINESSES KEY TO ECONOMIC RECOVERY Senator Michaelia Cash praises ‘inspirational’ family companies JOSIE ADAMS


enator Michaelia Cash is upbeat on the phone. Her enthusiasm makes a welcome reprieve after months of sombre tones delivering bad news. Resolute from the Prime Minister’s National Press Club Address on May 26th, the Federal Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, seems to be rallying the troops.

major projects, from an average of 3.5 years to 21 months.

Like many politicians during this crisis, she has found it hard to resist characterising the COVID-19 crisis in military terms. Having succeeded in flattening that curve and suppressing the virus, she says, it’s time to “fight the war on unemployment and get people moving back into work.”

The State and Federal funded Sydney Metro Western Sydney Airport Rail Link construction could start this year, locking in thousands of jobs. Other shovel-ready projects set to be moved forward include a $2 billion extension to the Pacific Highway and Perth’s signature $4.1 billion Metronet Rail Project. The Inland rail from Melbourne to Brisbane and a second underwater power cable to Tasmania have more recently been flagged, providing an opportunity to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.

“That is the fight we now have to have and believe me,” she says. “The Prime Minister is hungry.” It’s not going to be easy. Treasury has forecast the economic after-shock of the virus could cause Australia’s unemployment rate to hit 10 per cent in the June quarter with 1.4 million people out of work.“ The building and construction industry, while able to work through the pandemic, seems to be heading towards a delayed crisis of its own, as pipelines of work are completed and not replaced by new jobs. The industry employs more than a million workers and supports more than 440,000 associated Australian jobs. The government’s initial response has been to announce fast-track funding for several large civil projects. Under this new approach, the projects will be brought to market earlier by targeting a 50 per cent reduction in assessment and approval times for


“I’m proud of the policies that we’ve been able to implement. It enabled us to make the investments that we have in construction, in fact, 100 billiondollars in investments.”

But with 98 per cent of the building and construction industry made up of small and family businesses, the real challenge will be supporting these businesses to get back on their feet. “When I say they are the backbone of the Australian economy, it’s not just something I say. It is a fact.” “They make up nearly half of the national workforce and are vital to COVID-19 recovery.” “On a daily basis we speak to smaller, family businesses who ask for nothing from the government other than good policy. And they are inspirational. “We honestly have some of the most innovative businesses here in Australia. Take for example, the

BUILDING THE FUTURE: Senator Michaelia Cash (centre) says the construction industry is vital to the COVID-19 economic recovery.

boutique gin distilleries that took to manufacturing hand sanitiser overnight during the shutdowns.” Stimulus in the in the form of the governments HomeBuilder grant aims at reinvigorating the pipeline for small businesses. Early reports are positive with an estimated 130,000 enquiring about the scheme. But what of the women in the industry? Running or working in those small businesses? Women have been the most affected across the board by the current economic downturn. And in the case of the building and construction industry, there is a fear of a ‘jobs for the boys’ mentality in its recovery. But the Senator is confident this won’t be the case, having seen change during her time as a politician. “I can remember touring a mine-site 20 years ago and having to use the facilities. I will never forget that no-one could find the key to the female bathroom because it had never been used. When we finally got in, it was covered in cobwebs,” she says laughing. “You have role models now that demonstrate the length and breadth of the building and construction industry, what can be achieved. “What we’re actually seeing now is that what we have been is working. In the last five years, there has been an increase of female employment in the industry. And that it is a good thing for business. Women bring a different skill set that are potentially different to what men have. Skills that are sought-after.” And in the case COVID-19, there are lessons we can learn.

“Just through anecdotal evidence people are saying they now appreciate working from home, they can work from home, they can be just as productive if not more productive. And I think as a society, we need to learn from this and encourage more men to continue to work from home regardless of the industry they are in. “Then, not only is there more of a sharing of the responsibilities and the workload at home, but you start freeing up positions in the economy for women. And women have freed up their time.” To those working in the industry the women and men running small building businesses and are feeling the uncertainty of this time, Senator Cash says hold tight and continue talking about the issues. “It’s why relationships with industry bodies are important. “Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, and none of us in government underestimate those challenges and the impact it’s had on the economy. Rest assured, that we have done this before, and we will do it again and people should be confident that we can. Why? Because the Prime Minister has made it very, very clear that industry and employers are at the heart of rebuilding this economy. “Governments don’t create jobs. Employers do. It is our role to ensure that businesses are able to prosper and grow.”


REBUILDING THE INDUSTRY Master Builders CEO, Denita Wawn, talks keeping an industry viable in an entirely new normal JOSIE ADAMS

Denita could you tell me what an average day looks like to you at the moment. In a word intense. Master Builders has really led the way in making the case to the Federal Government and those around the country why they need to fund stimulus for builders and tradies in the housing sector. As a parent, it’s been pretty crazy balancing work, home-schooling and family time during the lockdown. My husband and I found a good rhythm of coffee runs, taking turns to help the kids with online learning as we balance an insane number of video conferences and teleconferences. Sneaking off to the office once a week was my cure for cabin fever. With no travel to undertake (I would usually travel at least once a week) I had assumed that my work week would be far less tiring but the intensity of the issues that we have been managing has meant that the days are long. Technology has allowed us to maintain the rage with our advocacy but it’s no substitute for face to face meetings and I missed the dynamic of working through issues with my team. On the upside there was more time with the family and the kids got an education on what my job really entails.



Another positive about being stuck at home virtually 24/7 was that all those home maintenance jobs that there were out of sight out of mind didn’t stay that way. We now have tradies turning the front garden into a building site and local builders locked in from some home renovations. What are your main areas of concern for the industry right now? With the effects of COVID-19 casting such a threatening shadow, we have one job and that is to support Master Builders member businesses as well as those in the broader industry and building supply chain to remain viable so they can emerge successful. Right from the beginning everything we’ve done has been about keeping people safe and protecting businesses and jobs. Our industry provides so much opportunity only if all the businesses that work in it can keep their doors open. In the first instance that meant that we needed to go “all out” to ensure that our industry was deemed essential by governments so it wasn’t shut down like it has been in some overseas countries. Our contacts in Government have been crucial and alliances with industry stakeholders were formed to ensure there was a clear message from all in the industry that it was essential for the well-being of the industry, its workforce and the economy that we remained open for business but on the basis that we introduced new safety protocols to ensure the well-being of everyone on a building site. Our alliances included working with the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining And Energy Union and the Australian Workers’ Union which if anyone had suggested that alliance prior to COVID-19, I would have told them that would never happen under any circumstance — but it has! It exemplifies the intensity of the issue we were facing but also the need to go back to the fundamental goal — what do we have to do to ensure the viability of our industry. We have now turned our minds to the economic impacts of the crisis. The industry is so reliant on investment, but private investors no longer have funds to invest or not the confidence to do so. This means that while work on projects that were underway pre-COVID have in the main continued, we are seeing a major drop off in forward contracts of around 40 - 50%. So, our focus is to seek Government stimulus to ensure the industry still has work to do while that in turn enables the economy to recover and provide confidence back into the private sector market. And what does industry need to do? While we advocate on behalf of industry and provide support to individual members we encourage builder members to be as prepared as possible. That means maximising the resources available Master Builders to mitigate the risks to your business. Industry needs to ensure that they are implementing


the safety protocols and keeping an eye on the mental wellbeing of the workforce and themselves. Our tag line has been “slow work is better than no work” but in those early stages it was difficult, particularly for large vertical sites, to implement change at a rapid pace with safety teams having to made decisions about how government decrees should be implemented on a worksite. That is why we undertook an extensive advertising campaign to reinforce the messages and used social media to highlight new practices that had been adopted on site. Communication was the key and state and territory Master Builders Associations did a fantastic job in developing material and advice as quickly as possible to provide that support. Do you see any positives coming out of this crisis? Two general positives - the need to remove the level of inherent distrust that appears too often right through the supply chain through the acknowledgement that the strength of the industry is unity where

ing here of the women who are almost the silent partners in small family businesses that play a huge role in the business side of the enterprise as well as having most of the responsibility for the physical and mental wellbeing of the family. Then there are the young women tradies who’ve moved on from completing an apprenticeship to starting their own businesses. It’s inspiring to watch these women excel and develop and we can’t afford them from the industry. We should also be looking at ways that we can provide pathways into the industry for women who have lost employment in other industries. Building and construction has a huge range of opportunities for women, it’s another reason we need stimulus and private investment, from industry super funds for example. More broadly, the women I’ve spoken to in the industry seem to taking seem to have taken the change in their stride. The way we have adapted to using technology for meetings should mean there is more opportunity in the future for women to participate at senior and board level around family commitments without concern by others that productivity will be lost. However, there’s no doubt that collaboration around issues management breeds creative solutions that is certainly improved now that we are all back in the office. On a personal level, as a leader during this crisis, have you found that you’ve had to draw on a different management skill set?

at all possible, and that we can get better outcomes in sharing risk and working collaboratively. The other positive is removing barriers to get things done — this comment is particularly aimed at all levels of government who constantly seek to make things way too difficult and too long which adds costs. It has been great to see some good examples of bureaucratic shackles being lifted because of the imperative to get things done - we now need to make sure that it keeps heading in that direction. And what about the role of women in the industry? It’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. Stimulus measures are going to help everyone, the women and men working in this industry. We want viable building and construction businesses and jobs not gender wars. But I am really concerned that we recognise and support women in the industry who will be put under more pressure because of the pandemic. I’m think-

Not really — I’ve found that my inherent leadership skill of trying to bring people together on a collective journey has simply needed to be switched into overdrive. I’m a people person who thrives on collaborative engagement to think of ways to resolve problems so the lack of face to face has been difficult and replaced with way too many phone calls and video conferences. My biggest challenge is trying to switch my mind off work at the best of times and this crisis has exacerbated that problem. The best way to do that has been downloading many apps to watch TV shows late at night. I also think that the female trait of wanting to talk through issues is a bonus. I’ve been lucky that I have a close group of friends all of whom are in senior executive roles around the country and we have a What’s App group. We never talk work and use it to download and share experiences and support each other through a few laughs. Do you have message for the industry right now? I do. I think we are well placed to play a leading role in rebuilding Australia and envisage some stronger opportunities for women in the industry as we springboard into new ways of doing things as a consequence of this crisis.




BREAK THE STATUS QUO ‘There is no issue for women working in the construction sector’ and six other myths


ow do we address the construction sector’s skills shortage? One of the most obvious ways is to recruit and retain women. Clichés abound about women in construction – many of them destructive and detrimental. Worse still, clichés become myths and become so embedded that they shape our policy responses, setting us up to fail. While all myths are complicated, it’s important to challenge them if we are going to develop alternative stories, strategies and initiatives to shift the dial on gender inequality and address the skills shortage at the same time. To do this, we should examine what the research says about women in the construction sector. It’s time to bust a few myths. Gender is a woman’s issue Let’s start with gender. Men have it too. Men are often more constrained by gender norms than women. To address gender inequality in construction we need to unbuckle the straight jacket of masculinity, both in terms of the way we work in construction and what we value. We need to stop glorifying those who work long hours and the practice of ‘hang around-ism,’ and start delivering our jobs in ways that let people be with their family and friends on weekends. We need to value men taking parental leave and their roles as fathers.


There is no issue for women working in the construction sector In my experience this myth generally comes from two groups of people: men — who aren’t women and haven’t experienced what it’s like to be a woman working in construction — and younger women who are new to the game and haven’t experienced any issues — yet! Research tells us a different story. If we look at the hard numbers, women are 39 per cent more likely to leave the sector than their male counterparts. Research by UNSW Sydney found that at each stage of a woman’s career in construction, different practices operate to undermine their equality. A tolerance of sexism, informal recruitment and promotion practices, rigid work practices and a lack of support around parental leave to name a few. While many women persist and forge through these barriers, there is no denying they exist. Women just aren’t ambitious In reality, women are ambitious, and according to UNSW research, this is one of the reasons why women leave the construction sector. Women become frustrated with the lack of career progression and while some jump from employer to employer hoping to find one that takes them seriously, others

pack up their boots and hardhat and leave for good. Ambition is also one reason why young women don’t enter the construction sector in the first place. According to research by Dr Phillippa Carnemolla from University of Technology Sydney, young women and their parents see a sector that’s stuck in a time warp, where women won’t be taken seriously. Having a job where you are treated with respect, is the job attribute most valued by women aged between 16-40, according to The Australian Women’s Work Future Survey conducted by The University of Sydney. Women leave because they have children Women leave the construction sector for many and varied reasons. They don’t feel supported in careers. They are often wedged between uncompromising expectations of long work hours and inflexible childcare/schooling/care arrangements. Despite the existence of parental leave, in practice they are expected to return to work after having a child as if nothing has changed in their life. They go on parental leave and are forgotten about. They get tired of the daily sexism from their peers and managers. Women leave construction because they can’t see career progression. You can’t work part-time or do shared roles in construction

In the big cities, this is a particularly sticky norm in construction. Projects in remote locations break this norm all the time. They are forced to employ workers in shared roles, and they do so successfully. It is also possible to work part time in a key construction role and share a role. Technology, willing leadership and a ‘can do’ mindset has been shown to make this possible. Providing female toilets will make construction too expensive Yes, people actually say this. Of course, providing safe and secure toilets and change facilities for women has negligible economic impact on the cost of construction projects. There is nothing we can do — girls and women just don’t want to work in construction There is much the sector can do to make a construction career palatable for women and girls. It can stop tolerating sexism written on walls and spoken on site and in the boardroom. It can stop valuing a culture of long work hours and expectations to work weekends. It can start by challenging the clichés and myths about women in construction.



PATH TO RECOVERY Finding perspective on the economic impact of COVID-19


oronavirus is having a significant impact on our way of life. From how our society functions, to the way we conduct our business and our ability to connect with friends and family. Efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, are having various ramifications for Australian businesses, markets, employment and the broader economy. The co-ordinated actions of governments, central banks, business and communities mean that we will recover from this situation. In the meantime, we are focused on supporting our members where we can. Lending products, services and guidelines have changed for now. Banks/lenders have tightened policy around lending parameters for businesses wanting to secure funding. We have options to support you and your business during this time. Providing the requirements needed by the lenders, and should your business fit the criteria, there are beneficial tax effective options and products ready to go for our members. Some information has been provided around the Governments economic response packages that may be of benefit to you. Including: • Instant asset write-off — The government is increasing the instant asset write-off threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 and expanding access to include businesses with aggregated annual


turnover of less than $500 million (up from $50 million). Eligibility is for small and medium businesses with an aggregated annual turnover of under $50 million (eligibility based on prior year turnover and you must have been an active employer prior to 12 March 2020). • Cash flow for employers — This measure will provide up to $100,000 back to business, with a minimum payment of $10,000 for eligible businesses. The payment will provide temporary cash flow support to small and medium businesses that employ staff during the economic downturn associated with coronavirus. The payment will be tax free and allocated as a credit on your ATO account. Timings are listed in the attachment, but the first payment will be as follows:

Monthly lodgers — 300% of the wages tax figures on the March BAS up to a maximum of $50,000 Quarterly lodgers — 100% the amount of the wages tax figure on the March BAS up to a maximum of $50,000 • No tax withheld — For businesses who do not withhold tax but make wages payments, $10,000 will be paid.

• Apprentices and Trainees — Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50% of the apprentices or trainees wage paid during the nine months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020 up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter). The ATO will be addressing the cash flow for employer’s assistance after lodgement of the Quarter 3 BAS from 28 April. The following treasury link is also helpful: https://treasury.gov.au/ The application for the $10,000 Small Business Covid-19 Support Grant is now available on the Service NSW website: https://www.service.nsw. gov.au/transaction/apply-small-business-covid-19support-grant Check the eligibility criteria as it is quite extensive. You must be able to demonstrate a 75% drop in turnover and employ between one and 19 full-time workers as at 1 March 2020.

Government backed Loans for Businesses (SME Guarantee Scheme) We have been asked ​by members about the Government Guaranteed Small Business loans to help business with cashflow during this crisis.

Under the Scheme, the Government is encouraging banks and other eligible lenders to support small businesses with unsecured loans. This means that small business owners do not need to use their home or other investment properties to secure funding for their business. Key points: • SMEs with a turnover of up to $50 million will be eligible • Maximum loan is $250,000 per borrower • The loans will be up to three years, with an initial six-month repayment holiday Refer to the Banks websites and designated call lines for more information. They will require financial statements and tax returns for 2018 and 2019, cash flows, BAS and other information. You can call your bank direct or feel free to call Master Builders Financial Services to talk through your options. If you are considering using these options or your eligibility, it is essential that you talk to your Accountant.





TURNING A VISION INTO SUCCESS Right time to inspire next generation JOSIE ADAMS


lena Potenza’s career in the industry has been as diverse as it is successful. Now it’s time to inspire the next generation.

return trip for two, to Sydney. That evolved into wanting to be an architect because I was inspired by beautiful designs and the awe of tall buildings.

Elena is a builder, and holds Bachelor of Building and Master of Commerce in Land Economy degrees. Her career spans more than 30 years in the building and construction, property and infrastructure industry in both executive, and non-executive director roles.

“After HSC, I managed to get two weeks’ internship at a boutique architectural firm in Melbourne. It was at that point that my dream was brought back to the reality that day-to-day architecture was desk bound and the true design creation was by a senior lead designer.

She is currently running a strategic advisory consultancy in infrastructure and construction, and is also Non-Executive Director of Tracey Brunstrom Hammond (TBH), and was a board member of Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for nearly a decade. Other board roles have included as an International Advisory Board Member for

“I realised that you really had to be the head designer to be able to use your creativity, and I needed something more dynamic and hands-on in delivery.

“IN THOSE DAYS, WHEN ALL EYES WERE ON YOU, YOU HAD TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD AT YOUR ROLE. I WORKED REALLY HARD ON SITE AND DID A GREAT JOB. Ghella S.p.A. (a 125-year-old international tunnelling and civil contractor headquartered in Rome) and has held other key board appointments with Roads Australia, NSW Government Advisory Council, and an Advisory Board Member at Taylor Construction. During her career she has been awarded Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, as well as the CBRE ‘Business Woman of the Year’ Award by NAWIC. Unlike many women in the industry, Elena didn’t come from a family of builders and says as a child she was studious, artistic and creative. “As a kid I would win the local newspaper drawing competitions, which were published for other children to colour-in, the winnings were vouchers from the local publishers, the penultimate was a

“I stumbled across project and construction management as a profession, and enrolled into the Bachelor of Building course at RMIT. Construction management interested me because you were involved in the whole process from inception, design, procurement, contract management, and people management. The rest is history.” Elena started her career in 1989, as a Site Engineer on a major commercial construction project in Melbourne. It was during a tumultuous period for the industry and Elena was the only female on a site of around 150 men. “I was a young girl from the suburbs, and I was a novelty and dealt with very difficult confronting situations, it was more like ‘what are you even doing here?’ So, you could call it a baptism of fire and very character building! “In those days, when all eyes were on you, you had to be exceptionally good at your role. I worked really hard on site and did a great job. “Then a deep economic recession hit Victoria and I was made redundant. I was still passionate about the industry and there were no opportunities, so I packed all my belongings and drove north to Sydney for a new beginning.” In Sydney, Elena started out working on-site in management positions. “It’s different today, because there are so many scope-specific roles on site. But those first jobs


really gave me a strong foundation to work from, as you were responsible for design and procurement, contract administration, site supervision, quality control, safety and handover to the client. “I was fortunate to experience the whole spectrum of delivery responsibility and risk management, at a very early age, and that heightens your ability to work in a dynamic, multidisciplinary team with strong commercial outcomes. “I had a talent in marketing and business development, which is essentially winning new work in construction. The advantage I had was that I understood ‘the product’ and the issues of delivery risk and forms of contract, so I could see things from both the contractor and the client’s perspective as well.” The key to Elena’s success was forging a strong network in the market, a hunger to succeed, and putting herself in the clients’ shoes. While still an executive, Elena joined as Board Member of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Australia. She feels giving back is an important part of life. A commitment to the community is a key differentiator amongst senior executives – many are reluctant contributors of personal energy and time, defaulting to the important but more passive donation of funds to the not-for-profit sector. Elena believes in the need to make a difference to the community and actively supported the work of the Chamber of Commerce in its mission to build trade flows between Italian businesses and local Australian businesses. She has proudly just completed two four-year terms. Another significant evolution in Elena’s career was that her focus turned to major civil infrastructure, more than a decade ago. In her time as Executive General Manager, Major Projects and Strategy at Lendlease Engineering (after the acquisition of Abigroup) she was responsible for corporate strategy, the origination of major projects, commercial management of all aspects of a multi-billion-dollar portfolio in major civil Infrastructure projects in Australia, including PPPs, and structuring International joint ventures and their relationship management. She’s had the great fortune of being involved in major projects such NorthConnex, East West Link (PPP) and WestConnex bids. She has also subsequently been involved in Sydney Metro project, Australia’s largest public transport project. “Infrastructure sector really pivoted me to the next level, not just in seniority but in contributing to strategy, and negotiating complex commercial and stakeholder relationships. We are fortunate that Australia is booming in this sector, but sustainability can only continue with fairer risk-sharing in contracts and the succession of a diverse workforce.” Elena has gone on to be a key influencer and trusted adviser in the market in this space and provides counsel to CEOs as well as Government leaders and Ministers. She considers that her stint in public sector roles is where she got exposure to the complexity and sophistication of government and the machinations of how it works.


WORDS OF WISDOM When asked what her top ten advice or philosophy is, she states it’s never been on the technical side, it’s always attitudinal: Respect all people, people remember ‘how you made them feel’ Add value, go over and above where you can Trust your gut and honour your values Give back unconditionally, be kind, it goes a long way Difficult conversations and conflict, focus on the issue, not the person Don’t be too hard on yourself, consistency and perseverance are important Be flexible to new ideas, to change, to differing views, most things are grey Learn to live with ambiguity, as the only thing that is constant is change Nurture a strong network, often its who you know or who you can influence Walk the talk, follow through.

“If you think about it, everything we do in our industry is either through government, for government or by government in one way or another. Whether its tenders, planning, approvals, or as stakeholders/client/ end-users or, through legislation”. She is currently contracted by the NSW state government as lead negotiator on a major urban renewal project. “It has highlighted for me the social and economic benefits and the non-financial components of each of our projects. How they provide a legacy of community benefits and direct and indirect jobs, placemaking and respect for culture and heritage. All while still having to be transparent, demonstrating value for money and profitable for stakeholders.” Government has been the most intellectually challenging of the roles to date, and she has a deep respect for those that are dedicated to the betterment of people’s lives and the environment. As a mentor and sponsor to many women in the building and construction industry, as well as younger people in general, Elena says being confident and backing yourself, being a life-long learner, especially in her early career, was key to finding success in the male-dominated industry. “The job you start out in, is not what you’ll end up doing. Focus on the tranferrable skills, as there are so many opportunities to leverage, develop and grow in this industry.”

CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: At a Women in Infrastructure panel, (from left) Wilma Penrose (formerly Ausgrid) Elena Potenza (formerly Lendlease Engineering) and the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian. Podium: Lara Poloni (Chief Executive, AECOM); Elena Potenza with His Excellency, Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy (2014-2016); Elena in China inspecting road-headers for a major infrastructure project with JV Partner Bouygues Construction Australia.

Introducing the women in our

E x p e r t Te a m Architects & Designers

w w w. e j e . c o m . a u ejearchitecture | ejeinteriors



HOME BUILDING ACT Provisions that are important to know as a contractor


he Home Building Act 1989 (NSW) (HBA) is in place to regulate residential building in New South Wales.

There are numerous provisions in the HBA which impose penalties on contractors for not complying with them. Many do not affect contractors on a day to day basis; other provisions are utilised more often. A number of provisions affect building contracts and cause contractors the most difficulty, as an owner can use these to their advantage to avoid paying or to terminate the contract. Furthermore, there are some provisions which are important to know about, as they can provide assistance to contractors when they are negotiating the terms of a contract, or if an owner brings a claim against the contractor for breach of the statutory warranties set out in section 18B of the HBA. A brief summary of a few of the key sections in the HBA which are helpful for contractors to be aware of is set out below. A number are mentioned time and time again in the industry; others may not be as familiar.

• Section 7 of the HBA requires a contract for residential building work between a contractor and the other party (ie the owner)


to be in writing and comply with the various requirements in the section, and include those terms listed in Schedule 2 of HBA. Any risk of non-compliance is avoided by most contractors by using a standard form contract such as the BC4 produced by the MBA. • Section 7B of the HBA requires a holder of a contractor licence who signs a contract to give the owner a signed copy of the contract not later than 5 clear business days after it was signed. This becomes important having regard to Section 7BA below. • If the owner is not given a copy of the signed contract, Section 7BA of the HBA allows the owner to rescind or cancel the contract at any time before the expiration of five clear business days after the owner becomes aware that he or she is entitled to be given a copy of the signed contract. Contractors should be in the habit of automatically provided the owner with a signed copy of the contract straight after signing. • Section 8A of the HBA was introduced in 2015. Although it has been in effect for five years now, there is widespread non-compliance in relation to this section within the industry. It is the contractor who is at risk of a penalty or not being able to make claims under the contract if their contract does not take the provisions into account. Section 8A(2) says that for residential building contracts over $20,000, only the following are “authorised” progress payments:

(a) a progress payment of a specified amount or specified percentage of the contract price that is payable following completion of a specified stage of the work, with the work that comprises that stage described in clear and plain language, (b) a progress payment for labour and materials in respect of work already performed or costs already incurred (and which may include the addition of a margin), with provision for a claim for payment to be supported by such invoices, receipts or other documents as may be reasonably necessary to support the claim and with payment intervals fixed by the contract or on an “as invoiced” basis. Essentially, if the contract is a fixed price contract the contractor must claim in stages (not monthly on a percentage of work complete basis). Each stage must be described properly in the claims schedule in the contract. Cost plus claims are also permitted, but under a cost plus contract only, or for variations under a fixed price contract. The real sting in the tail of this section is that it provides that a person must

not “demand or receive payment of a progress payment under a contract to which this section applies unless the progress payment is authorised under this section”. If the fixed price contract is signed without a staged claim schedule or without a proper description of the work for each stage, the contractor is not entitled to make any claim, or receive any payment for the work until the very end of the works. This clearly would create a cash flow nightmare and in most cases is likely to bring the progress of the works to a grinding halt. • Section 10 of the HBA provides that if a contractor is unlicensed or does not have a written contract in place, or the written contract does not contain a sufficient description of the works, the contractor is not entitled to enforce any agreement for residential building work between the parties. However, another sting in the tail for the contractor is that the owner can still chase the contractor for damages for breach of contract (such as delay damages or defective and incomplete work). • Be careful of Section 33B(1)(a)(xv) which gives Fair Trading the power to refuse to renew a builder’s licence if the individual person or any of the directors is “a director of or a person concerned in the management of an externallyadministered company (other than external administration resulting from a members’ voluntary winding up of the body corporate)”. This section has had a draconian effect in circumstances where, for example, the director of the building company is also a director of another company completely unrelated to building which has been unable to pay its debts and placed into external administration. • Moving on from the doom and gloom, Section 18BA of the HBA is helpful for contractors in that Section 18BA(3) provides that an owner must:

(a) make reasonable efforts to ensure that the contractor is given notice in writing of a breach of statutory warranty (ie a defect) within 6 months after the breach becomes apparent; and (b)must not unreasonably refuse a contractor who performed defective work access to the residential building work concerned as the contractor may reasonably require in order to rectify the breach (ie to fix the defect). • Furthermore, Section 18F of the HBA sets out defences which can be used by the contractor if the owner brings a claim for a breach of the statutory warranties. There are two man defences:

1. If the contractor has provided written

advice to the owner advising against a certain way of building part of the works, and the owner says to go ahead regardless; and 2. Reasonable reliance by the contractor on instructions given by an independent “relevant professional” acting for the owner. The instructions must have been given in writing before the work was done or must be confirmed in writing after the work was done. This section provides the contractor some protection where they have relied on instructions from the owner’s relevant professional such as an architect, engineer or surveyor. If in doubt, always provide advice in writing to an owner about a potential problem, or ensure that the owner’s relevant professional has directed that particular design or approved the design after the work is complete. To finish on a positive note, many of you would be aware of section 48MA of the HBA which provides that the preferred outcome of Tribunal proceedings is for a Work Order to be made which allows the builder or contractor back on site to rectify any defects, even if the owner would prefer a payment for the (potentially inflated) cost of rectification. This section helps to somewhat lessen the financial impact of owners commencing litigation and provides the opportunity for rectification to be carried out by contractors who take pride in their work and who have always been ready, willing and able to attend to any issues. The Tribunal still has the ability to order a payment for money though, so to lessen the risk of this happening, contractors should always: • Record in writing their willingness to rectify any defects in regular emails to the owner; • Make regular attempts to return site to rectify any defects; • Obtain expert advice if a particular method of rectification is not successful and repeated attempts are being made to fix an issue; • Stay licensed and renew any expiring licence promptly; • Stay resourced as much as possible, in order to be in a position to carry out rectification work; and • Maintain a courteous and as least a hostile relationship as possible with the owner. The HBA can assist contractors where all its provisions are followed and those sections providing protection for contractors are utilised. While the extent of paperwork can seem unnecessary, it can be extremely beneficial later on down the track when particular facts must be proven.


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INDUSTRY INSPIRES COLOURFUL CAREER From Apprentice of the Year to restoring huts in Antarctica, building has taken Ben Burdett places


rowing up on the South Coast of NSW Ben grew up building cubby houses, and ‘making stuff in the garage’. Fast forward a few years and he started his carpentry and joinery apprenticeship with his neighbour, JJ & SA Roberts Constructions in Batemans Bay, in 1995. Ben was awarded Master Builders Association NSW Stage 1 Apprentice of the Year in 1996 and he then went on to complete a Certificate IV and Building Studies — Residential. A scholarship through the Big Brother Movement foundation enabled Ben to work in construction in London for two years. It was here, he said, he fell in love with heritage architecture and regenerating old buildings. A chance meeting with Ben’s former TAFE teacher, Wayne Gwynne, changed Ben’s career path. Wayne suggested he apply to work with the Australian Antarctic Division. In 2006/07 Ben worked on the restoration of a heritage-listed station building called Biscoe Hut, which had been damaged by fire. Biscoe Hut was one of the first buildings erected at Mawson Station when it was established in 1954. Its eight square metre space contained the original living and sleeping quarters, mess and kitchen. Ben returned to Antarctica again two years later, this time to Mawson’s Huts, for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation. Mawson’s Huts are the collection of buildings located at Cape Denison, Commonwealth Bay, in the far eastern sector of the Australian

Antarctic Territory, some 3000 km south of Hobart. The buildings were erected and occupied by the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911-1914, led by geologist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. Ben said the experience he had and the skills he learned over his combined eight months working in the Antarctic were life changing. “I was lucky to work alongside an expert named Mike Staples, who taught me the principles of heritage restoration and the meticulous documentation surrounding that kind of work,” Ben said. Since then, Ben has gone into business for himself, starting Efflock in 2012; and has built the brand from scratch, which he said was a steep learning curve, but he enjoyed the challenge and the unexpected direction the business had taken him. “Probably the best part is that Efflock has allowed me a lot more flexibility with our young family than I had as a small builder, or as compared with many other jobs,” he said. “On the practical side, it has also been a fortunate evolution from the physical demands of being on the tools; now that I’m 41 and into the second half of my working life.” “I think a trade such as carpentry sets anyone up for excellent opportunities,” he said. “Somebody once defined building very simply as problem solving, and I think that is a very versatile life skill that can take you in any direction.” FLORENCE || 29

A NATURAL FIT FOR WOMEN Blundstone: Everywhere life takes you


Blundstone, the iconic boot brand, is celebrating its 150th Anniversary of making the sturdiest, most comfortable and stylish boots for all walks of life, in 2020. Their wide range of boots, designed specifically for women, range from the zip-sided safety boots, the airport friendly composite safety toe capped through to the latest range of leather women’s heel boots in the Lifestyle range Opposite: #892 – Wheat nubuck zip side safety boot; Clockwise, from left: #1671 – Black leather elastic side heel boot; #885 – Sand nubuck zip side safety boot; #897 – Black leather zip side safety boot; #884 – Black/blue safety jogger; #1673 – Antique brown leather elastic side heel boot.


HARD WORK HAS NO GENDER Bisley Workwear launches range designed with women in mind


Get the look 1





1. Womens Taped Hi-Vis Cotton Drill Overall $109.95; 2. Women’s Stretch V-Neck Closed Front Shirt $60.95; 3: Womens Flex & Move Stretch Cotton Shield Pants $87.95; 4: Womens Flex & Move Stretch Cotton Skort $71.95; 5: Womens Puffer Jacket $99.95.


BISLEY WORKWEAR LAUNCHES WOMEN’S RANGE Research reveals female tradies at risk on work site


n an Australian industry first, Bisley Workwear is paving the way for diversity in the workplace by consulting with female tradies to create an innovative new range of protective clothing and workwear, designed specifically for women.

When wearing ill-fitting workwear, female tradies have reported that they are more likely to feel more self-conscious (45%), feel like they don’t belong (20%), and feel like they can’t work as hard as they want to (33%).

The range has been created following Bisley Workwear’s ongoing industry research that revealed female tradies may be putting themselves in danger on the worksite due to a lack of protective clothing options available to them.

Bisley Workwear consulted with five Australian female tradies who were able to provide insight on the real practicalities of women’s needs on the jobsite.

The research, published as The Bisley Workwear Tradies Report 2020, reveals the challenges and opportunities for women in the Australian trade industry. Nearly half of female tradies surveyed for the report have stated that they have worn casual, or non-safety clothing on-site due to a lack of options available to them, with (40%) saying they feel less safe at work as a result of ill-fitting garments offered to them. Three in five women also said that they have worn workwear designed for men. 34 || FLORENCE

One of these tradies is Aimee Stanton. Aimee said: “It was brilliant to be involved in the design process; from being able to voice my frustrations with existing workwear options, right the way through to road-testing the range. “One of my favourite features in the new range is the reinforced panelling — which provides additional support and stops the material wearing through. I also love the one piece coverall — it’s really comfortable and flattering, and it has a handy zip so that you don’t need to take the whole coverall off when you use the bathroom! I also generally feel safer on the worksite when I’m wearing clothes which I know have

FINDINGS SNAPSHOT A third (33%) of female tradies feel like they can’t work as hard as they want to when wearing poorly fitting workwear 71% of female tradies reported the most common area of difficulty when trying to find suitable workwear is the fit of the clothing available. Female tradies are nearly three times as likely as male tradies to experience difficulties finding something made for their shape (37%/males 13%). Female tradies are nearly twice as likely to report feeling more self-conscious (43%/ males 22%) and like they don’t belong (20% /males 11%) when wearing uncomfortable protective clothing or workwear than male tradies.

Bisley Workwear is paving the way for diversity in the workplace by consulting with female tradies to create a new range of protective clothing and workwear, designed specifically for women.

been designed specifically for women.” For Bisley Workwear’s managing director and owner


we developed a three-dimensional fit model with our consulting tradies based on how tradeswomen move and work, variations in fit and size, and the best silhouettes for functional, professional, and safe workwear. We’re proud to be at the forefront of this design innovation in our industry to help reduce onsite safety inequalities.”

David Gazal he knew he had to do something about these statistics. He said, “The safety of workers is the foundation of our business.

Scott Cam, Bisley Workwear’s Ambassador for the past 20 years said, “We want to fill our industry with the most qualified, skilled, and able tradespeople, and provide anyone with the opportunity to become exceptionally skilled. We need to provide all genders with the right equipment to do so. Until now, the future of Australian industries has been overlooked by ignoring the fact that different tradies have different needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach and Bisley Workwear recognises this”.

“When our research revealed that tradeswomen were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable on the worksite, we realised the need for a new industry-wide approach to women’s workwear. For our new range,

Bisley Workwear’s new womenswear range is now available. Head to BisleyWorkwear.com.au to click and collect from any Bisley Workwear retailer. Range available from $17.99 -$164.99 RRP. FLORENCE || 35


KEEP THE BALANCE How to better blend your work and life


o you strive for ‘work/life balance’ as if your work and your life each sit on opposite ends of a plank and you are trying to find the magical place in between. Many would question just how realistic work/life balance is when you are working in construction. Having worked in the construction industry for the past decade, I have come to the realisation that the term ‘work/life blend’ is probably more realistic. I began my career in construction in 2009, as a Project Administrator, and as such I was somewhat protected from the pressure and stress of the industry, something I would grow to know too well over the next 10 years. It wasn’t long before I had progressed to managing my own projects and in 2015 I was promoted to the role of Operations Manager at the same commercial construction company. The construction industry can be relentless - long working hours, pressure to deliver projects to tight programs without compromising quality, uncertainty of work, financial pressures, and for tradies, often tough physical working conditions. All conditions that play a part in the decision made by a construction worker every second day to end their life. The prevention of suicide in the construction industry is something very close to my heart after losing my eldest brother, a carpenter, to suicide in 2009.


But through the busyness, pressure, stress and rewarding times working in our industry over the past decade, I’m happy to say I have learnt what supports me in performing at my best, in getting that work/life blend right. It’s something I would encourage everyone, take the time to do. Let me share with you why nutrition, exercise, mindset, sleep, sun and play have helped me thrive. Nutrition – Eat S.L.O.W. - seasonal, local, organic, whole food. The food you eat impacts how you feel, how you move and even your mental clarity. Exercise – Move every day. Exercise supports a healthy body and mind. Mindset – Slow life down with a regular mindfulness meditation practice. Whether it’s 30 sec to STOP and take three conscious deep breaths or a guided meditation (there are loads of free apps), this practice can change your life. Sleep – The foundation to a healthy and productive life. You can have the best nutrition and exercise regime, but compromising on sleep is self-sabotaging. Sun – Is the most natural source of Vitamin D and supports your immune system, and there is something about spending time in the sun that lifts your mood. Play – Is a free antidote to stress. How did you play as a child? It’s time to discover how you can recreate that today. No devices!



Grief is something we will all experience


ollowing on from my previous article in Issue 2 asking “Are you OK”? I wanted to talk about grief, because it is almost guaranteed that we will experience this in our lives, which can affect us physically, emotionally and mentally. Grief and loss are experienced following a variety of events — death of a loved one, workmate or friend are the most common losses that rock our worlds — but it can also be a loss of a relationship, job, purpose, or pet. It is normal to react emotionally or physically following a loss or receiving distressing news. These reactions can be immediate or delayed and can last for days, weeks and years. Everyone grieves differently and it is part of the healing process. Grief can be like a rollercoaster — you could be fine one minute and then burst into tears the next. Other emotional reactions can be numbness, disbelief, shock, guilt, anger, being over-sensitive, anxiety and being overwhelmed with routine tasks. Physically you may have a reduced appetite, nausea, exhaustion, headaches, tension, insomnia or nightmares. This can include mental reactions such as difficulty concentrating and making decisions, worry, memory loss, confusion and visualising the event or future circumstances. Behavioural reactions can include withdrawing from social activity and becoming isolated, not wanting to go out for fear of seeing someone you know or being judged; alcohol and drug misuse is also commonplace. It would be great to have a magic wand to take away the grief we, or others, experience.

So, what can help? Know there is no timeline or right way to grieve. We need to process it, be kind to yourself. There will be people that will tell you “time will heal” which can be difficult to swallow. A better way to phrase this is that time helps us to manage this loss. It is important to have someone to talk to that can listen without judgement or wanting to resolve issues. Sometimes it is hard to find that empathetic person in our lives so speaking to a qualified psychologist or counsellor may help. Your GP can advise and refer accordingly. Many people find “keeping busy” a good way to get back to some sort of normality, because normal could look a lot different. Physical activity, eating a healthy diet, plenty of water, adequate sleep are all helpful. Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine and drugs as they can make things worse. Self-care is important and different activities work differently for each of us. Do what fills your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual buckets. It is normal to have strong reactions following a loss or traumatic event. With the support of family, friends, work colleagues and professionals (GP, psychologist, counsellor) grief can be eased. Don’t hesitate if you notice someone struggling. It is important everyone knows they do not have to do it alone. Open up the conversation and ask “Are you OK?”, “What’s going on for you?” or “how can I help you?”. Contact MATES 24/7 Helpline for further information or support on 1300 642 111.


BUILDING IN UNCERTAIN TIMES We talk to MBA Young Builder of the Year, Rick Simmons of OneUp Building, about his insights on the current crisis and what it means for residential builders.


he COVID-19 situation has hit many businesses and industries hard.

Within Australia, the building industry has managed to continue operations, albeit under changed working conditions and tightened restrictions. We talk to MBA Young Builder of the Year, Rick Simmons of OneUp Building, about his insights on the current crisis and what it means for residential builders. How are you feeling about the current situation? Like everyone, we are of course nervous, and doing everything we can to adapt to the constantly evolving situation. How is it impacting your business? We are appreciative that to date at least, the construction industry is still in operation, and we are able to maintain a source of income. Our current projects are continuing, albeit with the implementation of new management and safety procedures, while a few projects have been placed on hold. As a business owner however, I’m now faced with a whole range of challenges on different fronts including, first and foremost the protection of staff and the implementation of new safety requirements, working closely with our clients to manage their situations,


and also working to re-establish the pipeline of work that has now been put on hold or disappeared as a result of the current crisis.

I’M POSITIVE OUR COUNTRY WILL BOUNCE BACK FROM THIS – IT MAY TAKE A WHILE BUT THERE IS ALWAYS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL. The building industry is renowned for having its ups and downs. You’ve been in business for a while now, how do you prepare for uncertain times such as these? I think that to operate any type of business, regardless of the industry, you need to prepare for the hard times as well as the good times. It’s the key to staying in business. Having said that, I think that the building industry has a way of instilling resilience over time, and that’s one of our strengths. As builders we are constantly dealing with variables such as weather, site conditions, project briefs and adapting to the many client expectations — it’s a moving target with high stakes, and plenty of risks. COVID-19 certainly wasn’t a scenario you could imagine coming, I do feel that as an industry, builders

Rick Simmons (left) and his business partner Scott Sommerville from OneUp Building.

ABOUT RICK SIMMONS Rick Simmons, of OneUp Building, is the MBA NSW Young Builder of the Year 2019. Rick has a deep love of building and good design, and is passionate about every project he, and his business partner Scott Sommerville take on. Rick is a licensed builder and carpenter. His level of experience and master builder professionalism is evident in the long list of highend luxury homes he has built. Having gained his early experience working alongside his mentors in luxury home construction and management in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Rick and Scott have gone on to build a business with a reputation for exceptional attention to detail, and an ability to realise an architect and client’s vision, without compromising on the design integrity.

have to continually respond to dynamic situations, constantly assessing risk, and although the current situation is amplified, there are many traits that are the same. What do you feel are the most important things that building companies like yours should be focusing on at the moment? First priority is safety. Safety of your teams. Safety of your clients. Safety of the broader community. Secondly, it’s about communication and working together. This is all the way from the client to the junior helping load the rubbish. We are all affected by this and we will all have to make compromises, but if we work together, that’s the best way of getting through. I think another key element is to understand the impacts from your client’s point of view so that you can implement a strategy that works for the client and complements the needs of your team. For example, you might choose to stage some of the works to reduce costs, or slow the program to reduce trade congestion. Where do you think things will head? Is there any light at the end of the tunnel? Can you see any opportunities that will emerge from this? I’m positive our country will bounce back from this — it may take a while but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

People will still build, people need to build, it just may not be at the rate we are used to, and as an industry we will have to adapt to this. The opportunities that lie ahead are for the builders and trades to be proactive now. This means reinvesting in your business and strategies. Be prepared to make big changes and be flexible because that’s what is needed to stay afloat. Mental health is always a big issue, particularly in times of stress, do you have any recommendations or advice for people in the industry who are feeling the stress at the moment? We need to stay in touch. This area is close to me and strongly believe in mental health and the need to address it head on. For me the anxiety arises when you do not know or have too many what if’s. Unfortunately, we live in a world filled with don’t knows and what if’s at the moment, so we need to understand what we can control, and what we cannot. I’m not doctor but as a builder, husband and father we all have our limitations and breaking points. It is a time of being kind to one another, to have open communication, support and working together What have you learnt in the last few weeks? It’s time to buckle up and prepare for a bumpy road ahead.


FINDING FULFILMENT IN A NEW INDUSTRY Trusting her passion has led Abby Wallace to a rewarding career in construction


bby Wallace always had an interest in building. As a little girl, she would follow her dad around the house with her toolkit. Later, along with her school friends, she moved to making cubby houses, rafts and tree swings. “When I finished high school, many of my male friends entered apprenticeships,” she said. “But as a female, I just didn’t realise that I was able to turn my interest into a career. I had never heard of construction management or contracts administration and the thought of being an architect or interior designer didn’t appeal to me.” So, Abby started a degree in pharmacy. “It wasn’t until years later I realised that pharmacy didn’t fulfil me, and I saw the construction industry as a potential career path,” she said. She’d recently completed an extension on her home and said she enjoyed seeing the progression from piles in the ground to a fully completed project. “I got my hands dirty at every opportunity and didn’t mind living in the middle of a construction site. After toying with the idea of a carpentry apprenticeship, I made the decision to go back to university and study construction management.”

Abby then started a cadetship with Reitsma Constructions, working as a contract administrator. “I love my job. Watching a building come out of the ground, working through all the problems that are undoubtedly going to eventuate, and finally witnessing the completed project. Having that physical result at the end of the day, is what makes it worth it. “One of the things I really enjoy about the industry is that no two days are the same. Depending on our projects, my work hours fluctuate. One morning I could have an early site meeting and the next morning a typical start in the office which allows me to begin my day with an ocean swim. “Some days go smoothly with minimal interruptions,” she said. “And others, no matter the contingencies we put in place, issues can present themselves. On these days, you spend a lot of time just troubleshooting and trying to resolve the problem.” “The industry is a great to work in. Don’t be intimidated by the stereotypes that surround the industry. The experiences that I have had as a woman have all been really positive.”



5 minutes with...Kirstee Copley

STARTING FROM SCRATCH Kirstee Copley talks building a business in the industry


reviously owning a builders cleaning company, Shane and Kirstee Copley saw first-hand the damage done to surfaces during the building phase, causing builders lots of stress and money. We talk to Kirstee about starting a business in protective coatings in the building industry. How did the Goop Guys product come about? Shane began to search for something to protect all the different surfaces we saw being scratched. The process took a couple of years and lots of trial and error. It was during this time that he met with a chemist and began formulating. We then released it in the market on the Sunshine Coast in 2001 as Scratch Preventors. The business quickly grew to encompass South East Queensland and we realised we couldn’t keep doing this ourselves. So, in 2006, we rebranded to Goop Guys and franchised the business. We now have a network of franchisees in Australia and export to several countries overseas.


Our customers are predominately builders or construction companies. And at that stage, what was your role in the business? In the beginning I helped apply the product onsite, while also doing administration, accounts and running around after our two young children. Meanwhile, Shane oversaw sales, applying, formulating and manufacturing. It was a very busy few years! As with any start up business, we were responsible for absolutely everything. And that’s challenging, especially if there is something that you either don’t like doing or don’t think you are very good at. For me, that was sales. So, I’m lucky my husband loved sales, it worked very well for us. Has your role changed over the years? As the business grew the challenges and roles changed. When you first begin its usually all about sales and money to keep going.

THE TEAM: The Goop Guys is a family-run business owned by Shane and Kirstee Copley and franchised across the east coast of Australia.

Then as you grow, its more about time, staff and keeping up with changes in the industry.

The process itself is also quite lengthy and we certainly learnt a lot along the way.

My role has become more office-based with a fair bit of travelling.

Disclosure documents, franchise agreements, operations manuals, code of conduct, marketing funds, lawyers, business coaches, accountants ‌ there is so much to think about and get organised.

I manage the franchise system while Shane takes care of the formulating and manufacturing. Our children are also part of the business now that they are grown. Our daughter has her own franchise in Victoria and our son manufactures the Goop product here in Caloundra. So, we really are family business, proudly Australian made and owned. We have a great team who take care of administration, accounts, sales and application now too.

Have you ever found it challenging being a woman working in a male-dominated industry? The building and construction industry is still quite male-dominated, so that can occasionally be tricky. Personally, I have found that if you know what you are talking about and are passionate about it this becomes less of an issue. I think that respect for each other is important even if we disagree.

Was it a difficult decision to franchise the business?

There are more and more women joining the construction industry and that is encouraging.

Deciding to franchise was a big decision — especially for my husband.

Do you have any advice for young women looking to make a start in the industry?

Simply because you have to let go of your baby and trust that other people will take care of your brand.

Believe in yourself and know your product‌ trust in it. But most importantly be yourself! FLORENCE || 43

APPRAISING THE APPRAISAL Recruitment specialist, Louise Clinton, deconstructs the staff appraisal


icture yourself as a spotty teenager, sweaty hands clutching your school report. Were you the mischievous kid ripping it open on the school bus before your parents could find out what you’d been up to? You ‘must try harder.’ Maybe you were a high achiever, you couldn’t wait to get home to bask in glory and reassure your parents they had raised a genius. Perhaps you were the child that tried so hard at everything but always felt destined to never be anything other than average.

When you entered the workforce you probably thought school reports were a thing of the past. Unfortunately, you were wrong, you must now face the yearly staff appraisal — it is like a report card on steroids. You sit in a room with a manager and a Human Resources specialist who are going to openly criticise you under the guise of ‘constructive criticism’. You will receive several grades out of five for your work performance and in addition you must digest comments submitted ‘anonymously’ by your co-workers about your interpersonal skills. Whoever invented the formal appraisal probably did it with the best of intentions. But the concept is flawed, not only from the perspective of the employee but also from the employer’s point of view.


Let’s consider some scenarios. Take the employee who believes that they are going along very nicely no issues whatsoever (usually because no-one has told them otherwise). They are anticipating a pat on the back, mostly five out of fives, maybe a couple of four out of fives. The only thing on their mind being the potential size of the bonus they will score. They are then faced with the news that the manager sees them more like a three out of five and ‘Jenny’ from accounts thinks that they are unapproachable. No pay rise and no bonus. It’s a bit of a setback. After this point they no longer listen. They zone out with not a single thought to KPI’s, targets or ‘Jenny’

WHOEVER INVENTED THE FORMAL APPRAISAL PROBABLY DID IT WITH THE BEST OF INTENTIONS. BUT THE CONCEPT IS FLAWED... from accounts. They have a new focus — dusting down their CV for another job. What about the high achiever? If they leave it might affect the bottom-line profit margin. While

no-one is truly indispensable there are some people who are like protected species in an organisation. The manager is reluctant to give any feedback because they can’t afford to lose them so they give them a glowing report. The high achiever could be feeling they can never let their guard down and admit vulnerability because they can’t lose face. Being applauded constantly as a high achiever can induce a lot of stress. They may not be given an opportunity to explore new horizons, because the employer knows they are too valuable in the position they are in right now.

The amount of work and resources it takes to complete forms and individually sit with people is enormous. Employers can still document feedback as they go along in a formal way but surely someone is more likely to listen to feedback if you raise an issue with them in a singular context that is supported with real-time evidence. Praising someone for a job well done is powerful. The effects of saying thank you and openly showing appreciation is so underrated.

And then there is the person with 25+ years’ service who is planning on retiring with the organisation who genuinely believes loyalty should be valued above everything regardless of their performance. Imagine the destructive impact that giving someone like this feedback they didn’t anticipate could potentially have.

It could be argued the appraisal system is an outdated concept that basically reinforces the power and control an employer has over their employees. However, the Millennials who will make up approximately 75% of the Australian workforce by 2025 don’t prescribe to the same philosophies of previous generations.

In all these circumstances it would be far more productive to touch base with employees throughout the year and air any potential issues as they arise. What is the point of raising something in an appraisal that happened months ago? It would be so much better to try and iron out problems as you go along without the humiliation of giving an adult a score card.

In an era where instant gratification is the norm, they are perhaps more likely to move on if they feel unsatisfied. Arguably it is time for an overhaul to make way for a system that allows employees and employers an ability to touch base and check in with each other throughout the year rather than prescribing to the formal appraisal system just because it is what everyone has always done.

Constructing Relationships That Last


Clinton Recruitment is a boutique Recruitment Agency based in Sydney that specialises in the recruitment of Building and Construction professionals throughout Australia. At Clinton Recruitment the focus has always been on quality rather than quantity. Clinton Recruitment is the preferred Recruitment Agency of the Master Builders Association of New South Wales and is proud to be a sponsor of the annual Construction Awards in Sydney. Managing Director, Louise Clinton has over 23 years’ experience of recruitment within the Building and Construction sector and is a passionate advocate of women working in construction. If you are seeking a new career opportunity within the Construction Industry or looking for key members of staff to join your team, let’s talk.

T: 02 9664 8653 E: louise@clintonrecruitment.com.au W: www.clintonrecruitment.com.au FLORENCE || 45

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SUCCESS STORIES WORKING FROM HOME How Greenbox Architecture adapted when COVID-19 hit


e went early and we went hard. And then we went harder. It was mid-March and we could see that we need to do something to address the concerns of our staff. Like a lot of businesses, we put in place some early precautions; avoiding going to site visits and external meeting, temperature testing the staff and installing lots of hand sanitiser stations. As the situation worsened, a couple of days later we decided to split the office in half; one team on, one team off alternating weekly. We quickly bought 12 new laptops to supplement what we already had, and within a few days we were ready to go. On day 2 of the first week with the office split we could see the situation getting worse so we sent everyone home and now have our complete staff of 30 architects and interior designers working remotely and, like most businesses, had no idea how long this would be for. “We were really further down the path to work remotely than most companies I’ve heard of,” says one of our associates. “With about two thirds of us already having work laptops when we were starting to work from home, we hit the ground running, with no real implications. Our tech guy at work got everyone up and running pretty seamlessly.”


Indeed, we began our journey into virtual desktops – a combination of thin client touch screen laptops and onsite high spec VDI servers – more than 12 months ago giving our team access to heavy graphics processing over our high speed network. “It’s a matter of finding the right technology for the role”, explains our tech teammate. “We’ve been putting our money in the right areas.” Another team member mentions that “we are working remotely as well as any,” citing the use of our virtual machines making it an easier transition to work from home. Other ways we have been staying connected is through e-meetings and catch-ups. “The (Microsoft) Team meetings have been great; video calls means you feel you are almost having a face-to-face conversation and you can read people’s facial expressions. Daily chats are good too,” explains one team member. Communication is key and it has always been strong at Greenbox. “The transition for Greenbox to work remotely has been easy,” says one of our designers, “the Teams program works well, the software was great to have in place, so we knew what to do.”

It was another first for our office to induct a new recruit into the business remotely, but Teams meetings and e-meetings made a difference. “The communication at Greenbox is great — we have team meetings for everyone each morning, e-lunches daily and team Friday drinks,” he explains. “I find the trickiest part working out if people are busy. Whereas in an office, you can look up from your desk and see if someone is on a phone call, meeting or heads down with a deadline to chase,” he admits. Now it’s matter of checking the Teams app and seeing if someone is busy or emailing someone to let them know you will be phoning them in a few minutes. Technology in isolation is one thing, but working with multiple people all working from home requires balance. One of our team members is working from home across the dining room table from her husband — they have learnt to be very considerate of each other making phone calls. “We tend to wander off when a phone call comes through to give the other one peace. It’s easy now with the flexibility of laptops and VDIs,” she explains. Sticking to a structure and routine during the day seems to be key — yoga, walks, and breakfasts with family members are all reoccurring themes across our team. One of our teammates who had a child starting school this year, spends her evenings planning the next day’s routine and cross-

“SO I WAS USED TO FLEXIBLE WORK ARRANGEMENTS. WHEN WE ALL STARTED WORKING FROM HOME FULL TIME, I TRANSITIONED QUICKLY WITHOUT ANY LOSS IN PRODUCTIVITY. referencing her husbands’ diary to balance the next day’s family and work commitments. Her young daughter does worksheets and apps on an iPad in the morning; some of these are sent from her daughter’s teacher, but often are things our team member has searched for herself. “I do a kids’ exercise on TV class with her then my husband stops for lunch and takes her for a bike ride or walk with the dog.” The afternoons consist of our teammate doing a painting activity with her before her grandparents arrive to read to her, do some activities and then she watches a documentary or two on TV before playing outside. “I’m really aware of mental health and striking the right balance,” her mum muses. Another of our staff members is a relatively new mum. With a one-year-old child, pre-COVID-19 she was working four days with one of these at home.

“So I was used to flexible work arrangements. When we all started working from home full time, I transitioned quickly without any loss in productivity. I certainly plan my days more efficiently now.” Working from home full time now, our teammate says that her “time is a lot more flexible now. I can start work early and then log-off early so that I can do the bath time and dinners together and maybe even take her for a walk at lunch. It’s a blessing,” she explains. Another key to our transition is a positive attitude. “Our boss responded very quickly to the COVID situation and is really calm, so that really helps knowing that the person in control is level-headed and has plans,” one team member explains. Keeping tabs on all staff, with lists of people to phone made on a daily basis are essential to keep everyone motivated, connected and cared for which is especially important in times of isolation. Our Weekly Challenges we started are a fun way to keep staff inspired, connected and creative. With a different theme and a prize each week, we post these on Instagram. Most of our team admit that not seeing family and friends is the hardest part of isolation. One team member who lives by herself says “I do get a bit lonely at night at home watching TV.” She uses What’sApp and Messenger more than ever to keep connected with her family and friends both locally and overseas which “makes the connection and the feeling that we’re all in this together real”. While many of our team list the absence of travel to and from the workplace, not to mention meetings, as a time-saving boon, other team members have moved back home, either interstate or locally to support their parents and to be with loved ones. One of our staff members was stranded when travelling. Having taken paid leave for an overseas holiday, she was stuck in another country when COVID-19 hit and therefore went into negative holidays. She has since returned safely to Australia, is in quarantine and will surely have some interesting travel tales to share! There are many lessons we are learning from this “new normal” and many we can take back to the office after lockdown — how important a really great work culture is, positive attitudes, great communications and sound technology systems are. As one of our team mates mused, ‘I think something coming out of this is to be more mindful of others; if you are sick, you should stay at home. Technology can help us work remotely if needs be, but we also crave the personal contact and connections.”


CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2020 Susan Halliday AM captivates the audience at Master Builders Victoria’s breakfast


he first International Women’s Day breakfast hosted by Master Builders Victoria on Wednesday 4 March at the National Gallery of Victoria’s Garden Restaurant was an outstanding success. More than 150 members, sponsors and guests, both men and women, attended the sold-out event. The insightful and entertaining presentations by Master Builders Victoria CEO Rebecca Casson and special guest, Susan Halliday AM, Susan kept everyone engaged and many questions from the audience followed. The feedback was excellent and there is already a high expectation to run a similar event in 2021, albeit it may be in a very different format to cater for the COVID-19 world we now live in.


INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2020: More than 150 Victorian women and men attended the Master Builder’s Victoria breakfast, at which Susan Halliday AM spoke about issues facing women in Australia.

WHO IS SUSAN HALLIDAY AM? Susan Halliday AM is the inaugural Chairperson of the state’s largest professional regulatory authority, the Victorian Institute of Teaching and is a former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner. Her distinguished career includes public and private sector roles, and several prominent board memberships including nine years on the Board of the State Library of Victoria. Susan pursues gender and human rights issues through every facet of her work and is a Life Governor of the Australian Childhood Foundation.


Q&A THE ART OF CREATING SPACE Aleea Moodie chats to Holly Moetara, of Tradie Lady Creative

What is your trade qualification? I’m a painter and decorator. I do interior and exterior concept design, colour consulting and styling.

Do you have any tips for women thinking of making a start in the industry? It’s never too late to do the thing that sets your soul on fire.

I am a one-woman show, completing projects from design conception to building to the final styling.

Time is the game changer; you’ll always have too much of it and not ever enough at the same time.

How does it feel being in a male dominated industry?

Start now. Do the thing. With what you have, with who you are, because it’s enough. Doubt does not deserve you.

It’s taken a long time and I certainly had to have a thick skin in my apprenticeship days.

What’s the best part of your job other than the finished product?

It was testing, however I’ve noticed a big positive shift in the last 10 years or so.

I wear many hats - I am a wife, mother to three, and tradie...just to name some.

There will still always be one in any industry, but I find most men are on the same level; if you are capable of your job there is mutual respect.

I enjoy putting my boots on at the start of the day, it’s labour intensive work but I enjoy the process.

Most male tradies are very supportive of the female tradies - there’s no BS.


The ideas I’ve drawn out on paper, or colour selections I’ve suggested, becoming reality, that’s where the magic is for me.


YOUR NETWORK In the current climate finding support is more important than ever


unning a business can feel lonely and isolating. It is particularly difficult if you have left a job in which you were constantly surrounded be people that could give you guidance and support to branch out on your own. There are so many things to juggle and sometimes it is hard to know if you are doing it right.

• When you are going through tough times, it gives you a place to go to get support from people who understand;

It is often overwhelming and difficult to know where to find assistance when you need it. This is why I believe it is so important to surround yourself with a like-minded community who understand the ups and downs of running a business.

• It can inspire you to hear the success stories of other people, who have been in the same boat, push you to keep moving forward, and learn from their stories;

Communities such as industry associations or social media business groups are a great place to go for support and advice from people who are in the same boat. They also provide great networking opportunities and can connect you to people who can help you to grow your business and who often become your business mentors.

• Similarly, you can share your business wins with a group of people who will be there to cheer you on and encourage you;

• You are able to get valuable insights into potential roadblocks that you haven’t anticipated; • It allows you to be challenged, which encourages and promotes growth; and • It offers comic relief - sometimes you just need a place to go to have a laugh with people who just ‘get it.’

Here are some other reasons to surround yourself with a great business network:

They say that you should spend as much time working on your mental health as you do on your physical health, and I truly believe that surrounding yourself with a fantastic community when running a business is crucial to success. As the saying goes ‘who you surround yourself with, you become.’

• It can stop you feeling alone in your struggles. A problem shared is a problem halved - if you are facing an issue in your business, chances are someone in your community will have been there before and can offer some advice;

If you are not yet part of a business community and would like to be, Facebook is a great place to start. There are groups for all different industries, so reach out and connect with other business owners - you never know where it may lead.

These people usually share a common goal and will support and encourage each other to achieve them.



CREATE A HEALTHY MIND Build a resilient foundation for industry success


he construction and building industry is tough. The heat, the conditions, the dust, the noise, the pressure, the dynamic, fluctuating, intensity of delivery; these things all take their toll on the human condition and the mental health of personnel. What is also known is that school and the apprenticeships, university degrees, and TAFE courses teach you how to do the job you want to undertake. They don’t necessarily provide insight into what the career path is like to live each day. What is missing in most training is resilience, the mindset needed to persevere among the day-today demands of this career choice. Construction and building is like no other career, which can be a struggle when your friends and family don’t understand why a ten-hour day is the norm, why you are physically and mentally drained from the work, why you just want to sit for a while before engaging with your own life at home. You may not understand why this is either, when you first enter the workplace. This industry is cyclical, weather dependant, affected by economical upswings and downturns, altered by emergencies and upheaved by policy change. To quote an old saying, we make hay while the sun shines. So we work hard while the money, the projects, the funds, and the weather lets us, and hope for the best during a heavy wet season, or an economic quiet period. All of this takes an high level of self and mental


management. The fortitude to withstand hot tempers as well as temperatures, short fuses and well as short deadlines, small budgets and smaller margin for error, John Lennon is credited with the quote “life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” This is very relevant to our industry. We give our all to the job, not giving that drive to our own lives, because the work is so demanding. While this all-consuming, all-encompassing expectation is becoming less of a driver as we move towards an understanding of the cost of impacts to mental health, it is still hard to make the choice between the two. Especially when you are young, keen to make a name for yourself, to prove yourself in the industry. After 30 years in this industry, a list of things that come to mind to offer newcomers would be: • Learning to prioritise on the job and in your own life requires sacrifice in both, but not necessarily at the same time • Clear goals for achievement in both areas need to be defined early and updated regularly • Boundaries and limits on what you are prepared to offer to work and friends and family • Including self-care as part of your career is key, but must include the ability to flow with changes • Flexibility when either your life or the job asks

for more than it usually does • Knowledge that emotions are natural but alter over time and that jobs and bosses also come and go • Projects work best when everyone acts as a team instead of being out for themselves • A good reputation will follow you through this industry just as much as a bad one • You need to earn your stripes before credit and rewards come your way • You can enjoy the satisfaction of achievement every day instead of “one day” • That you will have a loyal group of friends in this industry no matter where you end up working • Respect is earned, and never to be expected • The ability to overcome your own issues, take on feedback, and be willing to grow beyond your own expectations is the greatest skill you can learn The mindset of an achiever in this industry is one that has learnt both good and bad can often happen in the same moment, that risk management is a way of life, not a desktop activity, that resilience is a muscle that needs to be flexed and used, and that the rewards in this industry come with the effort that is put in over time.

WHO IS BECKY PAROZ With 30 years in the construction industry, Becky Paroz has demonstrated her unique leadership abilities on some of the most demanding projects in Australia. As a successful engineer and industry leading project manager, she is a director in three companies and a global professional mentor. Becky is motivated to pass on her lessons learnt to assist and educate the next generation of leaders to become high achievers like herself. She write regular blogs, promotes her books which speaks significantly on her experience, and offers support and mentoring to many industry groups. She provides professional and experienced coaching and mentoring, as well as public speaking training to women in the industry to encourage them to keep going and learn to manage the ups and downs that come with the industry.She is the winner of many awards for her achievements and can be found at : www.wordsofbek.com.au. www.radzor.com.au Instagram: wordsofbek


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DAHLSENS’ NETWORK GROWS Providing more builders with what they need, when and where they need it


ll across Victoria and southern New South Wales, builders count on Dahlsens to help them get what they need, when and where they need it. As one of Australia’s largest truss and frame manufacturers and building material suppliers, the business has expanded its trade focused solution into the greater Sydney region with the merger of Dahlsens and Midcoast Timber Centres. With more than 140 years’ experience, the family owned and operated Dahlsens has grown from a single store in the regional Victorian city of Bairnsdale, to a network of 60 locations Australia wide trading as Dahlsens in the south east of the country, and with sister companies Cairns Hardware in Far North Queensland and Nortuss in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Midcoast Timber Centres have been part of the Dahlsen group since 2011, when the Dahlsen family purchased the business from founding owner Gary Goddard. The business has gone from strength to strength, building upon its loyal customer base by delivering in full and on time a huge range of quality building supplies

and prefabricated truss and frame, across its far-reaching network in Sydney and surrounds. Late last year, Midcoast Timber Centres and Dahlsens merged – enabling increasing efficiencies, resources, supply capabilities and buying power. With Dahlsens, builders and trades can access both prefabricated truss and frame systems and a comprehensive range of whole of house building solutions from the one supplier. This service streamlines the ordering of supplies and minimises the number of contacts, deliveries and schedules. With Dahlsens, builders enjoy the dedicated support of an account manager, who stays upto-date on the projects and manages quotes, schedules, deliveries; ongoing project support from start to finish. The strongest family owned building supply network in New South Wales and Victoria, Dahlsens’ purpose is to help builders and trades succeed. To find out where your nearest store is, check out www.dahlsens.com.au.


Everything in one place Eliminate paper, Excel and individual apps. Are you using a document management-based software system for a process-based job? Construction is more than documents, it’s processes. Yet, we’re buying in to document management-focused software systems for key operations like safety and quality. And while the benefits of accessibility to data, paperless jobsites and mobility are a good step up from paper, they’re still holding back the operators on site from doing their job as well as they could be. When searching for systems to alleviate problem areas in your daily operations, safety and

quality, it’s important to search for software that understands the entire scope of the process you undergo while it creates solutions that ensure more efficiency throughout. Simply digitising forms and centralizing them within a mobile application isn’t enough anymore. Technology needs to help you do more. HammerTech’s cloud-based collaborative platform enables clients to consolidate safety, quality and daily field management processes into one paperless, integrated workflow that makes site operations and collaborations easy, organised and centralised. www.hammertechglobal.com


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LOVE YOUR LOOK Wearable tech, like the Garmin vivomove 3S, is not only useful but beautiful. The Garmin vivomove 3S is a smaller-sized hybrid smartwatch combines the traditional look of an analog watch with the essential smart features you need to keep up with your busy life. It features a traditional analog watch design with a smart twist, a hidden touchscreen display. Simply tap or swipe to reveal the hidden touchscreen display. You’ll also receive your smart notifications in style. Receive emails, texts and alerts right on your watch when paired with a compatible smartphone. You can easily see your plans for the day with a dedicated calendar screen. This stylish smartwatch includes Body Battery energy monitoring, stress tracking, wrist-based heart rate, hydration tracking, advanced sleep monitoring and menstrual cycle tracking. The Body Battery energy monitoring allows you to see your body’s energy levels throughout the day so you can find the best times for activity and rest. To complement this, the stress tracking helps you to find out if you’re having a calm, balanced or stressful day. Relax reminders will even prompt you to do a short breathing activity when you’re feeling stressed. Other health and fitness tracking includes wrist-based heart rate monitoring, hydration

tracking, advanced sleep monitoring, with a breakdown of your light, deep and REM sleep stages as well as Pulse Ox; and menstrual cycle tracking through Garmin Connect. Ready for a workout? Track outdoor walks and runs with connected GPS. Switch up your workout routine with activity profiles for yoga, strength, cardio, pool swimming and more. While you get out and about, vivomove 3S tracks steps, floors climbed, intensity minutes and more; you can even sync data across multiple Garmin smartwatches. Available in a number of colours, this smartwatch has a silicone band and stainless steel bezel, making it perfect for work, the weekend — everywhere. It’s compatible with industrystandard 18mm quick release bands. Band colours include powder grey with silver hardware, black with slate hardware, white with rose gold hardware, dust rose with light gold hardware, granite blue with silver hardware, light sand with rose gold hardware and navy with rose gold hardware. The Garmin vivomove 3S costs $399. FLORENCE || 59

BUILDING IN THE BLOOD Natalie Pavlovic of Rotric Constructions talks about her experiences in the construction industry


uilding and construction is in my blood. My father to this very day works in construction, as did both of my grandfathers.

The industry welcomed them all with open arms upon arriving to Australia as migrants. They have all formed life-long mates within the industry and also worked on many stand-out projects. I grew up hearing stories about hard work, a large plethora of buildings worked on, teamwork and of community. Such as the home my grandad worked on for the great Crocodile Dundee star, Paul Hogan. Or the base building works my father completed for the iconic Centrepoint Tower in the 1980s. These stories really came to life when my dad would take me to visit construction sites in my childhood and teens. In my teens, I suggested to my father light-heartedly that I also wanted to work in construction. He was open minded, accepting and left me empowered to make my own choice. And here I am today, working with my father at Rotric Constructions. This makes me the first woman in my family to pave the way to work in building and construction. I have stuck it out day in day out for almost a decade now. It is something I am


particularly proud of. I have seen the effort that goes into delivering upon our promises – promises to the client, teammates, greater project team and environment. It is particularly evident to me that every action taken matters – no matter how big or small. Each action taken to deliver every promise, is interwoven with the greater picture of completing an overall project beyond the client’s satisfaction. The combination of integrity, a strong work ethic, passion and commitment to show up every single day, has seen Rotric Constructions almost reach our 40th year of operation. Key projects I have been involved in include: • Lithgow Workmen’s Club Development – we experienced inclement weather including snowy conditions when delivering this project. Despite this, given our commitment to do as we say and team spirit, we managed to deliver to a high standard by the promised timeframe. • Bayview Hotel Refurbishment– Finals Winner Australian Hotels Association Awards.

ABOVE: Natalie Pavlovic’s father and his father on site in 1985.

• Queensland Investment Corporation – Design and Fitout, Martin Place. This was an exciting project as it had a heavy focus on sustainability targets. I was involved in the design and build which had to conform to the building system’s NABERS Energy Rating. Construction workers are over represented in suicide rates in the country. I have always been passionate about mental wellbeing. And am particularly sensitive around the need for more mental health awareness in the industry. I believe I have been given a platform to help address this issue. As well as participate in the need to adopt greater measures so those evidently, or not so evidently, suffering do not feel alone. Including providing them with access to resources that offer help and support. As a woman in construction, I am aware that statistically I am a minority, representing 12 per cent in Australia.

to work towards adopting consciously inclusive behaviours and actions not just for women, but also those that are a minority. This includes in our workplaces and on our worksites. There has definitely been a shift towards building a more inclusive workplace in recent years. This is especially noticeable since the time my grandfathers’ were still working. If we can change the perception of those directly within our reach, then it flows on to create a ripple effect within the wider community. There is still more work to be done. I say this with the hope for the younger generation of women to see the building and construction field as a welcoming industry to work in – and one that comprises of accepting male counterparts. www.rotricconstructions.com.au 02 8198 9918

I have always been fascinated by the power of the built environment to inspire and connect people, as well as evoke emotions, feelings and perceptions. But I also see my role as one that challenges perception itself – particularly the unconscious bias. I aim FLORENCE || 61




n March 2017, Malibu came into our lives. A few weeks earlier we had decided it was time to get a dog, but we did not just want any dog, we wanted to rescue a dog. A friend of ours is a foster carer for Australian Working Dog Rescue (AWDRI). AWDRI is a non-for-profit institution whose primary function is to save working dog breeds from being euthanised in council pounds and shelters and find new homes for them. After looking at their website (www.workingdogrescue.com.au) we found a dog that needed a new home ASAP. We put in an application, had a home check and


within a few weeks, Malibu joined our family. When she came into care, she was so timid and scared of people; it was so sad to see that she had been treated so poorly and then just dumped at the side of the road. In fact, Malibu was named Kennel 12 when she came into care and the lovely people that rescued her called her Malibu because of the colour of her coat. After a few weeks of showing her love, she transformed into the most loving dog who now loves being around people. She still has her quirks, but they make us love her even more.

Then in March 2019, we thought Malibu needed a four-legged friend, so we decided to become Foster Carers (or should I say Foster Fail carers) and fostered Radar (check out those ears – named appropriately). We were supposed to get him ready for his forever home, but just one week after Radar came into our care, we decided to give Malibu the brother she always wanted, that is where the Foster Fail Carer comes in to it! My husband has now said we should not foster anymore dogs as two dogs is enough. I disagree, I think three or four dogs would be better.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected AWDRI and organisations of a similar nature, especially with the border closures. Dogs can no longer be transported across state borders to be saved and re homed. These organisations need more volunteers to help pick up dogs from regional pounds and get them to central locations to be re-homed. I can recommend AWDRI but if you are considering getting a dog or are interested in fostering, please contact AWDRI or a similar organisation. www.workingdogrescue.com.au FLORENCE || 63


BUSINESS CHICKS PRESENTS JULIA GILLARD AND DR NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA WHEN: Monday July 13, noon to 1pm AEST (and available for four weeks after for ticket holders) WHERE: Online FURTHER INFO: businesschicks.com Both Julia Gillard and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala have been the first woman to hold various powerful leadership positions, and for their book sat down face-to-face with other incredible leaders like Hillary Clinton and Jacinda Ardern, to understand their experiences and what we can learn from them. This is your exclusive opportunity to hear from two seriously impressive leaders on the conclusions that can be drawn from the global research and real life experience about what it truly takes for women to succeed today.

CONSTRUCTIVE CONFLICT RESOLUTION WHEN: August 26, 2020 WHERE: Online FURTHER INFO: www.mbansw.asn.au/training/ccroconstructive-conflict-resolution-2

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Things don’t always go smoothly in the workplace with people; those around you, in your team, your boss, critical stakeholders like customers, suppliers and regulators. During and post COVID-19 these differences may increase resulting in potentially more conflicting situations in the workplace. Not sure what can you do now that will have a positive and practical effect on the future of your business? We will show you how to: Build resilience, embrace, resolve and constructively resolve conflict; Change the way you think, feel and behave when confronted with conflict; Appreciate the importance of igniting conflict instead of waiting for its eruption; Build the emotional resilience required to resolve conflict constructively; Describe and use the five different ways we can resolve conflict.

AUG 26

BUSINESS STRATEGY AND PLANNING WHEN: August 5, 2020, 1pm-3pm WHERE: Webinar FURTHER INFO: www.mbansw.asn.au/training/bspbusiness-strategy-and-planning-2 Strategy and planning are key to business success and can make a significant difference to your day to day operations. Maximise your business outcomes by learning the foundations for developing a strategic plan. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out in business and have no idea what the next steps are or if you have been in business for years, this workshop will help you gain a clear picture of your direction.

JUL 13 JUL 28-29 WOMEN & LEADERSHIP AUSTRALIA SYDNEY SYMPOSIUM WHEN: July 28 & 29 , 2020 WHERE: Shangri-La, Sydney FURTHER INFO: www.wla.edu.au/sydney2020.html

The Women’s & Leadership Australia Sydney Symposium brings together incredible women to share their heartfelt and inspiring stories. This year’s line-up includes Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Zali Steggall, OAM MP and Virginia Trioli (pictured).

AUG 16 GET HANDY WORKSHOP WHEN: August 16, 2020 WHERE: Sydney. FURTHER INFO: www.femaletradie.com.au

This one day workshop will be jam packed full of knowledge to get you started and feeling confident on the tools. You’ll learn how to use all hand tools; hammer, saw, and the power drill and impact driver. You will be shown what screws and drill bits to use for what materials so you can gain the skills to start fixing things around the house. Imagine how great it will be to hang finally hang that picture, or put up that shelf.





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