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November 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Editor’s Pick “The 33 of us in the shelter are well.” Written on a note deep underground and tied to a listening pole weeks after part of the mine they were working in collapsed, these words heralded the biggest feel-good story of the year: the astonishing rescue of 33 Chilean miners this past October. The ordeal for these men began on August 5, when they were trapped following the collapse of a section of the San Jose copper and gold mine in Chile’s Atacama desert. Two days later, yet another area of the mine caved in. Fearing the worst, rescue workers tried to drill holes to find the men with little success, until August 22 when – at a staggering depth of 688 metres – they heard tapping on their drill from deep underground. As incredible as it seemed, all 33 were alive, and managed to tie a note to a probe, confirming their survival. Mercifully, they had reached a shelter where oxygen, water, and food had been stored in case of emergency. Over the coming weeks, the story of the trapped miners kept the world riveted with daily news of their incredible effort to survive. Grainy video revealed them to be upbeat, and in better health than expected. Water, food, medicine and communication equipment was sent down to them as rescuers devised the best way to free the miners from what could have become their final resting place. A decision was made: dig three shafts at the same time – Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C – and try to raise the men to the surface as soon as humanely possible. Three rescue capsules were built as workers keep drilling holes to locate the miners until, on October 9, they finally broke through into their underground chamber. Within days, test runs were made, and rescuer Manuel Gonzalez was lowered down the shaft to greet the trapped miners. Before Midnight local time, 31-year-old Florencio Avalos – the first of the 33 miners to be freed – was strapped into a rescue capsule and, outfitted with sunglasses, reached the surface after 69 days underground amid cheers and cries of joy. Avalos, and his 32 trapped comrades, were soon free. While the heroic rescue of the trapped Chilean miners will undoubtedly remain in the public eye for years to come, it echoes earlier success stories where workers were freed from certain death. In Australia in 2006, two men – Brant Webb and Todd Russell – were at the centre of one of the nation’s mining disasters, when they emerged on May 9, alive after 14 days trapped nearly one kilometre underground at Tasmania’s Beaconsfield. The pair survived on groundwater until rescuers were able to pass them supplies through a plastic tube. In both countries, the tireless efforts of rescue workers above ground – and the determination of the men trapped below – serve as an example of what the spirit can survive and what the body can endure when survival is at stake. Our best wishes to the 33 Chilean miners.

Robert J. Hoshowsky

With limited amounts of land available and a booming urbanised population, Australia needs innovative solutions to manage its growth, development, and sustainability. In Queensland alone, about 2,000 new residents arrive every week, and population estimates forecast the state’s growth will more than double to eight million by the year 2054. Drastic changes are needed, and this month’s association feature “Live, Prosper, Grow: Smart Solutions for a Sustainable Queensland” focuses on the Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning, and their coordinated statewide government approach to planning, local governance, and infrastructure – “looking forward and delivering now” – for livability, prosperity, and future population growth. As one of the fastest growing firms in Australia, Point Project Management has established itself as a leader in project management. Considering itself a “central point of contact,” the firm’s senior management team – largely comprised of civil and mechanical engineers with decades of industry experience – focuses on the successful development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships within its team that permeates into its client base in both public and private sectors. Every month, Australian Construction Focus provides its readers with articles on environmentally-friendly buildings and initiatives. This month, we examine the growth of pedestrianfriendly infrastructure in Australia, with examples from leading edge Australian construction and design firms. In this issue, we take a closer look at the historical Suncorp Stadium. Widely regarded today as a state of the art sports arena and amphitheatre, the 52,500 seat stadium underwent a massive, $280 million dollar refurbishment beginning in 2001. Considered one of the most modern dedicated rugby stadiums in Australia, the colourful history of the arena and its site actually goes back well over 100 years.

Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Robert Hoshowsky Managing Editor

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Kulvir Singh Creative Art Director Robert Chambers Director of Business Dev. Lorne Moffat Head of Research Rob Lenehan Research Manager Tim Hocken Production Editor Christian Cooper Director of Operations Jen Hamilton Office Manager Contributing Writers Aleisha Parr Jaime McKee Lynn Hamilton Melissa Thompson John Boley Jeff Hocken Publisher 8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

06 News and Events

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14 PCA

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20 Conset

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Industry News and Events

Making the Case For Growth Reputation as Solid as its Concrete

True as a Compass

36 Suncorp Stadium

On Hallowed Ground

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44 Point Project Mgmt 10

Pointing the Way Ahead

54 Allkind Joinery A Tradition of Excellence

60 Coffey November 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

28 North Construction 88

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Assurance from a Truly Global Org.

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8 Pedestrian Infrastructure What’s Old is New Again...

4 Lahey

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Excellence in Construction

0 Defence Housing Aus. Housing our Heroes

8 Kell & Rigby

Turning the Construction Industry on its Head

4 QDIP

Live, Prosper, Grow...

04 Favetti

Brick by Brick, Building A Better Industry

12 BSF A Reputation for Quality

18 Tzanetos Family Group Creating a Cosmopolitan Canberra

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The Winds of Change

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delayed wind farm project in Tasmania has finally gotten the go-ahead.

Stalled since February due to problems with the Federal Government’s renewable energy legislation, the Musselroe Wind Farm will see construction finally begin next June. Located south of the 40th parallel – in the path of prevailing westerly winds – the wind farm will be situated 100 kilometres northeast of Launceston, and 20 kilometres north of Gladstone. Owned by Roaring 40s Renewable Energy Pty Ltd, the Musselroe Wind Farm will cost an estimated $400 million, and create approximately 100 jobs during its construction. Wind data has been monitored and collected at the site since the early 1980s, and available

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November 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

information suggests the area’s wind resources are ideal for the farm. In 2002, a monitoring tower was set up to investigate wind potential, and anemometers were installed on the tower at various heights to gather wind measurements and data to be used to determine the most ideal locations for future turbines. At present, 56 turbines are slated to be erected at the site, with a generating capacity of 168 MW. Once operational, the local economy will continue to benefit for years to come, as personnel will be required to perform ongoing maintenance of the wind farm. The Musselroe Wind Farm, once up and running, should meet the electricity needs of up to 55,000 Australian homes, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 300,000 tonnes per year.


Construction Boom Benefits Economy

Clay: The Better Way

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or playing tennis, most experts agree that clay is the best training surface available. Soon, tennis aficionados will get the chance to test it out for themselves when eight new courts are installed in Melbourne, home of the world-famous Australian Open.

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ccording to recent figures from Access Economics, there has been a 60 per cent increase in the number of new homes being built in the Australian Capital Territory over the past year. The increase – fueled in part by higher commodity prices, an impasse on a new mining tax, and other factors – are a reflection that Australia is emerging from the global financial crisis, and that the economy is on the upswing. In the ACT, the construction boom is seeing the biggest increase in the building of new housing in almost 20 years. Demand is being fueled by an increase in population, such as Canberra having seen an increases of 6,000 people in a year. “Definite investment projects,” works presently being built to committed to, have increased, according to Access Economics. There has also been a growth in school construction in recent months.

With construction set to begin immediately, the clay courts are part of a million-dollar plan in Melbourne Park, which also includes a planned expansion to create a third showcourt with a moveable roof. Around the world, many tennis games are now played on clay surfaces, which are more forgiving than harder substances and helps to reduce injuries, especially among up and coming junior players. Australia’s climate, shortage of water, and high maintenance costs have made it difficult to build and maintain clay tennis courts, but hopefully these eight new courts will stand the test of time.

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Big Changes at Brisbane City Hall

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t the Brisbane City Hall, teams of workers carrying out renovations are starting to feel more like archaeologists as the structure’s interior is being stripped to its bare bones. The site of countless elections, weddings, and citizenship ceremonies, the floorboards of the 80-yearold building are being removed for the first time, with many wondering what lies beneath the old clay foundation, which will be excavated to accommodate a new basement commercial kitchen and electrical transformers. “We might find stuff from the 1870s, 1880s, and we would have to stop and get that evaluated,” said Lord Mayor Campbell Newman.

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The restoration is a slow and exacting process. To preserve the integrity of the interior, every single floorboard is being carefully removed, numbered, catalogued and photographed before it will eventually be restored to its original place. In addition, samples are being taken from the Brisbane City Hall’s beams and columns to determine their strength. The restoration, expected to cost about $215 million, has received about 77,000 donations to the Save City Hall fund. In the meantime, the original floorboards are being safely stored offsite. Scheduled for completion in 2012, it is possible the project could be delayed if any historic artifacts are discovered in the clay foundation beneath the building.


A

Eidsvold’s RM Williams Centre Opens

bout 300 people attended the recent opening of Eidsvold’s RM Williams Centre, which was over seven years in the making. Dancing, music, and the sound of cracking whips were heard during the ceremony. The centre will provide visitor information, and preserve and teach bush skills, both traditional and new.

Located in Eidsvold, west of Bundaberg in southern Queensland, the learning centre was initially suggested almost a decade ago, and had suffered from numerous finding issues. In 2004, a Senate inquiry into its federal funding was established, and some feared that the necessary monies to complete the project would be lost altogether when Labor came into power in 2007. Fortunately, funding remained intact. The centre was developed by the Williams family and the North Burnett Council with the purpose of promoting and preserving the region’s rich bush culture and history. Along with serving as a tourist attraction, it will act as an employment centre. The whip cracking displays seen and heard at the opening are one of the numerous bush crafts which will be a part of the centre, preserving the area’s rich heritage. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Corrosion and Prevention 2010 November 14-17 at the Adelaide Convention Centre The annual conference is hosted by the Australasian Corrosion Association to provide the most up-to-the-minute information on corrosion and corrosion mitigation. Whether your company is involved in oil and gas, defence, infrastructure, metals or other related industries, this event provides information relevant to your needs. The comprehensive agenda offers a wealth of knowledge to attendees and social and partner programmes, including local tours, a scenic cruise, and gala dinner offering ample networking opportunities. For more information visit: www.corrosion.com.au

Northern Territory Major Projects Conference 2010 November 15-16 at the Darwin Convention Centre This is the opportunity to learn about the many new major developments occurring in the Northern Territory as part of the $1.8 billion 2010-11 state budget. Current, as well as planned government investments will be the focus, including strategies for the territory’s 20 year plan, Territory 2030. Many sectors will be discussed including Mining, Rail and Road, Housing, Health, Schools, Power, Water and specific projects like the Darwin Waterfront Precinct and Darwin Port Corporation’s East Arm Wharf Master Plan. Networking opportunities are also scheduled. For more information visit: www.ntconference.com.au

Façade Design and Engineering 2010 November 16-18 at Sofitel Melbourne With the promise of being bigger and better than ever, construction companies, architectural firms, engineers, and anyone else involved with building façades should check out Façade Design and Engineering 2010. Keep up to date with changing façade expectations and learn how to overcome conflicting project demands. International and Australian case studies, Shanghai Financial Centre, 0-14 Dubai, Melbourne Convention Centre, etc., provide real-world examples of companies successfully integrating aesthetics with performance and sustainability. For more information visit: www.facadedesign.com.au

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November 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


International Modular Construction & Pre-Assembled Fabrication Conference November 16-18 at Novotel Langley Hotel Perth Find out how this engineering solution can save your company money and time over traditional construction methods. The agenda includes several national and international case studies, a Parkinson style panel discussion, and a site tour of The Australian Marine Complex Common User Facility giving a firsthand look at an integrated (marine, defence, and resource industries) fabrication and assembly facility. On November 18, Martin Gross, Managing Director of MTECH Consulting will lead a masterclass to relay his 30 years experience in the prefabrication industry. For more information visit: www.iir.com.au/modular

Piling and Deep Foundations 2010 November 29-December 1 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre Beginning with opening remarks from John Hawkins, Director of The Piling and Foundation Specialists Federation, this annual conference aims to further delegates’ understanding of best practices and techniques to ensure the building of safe, solid foundations. In two days, presenters cover a wide range of topics including new piling codes, CSM, guidelines for tremie concrete mixes, performing accurate site investigations and much more. The third day of the conference is reserved for four practical education workshops. For more information visit: www.pilingtechniques.com.au

Remote Location Project Management 2010 November 30-December 2 at Royal on the Park, Brisbane Remote and semi remote projects involve special challenges not seen in other areas, and as large resource projects expand into secluded areas across the nation, companies most able to handle these challenges have a great advantage. Industry leaders at this event focus on providing participants with the foresight and knowledge to safely and effectively manage all aspects of their remote location projects: planning, staff retention, communication, risk management, financial assessments, and supply and transport of materials - are all examined by the experts. For more information visit: www.remotelocationconstruction.com.au

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-By Aleisha Parr

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s the world begins to recover from the game-changing Global Financial Crisis (GFC), governments in Australia are attempting to stimulate the economy by committing to “untangle red tape and modernise the rules that govern the Australian Marketplace.” With over eleven million Australians invested in the $600 billion property industry, it is essential to take a step back and ensure that the right choices are being made. The Property Council of Australia is committed to providing Australians with the information they need in order to make informed decisions regarding their involvement in the investment property industry, and indeed, the future of their country. “Australians have a very big stake in the property investment industry,” explains Peter Verwer, CEO of the Property Council of Australia. “Most of

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their wealth is affected by property investment – either through their own lifestyle investment in housing or through the superannuation funds.” Since the GFC, Australians have been effectively playing it safe in terms of property investment, but the Property Council is concerned that this may not be the right approach. Instead, it wants to “make the case for growth”, which would constitute “a conversation [The Property Council is] going to have with the broader Australian public to communicate the value of economic development and the importance of population growth.” In the last federal election, most politicians recommended slowing industrial growth, a concept which has the Property Council nervous. “Our fear is that in twenty or thirty years, if Australia slows down, people might say, ‘Why wasn’t I told?’ ‘Why didn’t any-

body say that these were the implications of low goals?’ ‘Why isn’t my mortgage worth more?’ ‘Why has the market dried up?’” With such serious issues at the forefront, the Property Council has a plan in motion to engage all Australians in these essential conversations. This plan is outlined in a 2009 publication of the Property Council’s Opportunity Agenda, and includes the latest renewal of the Powerhouse 2010 strategy, which offers a blueprint for ongoing reform, as well as the 3Rs, a dynamic leadership strategy. With five goals and a tenpoint plan to achieve them, Powerhouse 2010 has already seen many successes. “Those wins,” explains Mr Verwer, “they are the result of active engagement with politicians and policy makers around the country and the reason Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Property Powerhouse 2010: A 10-point Plan 1. More daily advocacy in the halls of power. 2. Focused advocacy targets based on nation-building. 3. A positive industry image. 4. More industry alliances in Australia and overseas. 5. A bigger commitment to leading edge intellectual property and professional development. 6. More customised member services. 7. Reaching out to regional and metropolitan Australia. 8. An international property passport. 9. Nurturing young property professionals and future leaders. 10. Showcasing excellence

“You have to have something to say, you have to be credible, because people can see through spin. They understand the difference between real and constituted, and we need to not only engage with people but provide them with ideas and let them make up their own minds.�

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that those successes are there is that we focus on providing solutions, backed by evidencebased policy research.” Created by leaders in big business in 1969 to set standards for best practice, the Property Council of Australia has since been working diligently to increase its profile in order to better reach the broader Australian public. In collaboration with all nine Australian State Governments, with over 120 communities and 1100 committee volunteers, the Property Council is a very member-focused organisation. Where it most succeeds is in mobilising the wealth of resources within its membership base as well as its own staff. “We make a big investment into all of our staff,” says Mr Verwer. “A lot of companies do lip service to the importance of the team, but it’s our reality that the senior managers of the Council are intimately involved in making all of the major decisions, putting together the major recommendations for the board.” By engaging in two areas – Advocacy and Public Affairs, and Member Services - the Property Council is working toward improving industry best practices and standards, as well as increasing public awareness of significant issues, utilising the Opportunity Agenda to ensure benchmarks of success. Says Mr Verwer: “We like to shine a bright light on our work so that people can see the case that we’re making.” In terms of Advocacy and Public Affairs, the standard process begins by ensuring that a clear target exists. The Council then engages in rigorous research, all of which is provided by independent research firms. Next the Council determines solutions and provides them for the policy makers, engaging in key dialogues. Finally,

the Council runs campaigns which mobilise the constituencies. At this phase, great importance is placed on approaching all stakeholders in the issue at hand, as each unique perspective will enhance the power of the issue. “It’s very important to engage in public conversation in order to persuade politicians and policy makers as to the merits of our proposals and to debate them with other organisations, and not just like-minded organisations, but unions, conservationists, disability groups...” says Mr Verwer. “It doesn’t mean the people will agree with us, but it creates a culture of communication.” The second area that the Property Council focuses on - Member Services - involves providing three things: a significant knowledge base; professional development services; and networking opportunities. These offerings are set to drastically increase over the next five years as the Property Council aims to double its investment in them from six to twelve million dollars. With professional development programs ranging from fundamentals courses to diploma programs and more than sixty annual events to assist its members in becoming better at business, the Property Council reaches over fifty-five thousand people each year. “It’s not just about spending more money,” Mr Verwer explains, “We will be spending more money – but at the heart of a successful team is communications.” Additionally, the Property Council is working to improve its connection with the public via social media and the creation of a Public Outreach program. Taking full advantage of the latest technology developments and trends, the Council is using this newfound opportunity to Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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The 3Rs Strategy ● Restore Confidence – facilitate a decisive program for improving the sector’s transparency and communicating best practice. ● Rev-up Reform – persuade governments to remove blockages that impede property sector competitiveness. ● Re-connect the Marketplace – re-engage key stakeholders, gatekeepers, regulators and customers with property industry leaders. The aim is to increase industry dialogue using a common fact base and language.

Since the GFC, Australians have been effectively playing it safe in terms of property investment, but the Property Council is concerned that this may not be the right approach.

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reach a much broader market with its message. Plans are in the works for developing a new fullfeatured website to communicate opportunities available in the property investment industry to the broader Australian public, as well as some tips and guidelines for getting a good investment deal. The website promises to be “all facts, no spin”. Explains Mr Verwer, “You have to have something to say, you have to be credible, because people can see through spin. They understand the difference between real and constituted, and we need to not only engage with people but provide them with ideas and let them make up their own minds.” By “shining a light” on the important issues and backing its ideas with hard research, the

Property Council is indeed nurturing a culture of communication, enabling all Australians the tools and opportunity to make the most of their own talents and skills. Peter Verwer sums it up best: “It’s important that Australia continues to improve its competitiveness; that it continues to improve its environmental performance; and that it continues to improve its living standards for the next generation. The Property Council sees itself playing an important role in that public discourse.” When Australians succeed, the property industry succeeds as well. This cycle will help drive Australia to become a strong global economic force, and the Property Council of Australia is the necessary facilitator to ensure that growth. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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ince opening its doors for business in 1998, Victoria-based Conset Pty Ltd has maintained its original vision: to never be satisfied with anything less than perfection, to encourage excellence, to manage all projects with the utmost honesty and reliability, and to work in partnership with its clients, contractors, and suppliers to achieve a common goal. As one of Victoria’s leading concrete construction companies, Conset specialises in a wide variety of commercial, industrial, and high-end residential projects. Its many successful projects over the years remain a testament to the company’s dedication to quality, and the reason why Conset receives a great deal of repeat business. Prior to establishing Conset, Director Joe Bartolo worked in the field of Landscape Construction, and working with concrete soon followed. “We started doing concrete work within our landscaping business,” says Mr Bartolo, “and found there to be a high demand for concrete contractors focused on quality and a professional ap-

proach to the service they offered. Word grew quick and within a small time frame we were in such high demand with both Residential builders and private clients we decided it was time to let landscaping go. The concrete work rapidly grew and moved away from the residential market and into the commercial and industrial sector. Our works have now evolved into all forms of structural concrete.” Today, many of Conset’s clients are first and second-tier builders, and in just over a decade, the company has expanded from a mid-sized structural-concreting business into a vital part of Victoria’s construction industry. Along with his highly-skilled staff of 50, Mr Bartolo’s many years in the industry add a depth of experience which he passes on to his clients in every project Conset carries out. The company operates in several sectors, from commercial to industrial, high end residential to civil works. In addition to years of practical, hands-on experience, Mr Bartolo and his team offer their clientele a proven, successful track record in

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managing projects. Over the years, the company has worked on schools, warehouses, shopping centres, water treatment facilities, fire stations, administration buildings, aquatic and community centres, apartments, office complexes, nursing homes, service stations, port loading docks, and casinos, with some projects approaching $5 million in value. “We do vary in our work,” says Mr Bartolo. Zone Substation, Southbank – a commercial/

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industrial project in the heart of Melbourne’s central buisness district – is a good example of Conset’s larger projects in recent years. Conset was behind a number of key areas, including management, reinforcement, design, excavation, formwork, steel fixing, and concreting. Working closely with the builder, Watpac Limited, and Powercor – Victoria’s largest energy distributor – Conset designed a reinforcing system that not only reduced overall costs, but also increased productivity. All sections of the


whole process of reinforcement by constructing the majority of the reinforcing off site, and craning it all into place; it was all pre-fabricated. It took a lot of planning, and we delivered the project on time.”

From Education to Infrastructure

Over the years, Conset has developed a solid reputation in structural ground slabs. At present, the firm is working on a number of government school projects, one being Elwood College. It is one of many schools being constructed as part of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program, a $16.2 billion program geared towards modernising schools through the creation of infrastructure, and supporting local jobs and stimulating investment. The BER is now in its most dynamic phase with construction underway on thousands of schools across the country. For the Elwood school, Conset was responsible for the full concrete structural package. Along with Elwood, Conset has worked on approximately thrity other schools as part of the BER, including the Dandenong EDU, Kororoit Creek Primary School, and Cheltenham Park Primary School, being awarded the full concrete packages.

reinforcing required welding to achieve earthing for the sub station. Onesteel Reinforcing, was brought on board to help with the design and execution phase. Unfavorable ground conditions presented yet another challenge, which Conset addressed. Ultimately, the company’s attention to detail and professionalism enabled it to surpass the expectations of Watpac and Powercor for this challenging project. “It was quite a unique job,” says Mr Bartolo. “We came up with a design for the project that would speed up the

At Conset, the company’s experience carries over to many building sectors. It is able to build small to large commercial and industrial projects. The company has a number of residential units in its portfolio, with one of the most recent being the Vivida Apartments in Hawthorn.

Facing Construction Challenges

Located in the heart of Hawthorn’s retail shopping area, Vivida is a 10-storey, 194 chic student apartment complex, with an emphasis on maximising light, privacy, and space. The elevated environment offers spectacular views of MelAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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bourne’s panoramic skyline, with upper level units enjoying views of Port Philip Bay. For this project, Conset was responsible for bulk and detailed excavation, pile caps and footings, columns, slab on ground, and suspended slabs.

but often exceed, client expectations. A commitment to customer satisfaction, excellence, honesty, and working in tandem with clients and partners – along with time-tested experience and leadership – makes Conset able to face new construction challenges, and deliver high-quality products every time.

“Sites with limited access can be a challenge,” says Mr Bartolo of the Vivida project, which showcases Conset’s abilities when it comes to getting the job done right, no matter the challenges. The task presented the company with not only existing site restrictions, but extreme access issues. In order to overcome these hurdles, the project is being built in two stages, and is running according to plan thanks to Conset, Galvin Constructions, and subcontractors. “Detailed planning and experienced construction staff are the key ingredients to ensure projects are delivered on time, every time,” says Mr Bartolo. No matter the size or nature of the project, Conset Pty Ltd is dedicated to building not only quality products, but long-lasting relationships with its many new and repeat clients. By balancing attention to detail with business ethics, the company is able to not only meet, Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Jaime McKee In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, Australia’s construction industry has experienced an unexpected boom. Spurred by an aggressive stimulus package, new schools, government buildings, and commercial developments have continued to be erected at a breakneck pace. It would be easy, in such a climate, for a company to follow the trend towards growth, looking ever outwards to expand - easy, but not necessarily wise. In an industry and a world which is becoming increasingly globalised, one company has elected to stay true to a rather different value: localisation.

North Construction and Building Pty Ltd is a midsize construction firm concentrating on civic, commercial, industrial, and multi-unit residential projects. With twenty years in the business, North has concentrated on building strong relationships with a core group of architects, designers, sub-contractors, and suppliers, and as such, it has built a client base as strong as its reputation. Located in Gosford, the company works primarily on the Central Coast, Sydney’s north side, and the Hunter region. In a recent interview, Tim Cornish, North’s Managing Director, describes the importance of keeping the company local. He cites the many Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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advantages that come with maintaining a regional focus: the long-term, loyal relationships North enjoys with its suppliers and sub-contractors; a locally-based workforce which need not commute more than an hour’s drive to the jobsite; the significant savings in transportation costs and timeframes North is able to offer its clients. Urban design shapes the form, function and appearance of urban spaces

Andrews Neil URBAN DESIGN GROUP / planning / architecture / landscape architecture /

Central Coast / Hunter T 02 4324 3633 F 02 4324 3771 W www.andrewsneil.com.au

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These elements are but a few of the competitive advantages North Construction and Building brings to the table; its exemplary reputation is another. North is known, Mr Cornish says, for paying its sub-contractors on time, managing its work sites well, and running jobs efficiently. “When clients engage us, they can be confident that the company will deliver the service.” Backed by a rigorous set of accredited quality processes, North’s strength lies not with an individual project manager’s CV, but with the entire company, the whole of the staff, the very systems under-


“We use our experience to look for alternate, cost-effective ways to do the job, without compromising the quality. We add value all the way through the process.”

lying the work. North’s processes, says Mr Cornish, “give clients the confidence that regardless of which team they get, they’ll get the same delivery”. Such consistency of service means that North enjoys a great deal of repeat business, and has become the go-to construction firm for a number of local architects. Another area where North sets itself apart from the competition is at the tendering stage. Thanks to the loyalty and support of its core group of trades, a rigorous cost reporting and forecasting system, and its reputation for timely payments, North consistently comes in as the lowest tenderer. From the commencement of its service, the company then continues to work with its contractors to develop innovative, value-added designs which save clients money. Says Mr Cornish, “we use our experience to look for alternate, cost-effective ways to do the job, without

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compromising the quality. We add value all the way through the process.� North is also quick to identify risks and plan strategies to mitigate them. The firm carefully reviews each design for feasibility and future sustainability, looking at such factors as durability of materials, potential ingress of water, and environmental considerations. This assessment process, paired with North’s continuous onsite monitoring, ensures a quality outcome. Such comprehensive systems have enabled North to take on significant and high profile projects. The Avondale Retirement Village Aged Care Facility represents an excellent example of the company’s attention to cost reduction; initially tendered at $28 million, North worked with the client, Seventh Day Adventist Aged Care, and architect NG Sanders and Associates to scale back the budget, completing the project for approx-

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imately $24 million and in a period of only 60 weeks. The firm was awarded a Master Builders Association Award for 2008 Commercial Projects Over $20M. North was similarly awarded for its work on the iconic Cessnock Community Performing Arts Centre. A winner of the 2009 Extensions, Renovations & Refurbishments Over $2M MBA Award, the construction pulled together two heritage buildings, with a new contemporary structure nestled between. The work included asbestos removal, demolition of existing buildings, and retention and remedial works associated with the heritage facades. Even faced with challenges such as an open stormwater channel that severely hampered access, North completed the project in just 44 weeks and to a very high technical standard. Mr Cornish is quick to assign credit for these successes to his staff. As Managing Director, Mr

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North at the MBA Awards: - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2010 Extensions, Renovations & Refurbishments Over $2 Million for Central Coast Grammar School Library 2009 Extensions, Renovations & Refurbishments Over $2 Million for Cessnock Community Performing Arts Centre 2008 Commercial Projects Over $20 Million for Avondale Retirement Village 2008 Interior & Shop Fitouts $500k - $1 Million for JHCH Paediatric Oncology Day Unit 2007 Commercial Projects $500k - $1 Million for St Davids Presbyterian Church 2007 Commercial Projects $5 Million - $10 Million Lakes Grammar School 2007 Aged Care Developments Under $10 Million for Calvary Retirement Community 2006 Lifestyle Developments Aged Care $5 Million - $10 Million for Tinonee Gardens 2005 Aged Care Developments over $10 Million for Warnervale Gardens 2005 Civil Engineering, Industrial & Infrastructure Projects under $10 Million for RSPCA Shelter Rutherford 2004 Excellence in Central Coast Housing and Commercial for Star of the Sea School & Church 2004 Commercial projects $5 Million - $10 Million for Star of the Sea School and Church 2004 Commercial Projects under $2 Million for Kincumber Library

Cornish is responsible for all aspects of projects from tender through to completion, yet he cites North’s significant staff retention, heavy apprentice and cadet recruitment, and strong training and support programs as reasons for the company’s success. “Looking after our staff,” he says, “is certainly something we spend a lot of time on.” The company’s Vision, Mission, and Values statement is communicated - and its principles extended - to all staff, and efforts are made to treat all team members “equitably and with dignity”. These elements, predicts Mr Cornish, should enable North’s workforce to outlast the inevitable end of the economic stimulus package, and even to grow beyond it. North Construction and Building prides itself on its professional and ethical approach. Building strong relationships, and working cooperatively with clients, sub-contractors, and all levels of staff, are top priorities for the growing compa-

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Gillett & Gillett STRUCTURAL LANDSCAPING

ny. Ultimately, Mr Cornish says, North is “a local company that is committed to the protection of the environment in which we live and work�. One gets the sense that this environment refers not only to the natural surroundings of the Central Coast, but to the community and culture that Mr Cornish and his distinguished colleagues have built for the team at North. A locally-based company North may be, but it is clear that this firm has a vision for the future, and is here to stay for the long term.

We are proud to have provided structural & soft landscaping works for Hamlyn Terrace Aged Care Village on behalf of North Constructions. We look forward to working with North Constructions on future projects. PO Box 5411, Chittaway Bay NSW 2261 Ph: 02 4362 3880 Fax: 02 4362 3882 Email: gillettlandscaping@bigpond.com

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-By Lynn Hamilton Every issue, Australian Construction Focus profiles a structure of unique historical, cultural, or environmental significance. This month, we take a closer look at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

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W

here did the Brisbane Broncos celebrate their biggest ever win of 71-6 against the Newcastle Knights? The Brisbane Strikers win the 1996/97 National Soccer League final defeating Sydney United 2-0? Tickets for game 2 of the 2010 State of Origin series sell out within 2 hours and the Queensland Maroons win against NSW Blues 34-6, securing their fifth series win in a row? The world-class, 52,500 seat, Suncorp Stadium. After a $280 million dollar refurbishment beginning in 2001, Suncorp Stadium has become a state of the art sports arena and amphitheatre. Although the structure today is often described as the most modern dedicated rugby stadium in Australia, the history of the arena and its site actually goes back over 100 years.

It began in 1839 when the region now known as Brisbane was opened to free settlers and the Brisbane penal station was closed. As settlers moved to the area a requirement for a burial place arose and, in the early 1840s, Dr. John Dunmore Lang, a Presbyterian clergyman and politician, established what is now the Suncorp Stadium site as a cemetery. Not long after, Brisbane became an important port linked to Sydney and London and its population increased quickly. This rapid rise in population resulted in expansion of the city, placing the North Brisbane Burial Grounds at the heart of this expansion. By the early 1860s residents were petitioning the government to move the cemetery outside city limits due to health concerns and the eventual need for space for infrastructure and pub-

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lic parks. The cemetery was closed in 1875 but it wasn’t until after the Paddington Cemeteries Act (1911) was introduced that the graves could be moved to the Memorial, Toowong, and other cemeteries. Once the land was clear the area could be used as parkland with recreational facilities, and was soon declared Lang Park after the late Reverend Lang. In 1957, the Queensland Rugby League (QRL) made Lang Park its official headquarters. The QRL contributed funds to the development of the basic facilities already located in the park. By 1962 the park was no longer open to the public and construction of the Frank Burke (former QRL official) stand began. The Ron McAuliffe (former QRL president) stand was built in 1971. In 1992 a bronze statue of rugby great Wally Lewis was

erected outside the Lang Park Stadium in honour of his legendary contribution to the sport. Both the construction of the Western Grandstand and the name change to Suncorp (Suncorp Metway Ltd) Stadium occurred in 1994.

Redevelopment

In 2001, Stadiums Queensland invested in a $280 million redevelopment of Suncorp Stadium to create a state of the art rectangular stadium for Brisbane. Construction took place between July of 2001 and June of 2003, in which time the old stands were converted into a massive, world class stadium. In this short time frame engineers and architects overcame poor soil conditions and impediments from underground drainage and electrical to create a 52,500 seat structure with a 136 metres x 82 metres Strathayr turf Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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field, a unique roof, several environmental initiatives, disability services and plenty of event space and dining facilities. The new stadium has an intimate feel created by the design of the seating areas which put the spectators as close as possible to the field to truly experience every bit of action. At the nearest point the audience is just 6 metres from the sideline and at the furthest point only 55 metres. The stands were largely made up of precast concrete elements and prefabricated steel. Strategies such as the use of oversized slotted holes in steel connections, the use of post drilled fixings and the provision of substantial bearing widths and packing allowances were employed to en-

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sure reliable connections between materials. The continuous floating steel roof is 23,000 square metres and provides weather protection for about 75% of the grandstand seating. The roof structure is held on four tubular steel span trusses which are supported at the corners of the stadium by pairs of inclined struts. All of the sports lights are housed in the roof and are fully enclosed to minimise light pollution to surrounding neighbourhoods. Rainwater collected from the roof drains into two large, 250,000 litre capacity tanks as a means to reduce the massive amount of water the stadium would otherwise need to use from the city’s wa-


ter supply in order to irrigate the field. Architects have also included waterless urinals and push button taps in the design to reduce waste. Suncorp not only saves on water use but, according to the official Suncorp Stadium website (www. suncorpstadium.com.au), last year the stadium collected about 19 tonnes of glass and plastic and about 27 tonnes of cardboard and paper for recycling. Other notable features include the 228 wheelchair positions with accompanying escort seats, as well as 312 enhanced amenity seats. There are five wheelchair access gates, manned lifts, and wheelchair height telephones and countertops.

Rugby fans also have access to function space with audio visual services and a great mix of menu options. The concourse areas on level 3 can accommodate banquet or cocktail functions and feature excellent views of the playing field. There are also two skyline lounges, private function rooms and a Stadium member’s dining room. The Suncorp Stadium design incorporates everything necessary for an exhilarating day at the field. Rugby and soccer aficionados throughout Brisbane and Queensland are sure to see many more historic plays and iconic players at this former graveyard.

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-By Melissa Thompson

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I

n the last few years, the nature of the construction industry in Australia has changed. Buildings do not exist in a vacuum; they are built to stand the test of time, and as such, have a lasting impact on the landscape which surrounds us all. It is not enough to merely have the right tools for the job; projects and teams must be skillfully managed to be successful. A bird’s eye view and the ability to see the bigger picture are critical components of this success, and are areas where Point Project Management has established itself as a leader. Specialists in project management, Point has, in less than five years, made its mark as one of the fastest growing firms in Australia. With great responsibility comes great risk. Project managers build their reputations by meeting client expectations while remaining accountable for all levels of the building process. The weight of a project’s success, or its failure, rests on their shoulders. Few are up to the task. After working for private firms and recognising a need for a project management company that could dispel the negative perception of project managers and “develop a new way of doing things, and doing them right,” Michael Snare founded Point in January 2006. Soon after, Brendan Bilston was appointed co-principal of the company. The two have known each other for nearly 20 years and as the company will celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2011, they both agree much of their success relies on the high levels of “open and transparent” communication between on site staff and project managers. As its name suggests, Point considers itself the “central point of contact: connecting clients with service providers to make the project happen.” Point

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has a genuine focus on the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships within its team that permeates into its client base. Point’s success is in no small part due to the fact that its senior management team is comprised of civil and mechanical engineers with decades of experience in the industry. Mr Bilston explains, “we’ve worked in the field and understand the technical issues whereas other [project management] firms lack that technical understanding. We challenge both designers and builders as to why they are executing in a certain way, because we have the experience and know what does and doesn’t work.” Point has aligned itself with key clientele within the public and private sectors. Point is responsible for managing the fitout for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’s head office within Molonglo Group’s six star Green Star show case “Nishi Building” in New Acton, ACT. The Base Building is being project managed by Arup and is currently in the documentation stage, with the building slated to be completed by October 2012. Some features are its 400kW photovoltaic array fixed to the roof that will subsidise up to 30 percent of the building’s energy requirements and upon completion, will be the largest in the southern hemisphere. Also, the project aims to meet and exceed a 5 star NABERS rating and a 6 star Green Star Office Interiors rating, representing a new benchmark for environmentally sensitive buildings in Australia. Mr Snare says, with confidence, “it will be one of the most leading edge buildings of its nature in Australia.” Point is committed to green initiatives. “Those projects are of great interest to us,” Mr Snare states, and outlined on its website are the extensive criteria Point uses to guarantee buildings exceed sustainability standards and work with clients to create them if they are not already part of a project’s mandate. Point Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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has partnered with like-minded organisations; for example, the Anglican Church is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia and Point is now executing projects on its behalf across New South Wales and the ACT. These projects can be challenging as Point acts as advocates for building green and encourages its clients to build with an eye to the future. Further demonstrating its range and flexibility as a management firm, Point is overseeing all work associated with Qantas as the key tenant in the new Canberra Airport terminal. This includes its business and recreation lounges, administration offices, baggage handling, and ticket sales. As Mr Bilston states, “it’s one of the most high profile and higher quality jobs” currently tendered. Other notable projects include the Air Warfare Destroyer Wharf-side Facilities Upgrade Project in New South Wales, one of the largest Defence

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projects undertaken by Point, with a value of over $100 million. Point’s innovative practices have received numerous awards and accolades on the national level in the last several years. In 2009 the ACT Property Council of Australia awarded it Business of the Year and Telstra named it the National Medium Business of the Year.. More recently, it was the recipient of the 2010 ACT Project Management Achievement Award for Small Project. For more information on its awards and impressive portfolio, visit Point Project Management’s website at www.pointpm.com.au. When the company was founded, it was clear that other employers in the field were not always treating staff well, resulting in burnout and a decline in morale. Point takes a different approach in its treatment of staff. As a company with such high standards, it recognises that its workforce has much responsibility in the enhancement and maintenance of its reputation. As a result, it has ranked in the top 20 in Business Review Weekly’s Top 50 Places to Work in Australia and is the only project management company to appear on the list. Mr Bilston says, “Michael and I are very passionate about staff; we don’t have a product we produce…we have people. Every year we look at the staff and what they want in the workplace, and we ask: what is going to make it a more enjoyable place to work?” Working from a non-unionised military model, there is real emphasis on a team-building atmosphere, work-life balance, and a commitment to community and social development. This has resulted in the creation of Point’s Corporate Culture and Social Responsibility Working Group, which looks to staff for suggestions in improving work conditions and promoting Point as a com-

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pany committed to philanthropy and community values. As an outgrowth of this committee, Point recently sponsored three track athletes for the 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi, India and the Point Canberra office annually participates in the international fundraiser for cancer, Relay for Life. Point’s energy and enthusiasm for its work has allowed it to grow into one of the foremost project management firms in the nation. In less than five years, its focus on truly representing client interests and on recognising the value of its own staff has given Point the edge in managing projects to the highest standards of quality. It is no wonder that the company, armed with such a successful model, has accomplished as much as it has in such a short time, and has been so lauded by the industry. It is most certainly poised for more success in the new decade. Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations

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-By Aleisha Parr

W

ith the advent of technology, the construction industry experienced a rebirth, allowing new ideas to flourish and old standards to be exceeded. Nevertheless, advances in technology have also signaled the demise of many time-honoured building traditions as companies have made the move toward faster and cheaper processes. This has not been the case for one particular construction company, Allkind Joinery and Glass, which has built a stellar reputation for itself in the Queensland building industry. By maintaining original timber construction traditions while also embracing technology, Allkind is able to ensure the highest quality product for all of its customers. Allkind has the wisdom of the ages backing every decision it makes, with over forty years of industry experience. In fact, its traditions date back even further.

In the Beginning

Brooks Joinery was a Queensland construction company offering high-quality cabinetry and joinery services. In 1970, after the passing of Mr. Brooks, the existing staff formed together to create Allkind Joinery and Glass in its current location in the suburb of Chermside, on the north side of Brisbane. Although it was a new company, it maintained the commitment to quality and hand-crafting traditions established by Mr. Brooks. To this day, Allkind still crafts timber joints using the traditional mortise and tender joint style,

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despite its competitions’ move away from the process. “We feel that it’s the strongest joint, and we’ve always been using that process,” says Richard Travers, Manager. This is but one example of the type of superior craftsmanship that sets Allkind apart from the competition.

signs include entry doors, bi-fold doors, French doors, pivot doors, sidelights and gates in both contemporary and traditional styles. Allkind uses exceptional timbers from around the world, including Surian Cedar, New Guinea Rosewood, Silky Oak, Merbau and Jarrah.

Bringing the Vision to Life

Allkind’s Cabinetry projects are generally crafted for use in commercial architectural projects. Its cabinetmaking factory creates fit-outs for offices, schools, colleges, hospitals, science laboratories and architecturally designed commercial and residential unit developments. Depending

With two separate factories – one specialising in Window and Door Joinery and the other in Cabinetry – Allkind is able to offer a one-stop-shop for designers, architects and builders who are looking for a high quality product. Most of Allkind’s Window and Door projects are large-scale domestic installations including large sliding doors, timber windows and a variety of joinery projects. Window options include casements, bi-folds, awnings/hoppers, sliders, glass or timber-louvered units and double-hung sashes, all available in many configurations. Door de-

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“We pride ourselves on working di

cause [architects and designers] hav

we can help bring to life. W


on the clients’ needs, Allkind utilises a variety of materials, such as solid timbers, polished timber veneered panels, laminated and pre-finished boards, marble, granite, solid surface and glass. Currently, Allkind is at work on the Emergency Services and Disaster Coordination Centre in collaboration with Hutchinson Builders. The centre will be a world class communications facility located at Kedron in Brisbane, Queensland. Some of Allkind’s previous projects include local larger Catholic Schools, Sirromet Winery in

irectly to help with the design, be-

ve a lot of dreams and visions that

We don’t just do it one way.”

Mt Cotton, Customs House in Brisbane, and a number of celebrities’ private dwellings. Each of these projects required a unique approach and a custom solution. “We pride ourselves on working directly to help with the design, because [architects and designers] have a lot of dreams and visions that we can help bring to life. We don’t just do it one way.”

Raising the Bar

Unlike many of its competitors, everything Allkind manufactures is hand-designed and custom made on site, with no outsourcing. Allkind is proud to source its timber from local suppliers, who procure the woods from many locations around the world, depending on the architects’ specifications. This includes hardware as well, which Allkind sources locally from companies such as Centor, to ensure that every product is of the highest quality, while also supporting local industry. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Richard Travers Director

Richard commenced his employment at Allkind Joinery in 1981 as an apprentice cabinetmaker. After obtaining his Trade Certificate, Richard gained valuable experience working in both the cabinet and joinery workshops. Richard is a Director of Allkind Joinery, responsible for Sales, Marketing, Estimating and Administration.

Robert Jackson Sr. Joinery Consultant

Robert began working at Allkind Joinery in 1980 with a Trade Certificate in Wood Machining. He worked solidly to the position of Joinery Foreman until 2001. Robert is now a Senior Estimator and his experience and knowledge of the industry is paramount.

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Bill Pope Joinery Consultant

Gerard Wilson Director

Bill started at Allkind Joinery in 2008 and brings with him a wealth of experience with many years of industry knowledge, Bill has a flair for bringing clients dreams into reality whether you are a builder, architect or home owner.

Gerard commenced with Allkind Joinery in 2003. Gerard is a licensed builder and has extensive experience in building and business management. Gerard is a Director of the Company and is responsible for manufacturing in the cabinet and joinery factories, contracts management, purchasing and installations.

Angelo Coco Production Manager

Angelo began his employment with Allkind Joinery in 2004. He has a Trade Certificate and extensive experience in wood machining, cabinet making, shop fitting and furniture making. His contribution to the Allkind Joinery team has already been of substantial benefit to our clients.

Shane Eaton Joinery Foreman

Daniel Reiser Estimator (Cabinet Making)

Shane started as a wood machinist apprentice at Allkind Joinery in 1995. After completing his Trade Certificate and many years of experience working on the factory floor, Shane was appointed Joinery Foreman in 2003.

Daniel started at Allkind Joinery in 2006. He has experience in kitchen design and estimating as well as thorough product knowledge of the cabinet making industry.

November 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Allkind begins each work tender by meeting with the client to review the design and offer insight into the best means of realising their vision for the project. “We can always guarantee the builder that we’ll do good quality work and we’ll complete it in the proposed timelines,” boasts Richard Travers. Once a baseline design is determined, Allkind inputs it into Cabinet Vision, a computer program capable of drawing up the designs in 3D. As part of Allkind’s internal quality assurance program, the drawings are then checked by the client and approved before building begins. Allkind is able to ensure high quality in part due to Cabinet Vision, which then draws up exact plans and processes for the builders to use in the hand-crafting process. This is an excellent example of how Allkind utilises technology to raise the bar for quality in the construction industry while still allowing for hand-crafted workmanship, which is usually far superior to more modern techniques. Allkind plans to continue to introduce new technology into its workshops, including computer estimating programs over the next few years “but in a way where we’re not compromising our traditional construction methods.”

pany ever since. Mr Travers explains that this is the general process for most of Allkind’s employees, who are guided through the company by the Directors and are assisted along their career-path from day one. “We always look at the future of how that person could grow within the company.” While it is this dedication to each employee that has helped Allkind become a place where employees choose to stay throughout their entire career,

Employer of the Year

In 2006, Allkind was awarded the prestigious Queensland Apprenticeship Small/Medium Employer of the Year award for its dedication to providing real career opportunities to its staff. Indeed, many of its key employees have been with the company for over twenty-five years now, and all employees are considered to be long-term assets. “With any new apprentices we put on,” says Mr Travers, “I always look to the future and [see how] we can shift them into this position in five or ten years’ time.” Richard Travers himself began working for Allkind in 1981 as an apprentice cabinetmaker and has been moving up in the com-

it is Allkind’s adherence to traditional values, enhanced by technological advancements that has led to its continued success in the industry. Altogether, the passion bred by creating such a unique and dynamic environment has been the key to maintaining Allkind’s unrivalled tradition of excellence. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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F

rom ho employ Coffey long wa

Operati dle Eas Coffey focusin ture on

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m humble beginnings in a Sydney-based ome office to a massive global company ying over 4,000 staff in over 80 countries, International Limited has come a very ay over the past five decades.

ting in countries across Europe, the Midst, Africa, the Americas, and Asia Pacific, delivers professional consultancy services ng on both physical and social infrastrucn a global scale. Listed on the Australian

Securities Exchange (ASX:COF) and part of the S&P/ASX 300, Coffey works with its many clients across the full life cycle of a project, all the way from the initial planning stages to completion. Coffey prides itself on making the world a better place by enabling government and aid agencies to strengthen local communities, and improving quality of life in a broad range of areas, such as social infrastructure, economic development, education, training, and health. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Home Business to Global Organisation

Back in 1959, the company founded by David Coffey began as a specialist geotechnical practice, which Mr Coffey ran from his home in Sydney. Growth was rapid, and within the first decade, the firm opened a succession of offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, and Newcastle. Over the coming years, the company grew and in 1990, the organisation, with a staff of 150, became Coffey International Limited. In that same year, Coffey became one of the first publicly listed Australian engineering consulting companies. Soon, the company began rapid growth through acquisition, acquiring other companies such as SAGRIC International, expanded into countries like Brazil, and added Commercial Advisory and Rail expertise. From 2003 to 2008, Coffey greatly diversified

the services it provided, its business strategies, and the areas of the globe it served. In just a few years, Coffey acquired more than 30 companies, and today generates revenues in excess of $769 million.

Winning Team

“As a whole, Coffey offers multi-specialist consultancy services,” says Matt Morley, Global Business Development Manager, Information. “We have eight specialist service lines including Commercial Advisory, Environments, Geotechnics, Information, International Development, Mining, Projects, and Rail. Together all service lines work through the full life cycle of projects with our clients across feasibility, planning, approvals, funding, design, implementation, project management, maintenance and retirement of assets for projects.”

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Mr Morley, Global Business Development Manager for Coffey Information, started with the company some 11 years ago as a technician working in a small materials laboratory on the Sunshine Coast. With the training and support of his employer, he completed tertiary qualifications in engineering and science and soon rose to the position of lab manager. He subsequently took a position in a Melbourne-based Coffey office to grow Coffey testing services in Victoria and then returned to Queensland as the Northern Regional Manager, overseeing the operation of labs throughout Qld and northern NSW. Most recently, Mr Morley took on a commercial role as the Global Business Development Manager for Coffey Information and has been in this position for just over 12 months. It is sufficed to say that his career has grown “organically with the

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company,” much like Coffey’s company development. Synergies exist between Coffey’s specialist service lines, providing great benefits to its clients. For instance, “Coffey Geotechnics can create a design, be it for a road, port or dam, and Coffey Information can then help to supervise its construction and compliance with that design,” says Mr Morley. “Coffey Information acts as the independent verifier, we confirm that what is being built is in accordance with the design and the specification.” Often, the design is then provided to a Contractor to build, and Coffey Information is there to help on site. “We have the resources to rapidly establish a NATA accredited testing laboratory


modations for the Department of Defence. “We always seek to align with companies that have a similar vision and philosophy to us,” says Mr Morley. “Choosing to work with companies that have a similar approach to safety and quality results in best outcomes for all parties.”

Quality and Assurance from NATA Accreditation

Coffey Information laboratories are all accredited by NATA, Australia’s National Association of Testing Authorities. As the authority responsible for the accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies, calibration services, producers of certified reference materials and proficiency testing scheme providers throughout Australia, NATA provides independent assurance of technical competence through a proven network of best practice industry experts. Established in 1947, the not-for profit association remains the world’s first comprehensive laboratory accredi-

on site to ensure the materials used during construction comply with the design and construction specifications,” says Mr Morley, “essentially; our labs check all of the specification criteria of materials during construction.” As a result of the company’s wide-ranging areas of specialist expertise and highly trained and experienced staff, Coffey is able to take on projects of virtually any size. The company is involved in a wide range of built assets, from roads to buildings, sporting facilities to mines, for Coffey Information. Mr Morley adds, “our client base is predominately earthmoving civil contractors and civil consultants”. In addition, the company works for various levels of government on projects like the building of public spaces for local councils and new barracks and troop accomAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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tation body, and one of the largest. In Australia, the government uses NATA-accredited facilities wherever possible, with state and territory governments encouraged to do the same. For Coffey Information and its many clients, NATA accreditation offers a tremendous advantage, explains Mr Morley. “For instance our clients often require NATA endorsed results for

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tests on construction materials being used on very remote project sites. Being a corporate accredited company with NATA means we can provide this accredited service to our clients virtually anywhere and at any time”. “We have the ability to place a NATA accredited site laboratory onto the project, provide all tests and reporting independently from the site, with


tation from an off-site facility, can often be very time consuming and result in delays.” Over the years, Coffey Information has refined its laboratory processes, improving designs and layouts and streamlining production methods. Often soil samples and other materials being tested require heavy lifting, which comes with an increased risk of injury. To reduce the risk of accidents, Coffey Information has implemented a number of ergonomic initiatives. “All of our processes are designed to absolutely minimise risk around safety and injury, which of course is also very important to our clients,” comments Mr Morley. Over the course of a number of major projects such as the current Woomargama Bypass Highway Upgrade, the company has refined the process of material collection and testing. “These are now our standards for all future projects. There will be small refinements as we go, but we’re very happy with the level of service that we can now deliver to our clients,” says Mr Morley. “Everything is designed around making work safe for our staff, and the way we function and operate on site also enhances the safety of others outside of our company.”

those results being NATA endorsed.” Mr Morley states. These testing facilities can be deployed, equipped and staffed on short notice, which greatly accelerates the time it takes to conduct tests and process the results. By having pre-NATA recognition, Coffey Information is able to service its clients’ needs and help to avoid delays at the start-up and undertaking of construction projects. “The alternative, to seek NATA accredi-

Although Coffey has won countless awards over the years – such as Best Engineering Consulting Firm, and at the Project Management Achievement Awards – the company remains focused on benefiting communities around the world. For Coffey Information, Mr Morley highlights what this means for the market: “we ensure that assets are built properly, and built to last,” he explains. “You can spend the same amount of money to build something, but if it isn’t constructed in the most appropriate way and in accordance with the design, then that is a risk. In construction, the greatest benefit Coffey Information can provide to our clients is quality and assurance. That’s where we provide real value.” Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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I

n a nation fac increasing urba and the ever-prese lutions are needed comprehensive an nology, developme and investment in their part in ensuri haps some solutio - in place, in one w together to form level.

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cing unprecedented population growth, anisation (and with it, suburbanisation), ent spectre of climate change, clever sod to address these disparate issues in a nd holistic way. While advances in techents in housing and transit infrastructure, n the construction industry certainly play ing a sustainable future for Australia, perons need not be so novel. Some solutions way or another, since humans first came communities - truly start at the ground

-By Jaime McKee

From the village green, to the town square, to the high street, safe and functional places for pedestrians have long formed a significant part of any livable city. Old World towns, of course, were originally designed with foot traffic alone in mind, and the urban landscapes of many European cities still reflect this. Similarly, countries which have yet to experience a boom in car culture are often among the most pedestrian-friendly, with market stalls lining the crowd-filled streets of the town centre. But while modern Australia, in many ways, has more in common with the United States than with Old World Europe, one area where it seems to hold onto its roots is in the value it places on

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pedestrian life. While other countries are seeing movements to “save pedestrian infrastructure”, and still others have never really developed any worth saving, foot-friendly malls, footpaths, and bridges here in Australia are par for the course.

ed adjacent to a transit station and near the high street, these pedestrian centres are often lined with local merchants, cafés, and restaurants, effectively turning a small section of the CBD into an intimate but efficient marketplace.

Driven by Culture

One observer, Jarrett Walker of HumanTransit. org, notes that the pedestrian mall “can be an element of forming a sense of small town in a big city neighborhood,” and certainly this desire reflects the Aussie sensibility. With an appreciation for both the outdoors and for community, Aussies, says Mr Walker, “like turning their shopping into a series of separate transactions with human beings... whether it’s a butcher, a baker, a fishmonger, or a specialist in fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Commonly known as “pedestrian malls”, dedicated pedestrian zones typically comprise just one street. Most often located at the core of the CBD, there is nary a major center in Australia that doesn’t feature at least one such mall. Many smaller cities and suburban centers also offer them. Constructed, for the most part, in the 1970s and 1980s, some examples include Canberra’s City Walk, Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall and Martin Place, Melbourne’s Bourke Street Mall and Acland Street, and the Queen Street and Brunswick Street Malls in Brisbane. Often situat-

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Acland Street, located in the St Kilda suburb of


Melbourne, represents a good realisation of this sensibility. With its many cafés, bakeries and street musicians, the area has “an intimate scale that brings pedestrians into close contact with its many [amenities], giving it the air of a bustling, linear party,” says Mr Walker. Patios and outdoor tables abound, and with its decorative checkerboard sidewalk, the plaza is reminiscent of classic pedestrian markets such as Glasgow’s Buchanan Street or the Strøget in Copenhagen.

Driven by Design

In areas such as Australia, where pedestrian malls tend to be newer creations rather than holdovers from centuries past, it can take thoughtful planning to bring such designs to fruition. In the early 1990s, Danish architect and urban design consultant Jan Gehl was invited to visit Melbourne, undertake a study, and provide rec-

ommendations on improvements to city streets and public space. Having taken much of Mr Gehl’s advice on developments such as sidewalk widening, tree planting, automobile restrictions, and public displays of art, today’s Melbourne reflects a very different vibe. Not only are the streets safer and more inviting for pedestrians, but greater walkability and the rise of the “café culture” have allowed small businesses to flourish. It is estimated that between 1994 and 2004, pedestrian traffic in Melbourne increased 39%. But what of those aforementioned similarities with the United States? Australia, too, is an affluent, automobile-centred nation facing urban and suburban sprawl and a great deal of commuter traffic. Yet Australian planners, by and large, have built incrementally upon older towns - sprawling outwards, yes, but seldom retrofit-

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ting old town centers to serve cars rather than people. Foot-friendly developments, such as raised crosswalks, curb extensions, parking restrictions, median islands, and curbside fencing, have also continuously been built into the country’s infrastructure improvements. As stated in our Pedestrian Charter, published by the Pedestrian Council of Australia, “urban environments can be purposefully created to support and encourage walking.”

ments and from the dangers of traffic, and can even represent strong examples of ecological sustainability themselves: Adshel’s bus shelters, for example, utilise rooftop solar technology to power their lighting, and it is estimated that each shelter saves approximately 200 kg of CO2 emissions annually. With over 160 such shelters presently standing across Australia and New Zealand, such technologies are poised to make a tangible difference in our urban environments.

A number of innovative construction companies are undertaking just this sort of purposeful development. Moggill Constructions Pty Ltd was responsible for the 1997 construction of the Indooroopily Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge, spanning the Brisbane River and providing pedestrians and cyclists with handrailing and lighting on a stunning bridge adjacent to the Heritage Listed Albert Bridge. And Adshel Infrastructure actually specialises in pedestrian-oriented projects. Responsible for pedestrian shelters and walkways, exterior solar and LED lighting, bus shelters and street furniture, Adshel draws on 30 years of experience to produce council, state government, and private projects across Australia and New Zealand.

One blogger, Clarence Eckerson, Jr of StreetFilms.org, describes a walking journey through the streets of Melbourne: “Walking abounded,” he writes, “the streets were flowing with energy, the quality of public space [blew] my mind... For a city with nearly 4 million people, the streets feel much like the hustle and bustle of New York City but without the omnipresent danger and stress cars cause.” Such a glowing review is a testament to the success of Melbourne’s and other cities’ pedestrian-friendly initiatives. In Australia, such infrastructure is not merely the result of top-down planning decisions, but reflects our population’s desire for community and true livability. With such a winning formula in place, we are sure to see people-friendly planning continue to thrive well into the coming decades.

Driven by Ecology

Of course, one of the strongest forces behind the modern move toward pedestrian infrastructure is environmental sustainability. Not only is walking - and more pointedly, not driving - healthy for those who partake, it is ultimately healthy for our cities. Pedestrian malls can greatly alleviate the need for vast swaths of asphalt parking lot, for idling at drive-through services, and, when paired with a comprehensive transit system, even for the initial drive to our shopping and dining destinations. Walkways, shelters, and supporting transit infrastructure can encourage walking by shielding pedestrians from the eleAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Aleisha Parr

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n response to the GFC, the Australian Federal Government has been investing billions of dollars through stimulus packages across a wide variety of sectors, including infrastructure, education and defence. Local construction and development companies have expanded to achieve these tenders, and have been rewarded with unique building opportunities and great financial compensation. However, in February of 2011 these government stimuli will come to a halt as we see the close of this period of expansion and development; unfortunately many companies will likely be unable to continue to support their growth. Some companies will be able to weather this period, maintaining relationships to continue receiving project tenders. Lahey Constructions is one such company, having consistently built on its capabilities and quality offerings for over 50 years in the commercial construction industry.

Specialising in governmental construction projects across NSW, Lahey enjoys a pre-existing solid core of ongoing government work, as well as projects garnered through the recent stimulus opportunities. Lahey’s Operations Manager, Michael Bohlscheid, reports: “We have good relationships in all the fields we work in the government and so I don’t necessarily see contraction in terms of business.” The company has been engaged in government projects since 2005 with the introduction of the Best Practice Scheme. Since that time, Lahey has consistently maintained the distinction of being a Department of Commerce Best Practice Contractor, the highest OHS distinction available in the Australian construction industry. To be eligible for Best Practice accreditation, Lahey was required to demonstrate a sound business structure, proven financial capability, appropriate resource levels, robust management systems and recent experi-

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ence with a good performance history. Lahey has national accreditation certifications in Quality Assurance (AS 9001), OHS (AS4801) and Environment (AS 14001) Systems. “It’s a credit to the company to have maintained that accreditation for so long,” observes Mr Bohlscheid. In keeping with its commitment to excellence, Lahey has undertaken to provide strict internal and external audit reviews (of both its multiple

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work sites as well as its own office headquarters) on a three month schedule to ensure its benchmarks are maintained. Additionally, Lahey has developed an internal wireless Integrated Management System, which regulates all company activities, policies and procedures. This system ensures that each Project Manager is able to effectively carry out job functions and activities according to the requirements set out across the board for all locations. This is of particular


relocates from city to city as each project requires. To assist in these transitions, Lahey offers a comprehensive assortment of benefits and incentives, including rental accommodations, vehicles, fuel cards and living allowances. Explains Mr Bohlscheid: “We give incentives for people willing to move around, and they’re happy to make the move, which is great.” Not only does this arrangement assist Lahey in meeting the varied needs of its clients, but it also offers its employees a unique opportunity to travel and garner new work experiences in diverse regions and conditions.

importance for Lahey, as it operates regionallybased offices out of Sydney, Brisbane and the North and Central Coasts of NSW. Having used the system for over three years now, Lahey is pleased with its efficiency and its enhancements to quality assurances.

The approach is well-received; the average length of engagement for Lahey’s work force is ten years; many stay on much longer. One Project Manager started work with the company when he was just fourteen years old and is still with Lahey now into his forties; several Site Managers have been with the company for over forty-five years.

In order to meet the varied demands of each of these diverse service locations, Lahey has amassed a significant mobile work force, which

So what is it that entices Lahey’s employees to stay? Says Mr Bohlscheid: “I think that there are a couple of things. For me, personally . . . the Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Gosford Hospital Mental Health Unit Responsible for the design, development and construction of this thirty bed mental health unit facility, Lahey Constructions liaised with IT specialists and engineers to integrate necessary technology and security measures directly into the construction. These measures, implemented to ensure the safety of future patients, included electronic door swipes, emergency shut-down across all locks, and smooth surfaces and designs for patient rooms to limit potential injuries. Spanning three wings, this state-of-the-art facility consists of six acute care beds, four observation beds and 20 stabilisation beds and is central to the rest of the Gosford Hospital site.

company is a professional, well-run company, but it’s in a regional area whereby you can live quite close to the beach, and quite close to work. That’s practically like a company that would normally operate out of Sydney, but is located rurally. Along with that, you get the same pay rates and benefits that you’d normally expect to earn in the city.” While Lahey offers a full package of services across the construction industry, the corner-

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stone of its business is Project Management. As such, Lahey prefers to focus on the preparation of a comprehensive plan for each tender, taking numerous steps along the way to utilise both in-house and external designers and engineers. This diversity of expertise enhances the quality and ultimate viability of each plan, while also ensuring that standards are met. “The best made plans make for a better project,” says Mr Bohlscheid, “so we take a lot of time in the planning phase.” Additionally, Lahey takes on


underway with the construction of new buildings as well as refurbishments for some pre-existing spaces. The first phase involves developing a pre-existing wing into a new emergency unit, with a few days of transition after its completion before work begins on the old emergency unit to transform it into a new department. This is

full responsibility for the viability of each project. “Clients appreciate that because then they don’t have to set aside massive amounts of money for contingency, which they might ordinarily need to meet that project.” This value-added service is a unique offering and demonstrates Lahey’s faith in its own planning diligence. Currently, Lahey is engaged in a multi-phase project at Grafton Base Hospital, where work is

a difficult process, requiring strict adherence to sound and dust pollution controls as well as extreme safety considerations, as construction is being carried out while the hospital is still in use. Thanks to its strong emphasis on pre-planning, Lahey has been able to meet this challenge with grace and professionalism – standards for this long-time leader in commercial construction. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By John Boley

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D

efence Housing Australia (DHA) was established in 1988, as a wholly governmentowned statutory authority, to provide housing for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their families in line with ADF operational requirements. The company currently manages some 18,000 properties across Australia worth around $8 billion and, according to chief operating officer Peter Howman, business is good. “DHA is doing very well. Our revenue last year was just under a billion dollars. The future looks even more rosy – Defence is growing in numbers and we are growing by a thousand or so [properties].” DHA has capital expenditure of more than $400 million per year on its many projects. There are two sides to the business, Mr Howman explains: “the Defence side, provisioning houses to members of the Defence forces, and the investment side of the business which is where we generate our income from, to sustain the business.” As it is a Government Business Enterprise (GBE), other property investments often cannot match the security of income provided by DHA, with zero vacancy risk and guaranteed income for the term of the lease. A GBE since 1992, DHA has its headquarters in Canberra, providing operational, financial, information technology, human resources, communications and corporate support to the organisation. There are some 20 offices around the nation. The construction programs are spread right across Australia, says Mr Howman, although “north and southeast Queensland and Adelaide have been great for us – and Darwin too.” DHA provides a comprehensive housing solution, offering property management to its customers. In total there are approximately 600 Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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The company focuses on five key sustainability areas, says Mr Howman: “energy consumption, water consumption, effective waste management, human well-being and the biodiversity of local flora and fauna. All the homes we currently build are rated six stars or higher; we have moved ahead of the COAG requirements.�

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staff, of which about 80 are engaged in construction and developments. Some staff members work in the head office in a variety of corporate and financial roles, while the rest work to support ADF members at a number of Housing Management Centres in major areas and outposts located around Australia to help families find a new home when the ADF member is posted to a new location. To fund its operations, each year DHA sells a limited number of properties to individual investors under a leaseback arrangement. Properties sold under this program have been built or acquired by DHA in response to the housing requirements of the Department of Defence. DHA property investors benefit from a secure long-term lease, reliable rent payments, and extensive DHA Property Care services.

Non-Australian residents are eligible to purchase a Defence Housing Australia (DHA) investment property. Typically, non-Australian residents wishing to purchase an investment property in Australia are required to seek approval from the Australian Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB). DHA holds developer approval to sell a percentage of developments to foreign persons. This means non-Australian residents purchasing a DHA investment property are not required to seek approval from the FIRB. A special condition to this effect will be included in the sales contract where applicable. In 2006 DHA gained its second institutional investor with Westpac Funds Management Limited. This was the second landmark transaction involving a large scale investment in DHA properties by an institutional investor.

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Sale and leaseback is an important part of the business, says Mr Howman. “We went to the market again in the last 12 months for an institutional investor, and we have been successful. We are just about to sign a contract. It represents a large-scale deal, showing interest in the residential property market.” There are three ways DHA acquires properties, he explains, pointing out that around 2,000 leases expire per year. “So we have to replace them. We can renew a lease – negotiate with the owner – but the major way is through acquisitions or construction and we build some 1,200 houses per year nationally.” Between 2009 and 2010, the company constructed 965 houses at a cost of some $420 million and purchased a further 165 at a cost of $78 million. In addition, DHA direct-leased 149 properties and wrote new leases on 508 exist-

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stars or higher; we have moved ahead of the COAG requirements.” Regular upgrades are another element of maintaining quality in the homes. Another current project is upgrading or replacing air conditioning in some 3,500 homes (new homes all have air conditioning but this project is aimed at updating older properties that do not). In addition, Mr Howman points out, “this year we have spent around $4.5 million on upgrading 13 heritage listed properties around Australia.”

ing properties where leases and options had expired. After taking account of expiring leases and the exercising of 844 options that were at DHA’s discretion, net additions to the portfolio in 2009-10 resulted in total stock under management for members with dependants of 17,415 properties, with a further 167 properties handed over but not activated for Defence housing purposes. Recent growth is expected to mean the portfolio will remain at the 18,000 mark for the foreseeable future. Principles of sustainable development continue to be incorporated in DHA’s decision-making systems, practices and processes, and the company focuses on five key sustainability areas, says Mr Howman: “energy consumption, water consumption, effective waste management, human well-being and the biodiversity of local flora and fauna. All the homes we currently build are rated six

To promote itself, DHA hosts and attends events, including free information sessions, open homes and exhibitions, throughout Australia. In its advertising, says Mr Howman, “we like to use reallife scenarios, real-life people, we get statements from real investors and real Defence members, to ensure that what we are saying is bona fide.” Most of DHA’s advertising activity in 2009 and 2010 focused on promotion of the individual SLB program and advertising aimed towards Defence members around a range of initiatives. Despite significant investor demand during the reporting period, DHA undertook a targeted advertising campaign to maintain brand awareness and ensure sufficient future demand. DHA’s success so far stems largely from the way in which it manages to combine its key goals of meeting the operational needs of the Department of Defence for housing and contributing to the morale of ADF members and their families with its corporate aim of operating efficiently to attract and retain lessors and other investors. DHA understands that every family is different, and that not every house will suit every family, and its future looks assured if it continues to gather feedback to create better homes for Defence families. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Melissa Thompson

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s the construction industry has evolved using technological advancements, so have its principles and ethics as now, especially after the economic ups and down of the last few years, it is not merely enough to work hard. To ensure success, companies must work smart and make sure they stay one step ahead of their competitors. As Kell & Rigby celebrates its centennial in 2010, the company can look back on the last century proud of its remarkable portfolio of work specialising in the project management and construction of medium to largescale projects for the industrial, commercial, government and residential sectors. With its combination of family values and real interest in challenging and revolutionising the industry, Kell & Rigby has created a model for success to last well beyond the next century. Founded in 1910 by carpenters, William Kell and Leslie Rigby, the company had somewhat humble beginnings. The small company found success by partnering with high profile companies and completing jobs with the highest professional standards, the latest technology, family values, and a personal touch – a model that continues to this day. Over the next several decades, as outlined on its impressive website www. kell-rigby.com, small jobs grew into big ones, and the small joinery grew to a large firm, navigating through depression, war, and times of great success, all the while staying true to itself, its employees, and its principles.

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Those principles have evolved and are now modeled after the golden rule – treat others how you would like to be treated, or rather, treat them better; exceed their expectations. James Kell, chairman, CEO, and great-grandson of founder William Kell says, “Our clients like to look across the table and see that the person sitting across from them cares more about the building than they do.” This attitude has resulted in repeat business, expansion into other sectors and a thirst for progression. After such a long career, it would be easy for the company to rely on its reputation alone; for Mr Kell and the rest of the Kell & Rigby team, this is simply not good enough. The firm instead strives to maintain a balance of the radical and the conservative – being fiscally responsible while elevating the industry’s standards.

Old Sydney Town Hall

One of its most challenging and recognised projects was the 2008 refurbishment of the Old Sydney Town Hall. Built in the 1880s on the site of a cemetery, this project was particularly complex and posed some incredible challenges for its engineers, including the removal of some 6000 cubic

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meters of sandstone from underneath the building’s foundation. For more information, please refer to the project sidebar.

Apple

Kell & Rigby’s body of work really does go full circle from work and construction on the very old to the very new. It is the exclusive builder of Apple computer stores in Australia and is now working towards completion of its ninth such store. Mr Kell finds parallels between Apple’s focus on the intricacies of its electronic products and Kell & Rigby’s attitude towards building. The contents are just as, if not more important than the shell. If one were to peel back the layers of Kell & Rigby’s buildings, one would find buildings made with great care and attention to even the minutest of details. Like Apple revolutionised the computer industry, Kell & Rigby looks at the construction of buildings from the inside out. It wants the world to know that it is dedicated to constructing buildings with the highest standards. Team members not only love what they do as builders, they love any opportunity to prove they excel at it.


Quality and Safety

In order to better understand the company’s customers and guarantee repeat business, a system of quality control has been devised. To prevent divisiveness, the system remains simple: a number between 1 and 10. No frills, no room for passive-aggressive interpretation. A score of 9 or 10 indicates the highest net promoter score while anything less that 6 is indicative of detraction. These high standards are indicative, once again, of Kell & Rigby’s follow-through and obligation to deliver buildings to the highest of standards.

punishment.” In this case, preventative measures have instead been put into practice: instead of punishing mistakes, safe work habits are rewarded. There is real incentive for extra care and trust amongst employees as they are eligible for entry into monthly draws using scratch cards they receive on site for cash prizes - but only after demonstrating safe work habits. It remains to be seen if this is going to have a long-term impact or influence other companies as the project is still in its infancy. It speaks, however, to Kell & Rigby’s interest in fresh ideas and perfection from start to finish.

Kell & Rigby encourages its employees – all 200+ direct and subcontractors, to love their work and value completion of a job well done as intrinsic reward. The message the company sends to its expansive, multi-disciplinary team is that they are not just employed for Kell & Rigby; they are Kell & Rigby. Care for employees and their safety goes far beyond making them feel included. Kell & Rigby has modeled a system from Canadian mining firms that encourages safety and ethical building. Mr Kell says, “We never liked the punitive nature of the industry…it’s always about

In the end, Kell & Rigby succeeds because it does everything and it does it very, very well. Its success over the last 100 years over such a wide array of projects from aged care facilities, to embassies, to large-scale private residences, is the sign of a company built to last. There is acknowledgement of struggle and lean years, as they provided room for growth and lessons to be learned. However, this firm will continue to grow and is poised for success as it progresses into other sectors and takes on more complex and challenging projects. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Jaime McKee

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s Australia faces the double-edged sword of population growth and increasing urbanisation, it needs clever solutions to manage its growth, development, and livability. The population of the state of Queensland, in particular, is predicted to double to more than 8 million by the year 2054, with the area seeing about 2,000 new residents every week. To adapt to this growth, Queensland’s Department of Infrastructure and Planning is leading a coordinated statewide government approach to planning, local governance, and infrastructure - “looking forward and delivering now” for livability, prosperity, and sustainability. The Department of Infrastructure and Planning works closely with all levels of government and community stakeholders to ensure Queensland has the support it needs to face future challenges head-on. To facilitate this function, the department offers a range of services including dispute resolution committees, grants and funding, advice on plumbing and building codes, infrastructure program management, development and implementation of government policies, and access to appropriately zoned and serviced land. It has established frameworks to enhance its own accountability, transparency, stakeholder engagement, and environmental stewardship, and aims to coordinate integrated planning on the state level, as well as to empower communities and regions to effectively and sustainably manage their own interests. The department is in the unique position of working on a regional scale as well as enjoying a broader view of the big picture, and it employs this perspective to good effect, promoting livable and affordable communities while at the same time increasing connectivity between cities and developing overarching infrastructure such as rail, transit, greenfield, and broadband initiatives. One of the department’s key priorities at present is, of course, anticipating and planning for growth. Its Growth Management initiatives are substantial, and include a holistic view of development which explores linkages between land use planning, infrastructure delivery, ecoAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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The department’s Housing Affordability Strategy aims to “shape livable communities to protect Queenslanders’ quality of life by working closely with local government to plan affordable and sustainable places”.

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e

nomic development, environmental protection, expansion of green space, and affordable housing. Far from merely paying lip service to these aims, the department in fact has a number of concrete plans in place to address them: the Queensland Infrastructure Plan (QIP) links infrastructure delivery with population growth and economic development goals; the Greenspace Strategy seeks to deliver greater recreation and open space areas across Queensland; Valuing the Things We Waste Queensland’s Waste Avoidance and Efficiency Strategy aims at limiting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing water and energy consumption, increasing renewable power, and planning for waste management and resource recovery needs; ConnectingSEQ, the new Integrated Regional Transport Plan for South East Queensland, provides the blueprint for the state’s future transport needs; and the Queensland Cycle Strategy aims to enhance the existing cycle network and encourage more daily bicycle trips as an alternative to motor vehicle use. Taken together, these strategies represent the Department of Infrastructure and Planning’s holistic view of the future, one which will see both population and economic growth managed in a sustainable way. Thoughtfully designed processes lie at the heart of many of these initiatives. In a recent interview, Hon Stirling Hinchcliffe, MP, Queensland’s Minister for Infrastructure and Planning, describes how statutory regional planning processes, overseen by regional committees, bring together representatives from government, the construction industry, the tourism and agricultural sectors, social agencies, and non-governmental organisations to tap into issues that are important to stakeholders within many varied sectors. Local communities and citizens at large are also invited to have their say, make submissions, and take part in consultation processes. The department’s community engagement strategy includes developing a suite of community focused tools to explain Queensland’s planning process, and utilising online tools and research to take the pulse of public opinion. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Perhaps not surprisingly, what the public has been calling for as of late is a move toward sustainability. Mr Hinchcliffe describes his department’s approach to sustainability as looking at the “whole range of factors that contribute to a functioning community” - economic, environmental, and social. In both the assessment and planning processes the department undertakes, he says, it values this “triple bottom line”. The department’s approach seeks to weave sustainability into all of its initiatives. Two of its long-term strategies are to transform the spaces between urban areas into revitalised green spaces or outdoor recreational zones, and to build green space into all new urban developments. Mr Hinchcliffe describes these plans as not just about the conservation of the physical environment, but of an active, outdoor lifestyle as well. He emphasises the importance of retaining the traditional Queensland enjoyment of the outdoors, and while he recognises the challenge of balancing interests of conservation and recreation, his department in fact places a high value on both. As a recent example, the department has recently secured space for trail bike infrastructure on otherwise under-utilised land. Of course, a key element of any truly sustainable system is affordability, and here, too, the Department of Infrastructure and Planning plays a critical role. The department’s Housing Affordability Strategy aims to “shape livable communities to protect Queenslanders’ quality of life by working closely with local government to plan affordable and sustainable places”. Mr Hinchcliffe acknowledges that housing accessibility is influenced by many factors - some out of the state government’s control - such as market factors, interest rates, population growth, urbanisation, and mortgage deregulation. But at

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the same time, state and regional policies can have a significant effect on other factors impacting the housing market; the Department of Infrastructure and Planning, therefore, has not shied away from the challenge, and through its planning and approvals processes, and working closely with industry and local governments, it seeks to increase the availability of land for development, and to ensure that new housing infrastructure exemplifies best practices in sustainable urban design. A commitment to decentralisation is another key focus for the Department of Infrastructure and Planning. Mr Hinchcliffe states that the department is “committed to a program of regionalisation, of capturing and continuing to value the great importance of the decentralised nature of Queensland.” The majority of Queenslanders live outside of Brisbane, and as such there is a solid and established network of regional communities which need support and investment; these communities, says Mr Hinchcliffe, are “vitally important to our economy and our society”. By decentralising a number of government agencies, relocating functions and services to the region, and prioritising regional plans over other statutory planning tools, the department can ensure that these regions have the chance to be vital parts of the state for many years to come. Here, too, it is critical that planning come about as a result of community and stakeholder engagement. Regional plans identify desired regional outcomes, policies and actions for achieving these outcomes, the future regional land use pattern, regional infrastructure provision, and key environmental, economic and cultural resources to be developed, preserved, or maintained. Developed in partnership with local councils, the community, and stakeholdAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Queensland’s Department of Infrastructure and Planning is leading a coordinated statewide government approach to planning, local governance, and infrastructure “looking forward and delivering now” for livability, prosperity, and sustainability. ers, plans such as these are intended to benefit those dwelling in the region, including members of indigenous communities. Mr Hinchcliffe is proud that his department has “very strong engagement with indigenous communities throughout the state”, aiming not only to invest in projects of significant value, but also to enter into a unique consultation process. A recent example is the Wyaralong Dam project. Valued at $348 million, the dam will deliver water security to the southeast for decades to come. The project constitutes a partnership with traditional owners in the region, and has contributed significantly to local employment, generating approximately 685 jobs and providing a comprehensive training program. The project will also deliver recreational and tourism opportunities to the area, including multi-use trails, camping and picnic facilities, designed to provide longterm economic and recreational benefits to residents. The department, of course, also reaches out to and enjoys a strong partnership with a range

of players in Queensland’s construction industry. It encourages open and constructive dialogue with partners ranging from multi-national companies to small, locally-based businesses. Through alliance-building and networking, the department is able to help companies deliver significant projects in quick turnaround times. Its government investment, in the wake of the global financial crisis, is also playing a large role in spurring development, and this investment is something that Mr Hinchcliffe would like to see continue well into the coming decades. Responding to the challenges of population growth, providing long-term planning solutions, building the capacity of Queensland: The Department of Infrastructure and Planning certainly has its work cut out for it. But with solid planning tools in place, and a mandate to entrust greater agency to the hands of regional and local governments, the department is well situated to ensure Queensland has the planning, infrastructure and support it needs to face challenges now and in the future. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Aleisha Parr

W

hen he first arrived in Australia, Peter Favetti was bringing from Sicily not only his bricklaying talents and skills but also his vision for a higher standard of excellence in the masonry industry. In the years since Mr Favetti’s arrival, the company he built - Favetti Bricklaying - has been providing Australians across NSW high quality masonry services backed by a commitment to improving industry best practise. With a combined experience of over 45 years in the industry, the Favetti family is proud not just of its bricklaying labour services but also of its passionate approach to the entire business of bricklaying. “We provide a complete package of bricklaying where we incorporate the builder’s needs. There’s nothing we say no to,” says Ray Favetti, Peter’s son and the current Manager. When Peter first came to Australia, he took on work in pouring concrete, despite his background in bricklaying, so that he could earn a living. After a few years of

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work, he was able to pursue his passion once again and returned to bricklaying, starting Favetti Bricklaying as an owner/operator. Throughout the late seventies and early eighties, he ventured into the housing industry, with one of his sons by his side. Ray Favetti joined his father and brother in the family business almost twenty years ago, when it was still focused on residential projects. He brought the business into the commercial industry, where it has thrived ever since. “It’s been hard work, there have been tough times and we’ve gone through the tough times, both the recessions and the peak . . . We consider ourselves to be professional masonry contractors and we’re not here for the quick buck.” Favetti now employs a full-time management staff of eight employees; the number of onsite personnel ranges from sixty to one hundred and forty workers, depending on the workload. Additionally, Favetti employs safety officers to ensure that all work carried out is in accordance with its Occupational Health Safety and Environment Policy & Procedures – a major area of interest for Favetti. The company has in place a quality assurance manual based on AS3902 and ISO 9002, which includes a Quality Policy manual, a Quality Procedures manual and a Project Quality Plan or Work Instruction, which is created and implemented on commencement of every new project undertaken by the firm.

On every tender, Favetti sends out its specialists to liaise with the client and any sub-contractors to offer advice and feedback on where possible improvements and savings can be made in the original design concept, and to minimise any delays which may negatively impact the project. Favetti insists upon a constant effort to improve the standards of the industry and a commitment to completing every job to the absolute best of the team’s abilities. To this end, Favetti also offers in-house estimating and pre-budgets to assist clients in their tenders, as well as the latest equipment and technology to facilitate works. One such advancement is the Speed Panel walling system, a new technology which Favetti employs to facilitate a faster, more efficient job. Explains Ray Favetti: “As clients want quicker projects we’re looking at different ways to accommodate the speed and provide them with what they need.” Favetti prides itself on masterful outcomes for each high-end project it under-

Typical services provided by Favetti include material supply and labour, materials handling, scaffolding, set-out, standing and erecting door frames, supplying and erecting wall stiffeners, core-filling and reinforcement and joint sealing and sundry items. Favetti prides itself on being a one-stop-shop for its clients, able to meet any request with quality services and dedicated staff. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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takes and as yet has not disappointed a single client. Currently, Favetti has a number of exciting projects in the works. The first of this is with the Royal Northshore Hospital Redevelopment project, where Favetti is completing all interior and exterior brickwork for the Community Services and Acute Services buildings. Favetti will also provide face brickwork for the new Learning Centre at Silverwater, a project spearheaded by EnergyAustralia, as well as work for the Australian Solar Institute at the University of New South Wales. “Our jobs vary from a small retaining wall priced at around two to three thousand dollars up to our biggest project to date, [which] was sixteen million dollars just in brickwork alone.” Many of Favetti’s recent jobs have been on developing infrastructure in and around Sydney, as well as the Westfield Shoppingtowns. The brickwork for twenty-five new schools created by the Building the Education Revolution (BER) stimulus was all done by Favetti, as was that for the Cochlear Global Headquarters at Macquarie University. Recently, Favetti has also ventured down into Canberra, where it completed work on the Hume Jail and the new Defence headquarters, two major jobs for the family-run bricklaying company.

laying company is now expanding into other related industries, most notably: traffic, road and safety control. After almost eight months in this new field, Favetti is already doing quite well and is excited to continue growing and improving its service offerings. “We still practise good brickwork as was taught to my father,” relates Ray Favetti with pride, “The most important thing there is quality and best practise . . . how we can improve the way things are done.” From its lean beginnings of one man with a passion and a dream, to the diverse, award-winning company it is today, Favetti Bricklaying is most certainly raising the bar for quality in the masonry industry.

Not to be outdone, Favetti has also embraced Australia’s latest environmental responsibility trends, with two recent projects both garnering a six-star Green Star rating. Current work on projects such as Silverwater see Favetti utilising resources and suppliers who meet the requirements for recyclable content in concrete and steel, among other responsible measures. Not only will the future be greener because of Favetti’s work, but it will also be safer. The brickAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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I

n today’s competitive retail sector, it is crucial merchants not only have quality merchandise in stock, but can display their goods in an atmosphere that is professional, attractive and inviting to their customers. That is where The BSF Group comes into the picture. In business for the past 30 years, The BSF Group has earned a reputation for creating quality fitouts for clients in retail, commercial, pharmaceutical, and medical sectors. A family-owned Australian business with decades of experience and an enviable client base, BSF believes in working closely with its customers every step of the way, from design to manufacture to installation, creating quality and attractive fitouts on time and on budget across the country. The company traces its roots back to 1980, when it was started by Stan Lewis and his business partner John Hammond. The two brought a wealth of experience to the newly-formed business, having been involved in the formation of many successful enterprises prior to that time. Mr Lewis brought many years of practical and business experience to the company, having

started as a shop fitter at the tender age of 13. “He first started working for himself back in 1950,” says Karen Budd-Andersen, Mr Lewis’s daughter, and General Manager for BSF. In time, Mr Hammond offered him a partnership in a successful glass business in New Guinea, and Mr Lewis went there with his entire family. The business did exceptionally well, and the Lewis family eventually returned to Australia, where the business partners started yet another successful venture, which they sold prior to establishing BSF. “It was the start of a very long-term relationship,” explains Ms Budd-Andersen, who worked in the airline industry before entering the family business, initially in accounts and as office manager before taking over in 1999. Mr Hammond had passed away by that time, and the company was divided, with Mr Lewis and his family focusing on the shop fitting areas. “When I took over in 1999, I had a fairly good grounding on what we did here,” Ms Budd-Andersen says. “You grow up in a building family, you get to know most things anyway, and everyone helps out.”

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On Time and On Budget

Although the full name of the company is Budget Shopfitters Pty Ltd, the company uses BSF Group to represent its wide range of experience. “We work to a customer’s budget... to produce something that will work for our customers.” Today, Stan Lewis serves as Managing Director, while General Manager Karen Budd-Andersen oversees all facets of The BSF Group, helping the business evolve, interacting with clients and staff, and following global fitout trends, designs and products that the company can bring to its many Australian customers and clients in retail, commercial, and other sectors. Many are well known, and include Retravision, Supa News, Pets Paradise, Billy Baxter, and Betta Group. From its state of the art manufacturing facilities, BSF Group is able to provide quality designs,

custom-made joinery and shop fittings, and a great deal more, including project management, on-site inspections, face-to-face consultations, and full trade support. “One of the reasons that we’ve become so popular is the fact that we can do everything ourselves in-house,” says Ms Budd-Andersen. In addition to first-class work, one of the most valuable resources BSF offers its clients is professional advice prior to the start of work. “We give the customer the best possible information on how to more forward, and actually encourage our customers to come and talk to us before they sign a lease, so they can get some sort of information about what to expect from that lease negotiation.” This process is a tremendous benefit to clients, and helps to advise them on details they might not otherwise understand. After this comes the design process, where clients can use their own designer, or use a design created by BSF. Once this design

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is approved, the company makes the products for the client’s retail shop, pharmacy, commercial, or medical area. “They sign their lease, and when we’re finished, they just walk in with their stock, and start trading – everything is there for them.”

Five Key Ingredients for Success

By working with its clients, The BSF Group is able to provide design, manufacturing, and installation. To design, manufacture and install projects on time and on budget, the company has a unique five-step program in place to ensure quality and customer satisfaction. First, clients are appointed their own Project Manager, who will work alongside them and act as their main contact from design and quotation to completion and handover. Second, BSF recognizes that some clients will provide their own plans through recognized designers, while others will

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require direct assistance with everything from design to installation. Third, BSF’s three-stage manufacturing process (job drawing and material cutting, job assembly, and job finishing & dispatch) and the latest equipment ensures quality products. Fourth, BSF’s proven installers, site supervisors, and accredited subcontractors are able to ensure projects are installed Australiawide. And last but not least, The BSF Group remains a family-run organisation with a friendly, approachable attitude, years of experience, and an ability to explain the process to clients every step of the way. “No matter what, we’re there to make sure it’s exactly the way the customer wants it at the end,” explains Ms Budd-Andersen. “We do whatever it takes to make it happen.” Along with creating fitouts for pharmacies,


newsagents, beauty shops, food service, bookstores, offices, kiosks and countless other sectors, BSF recently completed some work on the Orange Hospital in New South Wales, including internal fixtures, cupboards, and bed frames. No matter the project, the company is at the forefront of new trends, designs, and materials, like Apolyc - which has been used on high-rise buildings for many years, but is now finding a new application in the retail industry - and Corian, a durable product manufactured by DuPont, and used in retail, entertainment, corporate, health, art, and many other applications. Despite its many years in business and countless satisfied clients, The BSF Group prides itself on training and motivating young people. Working closely with colleges, the company has produced many talented shopfitters, cabinet makers, painters, and welders over the years. BSF has even helped some start businesses of their own. “We’re very passionate about training young people, and we like to make sure the knowledge is handed on,” says Ms Budd-Andersen. At one shopfitters meeting, she remembers looking around at a number of individuals the company trained in their youth who later became successful business owners. “We were trying to count how many apprentices we’ve trained over the years, and we got to 300, and we just stopped counting. I think the biggest legacy this company has is in the people that it has trained, and what they have been able to achieve themselves.” The business, she says, paid tribute to her 80-year-old father about a year ago at a shopfitters conference in New Zealand, where he was presented with an award and named an icon of the shopfitting business. “What my dad has given back to the industry has been phenomenal, and we are continuing that legacy.” Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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-By Aleisha Parr

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W

hen Sam and Maria Tzanetos moved to Australia from their native Greece in the 1960s, Canberra was experiencing its first real growth spurt since its original planning phase. They seized this opportunity, establishing a variety of supermarket enterprises. As time wore on and their success in the retail industry increased, their family also grew to include three children – two of whom would eventually come into their own as the new co-managers of the Tzanetos Family Group. With three distinct operations – Owmast Pty Ltd, Master Property Developments Pty Ltd, and TnT Projects Pty Ltd – the Tzanetos Family Group has not only been a part of the evolution of the “bush state” of Canberra over the last fifty years, but in fact, has been an instigating force in the development of its communities. While Sam and Maria built up the strength of their business through the Owmast arm, with emphasis in the retail grocery industry, brothers Peter and Dennis have invested the future of the company in the residential property industry through Master Property Developments and TnT Projects.

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A Personal Approach

As a family owned and operated business, the Tzanetos Family Group specialises in end-to-end development and construction projects, with all work completed in-house. The brothers feel that this personal approach offers their clients the utmost in quality and value. “Being not only the owner of the business, but also the person on the front lines of the construction every day, on site . . . we have a more personal manner to our construction projects.” By taking on each and every aspect of their projects, Peter and Dennis Tzanetos are able to enhance their knowledge of construction practises while ensuring that every phase runs smoothly, on time and on budget. Says Peter Tzanetos of their process: “We can make quick on-site decisions because we don’t have to liaise with the client – we are the client.” “We follow through things from the beginning to the end; nothing is ever handed to somebody else to manage, so we have a full understanding and a very encompassing idea of the project from beginning to end, which is where some developers can falter. When developers pass on the construction to another entity . . . their expectations aren’t always realised, but there is nothing you can do about it. They’ve got no control over the construction once they’ve placed it somewhere else.” Currently, the brothers oversee one project at a time, with Peter taking on the Contract Management and Acquisitions and Dennis acting as both Foreman and Builder. Together, they share the workAustralian Construction Focus | November 2010

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load, utilising local suppliers and labourers. Each project begins with a land purchase by Master Property Developments, an architect is commissioned for the development and a contract is made for TnT to manage the construction.

houses connected by vast highways, discouraging communal activities or nightlife. The city had become a ghost town, a weary corridor for Canberrans to pass through on their daily commute to and from work.

Forward Vision

With an increasingly younger population choosing to stay in Canberra to work, the Tzanetos brothers were determined to change this trend and bring to the city the exciting and vibrant lifestyle they felt it deserved. “You can’t have urban sprawl forever, you have to eventually go upwards and centralise housing so you can cut down on commutes and pollution. It’s the way of the future . . .” explains Peter, “It’s a healthy thing to bring to a city and that’s why I’m such a strong proponent for high-density living. It brings people together and creates a vibrant lifestyle. Staying at home too much isn’t healthy for the soul.”

“We’re a little bit progressive in our sites that we pick,” explains Peter, who prides himself on his forward vision of future trends within the industry. “We pick areas where other developments haven’t had the insight to move into yet. Of course, as soon as we move into this area, there’s already been another six blocks that have been sold and have had plans done for apartments. It’s a common thing that our company is one of the first to move into a street, and begin the trend, so I’d say that we’re trend-setters in medium to high density apartments. A lot of people see us then follow our lead.” Indeed, significant deliberation is invested in each property selection made by Master Property Developments as the brothers are keen to enhance the neighbourhoods they go into by encouraging community activities. In particular, they like to select a location within walking or biking distance from a local suburban shopping centre so as to cut down on the use of cars as well as to help create a buzz around local retailers. “It’s a good cycle and creates a cosmopolitan vibe,” says Peter. Before settling down in Canberra, Peter Tzanetos lived in apartments in Athens, Greece and Sydney, Australia. With an appreciation for the cosmopolitan vibe of those cities, Peter was excited to use his personal experience to tackle the sterile urban infill areas of the inner city suburbs of Canberra. As little as ten years ago, Canberra was a disconnected sprawl of suburban

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It’s a common thing that our company is one of the first to move into a street, and begin the trend, so I’d say that we’re trendsetters in medium to high density apartments. A lot of people see us then follow our lead.”

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Creating Communities

Design considerations of every TnT build are allencompassing and aim to create the optimal athome experience, a difficult undertaking when building high-density properties. In particular, the Tzanetos brothers insist that the newly government regulated Green Star standards are met or exceeded. Considering the slight increase in cost for the brothers in relation to the major long-term savings for both the client and the environment as a whole, they are more than happy to provide numerous energy saving solutions including motion detecting lighting, solar panels, and water retention and irrigation systems. Additionally, all landscaping design is conceived by the brothers with respect to the specific needs of each unit, including environmental concerns such as ensuring sufficient shade or sunlight throughout Canberra’s harsh seasons. Each unit’s interior environment is also a high priority, and the brothers pay special attention to such concerns as noise pollution, generally including specific requirements for insulation and sound-

proofing in the building by-laws. In keeping with their promotion of communal living, the brothers also like to include simple luxuries in each build, such as swimming pools. Says Peter Tzanetos, “I think they do create a real communal relaxing area . . . not just for exercising, but also for sunbathing or chilling out on a weekend on the pool deck with a good book. That’s where you get to meet your neighbours.” Ultimately, the brothers’ message is simple: “It has to be enjoyable. If people don’t enjoy living in apartments, then they won’t rent or they won’t buy them and they’ll look for other living environments and my products and my industry will suffer.” Currently, the industry is thriving. The Tzanetos Family Group’s efforts in creating vibrant medium to high-density communities have been a great success and Canberra is emerging as an exciting place to work and live. Australian Construction Focus | November 2010

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Australian Construction Focus - November Edition  

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