an idea of how to do things. If you go to a consultant, they’ll give you hundreds of ideas, but they can’t give you a contractor’s point of view. We are the people on-site and we know where you can and can’t make a profit. “Developers are now tapping into that knowledge. We are educating clients about the ways they can do it. They’ve even given it a name – early contractor involvement. They have matured and decided to tap into the knowledge that design and build contractors have.” Looking ahead, Pillai says this attitude is only going to continue, with developers increasingly aware of the money spent, especially with VAT now a factor to consider. “Before 2015, people had passion. They weren’t thinking about profit or loss, it was all about prestige. Now, people are very careful. Whatever they’re spending, each penny is being counted. I don’t think people have that old passion anymore, they’re more focused on profit-making. “But if you’re not thinking about profit-making, then you
design and build expert Pillai says that enquiries from developers about design and build contracts are increasing, as understanding and knowledge about the benefits of that approach grows.
won’t succeed as a business. As such, clients are giving more value to the contractor’s perspective than they did in the past. It was always the client and the consultant, and then bring the contractor in later. That model has changed as the market has gotten more mature and competitive.” Despite the changes all around the construction industry, Pillai says one thing that remains constant for him is the staff that make up Airolink. He asserts that one of the core values he’s instilled in the company is that of understanding the value of people. With more than 18 nationalities under the company
plans for expansion Pillai says he intends to have 5,000 employees by the end of 2018, a sizeable increase from the current figures of 2,700.
22 February 2018
umbrella, there are around 2,700 employees working for Airolink. By the last quarter of 2018, he intends to nearly double that number. “I know the value of people. When I take on board a new employee, I don’t say that a new employee has come into my company. Instead I say that a new family has come into my company. I have my schoolmates working with me, I have my college mates working with me. These are 20-year relationships. I have employees hired in 2008 working with me till today. When I registered my company, there were eight people – of them, six
are still working with me now. “We never terminate people without a reason and I always tell my employees that we show our strength by recruiting people. We never say that we don’t have projects and that we have to terminate people. For the last 10 years we’ve been growing, and now my idea is to come up to an employee strength of 5,000 by the last quarter of 2018.” Pillai points out that Airolink offers employees numerous educational processes and opportunities, creating a culture of support for professional development across the board, whether for construction jobs or support staff in Admin or HR. Furthermore, it’s a policy for the company to recruit fresh graduates and people with limited experience, so as to develop employees who are committed and steeped in Airolink’s culture and ethos. “We motivate them. If someone wants to leave within a year, we never say no. It’s their right to leave or continue. Our staff retention is quite high, but then again, it’s not a massive footprint. We’re quite a tight little bunch that are adaptable to both big projects and smaller ones. “That’s another reason why we’ve been here for the last ten years, because we haven’t overextended ourselves on projects or staff,” he asserts.