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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Editor’s Pick At times, it can feel like two steps forward, one step back. Leading Australian companies who’d been focusing on growth in the wake of the global financial crisis now find themselves doing so in the midst of their recovery - both physical and economic - from disastrous flooding, storms, and fires. Firms seeking to strengthen their labour pools with skilled professionals and trades must instead seek to protect what they have; to repair, reflect, and reinvest as needed, and to ensure that they can meet their present obligations before looking to expansion. Government bodies and key departments need to re-evaluate infrastructure plans and investment schemes to accommodate present circumstances - which, if we’re being honest, have revealed vulnerabilities that go deeper than building materials.

February’s issue of Australian Construction Focus truly examines the industry in all its forms and expressions. This issue sees the first installment of our three-part feature on leading integrated construction materials company Adelaide Brighton. In Facing the Future, we examine the firm’s subsidiary Adbri Masonry, Australia’s largest supplier of quality masonry products. In Personal Responsibility, Professional Results, contributing writer Aleisha Parr takes a closer look at Central Systems’ astonishing recent growth. A Western Australia-based company, Central Systems owes much of its success to its unique company culture, which focuses on leadership and accountability, and places safety at a premium. And in the insightful - and timely - piece, It’s An Ill Wind... contributing writer John Boley explores the many facets of the country’s recent flooding, from impacts on the construction industry, to implications for homeowners, to the important role played by government.

Yet in the midst of such chaos, the inimitable Aussie sense of humour continues to shine through. Recently, the iconic bronze statue of Wally Lewis that stands outside Suncorp Stadium has been spotted sporting water wings and snorkeling gear to withstand the deluge. A picture of young Westend resident Andrew Taylor and his mud-covered friends has been making the rounds, depicting the youths gathered around a mud-soaked piano as they help his family clean house following the recession of the flood waters. And a sign reading, “Kiss My Yasi” was thoughtfully left outside the Cairns Hogs Breath Café to greet this latest trespasser. This land truly is a study in contrasts. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in Dorothea Mackellar’s famed verse, and it is with her words that we leave you: I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror The wide brown land for me! Here’s to safety and prosperity in the months to come. Here’s to Australia. Tim Hocken Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Tim Hocken Production Editor Kulvir Singh Creative Art Director Robert Chambers Director of Business Dev. Lorne Moffat Head of Research Rob Lenehan Research Manager

Henry Kendall Group

Christian Cooper Director of IT Contributing Editors Jaime McKee Robert Hoshowsky Contributing Writers Aleisha Parr Jen Hamilton John Boley Melissa Thompson Jeff Hocken Publisher

06 News and Events

16 Inform

February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Adbri Masonry - Facing the Future

40 It’s an Ill Wind... Flooding Impact

50 MKDC

The Design is in The Details

60 Henry Kendall Group

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Low-Emission Chic

24 Adelaide Brighton

8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

Industry News and Events

The Intersection of Property Development and Information Technology


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68 FlexWay

A Revolution in Paving Block Mfg.

72 Treading Lightly

Australia’s Ecotourism

78 Central Systems

Personal Responsibility, Professional Results

88 The Duchess of Spring Street Historical

94 Restifa & Partners

The Boutique Approach to Project Management

100 Taylor Construction Group

Building Success Through Relationships

106 Crown Group

Resort Style Living Without the Luxury Price Tag

It’s an Ill Wind... Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Unique Community in Hobart

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area will be open to residents within Clarendonvale, who will be able to take advantage of the sporting, language, and other facilities. In addition, proposed bus routes will go through the area, making it even more accesAlready home to a growing number sible. of Korean residents, Clarence City Council recently showed its support At present, plans for the development for ParanVille, a unique eco-friendly call for the creation of a 327-lot ur$500 million South Korean residential ban subdivision with room for future development that will start construc- growth, along with a school to accomtion sometime this year. The planned modate 750 Korean English-language area – which includes a village of 1,000 students and teachers. The social and homes, stores, parklands, restaurants, economic benefits to the area are a language school, a student residence considerable, and it is estimated the and sporting facilities – will be located ParanVille project will deliver about near a disadvantaged area, benefiting $134 million to total gross state prodthe local economy. Since ParanVille uct, and represent over one-fifth of all will not be a ‘gated community,’ the building activity across the state. n Tasmania’s state capital of Hobart, plans are underway for what is shaping up to be a unique residential subdivision for the area’s growing South Korean community.

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Copper Theft on the Rise

New Abattoir in the Works

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ituated at Kilto Station just outside of Broome, construc-

tion plans are underway for the creation of a new meatworks facility.

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ne of the oldest metals used by man, copper can be found on nearly every construction site in one form or another, ranging from plumbing to roofing to wiring. One of the best products for industrial use, it retains its value both as a new metal, and when sold as scrap. Unfortunately for some builders, this also makes the metal highly desirable to thieves. In the capital city of Canberra, The Master Builders Association (MBA) is cautioning construction firms to be on the lookout for copper thieves following a rash of recent thefts of the valuable material. In the past year, there have been 120 copper thefts reported from across the Australian Capital Territory. One site was recently robbed – for the third time in just three months – with crooks stealing approximately $30,000 worth of roof trimming. Representatives from the MBA say companies need to increase security on work sites to deter theft, and that even sites that seem secure can still be targeted by copper thieves.

Depending on weather conditions, construction of the Kimberley meatworks will commence in the next few months. The abattoir is the dream of pastoralists Jack and Vicki Burton, who raise 50,000 Brahman and Brahman-cross cattle on their area properties. The goal is to have the abattoir in operation by mid-year, processing and selling 100 or more head of cattle per week, marketing the product under the banner Kimberley Free Range Beef. The goal is to have the abattoir open year-round, with a range of beef products available from burger patties to top-end cuts of meat available to the hospitality sector and other markets.

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Flood Recovery Efforts Underway in Que

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cross the nation, flood recovery and the need for repairing water-damaged structures remains a top priority. In many areas, construction is being hampered by a lack of skilled workers possessing the necessary experience. In the Lockyer Valley – located to the west of Brisbane – there is a need for workers who can operate excavators and other large earth-moving machines, along with skilled pipe layers and others who are able to deal with flooded areas.

to assist in the clean-up of communities such as Murphy’s Creek, there is still a need for skilled operators able to take on the work.

To date, about $135 million in donations has been received to help those affected by the flooding in Queensland, and companies able to offer assistance in the form of workers or equipment are encouraged to contact the state government through its flood website, at www.qld.gov.au/flood. In addition to information on assistance, the site includes Although some companies have donated links to weather alerts, recovery updates, pipelines, drainage equipment and machines and essential contact numbers.

Construction Industr

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n the face of rising interest rates and flood damage, Australia’s building industry has slowed for the eighth straight month in a row. A recent survey from the Industry Group and Housing Industry Association states the construction performance index declined to 40.2 from 43.8 in December – figures below 50 demonstrate industry shrinkage.

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Few construction-related sectors are being spared, as engineering, commercial work, housing, rail lines, and others have all faced declines in the face of flood damage, construction slowdowns and stoppages, and interest rates which rose seven times in a year from October of 2009 to November of 2010. Tighter constraints on credit for businesses and new home buyers have also slowed the building industry to low levels.


eensland

New Marina for Swansea

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n an area once renowned for ship-building, it is hoped that plans for a new marina will see a return to the boat-making days of the past. In Swansea, the New South Wales government selected the construction firm Buildev to review a proposal for a new marina development, which could rejuvenate the area, bringing jobs, shops, restaurants, and tourists.

y Still Facing Decline

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Green Cities 2011 February 27 – March 2, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, VIC Demand for green buildings is on the rise around the world and Green Cities 2011 will provide delegates with the expertise for creating sustainable, environmentally friendly buildings and communities. Two days worth of informational sessions with speakers such as Bjorn Lomborg, one of Time Magazine’s 75 most influential people, and Jeb Brugmann, world renowned urban strategist, offer insight into sustainable design, rating tools, and the true cost of carbon. Also, gain practical green building knowledge during a full day of master classes or tour sustainable buildings: Pixel, MCEC, and 500 Bourke Street. For more information visit: www.greencities.org.au

7th Annual Australian Roads Summit March 9-10, The Sebel & Citigate King George Square, Brisbane, QLD Anyone involved in the planning, financing, and construction of Australian roads should take an interest in the Australian Roads Summit. Both government and industry leaders will discuss funding commitments, infrastructure investment, construction challenges, the COAG Road Reform Plan, and minimising congestion. They will also present a number of case studies illustrating problems and practical solutions. The National Transport Engineering Committee Medal Presentation will also be held on March 9th. For more information visit: www.acevents.com.au/roads2011/

Coasts and Marine Structures March 15-16, Dockside, Sydney, NSW Durability is the theme for this year’s event. Learn about techniques and materials that will ensure a maximum lifespan for marine structures and develop maintenance methods that minimise the effects of corrosion and rising sea levels on marine infrastructure. Heavy investment in marine infrastructure is expected in the near future to meet the demands of increased export trade volumes. Find out what the experts have to say about best practice strategies leading into this rapid trade growth and participate in interactive workshops to learn from their practical experiences. For more information visit: www.marinestructures.com.au

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Celebrating 11 Years in Industry, IQPC Presents….

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www.collaborativecontracting.com.au Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Communication Network Design and Construction March 16-17, Rydges Melbourne, VIC With the Australian Government’s $43 billion investment in a National Broadband Network, the construction of a large scale FTTP network is underway. The Communication Network Design and Construction conference will provide your telecommunications team with the knowledge necessary for a safe and successful roll out of the NBN. Hear from representatives of NBN Co., the company established to design and build the NBN, as well as other telecommunications experts, regarding risk mitigation, equipment selection, relevant state and local planning laws, and more. For more information visit: www.commdesignconstruction.com.au

5th Annual Queensland Infrastructure Summit March 28-29, The Sebel & Citigate King George Square, Brisbane, QLD The Queensland Government is set to spend $17.1 billion on infrastructure projects in the year 2011. This summit will give delegates an understanding of what lies ahead and what is underway in the agricultural, transport, education, health, water and energy sectors. Delegates will also benefit from informal networking sessions, a post-conference workshop for anyone wanting to learn more about PPPs, and a presentation from The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe, MP, entitled: “Regionalisation: Managing Queensland’s Growth.” For more information visit: www.iir.com.au/qldinfrastructure

Workspace Planning and Design Forum March 28-29, Hilton on the Park, Melbourne, VIC For the first time, the Workspace Planning and Design Forum will be held to explore concepts aimed at reducing office place operational costs by building environmentally sustainable workspaces. An experienced panel of speakers discuss utilising sustainable materials and supplies, balancing aesthetics and functionality, improving safety and using the latest technology. Numerous case studies will also be presented by national and international architecture firms, and a special tour of the Australian Conservation Foundation office is planned. For more information visit: www.informa.com.au/workspace

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Low-EmissionChic M

elbourne-based firm Inform Design is an architecture and construction company that works closely with leading local architects to create contemporary home designs for sustainable living. Not content merely to

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

create beautiful spaces, Inform Design ensures that wherever possible, energy saving features are incorporated into the design, making the house more comfortable, affordable, functional and ethical.


-By John Boley

The company believes its architectural flair and building expertise make it “a leader, setting the benchmark for Australian contemporary home design. Award winning modern homes designed by Inform Design are showcased in its

creative portfolio.” The company has indeed been recognised for its innovative home design, winning the Housing Industry Association’s ‘Australian Home of the Year’ at the Australian Housing Awards with its Urban House, a design

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Inform’s low-emissions Butterfly House in Murembeena

To claim that a house is energy efficient solely on the fact that it has achieved a 5 Star energy rating is not responsible. Certainly building fabric is more efficient than the poorly insulated, draughty homes of 30 years ago but all new houses built in Victoria must now achieve this minimum rating in order to obtain a building permit. The Butterfly House design is that of a compact house that incorporates intricate detail with functionality, a philosophy that has been adopted throughout all Inform’s designs. The company believes the Butterfly House to be its best direction for addressing concerns about the environment and the future of home design. The project represents a “responsible step in urban design that will benefit future generations”. With over two years of research behind the project, the collaboration between Zen Architects and Inform’s development team has created a truly beautiful home that also addresses key environmental issues. Designed to be a "zero emission" home, the Butterfly is capable of meeting this high standard, though to what extent will obviously vary with each family’s individual use. To minimise greenhouse gas emissions without compromising lifestyle, the design employs energy efficient appliances, fittings and light fixtures, with hot water provided by means of a gas boosted solar system. The selection of building materials saw the company utilise products that were either recycled or contained as much recycled and renewable raw material as possible. The process of designing and creating the Butterfly House represented a true marriage of contemporary design and excellent quality.

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


which was praised for its contemporary tive features to create a contemporary, aesthetics and innovation in environ- high-end home. It will be built and displayed at 734 Hampton Street, Brighmental sustainability. ton.” A series of display homes in Melbourne reflects Inform Design’s expertise in Another design, almost completed, is home design and capabilities as spe- The Cube – Centre Road, Brighton East cialist builders. One of the homes, says - designed by Leon Meyer. According the company, represents an exciting to Inform, the Cube offers “a range of new direction for Inform. “Designed by cubic, modular elements that can be the masters of sleek contemporary liv- adapted to create different configuraing, architects Pleysier Perkins, Hamp- tions. Cube’s clean, geometric qualities ton Street reflects a strongly modern- are softened with timber elements to ist style. This striking 4-bedroom home create a cool, contemporary home suitincludes full height glazing, an outdoor ed to both level and sloping sites.” The fireplace, large loggia space with swim- Cube’s interiors have been designed by ming pool, and a range of other distinc- Chelsea Hing. Project1_Layout 1 31/01/11 9:35 AM Page 1

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Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


A third design currently in the works is The Linacre – Belmore Road, Balwyn - also nearly complete. The company describes this home as offering “relaxed contemporary living that’s always in style. Its classic, Leon Meyer design optimises the property’s orientation to maximum effect, allowing natural light to permeate the house on both floors. Linacre’s spaciousness and warm, welcoming feeling explains its ever-popular appeal.” Chelsea Hing also designed the interiors for this project. According to David Ansett of Storm Brand Design, the home building market in Australia is typified by a “bland range of home designs, brought to you by a range of equally undifferentiated businesses. Having worked in the space for a number of clients over the past five years, I would define the market offer as ‘affordable = uninspiring’.” Ansett believes that while there are practical minimum costs for building one’s own home, “the price you pay is a lack of individuality, and poor and dated design quality. A walk through any display village will reinforce the message, as each house you enter feels almost identical.” Speaking to Inform’s strong aesthetic sensibilities, however, Ansett praises the firm as one of two Australian home building companies “that have begun to Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


deliver on the often-heard brand promise of ‘contemporary living’. Working with architects of note and ability, Inform Design has produced some great looking houses that feel ‘architect designed’ both inside and out, creating a strong sense of differentiation, positioning their new product at the premium end of their market.”

of leading architects in Melbourne with a great team of home builders, the end result is an Inform Design modern home.” Combining sustainability with true artistry is clearly proving to be a winning formula for this innovative firm.

As an example of what Ansett was referring to, the Inform Pod House is a collaboration with Melbourne architect Barnaby Chiverton. The house consists of two pods which can be positioned at different angles, or different levels to suit a sloping site. Inform plans to soon have a Pod display house open at Mt Martha. Boasts the company’s website, “creativity, coupled with a passion for home design, is what makes our modern homes unique. When you combine the vision Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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A

delaide Brighton Ltd is a leading, integrated construction materials company focused on the residential, commercial, engineering, infrastructure and resource sectors. The Group’s principal activities are the production of cement and lime products, premixed concrete and aggregates, and concrete products. Its origins can be traced back to 1882, when it commenced cement manufacturing in South Australia. Today, Adelaide Brighton is an S&P/ASX200 company with 1,600 employees and operations in all Australian states and territories.

tent strategy of incorporating a mix of organic growth and relevant vertical integration to develop its business.

Cement and Lime Adelaide Brighton is a market leader in cement and lime in South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory through its Adelaide Brighton Cement, Cockburn Cement and Northern Cement operations. It also has strategic operations in the eastern states through its Morgan Cement grinding facility in New South Wales, and its 50% owned cement supply joint ventures in Queensland (Sunstate Cement) and Victoria (Independent Cement and Lime).

Concrete and Aggregates

The Company has employed a consis- Adelaide Brighton has a modest posi-

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Adelaide Brighton profile

tion in the premixed concrete markets through its Hy-Tec operation in Victoria, New South Wales and south east Queensland, and with the Mawson Group, a 50% joint venture in northern Victoria and southern New South Wales.

Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Customers and Sustainability

The major end-use markets for Adelaide Brighton’s products include residential and non-residential construction, engiThe Company has an emerging position neering construction, and mining. in aggregate supply, with strategic reserves at Austen Quarry, west of Sydney, Sustainable principles and practices – through the Mawson Group in northern which benefit the environment, our Victoria and southern New South Wales community, our people and our bottom and Hurd Haulage in northern New line – are a natural part of business at South Wales. Adelaide Brighton. We go much further than simply complying with regulatory requirements. Innovation, continuous Concrete Products Under the brand of Adbri Masonry, Ad- improvement and respect for the comelaide Brighton is the leading Austra- munities and environments in which we lian supplier of masonry products, with operate will ensure the Company’s long operations in Queensland, New South term success in a changing world. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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-By Aleisha Parr

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


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he 2008 merger of C&M Brick and Hanson Building Products brought together two of Australia’s finest foundation companies to create Adbri Masonry. Wholly owned by top 200 ASX listed public company, Adelaide Brighton Ltd, this subsidiary has leveraged its vast experience from the two former brands to become Australia’s largest supplier of quality masonry products. As individual companies, they were both highly regarded, having helped build the face of Australia with iconic projects including

Hanson’s pavers in the Cairns Airport and C&M Brick’s paving in the Homebush Olympic Village. Together under Adelaide Brighton’s guidance, they are a powerhouse, with unrivalled masonry products and progressive environmental practises. The amalgamation has created a strong national footprint for Adbri Masonry, which now has manufacturing facilities in all Australian States with the exception of the Northern Territory and West Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


Australia. Maximising its potential, the company is drawing upon its broad array of strengths across each state to provide its customers with quality local services.

service, and our products are designed to be easy to use and install. I think that’s why you can’t drive through many streets in Australia without catching a glimpse of some [of our] products.”

Catering to civil, commercial and residential landscaping markets, Adbri Masonry manufactures and supplies a vast range of contemporary concrete products, including bricks, block and architectural coloured block, decorative wall claddings, retaining wall systems, concrete and wetcast pavers. Always on the cutting edge of design, the compa“We pride ourselves on our quality and ny offers its products in a broad range

“We are extremely proud of our longstanding relationship with Australian builders and architects and to have helped build many of Australia’s top commercial projects,” says Peter Hurley, General Manager of Adbri Masonry in South Queensland, in a company news report.

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


02

Architectural Masonry

Adbri Masonry’s diverse range of architectural masonry products offers the architect and designer a variety of colour, style and texture providing an ideal and distinctive choice for both residential and commercial application.

Styles and colours have been carefully selected to meet both traditional and modern design. With different aggregate bases and various colours and finishes, the choices are endless.

Architectural Brick Smooth coloured bricks.

Smooth Stone Coloured blocks in their natural moulded state.

Sandhurst Stone Coloured blocks with a split texture.

Pitched Stone Coloured blocks with a pitched texture.

Macquarie Stone Large coloured blocks with a pitched or split texture.

Designer Masonry Honed Coloured blocks with a honed finish.

Designer Masonry Shot-blast Coloured blocks with a shot-blasted finish.

Oatmeal Honed Designer Masonry

Tech Dry Additive

Adbri Masonry believes quality is paramount to achieving a successful product. Accordingly, all Adbri Masonry Architectural Masonry products are manufactured with efflorescence inhibitors and colour fastening agents. These additives ensure reduced water absorption, minimisation of efflorescence, reduced mould and water staining and continued colour vibrancy.

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Stacked Stone Castaway

Stacked Stone Castaway

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Masonry

Pre-sealing technology Eldorado Stone began in 1969 with the objective to create the most believable stone veneer in the world. It had to be ...Choose durable concrete masonry with easy to install and less expensive than real stone but more importantly it had to look like the real thing - something not natural stonetrue appearance created usingstone veneers. always of other architectural pre-sealing technology . Adbri Masonry could see a need in the market for a realistic and cost effective stone veneer and a worldwide search resulted in Adbri Masonry being appointed as the sole distributor of Eldorado Stone in Australia and New Zealand.

Available from Adbri Masonry...

For Adbri Masonry the decision to be associated with the product was an easy one. The stone veneers are realistic, the range is comprehensive and installation is straight forward. The last factor was that Eldorado Stones’ founder shares the same philosophy to manufacturing as Adbri Masonry in “creating unbelievable products at believable prices”.

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Proudly supplied by...

Tech-Link International Contact Craig on: 0438 592 892

February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


of contemporary colours, suitable to Permeable Paving range. An alternative any design aesthetic. This attention to to conventional paving methods, this The Product What is it? detail and variety has made Adbri Ma- system has permeable properties which ECOTRIHEX permeable pavers are type A interlocking pavers as determined by CMAA T44: Concrete Segmental sonry a favourite among architects and encourage water flow through the pavePavements - Guide to Specifying. 03 ment surface and pavers substructure into the engineers. Manufactured using high quality materials to comply with AS4455, ECOTRIHEX permeable offer the aesthetic qualities demanded by specifiers in conjunction with the durability required of pavements and roads. ground below. The system includes a ECOTRIHEX permeable paving system consist of permeable surface overlaying permeable base and sub-base materials. drainage layer the Beyond standard Ad- haspermeable By modifyingits well established pavingofferings, shapes Adbri Masonry produced a pavement surface that creates below small openings along the joints or have enlarged joints. These joints are filled with a uniform gravel to create drainage voids bri Masonry also carries a wide range pavers which allows water to infiltrate through the pavement surface. ®

®

®

Research from the University of NSW has shown that ECOTRIHEX ® permeable paving with 2-5mm gravels as the bedding and jointing material can allow rainfall intensities of 900L/sec/ha to be accepted. Because the ECOTRIHEX ® system is based on well-proven segmental paving shapes and are laid on a fully engineered sub-structure, they provide the superior structural performance of conventional interlocking segmental pavers.

The Product What is it? ECOTRIHEX ® permeable pavers are type A interlocking pavers as determined by CMAA T44: Concrete Segmental Pavements - Guide to Specifying. Manufactured using high quality materials to comply with AS4455, ECOTRIHEX ® permeable pavers offer the aesthetic qualities demanded by specifiers in conjunction with the durability required of pavements and roads. ECOTRIHEX ® permeable paving system consist of permeable surface overlaying permeable base and sub-base materials. By modifying well established paving shapes Adbri Masonry has produced a pavement surface that creates small openings along the joints or have enlarged joints. These joints are filled with a uniform gravel to create drainage voids through the pavement surface. Research from the University of NSW has shown that ECOTRIHEX ® permeable paving with 2-5mm gravels as the bedding and jointing material can allow rainfall intensities of 900L/sec/ha to be accepted.

of environmental products, including into the subgrade or to drain away to a Because the ECOTRIHEX system is based on well-proven segmental paving shapes and are laid on a fully engineered pre-designated location. While permeable pavers erosion control sub-structure, they provide and the superior structural performancesuitable of conventional interlocking segmental pavers. products. Says Mr Hurley, “Our team decreasing the effect of flooding in is constantly trialling new colours and some areas, this system will also benefit materials to ensure we meet future en- the surrounding vegetation. vironmental needs and stay at the forePermeable paving has been utilised front of design and style.” in many countries for some time now, One such product is the popular Eco- helping to ease the stress on drainage trihex™ system, from Adbri Masonry’s and river systems where urban devel®

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opment has led to threatening conditions. Traditional impervious surfaces increase the pressure involved in managing high volumes of surface run-off entering stormwater and river systems. Recognising the dangers of this, the local Councils in New South Wales are investigating “Semi permeable paving” alternatives for all future footpaths and shared pathways across Local Government Areas. In accordance with Adelaide Brighton’s own commitment to promote environmental sustainability measures whenever possible, Adbri Masonry has created a sustainability action plan across the business to support the environments in which it operates. Its website offers clients a list of hints and tips to creating an environmentally sustainable backyard through weekend activities such as growing a veggie patch or reusing water in various ways.

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


In its own backyard, Adbri Masonry has implemented a variety of environmental conservancy measures to reduce its own impact on the environment. Rain water is collected from the roof of one manufacturing plant and stored in two 10,000 litre rain water tanks for reuse. A collection system collects water runoff from the kilns used to cure concrete blocks and then transfers that water back into the concrete mixers. The steam which condenses into water from the manufacturing process of various blocks and pavers is also collected and recycled. Through these initiatives, over two million litres of recycled water was reused by Adbri Masonry in 2008 alone.

The company also uses recycled materials in its manufacturing of grey block. Up to a 78% use of recycled materials - including cement substituted with fly ash - was recently achieved by the New South Wales division. Additionally, the Nowra plant in New South Wales has, in conjunction with the Nowra Shire Council, implemented a resource recovery initiative. Through this initiative, waste materials from concrete block production are recycled for use as a road and pavement base in construction work within the Council area. Some exceptional developments have been made by Adbri Masonry in regards to the use – and reuse – of timbre pal-

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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February 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


lets. A simple alteration in the stacking configuration of the “Litec” lightweight blocks has reduced the number of timbre pallets necessary by 20%, and has reduced truck movements by 17% for the same block tonnes delivered. In the past, when these timbre pallets were damaged beyond repair, waste management had been a concern. Adbri Masonry is on the road to changing all of that, with trials successfully resulting in two new mulching initiatives. In New South Wales, the mulched pallets are being reused in gardens and in Queensland, a mulching agent is utilised to use the recycled pallets as a biomass

fuel for a local sugar mill power generation plant. Through these and other initiatives, Adbri Masonry has positioned itself well as Australia’s premier provider of high quality and sustainable products. “I believe we have been successful because of our attention to quality and our ability to provide customer solutions for many years,” says Mr Hurley. “Our customers know they are buying a quality, Australian-made product.” With its rich history of iconic landscaping projects, its attention to fine details, and its progressive approach, Adbri Masonry is truly helping Australia face the future.

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It's an

ill wind...

-By John Boley

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…that blows no one any good. There are serious opportunities in the wake of the floods, the cyclone and all the other slings and arrows of outrageous meteorological fortune that have been thrown at Australia recently. They extend not only to large-scale repair of damaged property and infrastructure but to planning and building of probably a whole series of new projects intended to – hopefully – keep Mother Nature at bay next time she comes calling with such savagery. There's also an opportunity for a timely examination of the what, where and how of the building and the lessons, if learned now, could be implemented throughout the Commonwealth, not only in those parts currently devastated. As a recent position paper released by Engineers Australia entitled 'Flooding and Flooding Mitigation' points out, “No part of Australia near a river or other channel can be said to be flood free. Flooding is a problem in both rural and urban areas.” Queensland PM Anna Bligh said: “We are facing a reconstruction effort of post-war proportions.” Some infrastructure in Queensland could take years to rebuild, said the head of the flood recovery taskforce, Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Flooded Barron River entering the Barron River Gorge north of Cairns January 22, 2011 in Cairns, Queensland, Australia

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Major-General Mick Slater. The floods affected 22 towns and cities across Queensland and disrupted coking-coal supplies, flooded mines and damaged crucial coal rail lines. “I think that we will achieve some things in a matter of months. But there are some aspects of the rebuilding of infrastructure that will take, potentially, years,� Slater commented. The total cost of rebuilding could top $20 billion, according to government reports, giving rise to two further concerns. First, where do we find the laThere is already some doubt as to whether investors will be keen to finance rebuilding projects without some evidence that future floods can be prevented. bour? Construction Skills Queensland (CSQ) estimates more than 9,000 workers will be needed over the next four years to help in the construction phase of the coal seam gas sector. CSQ believes it will take careful management to ensure a clash between the competing interests of the mining boom and the flood recovery does not worsen the skills shortage. Secondly, finance; ironically, the disasters look to be good for GDP, not least Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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been controversial, they appear to have allayed the markets' fears. The probability of future interest rate hikes was instantly cut. Investors with real cash in the money markets decided that the government’s package was anti-inflationary, and would relieve some of the The early reaction of financial markets monetary policy burden on the Reserve and economists to the disasters was Bank. that it increased the inflation hazards Australia faced. Food prices would es- But there is already some doubt as to calate, existing labour shortages (and whether investors will be keen to fiwage demands) would be accentuated, nance rebuilding projects without and the federal government’s fiscal posi- some evidence that future floods can tion would deteriorate. As much as $20 be prevented. The last major flood in billion of new public and private spend- Queensland, which occurred in Brisbane ing could be injected into an economy in 1974, resulted in the construction of already trying to digest the biggest in- the Wivenhoe Dam on the Brisbane Rivvestment boom in its history. While er, but it did not lead to any tightening the government's subsequent spend- of regulations regarding construction in ing cuts and flood levy proposals have flood-prone areas. due to the likely boom in purchasing of replacement consumer durables. Also on the plus side, interest rate hikes are suddenly off the agenda, which is welcome news nationwide as far as the building industry is concerned.

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In Queensland, the scale of devastation suggests that flood mitigation measures and other basic infrastructure were either non-existent or severely compromised. Growth of agriculture and associated clearing of forests has increased problems of run-off. Critics assert that federal, state and local authorities have allowed property developers and real estate interests to build inappropriate housing on low-lying flood plains. Queensland residents in flood-prone areas at one time built their homes two metres or more above the ground, often on stilts, but these have largely been replaced with lower-cost, low-rise homes, leading to inevitable inundation.

tion methods, as well as appropriate planning and land zoning legislation particularly within flood plains - public education and information programs, flood insurance and flood warning systems.

But there's a catch – if you'll pardon the pun – even in such pragmatic prevention, the engineers say. Such constructions “can only benefit specific existing developed areas (they are not appropriate in many areas) and after construction, there may be pressure for further development in the perceived floodfree area which may ultimately negate the benefits obtained from construction of the measure. Furthermore, they can The paper calls for the development of generate the perception that the area flood mitigation dams, retarding basins, is flood-free when in fact a flood greatchannel levees and other flood reduc- er than that designed for will occur at Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Brisbane Fairfield area community volunteers clean up. The changes would add an estimated $15,000 to the cost of building an average house in cyclonic areas.

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some future time; a flood the commu- The official body has proposed imposnity in the protected area may not be ing cyclone ratings on houses south to Broome in Western Australia and down prepared for.” the Queensland coast as far as CaboolIn a 'report card' published only last ture on the Sunshine Coast, just north November by Engineers Australia, of Brisbane. The changes would add an Queensland division president Mike estimated $15,000 to the cost of buildBrady said: “Given the scale of under- ing an average house in cyclonic areas investment in maintenance and renew- in WA, and $12,400 in Queensland, beals to date, and the ongoing increase in cause homes would have to be built demand driven by population growth 50 per cent stronger to resist cyclonic and the resources sector, the challeng- winds. es in addressing current and future infrastructure demands could be rated as "The construction of all house types will somewhere between considerable and become more expensive unless the individual chooses a less expensive alterhighly disturbing. native design, hence potentially reducWith uncanny foresight, the report con- ing the amenity value of the house," cluded: “While encouraging high levels the ABCB says in its regulatory impact of private sector investment in future statement. "Under a 'do nothing' or stapublic infrastructure programs, gov- tus quo option, Australia might expect ernments must concurrently increase to incur an average annual cost of $261 their level of investment to meet future million a year from cyclone damage." As the ABCB finalises its new cyclone code growth demands.” this year, it will also commence draftMeanwhile, many homes may have to ing technical standards for buildings in be rebuilt to higher and costlier stan- flood-prone areas. dards in areas susceptible to flooding. The Australian Building Codes Board is The Australian Local Government Assopreparing the first technical standards ciation is demanding tougher standards for construction in areas liable to flood- for building in flood-prone areas where ing, as building costs in sub-tropical ar- low-set and plasterboard homes have eas are already set to rise six percent been badly damaged by floodwaters. under ABCB plans to extend the cy- "We need new standards,” said ALGA clone-proof construction zones. president Genia McCaffery. “We will be Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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pushing the BCA to make it a central priority this year to develop proper building code standards for flood-prone areas. It's better to have a house that's less likely to be destroyed, by ensuring it is built to better standards. Otherwise, with an uninsured house, you're left with nothing at the end.� McCaffery said some flood-prone areas would have to be declared off-limits to new building as they would be uninsurable and accused state governments and developers of having put pressure on councils to permit building on flood

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plains throughout a decade of drought. “We have a lot of flood-prone land in the western suburbs of Sydney and there was a lot of pressure from the state government to allow land to be built upon. There is tremendous pressure for development along the coastal strip of eastern Australia, particularly in the big cities, as the population is growing. The primary interest is the economic value of the land, and not really the environmental or social consequences of development. You forget, because of 10 years of drought, that land floods.�


to air-condition. We simply need to get smarter about building our homes, so our energy costs inside them are lower, and those houses are more affordable over the lifetime of the home.” Many public and municipal buildings were also inundated and different measures need to be included when these are rebuilt, Wills said. “For example, with community facilities, if we ensure they have solar panels on the roof, when we use them as evacuation centres, they'll actually have their own source of power. So if power lines are down due to the flood, and the community centre has its own power through solar we can ensure that at the very least we can keep food fresh. If we invest in a sensible way as we rebuild, they'll be more capable The Sustainable Energy Associa- of managing those emergencies in the tion is calling for a return to the old future.” Queenslander style when new homes are rebuilt after the floods. The iconic The day after Cyclone Yasi, an editorial houses on stilts with wide verandahs all in The Courier-Mail said it all: “We'll round were often the ones left standing recover from this; we always do. The and dry when modern buildings beside healing process though will be long and them were flooded or washed away, says costly, and require yet more sacrifice the association's Professor Ray Wills, and tenacity from a state that has aland the historic style is not only more ready been on the receiving end of more sustainable, it's cheaper in the long run. than its fair share of nature's wrath this “In some cases, revisit the past to look year. We've been slightly less unlucky at how a Queenslander used to be built, than we could have been in the past and to see that great design. So it's 36 hours, but that in no way equates to flood-proof, it's also cooler and easier good fortune.” Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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-By John Boley

F

ounded in 1992, Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants is an award winning commercial interior design company based in Perth, Western Australia. Company directors Melanie Marshall and Kathleen Kusinski employ dynamic and experienced professionals working in a team-based studio environment. Services include building analysis, space planning and design, detailed design documentation, coordination of sub- consultants, project management and safety management. The company is a member of the Design Institute of Australia and the Green Building Council of Australia. Marshall Kusinski recognises that its success depends on understanding what makes a company unique. WorkAustralian Construction Focus | February 2011

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BDO Commendation Not only did the outcome of BDO’s new Subiaco office fitout far exceed the client’s expectations, the contemporary workplace design impacted the judges alike, being awarded with a Commendation. The judging panel enthused that this project “pushes the boundaries for the accounting industry through innovative spatial programming”, and that “strategically placed bursts of creativity generate a pleasant and balanced working environment”. BDO’s new office fulfils the request for a unique fitout and sets the company apart from its competitors. BDO’s USP is that they are distinctly different – they don’t want to be seen as an accounting and financial planning office. “They wanted to be quite dynamic, quite ‘out there’.” The design included adding a retail shopfront to the accounting firm. The office totalled 3200 square metres with 300 staff, so very high density. There were “very strict guidelines on how much could be spent, so we worked very closely with the client on that – to get to a budget that they could tick off”.

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ing in collaboration, the long-term corporate goals of each client can be implemented into flexible and functional solutions. Delivering projects on time and on budget, Marshall Kusinski works with appropriate specialists including mechanical, electrical, communications and audio-visual consultants, graphic designers, quantity surveyors and even, says Kath Kusinski, feng shui masters. If it ever was, feng shui is no longer a far-out ‘alternative-lifestyle’ practice. “It’s something inherent in good

Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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design – if you design well, you are really encompassing your feng shui principles.” So it’s the other way round from many people’s assumption – you don’t build feng shui into an existing design, you design properly and it’s there. In addition, though, “we do get Chinese clients from time to time who ask us to engage a feng shui master to work with us to make sure we are incorporating a few specific things in the plan”. In fact, the whole concept of engaging design consultants to plan working environments has become very much a mainstream activity. “Businesses can’t afford not to have a well planned office these days,” explains Kath. “Primarily, in WA, staff retention is a huge issue. One of the things that’s top of the list, whether it’s in mining or engineering companies or an accounting office, [staff] are saying ‘we want an office that really works’.” So a vibrant and dynamic workspace is far from being a luxury, or something the HR guys can rustle up on the back of a scrap of paper. “Certainly it’s not a luxury. The most expensive thing for any company these days is engaging new staff and getting them settled in, so if you can retain your staff it’s such a powerful thing.” It’s a potentially crucial advantage to be able to point to a work-

ing atmosphere that has been carefully planned to be ergonomic, peaceful and creative. It’s great, says Kath, if – when everything else is equal – staff take account of good facilities, great training areas, staff hubs and general comfort “and say ‘this is quite important’.” There are a lot of pitfalls for any company planning changes to its environment, be it a refit or a completely new office. “When we do cultural change for a company, we start by examining how they are working now, then how culturally you will change in this new environment – how you work, how you will communicate.” It can be very unset-

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Downer EDI Engineering - Award of Merit MKDC’s enterprising design of Downer EDI Engineering’s new Canning Vale office fitout, which required dynamic spaces for communication, collaboration and connectivity, was commended with the prestigious Award of Merit. The office has an area of 4,200 square metres, catering for about 250 staff working in a purpose designed building. “We were engaged before a slab was laid to space-plan and work with the client to do a total fitout. We project managed the installation – from initial space planning to implementation,” says Kath Kusinski. The project involved bringing a number of separate offices under one roof. “Always they already have their own established culture and their own way of working, so there’s a challenge in bringing it all under one roof – a need to work one-on-one with the client to ensure a smooth transition.” Comments from the judges acknowledged the exceptional colour palette and material choice, thoughtful placement of subtle details and transparency of workspaces in providing an interesting workspace where staff feel energised and enthused. Clearly impressed with the contemporary aesthetics, the judging panel advocated that “This is a beautifully crafted fitout featuring strong design philosophy” and that “It articulates all aspects of intelligent design, showing restraint to achieve a well-planned environment with ‘wow factor’.”

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tling for staff – especially some managers who have become accustomed to having their own office, their own little ‘empire’ – to be thrust into a new and frequently open-plan environment. Marshall Kusinski takes care to manage the change; “dispelling myths about noise and so on is important. For some people, losing their office is losing their status within the company. But what we find is that often managers no longer need their own office as work becomes more interactive and dynamic.” In terms of the services Marshall Kusinski offers, “we can do just design and consultancy, maybe working with an external party that does project management, but we can also do total project delivery, which is probably more of our work. Pulling in all of the technical expertise, engaging engineering consultants, services engineers, mechanical services. For anyone going into a new office, we can have a total package for them and both design it for them and project manage all the way through. “It’s something I think companies can’t afford not to do. I really would like to dispel the myth that [engaging] a designer is more expensive. I think we deliver great value because there’s a transparency in what we are delivering in terms of cost. All the products and services

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that we specify for the client are passed on at cost, so for any fitout, any office, there are going to be base costs – walls, doors, screens, partitions, workstations, technology – data and power – and mechanical services. The area which makes the difference between a good environment and not-so-good environment, Kath argues, is the finishing details – for instance, “you can have a chair for 300 dollars or 1,200 dollars and it’s a bit like a car – you do get what you pay for. Marshall Kusinski works primarily in WA, but by no means only in and around Perth. Melanie and Kath frequently travel, to places such as Kalgoorlie and Port Hedland, and a recent project involved space planning for a mining giant in the Pilbarra. “One of the reasons that we have so much to offer in the mining towns and regions of WA is that we have been safety audited for our ‘safety management systems’ for Rio Tinto. This makes us ideal to design and manage projects in the North West in particular when safety is the first priority.” With such a comprehensive safety program in place, it is clear that Marshall Kusinski Design Consultants is able to offer the complete package to its clients. From concept to execution, this is a firm that truly elevates spaces to the next level. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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-By Aleisha Parr

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W

hile the general practice in property development is to make a quick turnaround on the sale of newly developed properties, the Henry Kendall Group takes a vastly different approach, preferring instead to hold its properties on a long term basis, adding value to them through the delivery of specialised – and highly valuable - services. “Our business is a hybrid mix of property development and service delivery,” explains Damien Wilde, Henry Kendall Group’s General Manager. “For this to be effective the property that is being developed needs to be in the right position and have the necessary attributes required for its proposed use.” With experience in property development spanning three generations, Henry Kendall Group has a rich history spanning back to the 1950s. Establishing itself as a specialist in residential subdivisions and buildings, the group eventually shifted its focus to the retirement village industry in the 1980s, and was quick to expand into the self-storage and childcare facility sectors. Henry Kendall Group’s evolution into Information Technology isn’t as far a cry as it may seem; as leaders in the retirement village industry in Australia, the group recognised the untapped value potential of developing the sites and then following through with the provision of services to the residents of these properties. “Because we are not only developing property but are delivering services related to that property, our people are Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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critical,” says Mr Wilde. “Ultimately services are delivered by people, not by properties. So, our people are just as important, and probably more important, than our property selection.”

of the business was sold in 2005, it was this paradigm shift which earned Henry Kendall Group the distinction as NSW’s largest privately owned retirement village operator, a platform which has enabled the company to continue to expand its capabilities and offerings. With its most recent focus on the technology sector, the company is poised to make its most significant contribution to the property development field.

He elaborates: “We look for committed people who can work together cooperatively and constructively... to deliver the best service that we can. As an organisation for us always to be responsive to the needs of our target market we are dependent on the commitment Says Mr Wilde: “Data centres sit at the and dedication of our people to see that intersection of Property Development and Information Technology.” Even with this happens.” the many unique challenges and trends Although the retirement village aspect in the data centre industry, the distinc-

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Damien Wilde BA (Hons) Syd, MA Bristol Director, Verb DC and General Manager, Henry Kendall Group

Patrick Wilde AM BA LLM (Hons) MBA Chairman, Verb DC and Henry Kendall Group Patrick was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contribution to both the retirement industry and to medical research. He currently has Board responsibilities with both the Westmead Medical Research Foundation and the Westmead Millennium Institute. Patrick’s wealth of commercial and business knowledge adds depth to Verb DC’s business strategy and operations.

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Damien Wilde holds the role of Director at Verb DC. He is also the General Manager of the Henry Kendall Group and has held this position for over five years. In these roles Damien combines his knowledge and skills in marketing and property management, steering the next stage of both the Henry Kendall Group’s and Verb DC’s growth. Damien views Information Technology as one of the key elements in maximising the development potential of Henry Kendall Group’s assets in its Business and Technology Park areas. At the centre is the delivery of an outstanding data centre service, built around resilience and a high level of customer service to clients. This focus on first class service remains a common thread in Henry Kendall Group’s and Verb DC’s continued evolution.


tion in offering it creates is well worth the trouble for the dynamic Henry Kendall Group, likely better suited for this sort of challenge than any other property developer in the region.

Christopher Clifford BA, BEc Macquarie, MEd UTS Director, Verb DC In 2008, Henry Kendall Group partnered with Christopher Clifford to develop a strategy for technology and data centre services. Christopher brings over 20 years combined commercial, technical and business development expertise in Information Technology.

These challenges can vary from increased costs, the need for more power and increased efficiencies, through to the need for simplification of IT environments for traditional “brick and mortar” data centre facilities. Additionally, the nuances involved in high density computing, the uptake of cloud computing, and environmental sustainability practises all require critical attention as this industry develops. Mr Wilde’s latest

Christopher has worked as a Business Analyst and Program Manager on several large scale IT systems projects for many of Australia’s Top 100 companies. Christopher, in the role of Director, has been instrumental in the design and development of a data centre at Brisbane Technology Park. He currently divides his time between Verb DC’s Sydney office and its data centre facility and office in Wyong, NSW.

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“pet project�, The Verb Data Centre, is a years to eliminate the tyranny distance, response to these challenges and trends making the site viable for the construction of a data centre. In partnership within the industry. with industry experts in managed serTogether with company Chairman, Pat- vices and the delivery of data centre rick Wilde, Damien undertook the pro- services (including Hewlett Packard, cess of securing a site on the Central Microsoft and Cisco), the company has Coast well serviced by fibre infrastruc- built one of the most technologically ture and power, the technologies of advanced data centres anywhere in the which have advanced over the last few world. This was made possible by the

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an inspirational geography teacher who was the first person to open my eyes to the precarious state of our planet. I take this issue very seriously. We don’t simply pay lip service the concept of sustainability it’s an integral part of our “Data centres utilising the same or sim- overall business model.” ilar technology to the Verb Data Centre have been deployed by the likes of Henry Kendall Group’s long-term goal is Google, Microsoft and Verizon in the to utilise the Verb Data centre as a hub Northern Hemisphere but we were the for a technology focused business park, first in our region. Everything about merging the complementary goals of the facility is best of breed and focused sustainable building design and efficient on delivering increased efficiencies to ITC infrastructure. The Centre will enable high speed, high density computcustomers.” ing power to be attainable at a signifiThe rate of electricity consumption in cantly lower cost for businesses, aiding the data centre industry is rapidly in- in the process of future development creasing, leading to damaging levels of in the area. Damien Wilde is confident carbon emissions. In fact, in the next that this will have a remarkable impact year or so, the data centre industry is on employment and opportunities for predicted to surpass the aviation in- education and economic growth for the dustry in carbon emissions. This trend Central Coast. is not only dangerous for the environment, but also affects the efficiency “We have always believed that continof businesses, and is reflected in their ued and long term success in business can only be achieved if the focus of the bottom line. business is not on what it can get out However, the HP POD technology de- of its activities but rather on what conployed by Henry Kendall Group at its tribution it can make to the community Verb Data Centre is 60% more efficient that it serves. In a changing world it is than a traditional data centre, passing essential that an organisation constanton the savings to both the environment ly reassesses the relevance of its contriand Henry Kendall’s clients. “When I bution and makes the adjustments necwas at school,” shares Mr Wilde, “I had essary to remain relevant and of value.” use of Hewlett Packard’s POD (Performance Optimised Datacentre) technology, allowing for the deployment of a modular and highly energy efficient data centre.

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FlexWay’, Rampf’s latest development in mould technology, not only allows for a substantial reduction in mould wear, but also noticeably enhances the quality of pavers manufactured. FlexWay can be used with any Rampf paver mould. In addition, mould lifetime is significantly increased and the rejects are dramatically reduced, resulting in cost savings from every single mould. FlexWay is an innovative system that optimises the production process for block machines, and has been the talk of the town since its international debut at Bauma Munich 2010. This new Rampf patented design has revolutionised the production of paving products - experts give unparalleled praise. The ingenious system has been engineered over the past few years at the Rampf inhouse R & D department and tested for its

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suitability for daily use in a long series of trials at various block factories. The result of these many years of work has been very impressive with complete satisfaction from manufacturers.

volved using FlexWay. With ‘FlexWay’, the tamper head of the mould has been redesigned. It now consists of a tamper head base plate with plungers (which have been reduced in height), as well as the actual ‘FlexWay’ device which can easily be used with any other tamper head or mould. Due to its unique design ‘FlexWay’ can be easily mounted, and the tamper head and mould insert are automatically aligned.

Employing ‘FlexWay’ guarantees a longer mould life due to reduced wear. It also ensures greater productivity through fewer rejects with the block surface quality noticeably enhanced. Even the resistance to frost and de-icing salt has been distinctly improved - a great advantage for companies in areas Contrary to conventional moulds, a ‘Flexwith high salt contents in the air. There Way’ equipped head moves perfectly in are virtually no extra handling costs in- sync with the mould frame during main vi-

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In addition, ‘FlexWay’ offers further advantages: • A more uniform block height • A more uniform chamfer • An improved block appearance and improved density • Less sticking of concrete to the tamper shoe ‘FlexWay’ comes with a detailed user manual and maintenance instructions. If required, Rampf service engineers will be readily available to assist you, either in person or by phone. bration, and this movement is guaranteed by specially developed sliding brushes. No horizontal forces are exerted between the mould cavities and the tamper shoes. The Rampf engineers have controlled the horizontal movement inside ‘FlexWay’ through a built in pneumatic brake system which is released as soon as the tamper shoes plunge into the mould cavities, so that the head can move freely. Then, as soon as the tamper shoes travel out of the mould cavities for demoulding, the pneumatic brake is applied again. In this way, the present position of the tamper shoes in relation to the mould cavities is stored, ensuring the next cycle is free from contact. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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-By Jaime McKee

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A

ustralia has long been a popular destination for travellers from around the world, thanks to its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and thriving culture. But with new environmental awareness comes a whole new breed of travel: ecotourism. Growing annually by 10-15% worldwide, ecotourism has become one of the fastestgrowing sectors of the industry. Australia, with its many pristine and protected areas, green building initiatives, and imaginative resort developers, is at the forefront of this growing movement. Ecotourism is generally considered to be responsible, sustainable travel to fragile, pristine, or protected areas. Ecotourists strive to “tread lightly�, leaving a negligible human footprint on the natural environment, limiting emissions, waste and ecological disruption, and, ideally, learning something along the way. An effective ecotourism accommodation, tour or adventure will educate the traveler, provide funds for ecological conservation, directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities, and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Some of the very best ecotourism destinations may also combine innovative design, leading-edge green technologies, and unique construction options to create a truly sustainable - and memorable - experience.

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In Australia, the peak national body for the industry is Ecotourism Australia. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the association was formed as an incorporated non-profit, with the goal of “[being] leaders in assisting ecotourism and other committed tourism operations to become environmentally sustainable, economically viable, and socially and culturally responsible�. Ecotourism Australia believes that the litmus test for true ecotourism is compliance with the core criteria stated within the Eco Certification Program, which can be viewed on the association’s website. A world first, the program was developed to address the need to identify genuine ecotourism operators in Australia. Acting as both a framework to assist members in operating in ecologically sound ways and an internationally recognised brand standing for sustain-

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ability, the Eco Certification Program is now being exported to the rest of the world as the International Ecotourism Standard. Tourism operators in Australia who have their product accredited under the program can genuinely claim to provide an authentic ecotourism product, whether that be a tour, skippered cruise or boat charter, attraction, or accommodation. Ecotourism Australia has a diverse membership that includes key industry sectors such as accommodation, tour and attraction operators, tourism planners, protected area managers, academics and students, consultants, local and regional tourism associations, and travellers. The association aims to support its members through approaches such as developing standards of best practice, streamlining policies and processes, im-


proving financial viability for operators who adopt sustainable practices, contributing to conservation projects, and marketing principles of sustainability across all sectors of the tourism industry. The association also provides an online searchable database of members, seminars and workshops, and a lively and informative annual national conference. Despite such strong support and increasing visibility on the global stage, ecotourism as a concept is still subject to some criticism. In the continuum of tourism activities that stretch from conventional tourism to ecotourism proper, there has been a lot of contention as to how, exactly, the term should be defined. Naturally, environmentalists, special interest groups, developers, industry representatives, and governments

define ecotourism differently. Environmental organisations have generally insisted that ecotourism is nature-based, sustainably managed, supportive of conservation, and environmentally educated. The tourism industry and governments, however, focus more on the product side, equating ecotourism with any sort of tourism based in nature. As a further complication, many terms are used under the rubric of ecotourism; nature tourism, low impact tourism, green tourism, bio-tourism, ecologically responsible tourism, and others have been used in literature and marketing, although they are not necessary synonymous with ecotourism. There is also the dangerous trend towards “greenwashing�, commercialising tourism schemes which are only nominally sustainable, nature based, or environmentally friendly. With this in mind, the Eco Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Australia, with its many pristine and protected areas, green building initiatives, and imaginative resort developers, is at the forefront of the growing ecotourism movement.

Certification Program and its strict standards can play a strong role in guiding consumers towards true ecotourism activities. Many Australian companies, of course, do take part in true ecotourism, and do it very well. Alpine Habitats combines ecological principles with leading edge construction techniques to provide high quality holiday accommodation. The firm employs energy efficient operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and offers onsite waste management practices. The resort was constructed using low impact building techniques including driven pile foundations, high thermal performance buildings, and

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industry, such as rain water collection, solar power, thermal mass heating, and self-composting waste treatment, and are widely recognised for their low environmental impact approach to development. Designed for comfort in the wilderness, Canopy Treehouses are perched high in the rainforest canopy on the banks of the flowing Ithaca River. The eco-friendly house designs blend in naturally with the surrounding rainforest, making the resort the ultimate eco-friendly rainforest destination in Australia. Crafted from rainforest timbers, Canopy’s luxury timber and glass treehouses are completely private, each boasting two bedrooms, a fully self-contained kitchen, wood fireplace, spa bath and balcony with a barbecue and hammock.

passive solar architecture. Featuring 18 unobtrusive self-contained units scattered amongst 40 acres of bush land, Alpine Habitats is surrounded by the Snow Gum Woodlands of the Thredbo Valley and the Alpine Mountain regions Ecotourism experiences may also take the form of a hike through a nature preof the Kosciuszko National Park. serve, a wildlife safari trek, a low-impact In a similar vein, the Aquila Eco Lodg- stay in a national park, or a sea charter. es are nestled in 100 acres of virgin bushland, bordered by the Grampians As the country’s developers continue to National Park and the Grampians Golf lead the way in green initiatives, and inCourse. Located 6 kilometres from Dun- dustry professionals and travellers alike keld, the architecturally-designed lodg- become more sensitive to environmenes illustrate sustainable living practices tal concerns, it only makes sense that in a private and peaceful setting. The these two realms will continue to come Aquila lodges employ the latest tech- together in the form of sustainable renologies available to the construction sorts and ecological adventures. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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hen it commenced operations in 1999 as a commercial maintenance company, Central Systems (then Central Waterproofing Systems) was laying the foundation for its rise to success in the years to come. Not five years later, it was skyrocketing, after its slight change in name and drastic change in focus to offer its clients a complete, integrated solution, from construction through to repair and maintenance. In the first year alone, the company expanded three hundred percent, with steady growth of approximately twenty to fifty percent in each subsequent year. This last year was all the more impressive, coming out of the GFC with another expansion of one hundred percent.

Member. “That and our clients have become accustomed to larger scopes of work when they do business with us because we have this integrated business. They might start doing business with us in one aspect and then develop a good relationship [with us] and sample our ability to deliver, and our quality. They’ll then quite happily offer us the opportunity to grow our service for them.” That dedication to growth has been the driving factor behind Central Systems’ wild success. Even after its 2004 renewal, the company has continued to expand its capabilities, now providing not only specialty trades and remedial services, but also integrating those services with full new construction offerings.

“It comes down to delivering a flaw- This came as a result of a recent change less, reliable service,” explains Ivan in the shareholder group when Central Ruefli, Director of Services and Board Systems welcomed on new appoint-

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-This photo “Courtesy of Woodside” ments to its Board of Directors. Says Mr Ruefli of the new partnership: “The reason that eighteen months ago, we decided to do this is that we’re all likeminded leaders. We all have that fromthe-front leadership philosophy about doing business.” The leadership Mr Ruefli speaks of is carried out through the business, and is at the root of the Central Systems’ philosophy. “Our business is really leadership focused, so from that point of view, we tend to give people a lot of autonomy and responsibility in the delivery of our service to clients,” Mr Ruefli explains. “The way that we deal with our clients starts at the top of the business and

travels all the way through down to our site supervisors and our employees on staff. We tend to focus on that level of responsibility for not only ourselves, but also for delivering what we’ve agreed to deliver to our clients. So, our business is about personal responsibility to the client.” “We also have a very strong safety culture here,” boasts Mr Ruefli. In fact, the safety standards and procedures developed by Central Systems years ago when it was yet a fledgling company were far more advanced than most of the systems in place at much larger firms. “We’ve always fostered in our company that philosophy of zero-harm, taking Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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HMAS Stirling High Level Bridge & Armament Jetty Refurbishment This project involved: Removal of existing coating to 20,000m2 of bridge surface, mostly on the underside of the bridge over the ocean; application of silane creme to prepared surfaces and complete survey of bridge concrete defects and their subsequent repair according to the contract specification; and concrete repair, cathodic protection installation and protective coating application to bridge piers.

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In the first year alone, the company expanded three hundred percent, with steady growth of approximately twenty to fifty percent in each subsequent year. This last year was all the more impressive, coming out of the GFC with another expansion of one hundred percent.

takes great efforts toward minimising its ecological footprint. Having recently achieved ISO 4000 Environmental accreditation, Business Development Manager Jason Dagg reports that the company also aims to improve the general attitude toward environmental With this strong focus on personal re- consideration within the resources insponsibility comes an astounding safety dustry. record: “We’ve had zero loss-time injuries - zero, none - for the time that we’ve “We select our clients carefully. We been in business. I can’t see any reason choose clients who have the same concern for the environment and safety as that won’t continue.” we do. That’s one of the reasons why In connection with its zero-harm phi- we have such a marquis group of clients losophy, Central Systems fosters strong – it’s because we’re aligned in our thinkviews on environmental concerns and ing and in our practices.” care of our clients as if they were our own employees, and making sure that everyone goes home safe at the end of the day. It comes down to that personal responsibility that I spoke about, in terms of leadership.”

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Central Systems is frequently faced with environmental challenges on its projects, especially when workers must handle certain chemicals and products, or in the resources sector, where mining techniques threaten to contaminate ground water supplies. Frequently, Central Systems is tasked with installing systems which help ensure that its clients do not contaminate the environment. This could include the installation of containment linings, or the application

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of new processes which are less harmful to the environment than traditional ones. “We do a lot of trial work. We are always looking for new ways to apply products that are environmentally friendly, that perform better. There’s a lot of research that goes into that and there’s a lot of cooperation with suppliers so that we can reduce waste.” Many of these processes involve the application of automation to common


procedures, thus providing a controlled environment, which in turn reduces waste and increases the accuracy and quality of the job at hand. One example of this is the use of robotic concrete demolition techniques utilising pressurised water. An additional benefit of automation processes is the decrease in health and safety risks which would be high using traditional methods. Another new technology currently under consideration by Central Systems is a form-working system which allows for complete modularity. This new system is incredibly lightweight, and can be reused up to one thousand times. Compare that to the traditional method of using timbre (and its associated chemicals and glues), which can only be realistically used up to one hundred times, and it’s easy to see the environmental and safety benefits of employing this new system. So what’s in store for this dynamic construction company? “We’d like to transfer our expertise in doing critical oil and gas projects that were done here in Western Australia into new projects in Queensland, and expanding into the Northern Territory to cater to a real need for labour.” Admirable goals for an admirable company; may its success continue to improve the standards of construction across Australia. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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-By Jen Hamilton “Marvellous Melbourne” was a place of remarkable prosperity and growth during the second half of the 19th century. The gold rush of the 1850s brought instant wealth, and the once small outpost transformed into a world metropolis within a matter of decades. During this time a great number of grand buildings were erected within the city, including the Princess Theatre, the Royal Exhibition Building, and The Grand Hotel. A lasting representation of the boomtime opulence, The Grand Hotel, with a few updates and additions, can still be found at 111 Spring Street. Only now it is called The Hotel Windsor. In 1883, George Nipper, (a prominent shipper, entrepreneur, developer), hired Thomas Cochram and Co. to begin building

the distinguished hotel at the corner of Spring and Little Collins Streets. Designs were drawn by the famous English architect Charles Webb, who also designed the Royal Arcade and the South Melbourne Town Hall. Original plans for The Grand included a symmetric façade containing a central five storey building sided by six-storey corner towers. There were 94 guest rooms and 47 servant’s rooms, all with the latest conveniences, such as steam heating. Each floor had a large shared bathroom for men, and a large shared bathroom for women. This structure, small by today’s standards, was one of the largest hotels in Victoria and its close proximity to Parliament House and the theatre district meant a steady flow of important guests. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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In 1886, The Grand was purchased by the Grand Coffee Palace Co Ltd, directed by James Munro, Australian politician and soon to be Premier of Victoria. Munro owned several investment companies, was a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church and a driving force in the temperance movement. One of the platforms of the temperance movement being abstinence from alcohol, The Grand became The Grand Coffee Palace and alcohol was banned from the premises.

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Munro also initiated the second building phase of the hotel, which was also designed by Charles Webb. Land adjacent to the original building was purchased and a massive extension wa s added. The hotel doubled in size and the external symmetry was maintained by duplicating the original façade and creating a new main entrance between the old and the new. This entrance was flanked by two tall cupola-capped towers, and a statue of ‘Peace and Plenty’ was mounted above it. The statue, the


English and Australian coat of arms centred between two robed figures representing peace and plenty, was created by John Simpson Mackennal. This extension provided space for the elegant Grand Ballroom, still a popular venue for weddings and society functions today. The look of The Grand was predominantly based on the romantic Second Empire architectural style, also known as Renaissance Revival. This is evi-

denced in the square-dome mansard roofs capping the central towers, which are punctuated with dormer windows. It is also reflected in the detailed ornamentation outside, as well as in, with custom molding, arched doorways, and intricate detailing throughout. By the mid 1890s, Melbourne and much of Australia were amidst a severe economic depression. Companies liquidated, financial institutions suspended trading, and The Grand Coffee Palace Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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was not immune to the decline. James Munro resigned as Premier of Victoria and declared bankruptcy, leaving behind a considerable debt. Business at the hotel suffered from executive quarrels and accusations of mismanagement. Ownership changed and the hotel once again became The Grand Hotel, regained its liquor licence, and slowly recovered. Throughout the early half of the next century, the hotel changed hands several times, underwent refurbishments, additions, renovations and more name changes. Some of the suites were converted into apartments when guest

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occupancy decreased during the war. In 1923 the hotel became The Windsor Hotel, advertising a visit from The Prince of Wales for a luncheon in 1920. The hotel continued to struggle, on and off, until 1976 when, to prevent demolition, it was purchased by the Victorian Government as a heritage place. The Oberoi Group subsequently took control of the property throughout the 1980s and undertook a major restoration programme worth millions. With the aid of the Victorian Heritage Council, The Oberoi Group brought the major public areas back to their original grandeur, reinstated colour schemes of the past, and reproduced brass chandeliers


plans to restore the exterior façade to its original appearance, improve rooms and services, and add new function spaces and a new 25 metre pool. The most controversial part of the design is the proposed 25 metre tower to be built behind the historic hotel and to act as a backdrop to the original building. This slim, rectangular structure will result in 152 additional rooms and a health and leisure centre. It is estimated the project will provide hundreds of jobs during and after construction. It will also increase profitability by enabling the hotel to adapt to changing consumer demands by improving facilities and services.

once found in the hotel. Now in the hands of new owners – The Halim Group - the name has changed yet again and the history of controversy has not quite come to an end. The Halim Group has proposed a $260 million refurbishment for the rebranded Hotel Windsor. This proposal sparked protests and an appeal to the Supreme Court filed by The National Trust of Australia (Victoria). Protesters fear the refurbishment will diminish the cultural heritage of the site and a valuable piece of history will be lost. Despite protests, the project has been officially approved. The proposed project design includes

The Grand Hotel has gone through countless changes in order to evolve into The Hotel Windsor and remain one of the only surviving grand luxury hotels of the 19th century. A long list of celebrities and dignitaries have stayed in the renowned hotel, including Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Anthony Hopkins, Muhammad Ali, Margaret Thatcher and the long term occupant Sir Robert Menzies. This evolution has involved a balance between maintenance of the heritage splendour and opulence, and modernisation to maintain contemporary relevance. If the right balance can be upheld the list of visitors to this grand piece of Melbourne’s history will remain never ending. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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ucked away in North Sydney is Restifa & Partners, a development-management and projectmanagement specialist that Sam and Simon Restifa like to call a “boutique” company. It’s small in size – less than a dozen staff – but big in scope, with more than $200 million in current projects via subcontractors and consultants. The company is 30 years old, founded by Sam, who among other things pioneered the Marketplace concept with Woolworths, rolling out 11 centres in the 1990s at a cost of $600m; developed regional, sub regional and community shopping centres across Australia’s eastern seaboard; helped coordinate Sydney airport’s retail component – 145 tenancies; and converged

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bulky goods and general retail design to create Supa Centre, Castle Hill, setting a benchmark for bulky goods retailing in Australia. Simon joined Sam in 2005 and has worked as a project manager in a number of retail shopping centre developments and refurbishments, including Armidale Plaza, NSW ($18m), Bathurst City Centre, NSW ($36m) and Wool- him virtually an expert in that sector worths Tura Beach (on the Sapphire and that’s what the company became Coast, $12m). known for.” Additionally there is, says Simon, an ever-increasing call for projAccording to Simon, Restifa & Partners ect management. “Since the global fidoes much more than ‘just’ retailing, nancial crisis hit retail, we have found “but Sam’s background in retail made that a lot of other sectors that didn’t

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previously look towards project management have now started calling us.” There was a time when projects were managed but there was no ‘project manager’ as such. “Traditionally the lead architect took that role – he was

responsible for managing all the subconsultants and ensuring all the designs were coordinated as well as collating tender documents and tendering the project.” But with the emergence of other forms of contracting such as designand-construct or guaranteed maximum price, he explains, it put the architect in a position of conflict and he started to require “someone else to be acting as a project manager, looking after the project through the pre-construction phase and the post-construction phase. The other element of it is that financiers started to get more savvy and realise that project managers would control budgets a lot better.”

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Woolworths Tura Beach Tura Beach (Woolworths Property Group)

Restifa & Partners was commissioned as development and project manager to deliver Woolworths Tura Beach on behalf of Woolworths’ property group, Fabcot Pty Ltd. It was the company’s responsibility to review and revise the DA approved design to make the centre more amenable to customers, and to bring the design in line with the newly adopted “Style Guide”, a conceptual design guide for all new Fabcot centres – this is one of the first applications of this new design.

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Restifa & Partners' role included lodging and achieving a Section 96 modification to the DA approved design, tendering the project, and overseeing the construction and tenant fitout. By researching the area the firm was able to find a local builder capable of delivering the project. This helped keep the investment in the local community, as well as achieve a lower construction cost due to lower preliminary costs for the contractor. The project was completed in October 2010, ahead of schedule and under budget.


Simon agrees that his company is wellplaced with its background. “There’s not many companies in Sydney that have the years of experience that Restifa & Partners have – we’ve been around since the very beginning of the project management movement – it was probably a good move, going from architecture into specialist project management at the time the firm did.” Restifa & Partners has worked with most of Australia’s big retailing names, including AMP, Stockland, Abacus and Henroth as well as Woolworths, which has been revisiting the Marketplace idea and planning new outlets. “Over the last year or so they have been trying to redefine what those new centres will look like,” says Simon. “We have been able to work with them on those issues, and assist the architect they are working with, in developing what they call style guides to what should be done and what should not be included in terms of retail property development.” The secret of success for Restifa & Partners, says Simon, is in attention to detail and ensuring clients receive personal attention all the time. “Our open communication philosophy ensures that potential conflicts are resolved without undue acrimony. We value our relationships and, on behalf of our clients, work hard to maintain them.” Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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or a business to be successful in today’s economic climate, it is essential to not only produce quality products each and every time, but to build solid and long-lasting relationships with clients. Working closely with customers and understanding their needs makes good business sense, and the more a construction company knows about the expectations of the customer, the more successful the project. For the past 16 years, one of the goals of Taylor Construction Group has been to construct not only first-rate structures, but build bonds with its staff, industry partners, clients, and the broader community in a holistic building experience. Since the company was established by Mark Taylor in 1994, the company bearing his name has become much more than a traditional builder who simply works from a set of customer-supplied drawings. “We like to get involved with the client – certainly Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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company, Mr Strong has seen the organisation grow substantially. The privatelyowned business has increased its staff in the past year, now standing at 75 fulltime employees. Taylor’s growth and ongoing success has much to do with how the firm treats its many clients. “In terms of relationships, it is really trying to understand their commercial objectives for the project, what their thinking is, and build accordingly,” comments Mr Strong. “We look at the design, and come up with the best solution that will meet their needs and wants, not just the budget, to provide them with the in the early stages of design – so that building they want.” we can input our experience and our expertise in building, and provide some Able to take on projects in the range of buildability solutions and ideas,” says $1 million to $50 million – with many Shane Strong, Business Development of them $10 million and up – the TayManager for Taylor Construction Group. lor Construction Group’s relationshipbuilding attitude and professionalism Growth and Success have earned it a host of top-tier clients, In the five years he has been with the including Integral Energy, Woolworths

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Limited, the Catholic Education Office, Mercedes Benz, and Volkswagen. No matter the client or size of the project, Taylor has earned a reputation for delivering quality results on time, and on budget. In some cases, new constructions are completed ahead of schedule, like the recently-built 30,000 square metre Kotara Homemaker Centre bulky goods facility. “We completed that three months ahead of schedule,” comments Mr Strong. Even in the face of significant delays due to weather and other factors, Taylor Construction Group worked closely with the client, and accelerated the project so it could be ready in time for this past holiday season, enabling retailers to take advantage of trade weeks prior to Christmas. “For us to get it opened in time was a key thing, and we knew that was what the client wanted, and we achieved what they wanted.”

The $28 million project serves as an example reflecting Taylor’s commitment to its clients. The Kotara Homemaker Centre – the third bulky goods project Taylor has constructed for BB Retail Capital – remains much more than a large structure. Set on a four-hectare site, the Centre features 22 individual units, with six of them fitted-out by Taylor. The Centre, which includes parking for over 500, required significant road works, including an upgrade to four intersections and a new access bridge. To minimise costs to the client, Taylor’s design and construct team assisted in proposing a redesign of the structure, including the use of a hybrid system of composite precast panels, along with tilt-up construction. These and other initiatives helped to reduce the amount of time needed to complete the project, and enabled Taylor Construction Group to deliver the job to the client well ahead of schedule. Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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From Start to Finish By offering a full range of construction projects in a variety of areas, Taylor has the capabilities to take on projects in commercial, retail, education, aged care, and motor showroom sectors, and to see them through from start to finish. From estimating to contract negotiation, tender documentation and design management to construction management, Taylor has the experience necessary to ensure satisfaction for all its clients. This emphasis on customer satisfaction dates back to the company’s genesis. Says Mr Strong, “[Founder Mark Taylor] was always led to believe that if you can’t build, you can’t manage, so he always had a pretty hands-on involvement in the company.” Recently, Taylor Construction Group won a prestigious Master Builders award for its work on Marshalls Motors new showroom in Parramatta, NSW. In addition to creating a luxurious and spacious motor vehicle showroom that reflects the quality of the Mercedes-Benz line, the firm built mezzanine office space, outdoor display space for preowned vehicles, lower ground service and workshop facilities, underground car parking, and a podium. Valued at $10.1 million, the showroom’s craftsmanship is truly state of the art, featuring design elements like contemporary

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“We are a relationship-based organisation. We we’re a growing company. We are looking to gr opment Manager, Taylor Construction Group lighting, floor to ceiling frameless glass panels, polished timber floors, exposed steel trusses, precast concrete wall panels, and suspended concrete platforms. All these features serve to create a display area that is not only expansive, but reflective of discerning taste and sophistication. In many ways, how a motor showroom looks is as important as the product the dealer is selling. “We’ve certainly done quite a few of them,” says Mr Strong, “and without pigeonholing ourselves, motor showrooms is an area where a lot of people know us, and they know that we do them well.” The type of finishes and lighting effects are par-


care facility featuring administration areas, superior quality residential suites with balcony terraces, and amenities like laundry, catering facilities, day spa, hair salon, cafe, and basement car parking. These and other ongoing projects, like the $10 million, four-level Inaburra School, will eventually serve very different functions, yet remain the result of careful craftsmanship, and a passion for building nothing but the best.

e have the skilled people to deliver projects, and row each year.” -Shane Strong, Business Develp. ticularly important, since the showroom floor is essentially the salesman’s stage. “When you’re selling Mercedes and Land Rover and those kinds of vehicles, it’s got to be right. The people who are buying those types of cars are expecting the best, and it has to be built right.” At the present time, the company has approximately 15 projects underway, with a combined value of over $100 million. They range from the $30 million Atlas Norwest – a massive new commercial complex under construction at the gateway to Norwest Business Park – to Bupa Bankstown, a $19 million, 144 bed aged

Aside from a commitment to its clients, the Taylor Construction Group has a number of management systems in place to help ensure solid work from start to finish. The company’s directors and staff share a business model which respects the environment, provides an exceptional workplace, and offers consistent, quality service to clients. In addition, the company’s quality assurance system has been certified to comply with AS/NZS ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems, which provides a comprehensive framework designed to ensure that the company delivers upon its commitment, no matter the size or scope of the project. “We are a relationship-based organisation,” says Mr Strong. “We have the skilled people to deliver projects, and we’re a growing company. We are looking to grow each year.” Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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Resort Style Living Without the Luxury Price Tag Crown Group -By Aleisha Parr

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Y

ou are standing in a gazebo on a rooftop overlooking a thriving city below. Around you, timbre decks meander through a lush garden oasis complete with a stunning infinity pool, thirty metres long and two stories high. A second water feature flows from the outside into an equally beautiful interior.

cal getaway in Bali, but rather, Top Ryde, one of Crown Group’s latest residential developments in NSW.

Crown Group’s CEO, Iwan Sunito describes the experience as akin to arriving at a destination, only to find you never want to leave your hotel room. “Our experience has been that creating spaces where the residents can settle in This is resort style at its finest. Remark- and – especially on the weekends – can ably, this isn’t the description of a tropi- just enjoy, is the way to go in creating Australian Construction Focus | February 2011

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EKO - This stunning new development offers 213 apartments with 7 marvellous penthouses with panoramic views over the Sydney Olympic Stadium and the city. The amenities include: 20 shops, a 35 metre heated pool, Gym, Sauna, Spa, BBQ, Gardens, Residents Lounge, Karaoke Room, Grand Piano and Theatrette. residential developments.” The $350 million Top Ryde project is one of Crown Group’s largest to date, offering approximately five hundred sky rise residential units. Situated on the top of a brand new shopping centre and overlooking Sydney, the building boasts over 4000 square feet of garden, in addition to its infinity pool, movie theatre, piano lounge and even a karaoke bar – a feature which Mr Sunito cheerfully describes as one of its most popular.

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“My personal background is as an architect,” says Mr Sunito. “I graduated from NSW University with the award for best residential design, so that passion channels through in every design we do. It’s about creating a place where people love to live.” Perhaps even more impressive than Crown Group’s designs are its price tags. While the group prides itself on quality design and exquisite resort-style details, it also recognises that a resi-


dence needs to be affordable. “Part of the product that is unique in itself is that we achieve all of that quality of design at a price that is quite competitive in the market space. It’s a BMW at the price of a Honda, and that’s quite difficult to duplicate, while maintaining the low price.” This delicate balance is one of Crown Group’s strong suits, with an exceptional consumption rate to prove it. “The design has to be beautiful but at the same time it has to be efficient, because you can design the most beautiful building in the world, but if it’s not efficient, that’s where you start losing all

the revenue. If it’s too expensive, most people just can’t afford it so the construction rate will become quite slow... People won’t buy in a hurry unless they see value. The teamwork, the resort living, it’s a critical key for us to grow.” With its skill in recognising the right deal when it comes along, Crown Group has maintained a strong cash flow, helping it to weather all three of Australia’s recent financial crises. Incredibly, the GFC was actually an impressive growth period for the group, with the strength of its cash flow helping it to close deals quickly while other companies were unable to.

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“Passion channels through in every design we do. It’s about creating a place where people love to live.” - Iwan Sunito, CEO, Crown Group “We have grown and grown, but we never grow for the sake of growing.” Mr Sunito explains: “We don’t buy sites just to grow, we buy sites when it is a good project to pursue, and I think that strategy has paid off; we have overcome all three crises.” Crown Group’s project selection strategy has two main criteria: that it is a financially sound deal, well above the margins of market fluctuations, and that it offers future residents a sound

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investment on their purchase. This second criteria is what ensures that all of Crown Group’s investments pay off quickly. This long-term security is created by setting apart the development from others in its area, creating a unique and highly desirable living experience in a convenient location. Without this differentiation, the market can become price-driven and the quality frequently becomes negligible. Crown Group prides itself on designing and building properties that are completely unique,


offering clients stronger value for their the company has grown from that small money and beating the competition on operation to a large-sized operation and it can only just keep growing as a group both quality and price in the process. and it’s growing in a good way. We are Further to its resort-style aesthetic, open to groups out there that are exCrown Group also offers some extraor- ploring with a financial capacity that are dinary green design options for its cli- looking for synergy.” ents, looking beyond mere sustainability into the future of automated living. This forward thinking has been the enThis includes smart home systems abling force behind all of Crown Group’s where clients can control their home success in the industry. From its initial even from remote locations such as $28 million development project back work. This technology has been particu- in 1996 to its current $1.5 billion dollar larly useful for some of Crown Group’s project range, the company’s growth clients whose faith permits them from has been phenomenal. Looking to the doing any work on certain days of the future, the company is excited to purweek – the technology can do the work sue new projects and new partnerships. for them! Iwan Sunito explains that the company looks beyond Australia to the larger urban areas of the world, in particular Asia, where apartment living is quite advanced. Through this research and exploration, Crown Group has been able to implement design strategies that are “quite ahead of other builders in the area.” With the NSW residential market currently underproviding for its housing needs, Mr Sunito is confident in his company’s continued growth in this market. Says Mr Sunito, “2010 has almost been the turning point of the company where

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