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34 From the editor........................................................................................... 12 PROFILE Nicholas Wolff......................................................................... 16 PROFILE Mark Johnston....................................................................... 18 PRO FILE Michael Ogilby...................................................................... 20 PROFILE Rob Frigo.................................................................................... 22 PROFILE David Brewer........................................................................... 24 PROFILE John Henderson....................................................................69 PROFILE David Steadman....................................................................81 AND THE WINNER IS.................................................................................14 COVER STORY

36 TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT THE CONSTRUCTION TRAINING FUND............................................ 29 The Training Fund has introduced new incentives for eligible employers of apprentices in construction trades.

COMMERCIAL YES MINISTER!............................................................................... 36 Dumas House gets a new lease of life as it becomes home to the current State Government’s Ministers and improves access to Government services.

WUNDOWIE’S LATEST WONDER............................................... 40 The JWH Group revitalises a 64-year-old St John Ambulance facility in Wundowie.

THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY............................................................26 Departing LandCorp chief executive Ross Holt on the successes, and challenges, facing the building industry in Western Australia.

INDUSTRY NEWS & VIEWS DEVELOPING WORDS OF WISDOM......................................... 32 How Oracle Projects are bringing a fresh new approach to development.

SUBCONTRACTS: WHY THE LEGAL DETAILS ARE IMPORTANT.................................................................................. 34 Les Buchbinder, Partner, Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky, on the ins and outs of subcontracts.

4 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

on the cover Ross Holt reflects on two decades of development Read our cover story on page 26. Photo: Craig Buchanan

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77 27

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SERVICES COME FIRST.............................................................. 45

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC.............................................................. 55

GHD raises the bar with ISIS Perth’s new office fit out.

A Dunsborough home melds into the surrounding landscape thanks to its innovative “light” design.

A SWIFT RESOLUTION......................................................


Meyer Shircore and Associates Architects delivers a stunning office building and fit out for client Swift Networks in Bentley’s Technology Park.

OLD BUILDINGS. NEW DOMES.............................................

BIGGER ISn’t ALWAYS BEST.................................................... 58 This home on a smaller site from Cicirello Homes delivers much more than some of its bigger contemporaries.


Two new Dome cafes in Kalamunda and Midland have been built in recycled old buildings that look like they were just made for cafes.

HOUSING THE PAST.....................................................................94 Located in Manjimup, the new History House Archive building ensures that the past has a vibrant future.

REMOTE-CONTROLLED CONSTRUCTION.............................117 MITIE Construction successfully completes the challenging task of a 1000sqm warehouse in Tom Price.


BACH TO THE FUTURE................................................................. 61 This timber-framed “bach” - a Kiwi-style holiday home - sits as comfortably in a beachside suburb south of Perth as it would in New Zealand.

ETESIAN captures coastal sophistication in iluka... 64 Epitomising contemporary coastal living, the Etesian is the latest inspirational masterpiece from builder Webb & Brown-Neaves.

AN IMPRESSIVE HERITAGE......................................................... 67 A dilapidated Fremantle workers cottage gets an amazing makeover, thanks to Fremantle Builders and Contractors.

SMALL BLOCK, BIG RESULT......................................................... 49

DISPLAYING THE RIGHT SIGNATURE.......................................... 77

Brian Burke Homes delivers an exceptional home that fits snugly on a block just 8.5m-wide.

Signature Custom Homes are proud to put their name against one of their latest homes in Bicton.

6 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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114 87

98 102

STARS ALIGN IN SOUTH PERTH................................................... 82

HELIX SPIRALLING UPWARD................................................... 108

This home proves that saving energy takes some effort - but is ultimately worth it.

Danish-born architect Michael Sorensen applied Scandanavian principals when designing and building his own home in Margaret River.

HOME SWEET HOME.................................................................... 87

RESCUE MISSION RIGHT ON THE MONEY............................ 120

When a boutique builder decides to design and build his own family home, you know it’s going to be something special.

Eclat Building Company steps in to “rescue” a challenging 10-unit project in Hamersley.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED......................................................... 90


Zazen Building & Design shows how a historic cottage, a builder’s own residence and a display home can be accommodated in one.

SMALL BLOCK DELIVERS PERFECT FIT.................................... 98 Besson Construction was delighted to be involved in creating the amazing four-level Campbell House, built on a tiny block in Swanbourne.

HOME IS WHERE THE (LOCK)HART IS................................... 102 This Como home, designed by De Pledge Design, is ideal for a growing family’s needs.

HERE AND NOW!........................................................................ 105 Modestly nestled into a gently sloping hill, this Yallingup home is worthy of any location.

AUTOMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE.................................................114 New technology makes entertaining and running your home easy, enjoyable - and energy efficient.

ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF CONSTRUCTION WA FABRICATORS KEY TO BUILDERS GAINING EXTRA GREEN STAR POINT.................................................................................. 123 WA builders have more opportunity to gain Green Star points for their construction projects since three WA-based steel fabricators committed to the Australian Steel Institute’s Environmental Sustainability Charter.

STEEL STUNNER...........................................................................124 A steel-framed low energy home wins HIA GreenSmart Awards.

SUBSCRIBE NOW! YES! I would like to subscribe to The Builders Choice Magazine for just $39.95 + GST for a 1 Year Subscription Name:........................................................................................................ Company: ................................................................................................ Address: ................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................... Suburb: .............................................................. P/C: .............................. Telephone: .............................................................................................. Email:.........................................................................................................

8 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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POST TO: The Builders Choice Magazine Subscriptions PO Box 1307 Wangara DC WA 6947 or email details to:

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is produced quarterly by

Business Promotions Australia PO Box 1307, Wangara DC WA 6947 Ph: (08) 9409 5143 Fax: (08) 9409 3372 Email: Publisher Gary Boulos Managing Editor / Production Manager Merelyn Demarte Sub-Editor Norman Burns Admin/Artwork Co-ordinator Gina York


Graphic Designer Pearlin Bracewell Writer Rocky Amatulli Sales Executives Rod Saggers, Mike Thake

NATURAL CHOICE.......................................................................126 Addressing climate change; why timber is the best choice for your next project.

using timber today................................................................128

Accounts Julie Jones Printer Quality Press Distributor Northside Logistics

Organic, renewable, non-toxic, environmentally friendly - timber is the ideal choice for construction.

WATER EFFICIENCY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HELP DRIVE WATER USE CHANGE. . ............................................................................................ 129 How Waterwise local governments are helping transform the way communities use and manage water.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY POWER OF THE PEOPLE.............................................................130 A State Government backdown reinforces how sustainable energy is now an important part of the WA landscape.

BUILDING PRODUCTS & SERVICES.................................... 132 TRADIES CORNER......................................................................... 139 DIRECTORY LISTINGS................................................................. 141

10 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

CAB Member Since November 2010 COPYRIGHT: Copyright to all original material in this publication is owned by the publisher, Business Promotions Australia, and cannot be reproduced in any form, whole or part, without prior express written permission of the publisher. DISCLAIMER: While every effort is made by the publisher to ensure the accuracy of the content of this publication, responsibility will not be accepted for any errors or omissions. The publisher believes all information supplied and featured in this magazine to be correct at the time of printing. Placement of orders for advertisements by advertisers or their agents will be deemed as being an indemnification of the publisher against all liability, claims or proceedings arising from the publication of material supplied by them. All advertising shall comply with relevant State and Federal Laws and the advertising codes of the Media Council of Australia. The publishers and staff of The Builders Choice Magazine do not necessarily agree with opinions expressed throughout the publication.

Please note: The Editor reserves the right to alter and/or trim any submitted text (including advertisements and editorials) to ensure conformity with the publication’s style guide and space allocation.


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from the editor Are you all ready for the upcoming Federal election? Obviously voting for one party or person is a personal choice, and something we should all consider carefully before folding those ballot papers. I guess what we all should keep in mind is that we are voting for a party and not just the person, whether we think either would fail us. One thing for certain is that the major parties must address the challenges facing our economy affecting the building and construction industry right now and the urgent needs of our communities. Voters are sick to death of hearing “we promise we will do this” or “do that” and all the jargon that they present to the people of Australia each and every time. The budget deficit must be addressed responsibly, housing situation and more affordable housing, employment and ways to reduce the ever-increasing cost of living in our community. The outcome of the September 7 election will be a relief to some and prove to be a headache to the rest. One thing is certain; the country can no longer be run the way it is.

Another feature in this issue a display home by Zazen Building & Design director Dino Colica. Dino was looking at a historic home that, once renovated, would become a unique display home which would showcase his company’s abilities and skills to its clients. It would also double as his personal residence. The property, built around 1890, was up for sale. Although the home was much-neglected, Dino realised the excellent potential and knew that in the right hands the house could become a showpiece. He secured the property soon afterwards. Turn to page 90 to read and view images. BPA is in the process of selling booths for the Engineers of Australia Face to Face expo to held at Claremont Showgrounds March 15 2014. Booths are selling fast, so to secure your company position please contact Gary or Julie on 9409 5143. Ensure you are a part of our December issue and final magazine for 2013. We thank everyone taking part in this issue, and congratulate all the award winners.

Our cover story features LandCorp’s chief executive Ross Holt, and two decades of development. After two decades at the helm with LandCorp, Mr Holt is departing at the end of the year. He has played a major role at LandCorp, and in this time has seen a real shift in the way the private sector is engaged to help deliver WA’s ever changing land needs. Mr Holt said LandCorp’s ability to take a long-term view of the State’s land needs was perhaps its greatest asset. We wish him all the very best in the future.

Merelyn Demarte Managing Editor Email:

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P: 1800 249 878 F: 1800 249 879 E: indoor I outdoor I commercial I residential 12 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


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...and the winner is The Builders Choice Magazine would like to congratulate:

Yuro Building Design won two gongs, and was a finalist in the Overall Top Design Excellence category, at the Building Designers Association of WA Design Awards in July for its work on the striking The Cheese Barrel Cafe in the Swan Valley. Yuro won Best Commercial Building Under $2million and Best Non-Residential Sustainable Building. The state winners automatically qualified for the National Building Designers Association awards to be held in Melbourne in October. Yuro Design: 0417 965 653,

Probuild won the 2013 MBA WA Excellence in Construction Award and Best Refurbishment or Renovation over $10million for its work on the Crown Perth Gaming Floor Expansion and Day Spa. Probuild also was the recipient of the 2013 WA Heritage Awards’ Outstanding Conservation of a Non-Residential Place for its work on the new West Australian Ballet Centre, housed in the former WA Royal Institute and Industrial School for the Blind in Bayswater (project featured in the September 2011 issue of The Builders Choice). This was a pro-bono project for Probuild, who saw the ballet as a fantastic community project. Probuild: (08) 9363 1400,

14 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Econstruct will need to invest in a bigger “trophy” cabinet following the success of its amazing 8-Star rated South Perth house. The home, designed by Roger Joyner Building Designer, won Home of the Year; Custom Built; and Energy Efficient awards in the HIA Greensmart Custom Home of the Year WA Awards. (See feature on page 82) Econstruct: (08) 9329 9422,



The stunning Yallingup residence featured on page 105 in this issue resulted in awards to Cape Constructions (Contract Home, $1,500,001 to $3,000,000 category in the 2013 MBA South West Awards) and the WA AIA Architecture Award (Residential Architecture - Houses and Sustainable Architecture) to Optimum Resource Architects. Cape Constructions: (08) 9759 1921, Optimum Resource Architects: (08) 9383 3111

Brian Burke Homes gathered a slew of Master Builders 2013 awards for a beautiful Watermans Bay home (featured in The Builders Choice in December 2012). The home took out: Master Builders WA Top WA Home; Contract Home over $3 million; Excellence in Plastering; Excellence in Floor and Wall Tiling; Excellence in Ceilings and Excellence in Painting. Brian Burke Homes: (08) 9387 7333,

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 15


up close + personal with

nick wolff CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, LANDCORP // interviewed by rocky amatulli

Tell me a little about LandCorp, and what it does in WA? As the State Government’s land development agency, a key focus of our business is the creation of places where people want to live, work and play. Much of our work tackles complex land rejuvenation and reclamation projects to breathe new life into urban areas and provide an exciting mix of lifestyle and business opportunities. We also work on ‘greenfield’ sites ranging from the development of new suburbs to the creation of exciting new regional cities. Across all this, we ensure that we take a sustainable approach to planning, with the long-term interests of the community being a priority. Important for our state is also the supply of well-connected and strategically located commercial and industrial land. Our industrial program drives the development of many industrial estates right across WA to support and accommodate Western Australia’s economic growth. What responsibilities do you have within LandCorp? I am currently LandCorp’s Chief Operating Officer. I am responsible for the Operations arm of the business. I don’t get heavily involved in specific projects but take a strategic overview to ensure that LandCorp is delivering on its obligations. Our challenges vary significantly across the state, but in particular, achieving land supply for residential and industrial growth in the North West of the state has been a major focus of the business under the Pilbara Cities program. To facilitate that objective, we have a skilled, mobile team within LandCorp, combined with strong support from private sector developers and builders. Are there any milestones that LandCorp has recently achieved? Since its launch in November 2009, Pilbara Cities has made some staggering progress in lifting amenity and improving the lives of the residents. The State Government’s $1.2billion investment has attracted nearly $3.5billion of associated investment from outside the government sector. It has led to unprecedented private sector

16 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

investment in the region by large developers including Ascend, AuzCorp, Cedar Woods, Finbar, IBN Group Mirvac, National Lifestyle Villages, NS Projects, Pindan and Seacrest Homes.

And the benefits to the WA community? The success of Pilbara Cities has in turn attracted secondary private sector investment - for example, organisations such as Charter Hall making the independent decision to upgrade the South Hedland Shopping Centre in line with the town centre redevelopment. All this has resulted in significant improvements to the lives of people living in the Pilbara. For example, only four short years ago the only option you had in Karratha was to live in a donga camp or sleep in someone’s living room. Now you can choose product from four major developers and 30 builders. You can choose to live in a master planned community, high rise apartments or soon, a coastal community. LandCorp’s master planned community of 1100 homes in Baynton West Estate in Karratha, is an excellent example of the difference we are making. This estate which is now on par with any estate in Perth, boasts high quality housing and state of the art community infrastructure such as the Pam Buchanan Community Centre, the Woodside playground, the Baynton West Primary School and high quality parklands - all which enrich the lives of families who live there. Is there something that you are personally proud of having achieved so far? In a former life I ran an architectural practice so I am heavily influenced by attractive contemporary style and design, but also have a very practical side to me. I have been responsible in guiding the development of LandCorp’s ‘The Pilbara Vernacular Handbook’. The handbook was created by LandCorp to assist local governments, builders and home owners to develop appropriate design responses in the region. It offers strategies for working with the logistic and economic constraints of the Pilbara as well as the local landscape, environment, climate and cultural influences in


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How has your industry changed since you first started? Property development has benefited enormously from the age of computing and the internet. Nowadays, so much site information, and that of suppliers and consent authorities is all accessible on line. Years ago every business had many metres of library shelves and full time librarians. All of that has now gone. What will be the main considerations for LandCorp in the future? Delivering housing and industrial land across the state in a timely and affordable manner is always challenging – particularly given the rate of demand when it is required. I also believe that the importance of a long-term strategic vision that is well communicated both internally within the business, and externally to stakeholders across the state is an important consideration that LandCorp needs to maintain focus on. Can you share any other exciting projects that you are working on? Cockburn Central which is becoming a model Activity Centre with a diverse range of residential and urban amenities located adjacent to a transport mode. This is an exciting project for us. Cockburn Central Town Centre is a State Government priority project that demonstrates the delivery of Activity Centre’s under Directions 2031 and Beyond. It is planned to serve more than 190,000 people in Perth’s rapidly growing south-west corridor. Located next to Cockburn Central train station, this site will mature into an important destination for people to live and work in our rapidly growing state. Stage 1 saw the first residents moving into Australand’s apartments, Giorgi Group’s Plaza 817 and the Department of Housing’s innovative Living Space project. The Department of Fire Emergency Services, who relocated their headquarters to the site, have also settled in. The recently refurbished Town Square is now home to a choice of restaurants, cafés and retail stores for residents, visitors and workers to enjoy. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? I love my role at LandCorp, but when not working I enjoy being active and keeping healthy by cycling and swimming. I also enjoy relaxing by either reading or playing saxophone. BC

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up close + personal with


mark johnston PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT, GHD // interviewed by rocky amatulli

What’s your professional background? Originally from Scotland, I attended university in Glasgow and graduated in 1995 (after 7 long years of study!) with degrees in architecture and building design engineering. Before emigrating to Australia in 2010, I worked with a number of high-profile architectural practices throughout the UK, with the last 7 years running my own architectural practice in Glasgow. I now manage the GHD architectural group within our Perth office, whilst also undertaking project director roles in various multi-disciplinary projects across the business group. For the last 2½ years I have also been working as the architectural lead and design manger on the Perth City Link Rail Alliance. GHD is one of the world’s leading architecture, engineering and environmental design consultancies, employing more than 6000 people across five continents. Where do you get your motivation and inspiration from? From an early stage I have enjoyed all aspects of a project from the first meeting with a client and planting the seed of an idea, to nurturing this through the various design stages, to seeing the building grow on site, and finally experiencing with the users the benefits and joy that the completed building can bring. In essence, it’s the diversity of skills that’s required to be an architect that provides the challenge and ultimately job satisfaction - there is never a dull moment in the life of an architect! I personally draw inspiration from many diverse things. Obviously being aware of historical references and past architectural works provides a reference that shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s often the most unusual events or encounters with nature, our surroundings, or social interactions that provide that intangible creative spark or moment of inspiration. As an architect I never switch off to influences, experiences and ideas… often to the detriment of my sleep! What can you share from your experiences as an architect? I wish I listened to my parents and became a doctor! There is no doubt that the life of an architect is an extremely challenging 18 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

one and probably one that many students setting out rarely understand or appreciate. Like true schizophrenics, we need to be able to balance the often conflicting skills of an artist, engineer, accountant, lawyer, diplomat and salesman. But I have learnt from experience that when it does all come together in a successful building then the long hours and hard work are well worth it. Project delivery is now undoubtedly becoming more challenging with the influences of timescale, value for money, stringent regulations, and more technically advanced products and methods. With the move to more design being done within a 3D environment, there is undoubtedly an enormous advantage – but it also presents significant challenges to the project teams. As this technology develops, so do the expectations.

What do you think makes a great architect? I personally have always advocated that an architect should be able to consider and combine art, aesthetics, socio-political impact, cost, and technology - bound together with commercial pragmatism. I don’t believe a project can be considered successful if it doesn’t fully address all of these aspects to some degree. Whilst it’s always good for the ego to deliver a successful and publicly recognised building, it doesn’t drive me to succeed. Though a long list of happy clients is high on my list, ultimately what really gives me satisfaction is to see those that have worked with me develop as architects and professionals in their own right. How has your industry changed since you first started? Without sounding like a dinosaur, I started out when AutoCAD and digital production of design was just developing. This medium and technology has developed at a frightening pace in recent years with the advent of BIM and 3D-related technology, and we now almost solely rely on it as the primary medium to develop design. At GHD we are seeing the enormous and exciting benefits to be gained from this technology not only for our design teams, but moreso for our clients and building operators. However, it’s important that designers remember that this technology is a tool to assist in conveying what’s in


From an early stage I have enjoyed all aspects of a project from the first meeting with a client and planting the seed of an idea, to nurturing this through the various design stages...

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our imagination to our clients. We mustn’t lose sight of the importance of the intangible creative skills of the architect.

What do you think will be the main challenge for architecture in the future? Finding new and innovative ways to satisfy the increasing sustainable, technical, and legislative requirements, with increasing constraints on budgets and timeframes, all within an ever evolving globally competitive market will be our challenge. At GHD we overcome this by focusing on our client’s specific needs, embracing innovation and technology, and employing the most skilled architects and engineers globally. Any materials you particularly like using? Materials choice or creation of a pallet of materials should be project and site-specific and a consequence of many different considerations such as local context, historical reference, aesthetics, budget, technical performance, sustainability and so on. To merely rely on applying an aesthetic ‘‘veneer’’ will result in a short-term solution that lacks real architectural depth. Where appropriate I like to see contrast in material selection and placement for emphasis, juxtaposing textures, or using old and new elements together. Whatever material is used should be treated with respect and have integrity. To paraphrase Louis Kahn, “Every building must have . . . its own soul”. What do you enjoy outside of architecture? My increasing golf handicap would like me to say ‘‘golf’’… but ferrying my daughter from one dance class to the next unfortunately leaves little time (I wouldn’t change that for the world). I do also love to spend time with my wife, Jacqui, and 8-year-old daughter, Morven, exploring the delights that our new home city of Perth has to offer; and watching my beloved Celtic Football Club when I can. BC

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Environmental | The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 19

up close + personal with

michael ogilby DIRECTOR, MASTERBUILT CONSTRUCTIONS PTY LTD // interviewed by rocky amatulli

How did you get started in the building industry? After leaving school in the end of Year 12 I began a pre-apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery. On completing my apprenticeship in 1982 I began contacting work for a year then commenced working for a project home builder, working as a trainee supervisor on their ‘commercial’ residential projects (Special Projects Division). This led me to supervising most of the company’s special projects for the next 11 years, including two A-class hospitals and a number of unit developments. In 1995 I commenced as construction manager for a commercial developer (mainly building office and shopping centre complexes) when we got involved in the refurbishment of a wool store in Fremantle. It was on completion of that project that I decided to branch out and commence working for myself in 1998. What type of projects do you work on now? My wife and I started Masterbuilt with the philosophy that we would not pigeonhole ourselves into any particular type of work. But after a few years we established ourselves in the small commercial market, specialising in new construction and refurbishing small commercial buildings into new uses. Ironically, this is still the core of our business but we also have been building the Dome Coffee Group’s cafes for the past 14 years as well. Proudly, many of our clients are repeat clients. What types of projects you get involved in, and which ones do you enjoy most? Our main client is the Dome Coffee Group and we have worked closely with them for many years, helping to develop their current café build standard. These projects have taken us all over the WA, over east, and overseas (Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain and even the Maldives!). Working on the cafes has been very rewarding as each one is always different due to the type of tenancy we are presented with. The other small commercial projects that we have refurbished have varied from car yards to showrooms, offices, and taverns. They all have their own uniqueness but the main reward for me is the pleasure I get from watching a building transform from a previous use to its final one. 20 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Where do you draw your motivation from? I draw inspiration from following what is happening in building design and construction, and from all facets of the industry. I enjoy trying to applying new ideas on our projects when we are presented with problems that need some lateral thinking. Many clients have some interesting ideas that, on the surface, sound impractical but I work to develop these with them and often come up with a practical answer that everyone is happy with. I keep a close eye on changes my trades develop as well, as they are always trying new methods. Do you feel that your approach is different to other builders? I believe that we are unique because we are a small and personable company with the strength of quality contractors that can produce any kind of building project that a client requires with a first-class finish. We problem-solve and have done so for many years as a lot of our sites have been quite difficult, being heritage buildings. What are some of the challenges on those projects you undertake? On local projects the main challenges can simply be access for labour and material deliveries to and from the site. Being a builder also means responsibility for the timeframe we have in which to complete the works and the detailed scheduling you need to monitor to complete on time. With interstate and overseas projects, the main challenge has been sourcing local labour and adapting to the local practices. What strategies do you use to overcome them? We have a team of contractors that we have developed over the past 14 years that we use exclusively on all of our sites; that makes the process of building and completing our projects on time, on budget and with a first-class finish, achievable. They are a combined group of trades that I have the utmost respect for as they have had to produce some very difficult work on extremely tight schedules regularly. They have developed an ability of being able to work over each other but not getting in each others’ way to still produce first-class results.


I draw inspiration from following what is happening in building design and construction, and from all facets of the industry.

Has the industry changed since you first started? Technology has caused the biggest changes in the industry – both in materials available and in construction methods – as has the availability of information now available from the internet. Builders, trades and clients can now access information on materials to such extent that it has completely altered our approach to building from, say, 15 years ago. This helps both the builders (with the delivery of the final product to the client) and also the client (giving them an understanding of the construction methods and better choice for their respective projects). What are some of your favourite materials? I mostly love combinations of timber, glass, steel, brickwork and claddings. We use all/or a combination of these in all of our projects. The warmth of timber in the cafes, combined with the Tasmanian Oak cabinet work, really gives you that feeling you have been there before. I suppose I have a soft spot for timber coming from a carpentry background. Do you see any challenges for the building industry in the future? I would say that the main challenge will be training enough young tradespeople with the proper knowledge of previous tradesmen to ensure that the skill level remains high. It is increasingly more difficult to train apprentices due to cost restrictions and the volatile market at the moment, but there are skills out there that we must retain. What reflections do you have in hindsight? The main thing I have learnt in this industry is that I never stop learning. I can pick up tips and experience from everyone that I come into contact with, site by site. Another valuable lesson is to always treat your trades as would want to be treated, and always listen to your clients. If you communicate well with everyone at every level, then you can eliminate most problems before they begin. I always try to have a positive attitude and always fix problems before they get out of hand. There is nothing that gets a client more upset than lingering problems. How would you describe yourself? I think that I am a person who has produced projects that have achieved my clients’ expectations. I would hope that I have gained the respect of my peers for having an honest work ethic and having earned respect and trust from my trades. I am definitely a family man and enjoy all things I do that involves them. Boating, fishing, surfing, and general beach life are my main passions. Travelling is going to play a bigger part of my life soon as our school commitments are closing to an end. BC

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 21

up close + personal with


rob frigo REGISTERED BUILDER/MANAGING DIRECTOR, PROMENADE HOMES // interviewed by rocky amatulli // photo by miller studios

Can you tell us about your background? I have now been in the industry for over 30 years. When I finished high school I studied for a diploma in drafting which got me started in the industry as a draftsman. I soon realised that I had more of a passion to be involved in the construction of the homes rather than just sitting behind a drawing board. As I studied for my builders registration, I moved through the ranks into scheduling, estimating, and finally supervising. By the time I gained my registration I was construction manager for a large Perth project builder. In 1988 I started my first building company (which still operates today) doing developments and up-market spec homes. Then about four years ago I started Promenade Homes, building for clients. How would you describe Promenade Homes? We are a boutique building company. We build ‘one-off’ homes in the $400k to $1.2 million price range, specifically designed to suit the client’s lifestyle and block orientation. We only take on a limited number of jobs and as a result we can usually guarantee that the same tradesmen will be building each home. We carefully select our trades and build a close relationship so that we know that we will be getting a consistent level of workmanship and attention to detail on every home. The trades also know what is then expected of them. Tell us a little about the types of homes Promenade builds? We mainly build contemporary two-storey homes - usually for the second or third home buyer. Most of our clients want a high level of flexibility and the ability to change their minds as their project develops. That is where our small volume and hands-on, flexible approach allows us to adapt more readily than the large project builders. We encourage a high level of client interaction through the entire building process, from design through to handover. Our clients become like an extended family, and we have no hesitation in letting prospective clients contact any of our previous clients to find out about their experience building with Promenade Homes. What roles do you undertake within your company? I manage the business on a daily basis and am usually the first 22 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

point of contact. I meet the clients to discuss their requirements, budgets, etc. Weekly, I attend every site and update each client. We have a fulltime supervisor, an interior design service, and we have recently appointed a pre-start contracts administrator.

Where do you draw some of your inspirations from? Being involved in the building industry I get to see new innovations in materials and building techniques on a regular basis – which I find very exciting, as the boundaries for clever and innovative design can be stretched way beyond what we were capable of with traditional building materials and techniques. However my main inspiration comes from how I live in my own home with my family. I am not a fan of large, grandiose mansions that seem to be more about status than practical and comfortable living. What are some of the main challenges that you encounter when building for your clients? Most of our projects are in the inner suburbs in built-up areas, and quite a few homes we build are on small narrow lots. Our projects usually require a fair amount of careful planning and design, as well as consultation with neighbours with regards to privacy, overlooking and overshadowing issues. Our aim is to minimise impact and disruption to neighbours during the construction process. It can also be extremely challenging when it comes to site material deliveries and storage. What was it like designing and building your own home? I spent a lot of time in consultation with my family during the design of our own home - to make sure we weren’t adding unnecessary rooms or wasting space. What we have achieved is a home that fulfils all our needs as a growing family, yet manageable enough for us to retire into later in life. I believe that with shrinking block sizes and focus on energy efficiency, we need to be more innovative with our designs and building techniques. What do you feel makes Promenade Homes’ approach unique? Our accessibility and flexibility gives our clients the confidence


NEW PRODUCTS FROM THE LEADERS IN to move forward with us knowing that we are always open to discussing options and changes and exploring new ideas with them. We are always keen to try new techniques and materials if our clients want to explore alternative options. We also have regular on-site meetings during construction of the home. With these meetings held with our clients and plumbers/electricians (before they start chasing walls and positioning electrical points/ tapware for example) we find our clients are very appreciative. Quite often locations of points are moved because and it is far easier for our clients to stand in a room and visualise how they will interact in that room rather than just looking at a plan and deciding locations.

What are some of your favourite materials used on your projects? I love all natural materials, for example Toodyay stone walling (as opposed to imitation cladding) recycled timber floorboards (as opposed to engineered flooring) natural stone benchtops (as opposed to engineered stone) real timber soffit linings (as opposed to prefinished imitation boards). I also love polished concrete floors and cement rendered wall finishes. What have you learnt from your experiences/industry? Honesty, communication and transparency are paramount, whether dealing with clients, suppliers, trades or neighbours. About 99% of issues can be resolved before they become problems just by communicating with people. How has your industry changed since you first started? When I first started in the industry there was not as much emphasis on energy efficiency or orientation of homes, and site safety standards were certainly far more relaxed. We have come a long way with the introduction of mandatory energy ratings for homes, and site standards have vastly improved making the industry more professional. The industry in WA is now rapidly starting to embrace alternative construction methods and materials, and I see that we are finally starting to realise that the traditional double brick home may not be the only acceptable form of construction. What are the main challenges that you see for your industry in the future? A big concern for the industry seems to be lack of new tradespeople. As the older generations retire we are faced with a smaller pool of trades and resources to service the industry. Having said that, I believe that the requirement for more energy efficient homes will fast track the acceptance of new construction methods and materials, and therefore require a shift in our traditional workforce to embrace new these construction methods. What personal values are important to you, and how do you spend time outside of work? Values such as honesty, integrity and an ethical approach to work, life, family and friends are important to me. I enjoy my leisure time by kicking back with my family and friends...and playing golf badly! BC

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 23

up close + personal with


david brewer

MANAGING DIRECTOR, EDWARD BREWER HOMES // interviewed by rocky amatulli

Tell us about yourself and how you got into your industry? I loved working with timber and unlike many people my age, I left high school knowing exactly what I wanted to be - a carpenter, and eventually a builder. I won numerous awards for my workmanship and hard work during my apprenticeship. I became a contractor after my apprenticeship finished and worked on all areas of building homes from floor and wall framing, roof framing and roof plumbing. I built many single and two-storey homes all from timber, steel and alternative claddings. I also built staircases and completed interior fitouts. I went on to become a building supervisor, and eventually realised my goal of becoming a builder. Tell us about Edward Brewer Homes, and what it builds? Edward Brewer Homes is a boutique custom builder with a difference. The company builds homes varying in value from $120,000 - $1,500,000, single-storey, double-storey, small lots, double brick, timber frame homes and unit developments. The difference is that we can build custom designs for the same price as the bigger Perth builders and still maintain the high quality. Whilst we mainly build custom designed single and two-storey homes, we love and enjoy just as much when we build the more generic type house designs when clients don’t want to use a bigger builder. We also love working with unique designs or products. What role do you undertake within your company? As managing director I manage the company with the support of a brilliant and passionate team. I also ensure that I personally meet with every client and visit every site regularly so I understand what is happening in the business. I am also proud to share that I am currently on the judging panel for the Housing Industry Association’s Awards for the best homes in WA. Where do you draw some of your main inspirations from? Because I love building I always look at what we can possibly achieve for our clients and encourage my staff to ‘think outside 24 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

the box’ to potentially give our clients something special. Flexibility for design is our middle name.

What are some of the main challenges you encounter on your projects? I have had several technically difficult homes in the past two-storey homes and sloping blocks which both require a lot of experience to pull the onsite issues together. Once we get through these however, my team and I find it very satisfying in completing these projects Do you have any comment on trades in WA? Trades are a constant management issue. One thing I have found is the more experienced trades seek to work for experienced builders like myself who recognise their abilities and know they have a relationship with the owner of the company in which they work for. They are not just a number to us. You need to look after tradesmen by ensuring good communication and being organised for them. As a final point here, I can say that I personally visit all my trades and worksites regularly to see how my trades are travelling, and also to continue building a strong relationship together. What makes your approach unique? Looking after people, excellent customer service and never losing the personal touch! I have always been passionate for the big things in my work, but most importantly for also recognising the little things. With my leadership role in this area I find my philosophy reflects strongly through my staff. My team is friendly but hard working, which reflects in an excellent end result. What are your favourite materials and what innovations have you developed? I would have to say timber frame, brick, tin roofs and varied


I love building; I always look at what we can possibly achieve for our clients and encourage my staff to ‘think outside the box’ to potentially give our clients something special. Flexibility for design is our middle name.

insulations. This list alone provides a variety of outcomes for our projects and clients. Regarding innovations, I think that our strengths lie in excellent systems and processes to ensure good workflow throughout the building process.

What have you learnt from your experiences in the building industry? Lots! I firmly believe that a good reputation in the industry is vital. Most of our clients come to us through word-of-mouth referral. I really value this as our clients are important to us. I’ve also experienced lots of new and ever-changing building legislation, impacting our industry in the time I’ve been in it. What exciting projects are you working on? We have a palatial home in the outer metropolitan area about to start on site – we have spent many hours on this home with the clients designing it. We also have some six and nine-unit

sites with a difference and at an affordable price range which we are working on at the moment. And we are building a couple of two-storey timber frame homes with architectural claddings involved, proving a strong difference in the market with more energy efficiency in mind.

What would you like to be remembered for? As a person of integrity, building quality built homes at competitive prices. I’d also like to be known as someone making a positive difference in the community. My company supports local sporting team’s and a local children’s church. I am also a member of Business Network International (Rockingham chapter) which supports local businesses. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Playing cricket and spending time with my family and friends. BC


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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 25


State of the industry with departing LandCorp chief executive Ross Holt // words landcorp

With its origins in the creation of Joondalup, LandCorp was established under the Western Australian Land Authority Act 1992 to provide land, infrastructure, facilities and services for the social, economic and environmental needs of the State. After two decades at the helm, departing chief executive Ross Holt has seen a real shift in the way the private sector is engaged to help deliver WA’s ever changing land needs. Relationship with the private sector Gone are the old tensions between the public and private sectors – these days the relationship is more symbiotic, with LandCorp doing the heavy lifting to de-constrain land for developers and builders to progress. “A real trend that I have noticed over the years is the ever increasing professionalism of the land development and building industry in WA, which has allowed LandCorp to forge enduring relationships, based on shared goals.” Mr Holt said. “These goals include a real commitment to producing high quality product with an increased appreciation of design, and gaining a better understanding of what the market needs now and into the future. “Our partnerships are now changing the face of Western





26 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Australia, and LandCorp is committed to creating as many opportunities for the private sector as possible.” Mr Holt said in places like the Pilbara where the State Government has invested $1.2billion through Royalties for Regions, there were a variety of opportunities for large and small builders. “Today in Karratha we have more than 30 builders operating compared to just three when Pilbara Cities was launched in late 2009. “Our challenge has been to bring the private sector to the table and to overcome the barriers of distance, added costs, workforce accommodation and climate responsive design. “This transformational work has started to bear fruit, with the overheated Karratha land market cooling to more reasonable levels and towns like Port Hedland and Newman with enough land in the pipeline for prices to ease.” Changing land needs Mr Holt said LandCorp’s ability to take a long-term view of the State’s land needs was perhaps its greatest asset. “Master planning of strategic land ahead of demand was essential to support WA’s economic and employment growth. “Residential infill is now on the radar throughout the metropolitan area and developments like Cockburn Central are all about establishing communities around transport nodes where people can catch the bus or train instead of using their car,” he said. “Developments of this nature are becoming increasingly popular in metropolitan Perth because they offer a more affordable lifestyle – not only in terms of price but also in reduced household running costs. “At least 15 per cent of our land and housing is meeting affordable targets – where rent or mortgage payments do not exceed 30 per cent of gross household incomes for low to moderate incomes.” A great example of LandCorp working closely with the private sector to deliver affordable housing was the redevelopment of the



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old Hollywood High School site. LandCorp partnered with Mirvac in 2005 to redevelop the site with 74 single residential lots and one grouped housing lot providing more than 100 dwellings. This included social housing units with the Department of Housing and Works that were initially unpopular with existing surrounding residents. “Today that resistance has vanished – the public housing has become part of the area and people have embraced the diversity that this brings to the community,” Mr Holt said. “Priority access to affordable housing in established suburbs is essential if we are to avoid urban sprawl, however we cannot overestimate the market’s appetite for density and height.” Sustainability Today, LandCorp has more than 180 active projects from the Kimberley in the North West down to Albany in the South West and all of them feature a focus on innovation in sustainable outcomes. “During my tenure, Harvest Lakes was WA’s first ‘Greensmart Estate’- winning multiple awards and setting the benchmark for what has today become the norm in sustainable design. “Back in 2002 we started what has become a well-established community with a focus on energy efficiency and climate responsive home design such as storm water capture, solar orientation, ventilation and insulation,” Mr Holt said. “These sustainability considerations reduce the daily cost of living over the long term – something we see as essential in delivering affordable housing options.” Indigenous outcomes Over the past 20 years, Mr Holt has also seen a positive shift in the outcome for Aboriginals as projects progress. “The industry has come a long way from the tick the box approach that was sometimes taken regarding engagement with Indigenous communities,” he said. “Today the improvement of outcomes for Aboriginals is embedded from the very beginning of projects. “We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Civil Contractors Federation in 2011 to give Aboriginal people greater opportunities to work and train on LandCorp projects like the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project in Kununurra. “It has been heart-warming to see the industry embrace this initiative and build its capacity to engage, train and employ Aboriginal people.”

Industrial An important part of LandCorp business is the provision of well-located and connected industrial land right across WA to create space for economic growth and employment. “For over 30 years estates including Canning Vale, Kwinana, Enterprise Park in Wangara and Australian Marine Complex in Henderson have become home to nearly 2500 businesses, employing enough people to fill Subiaco Oval.” Other LandCorp estates include Latitude 32 Industry Zone and Forrestdale Industrial Park south of Perth and Meridian Park in Neerabup which are expected to become home to up to 1700 businesses and employ over 30,000 people. In the Pilbara, estates such as Gap Ridge and Hedland Junction will play a significant role in diversifying the local economy. Challenges Acknowledging the long held view of many, Mr Holt acknowledged he found the planning processes of the industry frustrating at times. “We have all experienced the red tape, duplication of government functions and complex approval processes that have become the norm for the industry,” he said. “These important checks and balances are there for a reason, but I share the view that these processes should be streamlined to reduce the burdens placed on the private sector in land development. “Other major obstacles we face daily are the increased costs we face in doing business in WA,” Mr Holt said. “For example, since 2010 development costs, including interest have declined or remained steady across all major cities with the exception of Perth which has increased- the costs of building in the regions is even more prohibitive.” “That is why the industry needs to develop new building typologies such as modular homes to reduce costs, particularly in the regions.” Reflecting on his 20 years in the industry, Mr Holt said he was proud of the land development industry because it was achieving great things that matter for WA. “With a background in economics, I started at LandCorp with an open mind about the industry and since then I have been captivated by the dedication and creativity of the people involved,” he said. “I have enjoyed so much about my time at LandCorp and I will definitely retain ties to the industry after the end of the year. “The organisation is very healthy and is well positioned to continue to do the things that matter – unlocking land for private sector investment while focusing on the essentials such as affordability, density, sustainability, regional development and place making. “That private/public sector collaboration is essential for WA to grow and prosper – there are any number of opportunities for large and small builders to invest in the future of our State and LandCorp is there to help make this happen.” BC Landcorp: (08) 9482 7499,

28 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

// words eamon moore, director, communications & operations

The Training Fund has introduced a range of new incentives for eligible employers of apprentices in construction trades, with up to $19,000 in cash now available to help reduce the costs of adding a new apprentice to your business. The minimum standard grant available to an eligible employer is now $4000 (for a 12-month traineeship), rising to a maximum of $10,000 for a 48-month apprenticeship in core construction trade areas.





In addition to the standard grants, the Training Fund can provide a one-off bonus to an eligible employer of up to $4000, depending on trade qualification. Existing allowances for employment of indigenous and regional trainees/apprentices remain, bringing the maximum grant available to a total of $19,000. The new grants are available to employers of trainees/ apprentices registered with the Department of Training & Workforce Development on or after July 1 2013. Direct indenture employers receive the grant in three equal instalments. The first is paid after probation and six months of employment; the second at the half-way point of the indenture and the final payment after successful completion of the qualification. Trade bonus payments – up to $4000 – are paid to the employer together with the first instalment. You’ll also receive the grant from the Training Fund if you host an apprentice through a group training organisation (GTO).

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 29


How the Construction Training Fund can reduce the costs of employing apprentices in WA’s building and construction industry.

THE BUILDERS CHOICE training & development


The Training Fund can provide a one-off bonus to an eligible employer of up to $4000.

The GTO claims the grant on your behalf each month and then passes it on to you in full as a reduction in the GTO’s hire-out rate. Look for the note on the GTO’s invoice that says “Less Construction Training Fund subsidy”. The new one-off trade bonuses will be claimed by GTOs after the apprentice has completed six months of employment, and then passed on in full to the host(s) that employed the apprentice. Visit or call 9244 0100 for more information about the Construction Training Fund’s apprenticeship grants and other support programs for the construction industry. It’s your training fund. BC Challenger Tafe: (08) 9239 8200,


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5 Easy steps on how to choose the best software When purchasing any computer software or hardware you should plan for the future, so base your decisions on what you would like your business to be doing 5 or 10 years from now, not what you are doing today. 1. Establish a ‘must have’ and ‘nice to have’ list Your must have list should be short and outline features that are absolutely necessary 2. Clarify your budget Set a budget and allow for other expenses such as an upgrade to your additional hardware 3. Reduce your options Now that you have you ‘must have’ and nice to have’ lists and a budget – it’s time to reduce your options. Go through your product list and eliminate items that lack features come up with 2 or 3 products that are a good fit 4. Evaluate the options Determine which products deliver the most features from your ‘nice to have’ list. Are there add-ons that you can purchase at a later date? 5. Choose your finalists Now that you have a just a handful of products left to evaluate, it’s time to see them in action. If possible, book a demonstration Constructor software is designed by builders for builders we’re long-time members of the HIA and MBA and already the natural choice for almost 1,000 users around Australia If you would like a Free online demo please contact us www. ADVERTORIAL SUPPLIED BY CLIENT

30 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

THE BUILDERS CHOICE training & development

It’s your business to register.

If you employ workers in the construction industry you may be required by law to register in the Construction Industry Long Service Leave Scheme. Find out by visiting or by calling 08 9476 5400.

Innovative building studies programs Builders Training of Western Australia provides customised, flexible, innovative building studies programs and respond to industry education needs. We can provide direction and guidance in an education pathway and destination for you and or your employees. The registered training organisation (RTO) provides Builders Registration legislative training requirements to three categories – individuals, owner-builders and managers and supervisors within the building and construction sector. “As most of our students are busy contractors, our program enables them to complete the course in a shorter period than that of a typical structure of public RTO within our sector”, Mr Jones said. “We offer our courses in skills sets, making the most of clustering and contextualising the subjects, which is appreciated by the students.” Course’s and training provided; • CPC Training Package - Diploma and Certificate IV Building and Construction qualifications • Building Practitioners and Services Contractor Registration WA legislative prescribed training course • Skills Recognition process for workplace knowledge in low rise and medium rise construction. • A process for recognition on prior learning if your qualifications are old and you are actively engaged in the industry. • Customised distance learning and “face to face” skills knowledge training for Certificate IV to Diploma level qualifications. • Construction Training Fund (formerly BCTIF) funded short courses which we have 12 you can choose from which include some

• •

Certificate IV subjects, Estimating, Building Codes Australia Vol 1 and 2 training, Legislative requirements, Tendering fundamentals, Builders sketching, Contract Administration, Project Supervision, Safety Management and Construction Induction Training (white card). Company traineeship programs in the Cert IV Building and Construction – Site Management. Owner builders training Certificate

In addition to providing higher qualification level 4 and 5 vocational education and training (VET), BTWA offers customised skill sets at varying intervals throughout the year, which enables regional students to come to the facility for specific industry learning. “One of our aims is to facilitate an enjoyable journey of academic achievement and self-development.” Our lecturer’s have many years training experience and an enormous range of knowledge and skills within the building industry. “We consider our knowledge of the marketplace and clients as an important tool for success,” BTWA Chief Executive Officer Wayne Jones said. With our recent move to Myaree, we now have 2 modern training rooms; our large group training room can cater for up to 14 participants, with our smaller one ideal for up to 6 participants. These rooms are also available for hire. We are now located 5 minutes from the Freeway, with easy access via Leach Highway or South Street For more information contact Sharon or Sharee on 9337 6000, email or visit

(08) 9337 6000 I I The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 31


Developing words of wisdom In the world of the developer, many things can go wrong. But not all developers are built the same.

// words rocky amatulli

Numerous definitions can be found for “oracle”. One that seems most applicable for property development and project management company Oracle is “a person or thing regarded as an infallible authority on something”. And in times when finance, development and building are often very uncertain, it is reassuring to find a company that is knowledgeable and reliable. Oracle Projects has its inception in late 2012, but in reality it has been many years in the making as it draws on the vast knowledge and experience of its founders – John Norup and Dave Wilson. John (an engineer and registered builder) has previously held senior management positions at well-established and successful commercial building companies and was instrumental in one of those companies expanding nationally. Dave is an experienced estimator who studied engineering, architecture and law before qualifying as a quantity surveyor. The conflict which often exists in development is the trade-off between quality of product and good project returns for the developer. Maximising returns by cutting quality to reduce costs or conversely adding costly features and quality

32 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

to maximise sale price carry their own risks on a development. Ideally, developments with lower costs and more quality would be the winning combination – but not one that can often be achieved by developers. But Oracle is proving that it is possible to have both by focusing on efficiencies in both the structure and services. What Oracle brings its projects in the way of wisdom and knowledge is its understanding of “project buildability” through clever design. The company drives its projects (which include urban redevelopment and medium density apartment projects) from feasibility through to handover. Whilst Oracle engages sub-consultants such as architects, engineers, planners, etc, it at all times assumes full responsibility for guiding those consultants and the project’s outcomes to ensure maximum yield and returns from their sites. This is then not to say Oracle is simply interested in achieving the greatest number of apartments from a site as an example. Oracle is firmly focused on delivering the highest quality product to the market. An example of this is one of its residential apartment projects where the ceiling heights in living areas are close to three metres high – virtually unheard of in today’s apartment development market. The company constantly reviews and improves on designs within a project – both from space planning and construction cost viewpoints. It has developed many space and cost saving techniques which maximise storage, improve wet area locations and increase apartment sizes when others say it can’t be done. It is this application of experience and tenacity that takes a project from being merely average, to being unique. “That scale of lateral thinking that we apply takes time and effort but yields dividends,” says Dave. And why is it so important to Oracle that its projects yield dividends? Firstly, Oracle finances its own projects, so it carries

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Above: Oracle Projects directors John Norup and Dave Wilson

What Oracle brings its projects in the way of wisdom and knowledge is its understanding of “project buildability” through clever design. the greatest risk. Secondly, and more importantly to Oracle, it is also responsible to its joint venture investors and partners. Oracle takes this on board as a great responsibility and so the level and extent of reporting back to other stakeholders is again taken to a new level when compared to some other development companies and projects. “With investors having up to a 50 percent stake in our larger projects, we have a self-imposed mandate to professionally manage and report on ongoing expenditure, milestones and returns on our projects to those investors,” says John. The Oracle directors also understand that delivering a first-class residential product for example doesn’t mean that their job is done. The apartment market is strong but there is always pressure and competition for buyers when it comes to price, so knowing what to build and at what price to market it (usually at a point some years into the future when the development is completed) can be a challenge, as can be the rental return an investor can expect from having purchased a residential apartment. Additionally, strata fees and levies can adversely affect an outcome for investor purchasers, so Oracle factors all this into their feasibility to ensure the optimum design and quality outcomes required – again to ensure healthy returns and a worthy product for the market which distinguishes Oracle. And as important as knowing what to do is, it is also about knowing what not to do. There have been occasions when Oracle has walked away from a potential project which hasn’t met the directors’ stringent criteria – either because of the location or the project wasn’t viable, or simply because it wasn’t viable for Oracle but may have better-suited another developer with different criteria. John is quoted as saying that “sometimes the best projects are the ones that you walk away from.” Testament to this belief is that Oracle spends a significant

amount of its time on project feasibility to avoid wasting its own (and its investors) money and other resources on projects with less-than-expected returns. Both the directors of Oracle believe developers need to work harder for their clients, and should strive to become more efficient. This in turn improves returns on projects, but also produces a better product. The directors also believe alternative methods of construction need to be investigated and eventually incorporated into projects – again with the aim of improving the product for the market and simultaneously providing stronger returns. Oracle is so confident of its ability to identify sites and develop them to deliver an outstanding project, that the company even provides its skills to other companies and individuals. Its project management services are currently being used on a variety of projects including residential apartments, hotels, land subdivisions and commercial. Oracle’s own current project portfolio includes Ace Apartments (www. which consists of 83 residential units in Rivervale and the recently acquired 893 Canning Highway site, within the Canning Bridge Precinct. If Oracle is seeking to have a (positive) point of difference in the development industry, it certainly has a number of them to draw upon. The directors of Oracle are going to brand their projects as having been ‘designed and delivered by Norup and Wilson’. Putting their own names as a stamp on every development they do is a brave move but it signifies their strong belief in their brand, their skills and the quality of their product. We look forward to the launch of their brand and in years to come, you may well remember this article as the first mention of this ‘famous brand.’ BC Oracle Projects: (08) 9315 1513,

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 33


Subcontracts: why the legal details are so important // words les buchbinder, partner, bowen buchbinder vilensky

While there’s nothing new about subcontracting, the extent to which it occurs has increased significantly in recent years. There are a few reasons for this: the growing sophistication of construction methods requiring specialised providers; ever-shortening construction horizons, demanding more, different types of work within tight timescales; clients willing to be more flexible to get their work done. But what does all of this mean to construction companies and sub-contractors? Who is legally responsible when things go wrong? And what are the consequences of a breach of contract? Subcontracting: the legal basics A subcontract is an agreement between a contractor and a third party for that third party to perform some, or all, of the contractor’s

34 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

obligations under the ‘‘head contract’’ that exists between the contractor and the proprietor/owner, who we will refer to here as the client. There is a personal, legal relationship between the contractor and the subcontractor, which is distinct from the relationship between the contractor and the client. The continued existence of a subcontract may depend on the continuation of the head contract. But the rights of the parties to a subcontract will be determined by the terms of the subcontract alone and not by the terms and conditions of the head contract. The contractor remains responsible to the client for all aspects of the subcontract. It is up to the contractor to manage the subcontractor in terms of quality management, payment and so on, irrespective of any problem that may arise between themselves and the client. The key point here is that there are two separate contracts at work. The matching or integration of similar “back to back” obligations is often unsatisfactory, giving rise to delays in the completion of the works and disputes between the parties concerned. For example, if a subcontractor installs an air-conditioning system throughout an office building based on a certain cooling capacity, and if the client rejects the system because it fails to meet specifications in the head agreement, which the contractor failed to include in the sub-contract agreement, a dispute will arise. In my experience, this cause of disputes is not infrequent.

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Proper legal advice should be obtained for contractor and subcontractor agreements to make sure that they are not only legally binding and effective, but clearly understood.

‘Pay if paid’ vs ‘pay when paid’ Subcontracts frequently contain clauses saying that a subcontractor will receive a progress payment only when the contractor has been paid by the client. These clauses often cause difficulty, especially if it is unclear if the contractor has been paid, or if a payment covers the work done by the subcontractor. Subcontractors typically have little way to find out if such payments have been made, or to force the client to pay the contractor so that they in turn can be paid. Payments clauses are usually construed in one of two ways, namely: The receipt by the contractor of the payment is a condition precedent to the obligation of the contractor to make payment to the subcontractor (“pay-if-paid”) clause; or The receipt by the contractor of payment merely fixes the time at which the contractor is obliged to discharge his or her or its obligation to pay the subcontractor (“pay-when-paid”) clause. Where a contractor has a pay-when-paid clause and non payment by the client causes the payment procedure to fail, the Court will imply an obligation on the part of the contractor to pay within a reasonable period of time. Generally a clause ought be regarded as a payment-when-paid clause rather than a pay-if-paid clause unless it is expressly said otherwise in clear terms in the subcontract. As there is no contractual relationship between the client and the subcontractor, a client cannot discharge his or her contractual obligation to make payment to the contractor by paying the subcontractor directly. What’s more, the subcontractor can’t get the client to pay them directly. However, the head contract may make provision for circumstances in which the client is entitled or may be obligated to pay the subcontractor directly. These clauses will generally be very strictly construed by the courts and will require very clear wording before the courts will enforce such an obligation. Where direct payment provision is discretionary, then the subcontractor will not generally be able to prevent the client from making a payment to the contractor. The existence of a subcontract does not give rise to a relationship between the subcontractor and the client. However, if there is a collateral contract or warranty, then the subcontractor may be contractually liable to the client. Unlike some other states, in Western Australia there is no specific provision for the protection of subcontractors. What happens when contracts are breached? Under standard form contracts, the client is empowered to direct a contractor during the performance of the work to open up the work for inspection and test and to require rectification of defective work. The failure to comply with such a direction amounts to a breach of contract. This may entitle a client to take over or suspend the work, to determine a contract for breach or in some instances to undertake the rectification work themselves at the expense of the contractor. A subcontractor may become involved in the process of

rectifying the defective work if they were responsible for it. The terms and conditions of the subcontract between the contractor and subcontractor will determine the extent to which the subcontractor is liable to remedy the defective work and the timeframe for the same. Failure by the subcontractor to do so is likely to amount to a breach of the subcontract. In addition or alternatively, there may be other remedies open to the contractor to enforce the terms of the contract or to seek redress from the subcontractor. Some of the remedies that may be open to a contractor against a subcontractor include: • An order requiring specific performance of the subcontract terms; • The court may order damages to be paid; • The court may order rectification work to be undertaken under the subcontract; • The court may set aside the subcontract agreement or grant certain declaratory or injunctive relief. In the case of point 3 above, rectification may be very costly especially in cases like that involving defective plumbing, which required the expensive marble cladding to be removed, and walls to be partly demolished to replace pipework, before rectification of the walls themselves – all at the subcontractors’ expense. In addition to the above, if it is demonstrated that the subcontract is entered into as a result of misleading or deceptive conduct or as a result of unconscionable conduct under the Australian Consumer Law (previously known as the Trace Practices Act 1974 ) under the Fair Trading Act 1987, then the court has powers to even set aside the contract or subcontract altogether. Similar powers are conferred on the Building Disputes Committee in Western Australia in dealing with domestic building work disputes. Summary It is up to the contractor to supervise the work of subcontractors to ensure that obligations under the head contract are met. Subcontracting may require approval of the client, unless there is specific provision provided in the head contract permitting this without prior consent. It is essential that subcontractors understand they may become liable for damages or other remedies if they deliver a defective result. Both contractors and subcontractors should fully understand their contractual obligations to each other and to the client. It is also essential that there be clearly understood lines of communication and effective management to avoid a subcontractor producing defective work which results in the client rejecting the work and placing the contractor in breach of the head contract. This will almost certainly have consequential claims against one or more subcontractors. Proper legal advice should be obtained for contractor and subcontractor agreements to make sure that they are not only legally binding and effective, but clearly understood. BC BBV Legal: (08) 9325 9644,

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 35


Yes Minister! Dumas House gets another lease of life as it becomes home to the current State Government’s Ministers – improving public access to Government services.

// words rocky amatulli





36 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Dumas House, on Kings Park Road in West Perth, was constructed in the mid 1960s and is Heritage Council of WA-listed. The building has two basement levels, a ground floor with entry lobby and support areas, and 14 office accommodation levels. Originally called “Government Building”, the building was named Dumas House in February 1978 in honour of Sir Russell Dumas, Director of Works and Buildings for the Public Works Department between 1941 and 1953. As part of the WA Government’s Office Accommodation Strategy, Dumas House offered viable accommodation options, allowing the Government to quit its lease of Governor Stirling Tower. The refurbishment of Dumas House is part of the Government Office Accommodation Master Plan that aims to collate agencies where possible into precincts in the CBD and CBD fringe, and move other agencies out to metropolitan activity centres. This will improve public access to Government services and achieve better value in leasing and operational costs.


The refurbishment included modifications and fitout of the basement levels, the ground floor lobby and 13 of the 14 office levels. The entry facade and foyer were also upgraded to improve their functionality.

The termination date for Governor Stirling Tower was set and refurbishment of 22,000 square metres of essential base building upgrade works and office accommodation became a project. Critical occupancy dates were identified and fast-track design and construction programmes developed to ensure ministers were relocated on time and with the least possible inconvenience. Accommodating 13 ministers, three major departments and a media broadcasting centre, the Dumas House refurbishment needed to be completed to a very high level of finish. The refurbishment included modifications and fitout of the basement levels, the ground floor lobby and 13 of the 14 office levels. The entry facade and foyer were also upgraded to improve their functionality.

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 37


The resultant planning of the new office environment provides spaces for creativity and cohesion. The built forms located close to the central core accommodate meeting rooms, offices and utilities.

The upgrade of the building includes a new fire sprinkler system, hydrant system and electrical generator, and other compliance changes to meet new codes and standards. GHD was subsequently commissioned by Building Management and Works to prepare a Project Definition Plan to define the scope, schedule and budget. GHD was then commissioned to project manage the design and delivery stages. Furthermore the GHD interior design team was appointed (as a joint venture partner with Interiors Australia Group) to provide full architectural and interior design services. Ministerial offices had to be relocated from Governor Stirling Tower before the lease expired. Well before that happened however, the existing Dumas House tenant agencies had to be relocated before the refurbishment works could begin. In order to expedite the project, the base building works and early demolition were actually undertaken whilst in a partially occupied state. Accordingly, noise, vibration and shared lift access aspects needed tight management and planning. Additionally, the project

38 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

required the design standards, work quality and site security to be managed as essential requirements within a tight design period. The project included 64 separable portions to ensure predictability of relocation dates for Ministerial offices. Reprogramming of scopes of work within original schedules was necessary and extensive night works were utilised. “Completion on time” was the primary driver with both the Department of Premier and Cabinet and Public Sector Standards Commission, plus several Ministerial Offices needing to be vacated from previous premises by June 30 2012. Secondary drivers included the quality of finish, security during construction and “minimal disruption to tenants” during the extensive decanting program. Decant plans were updated fortnightly as latent defects rectification works were managed in parallel with new fit out works. Aesthetically and functionally, the key design objective was to create a dynamic, open-plan office environment to promote a shift in the office culture. In addition, the design needed


to embrace leading sustainable technologies and materials, maximise space efficiency without compromising utilisation or staff satisfaction, capitalise on the external views and light penetration to the benefit of all staff, and meet the tight timeframe constraints. The resultant planning of the new office environment provides spaces for creativity and cohesion. The built forms located close to the central core accommodate meeting rooms, offices and utilities. Open-plan workstations surround this central built zone and encourage collaboration and discussion amongst staff where linear workstations allow for greater visibility and access throughout the floors. In addition, the planning provides much improved daylight penetration and a shared external view for the majority of staff. The flexible breakout and staff kitchen facilities satisfy multi-functional user requirements and provide additional light and welcoming spaces for staff interaction. This clever layering of the built elements provides transparency and visibility. The new office fitout satisfies the clients’ cost constraints, sustainability and functional requirements whilst also achieving a modern aesthetic that brings four generations together in a working environment that caters for all; creating a stimulating workplace environment that will meet the client’s practical project objectives. Procurement planning identified the need to shorten the design project delivery period. It was decided to proceed with 80 percent documentation and to reduce the normal construction period to 80 percent. The use of provisional sums and provisional quantities within a fully-costed Bill of Quantities covered the 20 percent of documentation component and the acknowledgement by the client of a cost premium for the shortened construction period ensured the project met its objectives. The final project includes 13 Ministerial offices with security, conferencing and sound attenuation features incorporated into an existing building. The creation of a modern digital media and broadcasting studio in the basement with separate media and Ministerial entries and lobbies was created around the existing structural elements of the building. When asked what they learnt from this challenging project, GHD said: “Managing quality of finish within tight timeframes relies on a co-operative working relationship with the main contractor. On this particular project, Broad Constructions were exceptional at managing change during the project, considering that the number of client change requests did not necessarily reduce despite their awareness of the tight timeframes.” BC

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GHD: (08) 6222 8222,

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 39


Wundowie’s latest wonder Originally built in 1949, the Wundowie St John Ambulance facility undergoes a well-overdue reconstruction. // words rocky amatulli // images courtesy of JWH Group





40 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Wundowie was gazetted as a town in 1947 and most of the residences there are timber-framed and fibro-lined, as was the existing St John facility. It was built in response to population growth as more people came to work in the charcoal, iron and steel industries. The recent St John Wundowie project was brought about as a result of St John Ambulance management identifying that the existing premises (which served as the ambulance station since 1949) were no longer practical for the ongoing presence and growth of St John’s provision of ambulance and first aid services in the local community. The JWH Group, in close association with St John Ambulance management, carried out full design and construction of the Wundowie premises. The senior project manager was Gary Gordon and the Rural Building Company (a JWH Group divisional brand specialising in unique and individually designed projects) was responsible for the build. Michael Longman and Steve Summerhayes were the representatives for St John. Primarily, the St John Wundowie project was one aimed at producing a modern energy efficient building which provided comfort of occupancy, a reduction in ongoing operational costs and a continuation of the long standing interaction between St John and the surrounding communities it serviced. The client


The recent St John Wundowie project was brought about as a result of St John Ambulance management identifying that the existing premises were no longer practical for the ongoing presence and growth of St John’s provision of ambulance and first aid services in the local community.

brief required the new premises to carry a degree of harmony with the surrounding area and landscape but also to present a contemporary appeal in its own right. Feedback from many visitors and observers would suggest this was achieved. In contrast to conventional building methodologies, St John Wundowie was constructed using lightweight Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) for all walls and the roof. The SIP concept is simple; it is a fully engineered, structural strength, pre-manufactured panel system delivered onto site ready for assembly. Manufactured as a unit, each panel comprises two outer timber facings and a central polystyrene foam insulation core. The outer facings are Orientated Strand Board (OSB/3) and are engineered using timber from the routine thinning of managed plantations. The SIP system allows for multiple trade activities simultaneously once the panels are erected. In using the lightweight SIP building methodology, the system provides

a completed environment which allows for a high level of occupier comfort and a reduction in annual running costs. The SIP technology also enabled the building to be constructed without the need for additional costs of an air-conditioning system. Sweep fans have been utilised to encourage air movement, solar heating incorporated for hot water supply and energy efficient glazing used on selected elevations. Co-ordinating trades and materials involved a high degree of scheduling for the project to progress smoothly. The dedicated Gary Gordon was the linchpin in ensuring trades, suppliers and materials were managed to provide maximum productivity without compromising progress or quality. All walls and the roof on this build are lightweight SIP. External linings are James Hardie fibre cement and Colorbond and the roof cover Colorbond. The internal linings are plasterboard, with full height tiling to the bathroom and ablutions. The SIP’s light weight offers obvious advantages in terms of

Save building time and costs with SIPS pre-manufactured panels St John Ambulance Wundowie Project. Erection of Structural Insulate Panel Walls (SIP’s Industries Bibra Lake)

Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), by SIPs Industries are a pre-manufactured panel used in construction as a proven alternative to more traditional building materials such as brick, timber and steel frame. The technology has been utilised successfully worldwide for more than 40 years. SIPs Industries panels are extremely strong, eliminating the need for traditional framing. The panels are also heavily insulated providing an energy efficient and comfortable building. SIPS Industries SIPS have been successfully utilised in both commercial and residential buildings. SIPS Industries manufactures SIP panels from their factory located in Bibra Lake, Perth. SIPS Industries had the pleasure of being involved in the St Johns Ambulance build in Wundowie. Working closely with JWH we were able to deliver the following benefits meeting the needs of the client. • High level of occupier comfort • Reduced annual running costs • Energy efficient – eliminated the need for airconditioning • Speedy construction • Reduced number of trades

SIPS Industries Australia Pty Ltd I 30a Renewable Chase, Bibra Lake, WA 6163, Australia Phone: +61 8 9494 2211 I Fax: +61 8 9494 2202 I Email: I


The St John Wundowie project was one aimed at producing a modern energy efficient building which provided comfort of occupancy, a reduction in ongoing operational costs and a continuation of the long standing interaction between St John and the surrounding communities it serviced.


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transport and handling, but one of the main benefits of using the SIP system (manufactured in Western Australia by SIPS Industries) is the reduction of the number of trades required and the speed with which a project can be completed. Typically, the complete system is delivered to site ready for assembly by fully qualified construction teams, alleviating the problems of scheduling trades and offering substantially reduced completion time. Through the use of this emerging SIP technology the suppliers and installers on this project provided a demonstration of its effectiveness in meeting regional and remote building requirements in an extremely timely manner - taking 72 calendar days, or 50 working days from “slab down” to project completion. Parent company, the JWH Group, fields a growing number of enquiries from a variety of persons and organisations who

• Construction Sites • Demolition Sites • Outdoor Events • Insurance Work • WA Owned & Operated

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42 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


have educated themselves on the SIP building methodology and technology. Whilst still a “boutique” market, JWH assess all potential projects on their merits. Clients such as the Department of Housing, Toxfree and, now, St John Ambulance are to be applauded for their foresight in considering, and applying, alternative, and energy efficient building methods. Special projects and compliance manager Howard Finn says: “I’ve been in the industry for over 30 years, 26 years of those running my own company providing post-construction services

to domestic builders and carrying out commercial building works and renovations. The last five years I’ve been with the JWH Group doing research and development, plus compliance management. From the outset the use of SIP was viewed as a research and development project by our group. “The St John Ambulance project essentially finalised that research component and moves the technology into development with a future view towards the broader retail housing and commercial markets. At present the SIP technology

Lic No. EC8160


Tel: 0413 343 258

Fax: (08) 9529 2326 19 Corvette Close, WAIKIKI WA 6169 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 43


“The St John Ambulance project essentially finalised that research component and moves the technology into development with a future view towards the broader retail housing and commercial markets.”

is establishing itself as a very viable alternative to conventional practice but a greater base of SIP familiar trades and contractors needs to be formed to allow for cost reductions which follow as a result of a larger, and more competitive labour and supplier pool. JWH looks forward to developing relationships with similar, progressively minded, clients.” The JWH Group is an entirely Western Australian, family owned organisation. JWH Group Pty Ltd has grown from employing 120 office staff in 2003, to currently 650 staff and more than 1000 subcontractors. A composite group of building companies in 12 locations, with an even spread between metropolitan and regional areas, the group is one of Australia’s largest home builders and has an annual turnover

of approximately $400 million. JWH Group brands include Plunkett Homes, Residential Attitudes. Oswald Homes, WA Country Builders, The Rural Building Company & Residential Building W.A. For the Rural Building Company, the Wundowie project followed on from previous contracts carried out for the Western Australia Department of Housing (three two-storey homes and four single villas) and a commercial office facility for Toxfree (an ASX listed company) in the Kwinana industrial area. BC JWH Group Pty Ltd & The Rural Building Company: (08) 9464 7800,

Phone: 6252 3750

Commercial / Residential Plumbing Renovations / New Builds Gas Services and Installations Backflow Installation, Maintenance & Testing Storm Water

Phone: 6252 3700

CRAIG WEBSTER – 0451 421 901 19 Amos Road, Wanneroo WA 6065

44 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

PH: 13 15 40


Services come first

Setting a new benchmark in offices, GHD raises the bar with ISIS’s new Perth office fitout. // words rocky amatulli





GHD’s client, ISIS Perth, is located at the Durack Centre on Adelaide Terrace in Perth. Sitting in Perth’s CBD, the office resides within an existing building which recently received a Green Star Office Design rating and achieved a 4 NABERS Energy rating for the base building. As a leading fitout company, ISIS was committed to achieving a 5 Star rating using Green Star – Office Interiors v1.1, developed by the Green Building Council of Australia. The total net leasable area (NLA) occupied by ISIS’ Perth office is 1244 square metres, with seven secure car spaces also allocated, along with a secure bicycle storage facility. There is also a bicycle rack on the ISIS floor. ISIS obtained the lease for two outdoor balconies, approximately 500 square metres on either side of the tenancy. GHD was instrumental in meeting all of the major engineering requirements for the project (which encompassed mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, structural and energy modelling). Naturally, the builder for the fitout was ISIS Group themselves. Given ISIS’ understanding of the importance of the workplace environment, the brief for their office demanded a high level of sustainability, along with providing their staff with an inviting work space and great staff amenities such as the breakout area which includes a sunken lounge, pool table and gaming console encouraging staff to interact more.

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 45


GHD considers the ISIS Perth fitout a new benchmark for office fitouts within the Perth commercial office market...The project has exceptional finishes and first-class integration of building engineering services. Though extremely experienced with this type of project, GHD was cognisant of working in an existing building and integrating the new features, and also working with existing building engineering services. Significant engineering analysis was undertaken by GHD to ensure that new systems would deliver the required results. GHD was then able to develop a number of design solutions for the building engineering services. These solutions were based upon the proven use of modern technology which met the functional requirements of the building occupants. In this case, key criteria included flexible operations, reliability and energy efficiency whilst providing improved indoor air quality conditions, and ensuring the outdoor balconies could be used in the form of “breakout” areas. Mechanical services To achieve the client’s mechanical services requirements, considerable effort was invested to develop a design that was flexible enough to maintain separation during “fire mode” and also provided the opportunity to operate on economy cycle. Some key design aspects included: • Increasing outside air requirements for the base building HVAC systems. This involved upgrading the standard filtration system to 150 percent above standard outdoor fresh air requirements and is an important aspect of improving indoor air quality. • Carbon dioxide monitoring of the boardroom and meeting

46 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

rooms - this allowed the modulation of outside air to these supplementary units based on the measured CO2 values already present inside the meeting rooms. This ensures optimum occupant conditions plus the reduction of energy consumption due to conditioning excessive outside air. A naturally ventilated breakout area - the design of the supplementary HVAC system allowed the system to cater for approximately 120 people within the breakout space during staff and client functions and its controller was interlocked with the manually-operated bi-fold doors, disengaging the unit once the doors were open for more than 30 seconds. The ISIS office also required extensive modifications to its fire systems to ensure the breakout area and general office maintained the required level of fire separation. Print room exhausts - these were installed to ensure that any ozone produced during printing/photocopying was directly exhausted from the office, once again providing improved indoor air quality for occupants.

Electrical services Due to the reduced levels of permitted energy consumption within the tenancy, significant effort was made to decrease the total energy consumption overall. Key aspects of the electrical design included: • Task lighting, which was incorporated into the workstation design. This allowed the general office lighting to be designed for a lower overall lux level while still maintaining the required levels for workstation working surfaces, in


accordance with the applicable Australian standards. • Use of laptop computers. Due to the nature of ISIS’ business, most staff members attend construction sites on a daily basis. The use of laptops provides flexibility for staff, together with the reduced energy expenditure from using laptops versus a standard desktop PC. • Energy modelling (NABERS prediction). Due to the critical nature of predicting energy consumption, ongoing modelling assisted with the selection of energy-efficient office equipment through to the selection of fridges, coffee machines and plasma display screens.

As a final comment, GHD says: “Collaboration is the key to delivering good outcomes; GHD built a very good relationship with ISIS, which was a real benefit in delivering the project. Working for GHD exposes our team to a wide diversity of projects and industry sectors. Some of our current projects include the Perth City Link Rail Project, the Mundaring Waste Water Treatment Plant and the City Beach Surf Club.” BC GHD: (08) 6222 8222,

Hydraulics services Significant and sophisticated hydraulic design was required to ensure the hydraulic services complied with Green Star requirements. Key aspects of the hydraulics design included: • Showers and changing facilities - to improve “end of trip” facilities for occupants, the tenancy includes its own dedicated showers and changeroom, thus requiring the design to include water-efficient fixtures. • A green wall - the installed green wall was the first of its kind to be incorporated in a WA commercial building and only the second in Australia at the time. This particular green wall is one of the few types which is fully automatic and contains its own mechanical plant, including a circulating pump and filtration system. (GHD has seen green walls become more popular in recent years, however most rely upon a manual watering and maintenance process. The team believes that further use of the automated technology will see designers and tenants increase the use of plants to improve the indoor air and moisture conditions). GHD considers the ISIS Perth fitout a new benchmark for office fitouts within the Perth commercial office market, and provided a number of engineered design features which tenants will be keen to explore further in the future. The project has exceptional finishes and first-class integration of building engineering services. The fitout also utilised a significant amount of recycled material such as carpets and the timber workstations, which enhance the sustainability statement that ISIS sought.

p. 08 9446 1120 e. 16/15 Carbon Court Osborne Park WA 6017 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 47

RESIDENTIAL 48 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


Small block, big result Designed and built to sit perfectly on an 8.5m-wide block, this exceptional Perth home feels far grander than its width would suggest. // words rocky amatulli // images cado lee photography





This project came about when Brian Burke Homes managing director Michael Burke approached designer Mario Tascone to develop an initial design concept for a small lot home for a good friend of his. The site (facing a park in Churchlands) was 263 square metres in size, but carried special conditions allowing the home to be built with a zero lot line on three boundaries. This afforded the designer a great advantage as it allowed the same size building as would be possible on a much larger lot if one had to adhere to the usual setbacks. With this project, Michael wanted to make a landmark statement on small lot homes, as his company is generally well known for very large luxurious homes but not for small lot construction. The design brief included some fairly obvious requirements, dictated by the site; the outlook onto the park was paramount and the rear access into the garage and home needed to be functional. Internally, the living areas although smallish, needed

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 49


The design and construction of the home are unique, but combined with highly technical components and an extremely high level of finish, makes it a truly exceptional property.

to feel generous and the building simple to construct but had to still create impact with a sleek, cool and minimalist park-end elevation. Additionally, the client had a list of specific requirements; they wanted the design to allow as much northern light in as possible, capitalise on the parkland views, incorporate a swimming/plunge pool, have a totally open plan where the indoors and outdoors were seamlessly joined, include a ‘‘chef’s’’ kitchen, have plenty of storage, and could be easily locked up and left secure so that they could travel without having to worry. On top of all that, the design had to comply with the subdivision development’s principals and rules. Given this extensive list of requirements, Tascone Design Team (along with input from Brian Burke Homes) created an interesting design that worked well for the client and gave the builder a great platform with which to showcase its expertise. Brian Burke Homes then went on to develop the design further before completing all the required drawings (which included plumbing, electrical, lighting, ceilings and cabinetwork), engineering, specification, materials and finishes, and the contract documentation. The company’s role also included obtaining council approvals and quotes for all work. This did not however mean that all the hurdles had been overcome. The size of the lot and the possibility of the neighbouring homes being started before this home (thus impeding access) provided a further degree of challenge for the project. So Brian Burke Homes commenced building in earnest. Parapet boundary walls served to increase the internal size of the rooms and large front windows help connect the home

50 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

with the park. The upper floor main bedroom and lower floor living rooms face and view the park. The kitchen layout and location, the large front windows connecting the home to the park and the minimalistic modern façade, all work in unison. The park outlook and the internal courtyard with pool were very important in adding light and the feeling of space into the home, and so became focal elements of the design and construction. The internal courtyard lends outdoor privacy to the home while enhancing the illusion of space to the home. The courtyard’s pool (now a major feature) connected the whole interior of the home to the alfresco. Fitting a swimming pool and a reasonably sized home on an 8.5m-wide block wasn’t particularly easy to achieve - not only due to its size or required precision, but also due to the fact that the whole home is effectively built around it. Good design certainly helped maximise the size of this feature, but from the builder’s perspective, being organised enough to be the first builder in the development so that they had room to manoeuvre made all the difference during construction. Feature-wise, one is immediately drawn to any number of interesting details - the pool and water wall certainly being one. The two-storey blade wall finished in large fully vitrified tiles which extends from the entry upwards again provides a dramatic connecting statement between the home’s two levels. The adjacent floating staircase with its Eiffel Tower graphics is another focal feature which complements but does not take away from the blade wall. The bifold doors that open the inside out to the alfresco (without any step between the two areas), the concealed laundry, and the extra-long windows in the top floor passage that allow a view to the pool and sky (but block


out the neighbours’ properties) – all of these elements work together in unison to reinforce the notion of light and space. The material palette includes natural finishes such as Ironbark timber floors which marry in with contemporary etched glass, honed concrete paving, glass tiles, and complex aluminium joinery, both internally and externally. The design and construction of the home are unique, but combined with highly technical components and an extremely high level of finish, makes it a truly exceptional property. When asked about his view on small lots such as this one, Mario Tascone says: “Small-lot designs can work as long as council conditions allow setback concessions and the client is open to creative design solutions. With these two points in mind, what is conceived as a small area to work with can be moulded into an interesting and spacious home like this one.” The builder, Brian Burke Homes, was established more than 30 years ago. Michael Burke initially began his career in the building industry working in the Northern Territory for five years, building in remote communities. Michael then started his own renovation company in 1990, selling it in 1994 to work for his father Brian at Brian Burke Homes. He then took over the running of Brian Burke Homes in 1996. Burke Homes offers its clients the design, documentation and construction of high-end top quality homes – irrespective of size. Known traditionally as a builder of large homes, the company has also successfully completed many other homes on smaller lots in East Perth and Subiaco, amongst other suburbs. The owners of this Churchlands home were extremely pleased with the final result and went on to allow Brian Burke Homes to bring prospective clients through their home. As a result, Brian Burke Homes have secured the design and construction of more similarly sized homes. Michael is also very pleased with the outcome of this project, particularly as the owners are friends of his. He believes that the layout, functionality and build quality of this home is as good as anything that his company produces. “Compared to the large, multi-million dollar homes we usually build,” says Michael, “this particular home proves that good things do also come in small packages.” BC


Brian Burke Homes: (08) 9387 7333, Tascone Design Team: (08) 9227 6719,

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 51


A Swift resolution There’s nothing underrated about this understated interior. // words rocky amatulli // images steve scott – scott image





52 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Western Australian architectural practice, Meyer Shircore and Associates Architects, once again use their combined architectural and interior design skills to produce another outstanding office building and fit out for client Swift Networks. This building, in Technology Park in Bentley, comprises a ground floor area of 300 square metres which accommodates foyer, tea prep, toilets, help desks, a comms room, two electronic assembly areas, and a warehouse. The 570 square metre first floor accommodates the office, sales, administration, meeting and staff facilities for Swift’s operation. As with all Meyer Shircore projects, the exterior of the building consists of complementary finishes selected to be practical and durable, but also add texture to the interesting facade and elevations of the building. The cantilevered balcony (which creates a breakout area from the boardroom on the first floor), and the adjoining offices on the south elevation, form an overhang to the entrance below. This overhanging first floor section of the south elevation is framed (clad) in Alucobond Indiana Copper. The finish and colour provide the perfect contrast to the darker Colourbond Monument cladding on the ground floor and running up to the first floor. The muted Colourbond sets the perfect scene and tones for the neutral interior to the building. This matches precisely with the client’s desire to have a simple, contemporary and timeless interior which is not too centred upon their corporate identity or branding. Also, given the client owns this building, they wanted the exterior and interior finishes to have longevity. The ground floor, being mainly assembly


and warehouse areas, has floors finished in sealed concrete for durability and practicality. The ground floor also has tiled finishes in the foyer, tea prep and toilet areas. The tiling continues into the first floor reception. Commercial sheet vinyl surrounds the stairwell on the first floor and this forms a central and open-plan staff breakout area. In order to further define this area Meyer Shircore opted to design an overhead feature ceiling comprising of painted MDF slats. The slats and linear slot panels forming the feature assist with the acoustic properties of the area. Even the stairs have been considered from an acoustic viewpoint in as far as the treads being finished with the quieter (but hardwearing) vinyl. One of the interior’s most striking features is its horizontal veined marble cladding to the lift core. This finish has been used on both the ground and first floors, and provides continuity between the two levels. The horizontal veins also emulate the pattern of the horizontal exterior aluminium louvres. Given that the marble is a natural material, great care and attention was given to the design and installation of this cladding. Interior designer, DeShanon Naoum says: “It took some time and effort to get the grain on adjoining sheets of marble to match seamlessly. In the end however, both we and the client are extremely pleased with the result.” In order to add a little more interest to what is predominantly a neutral interior, Meyer Shircore “played with textures”. They did this by adding finishes such as a metallic-look vinyl to the ottomans in the staff breakout area,

and via the abstract patterned carpet tiles. Perhaps, however, one of the most striking design features of the whole interior is the standalone staff kitchenette. This is located centrally, with one side facing the staff breakout area and the other side facing a meeting area. Each side of this quirky piece of cabinet work is different to the other, with one side containing a sink, billy unit and integrated refrigerator and dishwasher, and the other comprising of a built-in oven and microwave, with a coffee bench. This forms a perfect meeting hub for staff but also provides separation to the adjoining areas that its services. Overall the interior is functional, simple and minimal. “I feel that the interior caters perfectly to the client’s needs, and reflects the exterior architecture of the building. Certain design features within the fit out have been carefully considered in providing an identity for Swift Networks,” says DeShanon. The building was constructed by Buckingham Redevelopment Co. They were awarded the project based on their tender submission and acted as the Head Contractor/ Builder. This project was purpose-built for Swift, and therefore incorporates features such as specific floor finishes to create a dust-free environment. Led by the effective site leadership of construction manager Noel Buckingham, and site manager Bradley Ward, a key factor in achieving the objectives for the client was based around time performance and quality of workmanship.


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Tiling & Stone The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 53



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Equally however, the visual appeal (given the level, type and detail of finishes) was critical. As the building incorporated many intricate angles, Buckingham required setout, measurements and installation to be exact. Working with Meyer Shircore, Buckingham worked to overcome all project limitations and resolved any site constraints safely and effectively. Maintaining a project focus without any untoward surprises for stakeholders, avoiding disruptions and keeping to a tight timeframe were all part of the builder’s approach to the successful delivery of this building and interior. Buckingham Redevelopment Co. has been firmly established and successfully operating in the commercial construction sector in Western Australia for over 30 years. Noel Buckingham has developed the business to be a recognised and reliable construction company servicing the renovation and building industry. Noel is tremendously passionate towards his clients, his company’s people and the industry. He maintains a pragmatic approach to construction processes, fostering good relationships, and implementing new technologies – all important factors in delivering a successful project. Buckingham Redevelopment Co. has completed hundreds of projects across all sectors of industry, including new construction and many redevelopment projects. The company is recognised for being competitive, providing quality workmanship, and on-time performance. It understands that the objectives of the client are paramount to that success. BC Meyer Shircore & Associates Architects: (08) 9381 8511, Buckingham Redevelopment Co.: (08) 9248 4880,

P: 9201 0926 M: 0418 945 973 21 Ruse St, Osborne Park WA 6017

54 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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The light fantastic

Designed and built to look light and unobtrusive, this home sits peacefully in its beautiful rural setting. // words rocky amatulli





“My father was a carpenter, and as a teenager looking for an apprenticeship this seemed like the right choice of trade for me. I love working with timber and built timber-framed homes for years before I got my own builder’s registration,” says Bruce Siney of Dunsborough Construction, a family owned and run business. “We started Dunsborough Construction in 2006; I do all the costings, estimating, and supervise each home that is built and Ann-Louise, my wife, looks after the book-keeping and marketing. Although we have built some brick homes, our specialty is framed homes. We only run two or three projects at any one time, which allows us to maintain a high level of service and quality. We also carry out renovations/additions under the Dunsborough Home Improvements banner. “We are very lucky down here in the South West, as we have some beautiful, custom-designed timber framed homes being built on rural properties. As Dunsborough is so close to the beach, it is a town

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 55


where there are a lot of framed homes with a beach-house style. There are also more modern-style framed homes, using all the new claddings available; these look great.” Bruce met the owners, who already had their plans for the home drawn up, having been designed by Broadview Design. After an initial meeting and indicative costings being estimated, the project quickly moved into the construction phase. Dunsborough Construction was contracted to complete the build as per plans, with the owners installing the fireplace themselves. The project was completed within eight months. This single-storey home has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and was notably designed for open plan living, along with an open plan bathroom design. It is finished externally with Hardies’ “Matrix” compressed fibre cement panels and Colourbond cladding, although the large expanses of glazing on the rear elevation are also dominant. These large windows capture views of the block from both the living areas and the bedrooms; one could be mistaken for thinking that they are looking at large images of the outdoors. The largest of these

windows is 4.2 metres long and had to be craned in. Merbau decking was laid outside, allowing a smooth transition from nature outside to the verandahs of the home. The requirement for balustrading was avoided by building up the levels of the garden beneath the decking area, and therefore being within the limits of the relevant safety standards. This provides a floating appearance to the deck and structure above. Local granite stone, which blends in perfectly with the natural soil, was used to retain the garden. Internally, natural finishes and feels flow through the home. Lighter Marri timber was used for the floorboards, and a matching floating solid marri benchtop was used for the kitchen benchtop. The kitchen has two wide low-level windows just above the splashback height, which again frame and provide a scenic view out to the natural landscape. The light flooring and bright, white cupboards and ceiling all serve to make what is already a large open-plan area encompassing kitchen-meals-living seem even larger. Bathrooms are treated with a more “solid” palette of colours, having bold, dark,

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56 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Overall, the home has a very “light” appearance, though its construction and materials are testament to a very permanent and solid structure.


rectified tiles on the floors and walls. Having natural bronze tones helps add warmth to these rooms. The sharp-edged, rectangular tiles are perfectly suited to the style of the home, given its similar shape and proportions. The home has an overall clean uncluttered interior which is easy to manage (and enjoy) without feeling cold or uninviting. Overall, the home has a very “light” appearance, though its construction and materials are testament to a very permanent and solid structure. It seems to float above the surrounding landscape and complements the site. It is a reminder that sometimes a more stripped-back approach (rather than one of over-embellishment) serves both the owners and the environment better and provides a stronger, more lasting impression. In fact, so impressive was the home, it won the 2012 HIA South West Custom Built Home $400,001 to $500,000. The company also boasts an impressive list of other awards it has won over the years which include a number of HIA WA awards for Excellence in Service, Custom Built Home, Renovation/Additions and of course, Timber Framed Homes.

Currently Bruce and his team at Dunsborough Construction are working on two homes in the town. Both are framed homes, but each quite different from the other. The first is a single-storey “beach house” located within walking distance from the beach. This home is shaping up brilliantly (and can hopefully be featured in an upcoming edition of the magazine). The second is a large double-storey home featuring polished concrete floors and a solid concrete kitchen bench. This home will be modern and also very impressive (again, hopefully to be featured). Dunsborough Construction is an integral part of providing appropriate housing in the state’s South-West, and the homes they build are traditional in design and construction. The company prides itself in being referred to as “the timber frame specialist”. And so, it seems that the carpenter has taught his son well! BC Dunsborough Construction: (08) 9756 6964

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9752 1408 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 57


Bigger isn’t always best

58 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


Just like its builder Cicirello Homes, this home on a small site delivers much more than some of its bigger contemporaries. // words rocky amatulli // images stephen nicholls photography




This home, on a narrow site which slopes towards the back and required boundary-to-boundary construction in an established suburb with surrounding houses, was never going to be the easiest to build. To make matters even more interesting for the builder Cicirello Homes, the pool (which had to be constructed between the house and cabana) created further restrictions during the design and building process. When there is ample access on a larger lot, this isn’t usually a problem; but on a narrow and smaller lot it’s a completely different matter. Fortunately for the owners, Cicirello Homes is not only experienced in building new homes, but also has a history and matching portfolio in multi-unit developments. This meant that the company had encountered similar limited-access or difficult-to-build-on-site many times before and could therefore easily deal with this challenge. The client’s brief came with a list of requirements not unusual for a young and growing family; four bedrooms, two bathrooms; a large study; home theatre; an open plan living/dining/kitchen area; separate living zones for adults and children; entertaining integrating indoor and outdoor areas; and a pool – except all on a relatively tight site. This immediately meant that the home needed to be two storeys, which has other design and construction implications such as height, shadowing and overlooking adjoining properties. Designed specifically by Daniel Cassettai Designs to fulfil this family’s requirements (and desires), Cicirello Homes has built this vibrant Dianella home which for the owners now represents an easy to maintain and contemporary styled residence with great street appeal.


PH: 13 15 40

1300 360 344 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 59


From the outset, it is evident the home is custom-designed and meticulously built. The front elevation is clean and crisp, with simple lines and architectural restraint. The landscaping is similarly tailored and kept to the essential minimum so as not to overpower the home but instead to complement it. The rendered walls are mainly painted white, but the elevation is enhanced with a section of contrasting painted rendered wall, and some darker feature brickwork walls. The home boasts an expansive (and functional) front balcony – unlike many on homes which include balconies as more of a gesture than a practical space to furnish and enjoy – which is exactly what the owners of this home do! The feature brick on the front is cleverly integrated into the home to provide architectural continuity by forming part of the internal stairwell and adds a dramatic effect to the large open void above whilst connecting the home’s two levels. Internally, the finishes also comprise of predominantly white walls and ceilings, again complemented by mid-tones rather than stark, strong colours. Materials used include rectified porcelain floor and wall tiles, Caesarstone benchtops (kitchen), 2-pac gloss polyurethane and laminate (cabinetwork), and timber veneer (feature cupboards). This palette works to maximise reflected light throughout the home and adds to the feeling of space and openness. With the kitchen/dining/living area leading onto a generous alfresco area that overlooks the pool and beyond to the

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60 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

cabana (situated at the rear of the property), the sensation of spaciousness continues. The alfresco area also contains its own outdoor kitchen to enhance the area’s use and family’s experience. The exterior finishes add to the open and light feel of the interior. Here a combination of light-coloured materials has been selected, namely washed aggregate for the driveway and paths, and granite pavers to the pool surround and sun deck. The home is typical of the statement that Cicirello Homes creates for its clients; well-built homes with quality workmanship and attention to details. With a heritage of more than 40 years of building, and a management team of experienced and energetic professionals, the company is poised for producing more homes and developments for satisfied clients. As a family owned company, Cicirello Homes is focused on making homebuilding a personal and enjoyable journey. The company creates custom designs to suit its clients’ lifestyles, and also builds from other designers’ plans that clients may have had prepared. Cicirello Homes provides the highest quality workmanship and is committed to value that is guaranteed. It achieves this by only taking on a limited number of projects each year so that its staff can provide Cicirello Homes’ clients personalised attention from the start of each home to its finish – proving that bigger isn’t always best! BC Cicirello Homes: (08) 6267 5136, Daniel Cassettai Design: (08) 9201 9993,

From the outset, it is evident the home is custom-designed and meticulously built.


Bach to the future

This timber-framed home sits equally as comfortably in a beachside suburb south of Perth as it would in New Zealand.

// words rocky amatulli





A bach (pronounced batch) is a small, often modest holiday or beach home. Baches form an iconic part of New Zealand’s history and culture, especially in the middle of the 20th century where they symbolised the beach holiday lifestyle. Bach was originally short for bachelor pad (hence the spelling and pronunciation) but they often tended to be a family holiday home. They began to gain popularity in the 1950s as access improved and the increasing affordability of cars allowed for beach holidays. With annual return holidays gaining popularity, baches began to spring up in many family vacation spots in New Zealand. This home’s owners (originally from New Zealand) were seeking to build a timber-framed home, common in their home country, but not the known traditional form of construction in Western Australia. Enter Edward Brewer Homes! From development of the initial design brief, through concept design, to construction and interior design to assist the clients with product and colour selections, Edward Brewer Homes was able to replicate what the clients desired. As the clients liked the beach and outdoor living (as is evident by the alfresco kitchen, large verandah, and an outdoor shower with hot and cold water) this home south of Perth was not simply focused on creating the perfect interior. The home’s style and character are enhanced not only by its design, but also by the choice of exterior finishes – namely using a combination of materials and finishing them off in softer and

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 61


cooler ‘beachy’ colours. That said, the raked skillion roof on the front elevations of the home also adds to the casual, holiday feel of the residence, as does the cedar lining to the underside of the front portico. Architecturally (and practically speaking) the home has a feature often nowadays overlooked or removed completely from modern day design and construction of homes in WA – overhanging eaves. Again these serve to enhance that casual, relaxed look of the home, but more importantly they provide

sensible shelter from rain and sun to the home and its inhabitants. Historically, the low-angled rakes to the front elevations hark back to the classic Australian homes of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. (A drive through parts of Floreat provides a vivid example of this practical and almost timeless look). Coupled with a Colourbond custom orb roof and insulation to the external and internal walls, this home provides an all-weather, low-maintenance haven. This home is by no means a beach shack however. It includes a sumptuous master suite and ensuite with adjoining office, two

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The home’s style and character are enhanced not only by its design, but also by the choice of exterior finishes – namely using a combination of materials and finishing them off in softer and cooler ‘beachy’ colours.

large bedrooms for growing daughters, a large guest bedroom, an activity area, and a studio – along with a massive meals/family area. The kitchen is oriented so the owners can cook and not have their backs to their guests or family, and the meals/family area opens up to a large covered entertaining area and has stacker doors to enhance northern light. The outdoor kitchen further enhances the family and entertaining aspects of this great home. And as an entertainer, this home includes an island rangehood over the gas hotplate, an Ariston 900mm electric oven, Mitsubishi industrial quality reverse-cycle and split air conditioners, and an appliance cupboard. The cool theme is carried internally with a soothing interior predominantly white (ceilings, walls, cabinetwork) except for the timber floor in the kitchen and meals/family area, tiles in the wet areas, and the ‘splash’ of colour as in the vibrant aqua splashbacks in the kitchen or natural-coloured benches in the bathrooms. When asked what reaction the timber-framed custom home has had in a mainly brick-and-tile neighbourhood, Edward Brewer Homes’ managing director David Brewer says that “the home has been well-received in this area, and we are looking forward to more of these types of homes.” As a result of the success of this home, EBH is building a double-storey timber-framed home with the use of some bricks for thermal mass and higher energy efficiency. Established in 2006 by David Brewer, Edward Brewer Homes builds custom-designed homes but also has a range of its own designs – coincidentally named the Beach, Australiana, Gem and Resort series. The company is the recipient of HIA and MBA awards, and has entered this particular home into the Housing Industry Association awards in the category of Framed Housing up to $400,000. BC Edward Brewer Homes: (08) 6364 0248,

Ph: 9351 3400 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 63


Etesian captures coastal sophistication in Iluka





64 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

// words webb & brown-neaves.

Epitomising contemporary coastal living, the Etesian is the latest inspirational masterpiece from Webb & Brown-Neaves. Now open in Iluka, this beautifully crafted two-storey residence features floor-to-ceiling windows that capture an ocean outlook while flooding interior spaces with natural light. Webb & Brown-Neaves general manager Simon Birkhead describes the Etesian as a “modern beach house” inspired by contemporary holiday homes in Bunker Bay in WA’s South West. “This display reflects the beauty and relaxed lifestyle we associate with modern beach houses along our glorious coastline,” he says. “The internal layout is very relaxed and the house is filled with light, typifying coastal homes.” Glass has been a pivotal design element in the Etesian, opening up the house to the Indian Ocean views. Subtle design details, such as the white-painted tongue and groove ceiling to the master bedroom, further enhance the coastal


“This display reflects the beauty and relaxed lifestyle we associate with modern beach houses along our glorious coastline.” character, while a traditional loft-style raking ceiling continues out to the balcony for even more modern beach house style. “These features emphasise seaside sophistication, while giving a sense of drama to the room proportions,” Mr Birkhead says. With four big bedrooms, spacious areas for casual living and entertaining, and a well-zoned layout that accommodates both

kids and adults, the Etesian meets the needs of a growing family. “The Etesian gives adults and children their own zones, while the heart of the home is where the family will gather,” says Mr Birkhead. “It’s a design that exudes the traditional sophistication and comfort of a Webb & Brown-Neaves home, along with features for functional everyday living.”

Sea the difference Enjoy the possibilities

Ph: 08 9344 7210 Shop 2, 386 Wanneroo Road, Westminster Perth WA 6061 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 65


An open-plan living and dining area and a contemporary kitchen with adjoining scullery lead out to the alfresco and sparkling blue pool.

An open-plan living and dining area and a contemporary kitchen with adjoining scullery lead out to the alfresco and sparkling blue pool. Taller-than-expected glazing emphasises the sense of volume in the main living areas while encouraging light to flood in. All the bedrooms have been placed upstairs, including the master suite with its spectacular resort-style circular shower

Ph: 9351 3400 66 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

looking out through the bedroom to the ocean beyond. Webb & Brown-Neaves has also created an optional elevation for the Etesian. While still coastal, it reflects more of an East Coast American beachside aesthetic. The Etesian is at 5 Romano Crescent in Iluka and priced from $734,800. BC Webb & Brown-Neaves: (08) 6365 2940,

PH: 13 15 40


An impressive Heritage // words rocky amatulli

The owners of this circa 1910 South Fremantle property engaged the services of Bernard Seeber Architects to restore and refurbish their limestone cottage and design a modern living space that would encompass passive solar design and would suit their retirement. Converting the original two-bedroom workers cottage into a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home required skill sets above the normal standard of building and refurbishment. Fortunately, the owners received a recommendation from a friend who had contracted Fremantle Builders & Contractors to undertake their renovation and addition in North Perth. Consequently, the owners requested that their architect invite the builder into the building tender process. Early involvement between architect and builder was a boon for the project as it meant strategies could be drawn up to overcome unforeseen or unexpected works. Along with the plans and specification, the architect provided ongoing information during the building process, detailing the way in which he required every facet of work to be finished. Fremantle Builders & Contractors commenced the works through demolition of an existing addition to the rear of the cottage, out buildings, an ablution block, and large trees. The demolition included the removal and disposal of hazardous materials such as asbestos. The company then removed existing roof tiles and roof timber framing and totally re-roofed the cottage using galvanised custom orb sheeting, gutters and down pipes. A verandah was demolished and rebuilt with a bullnose roof. The cottage structure was in complete degradation. The external render was removed exposing the deteriorated limestone and





decomposed lime mortar. Pointing up was necessary to ensure stability and prevent further deterioration while the job was in progress. Removing the render also exposed large vertical cracks in the cottage walls. Those areas of wall were pulled down and rebuilt by stonemasons. On removal of the original timber windows the limestone heads and part of the walls above collapsed. New jarrah windows were built in incorporating new quoined brickwork with arch heads over supported by rods and stirrups. The new addition to the rear comprised of a timber-framed and glass structure encompassing large north facing windows with an expansive concrete floor to maximise passive solar principles. External louvres to the north windows control solar gain into the room. Conversely, the front addition allows a view of the restored façade of the heritage cottage through the unobstructed glass louvres. These louvre windows permit the flow of air through the interior of the home. Internally, the works were also extensive and needed meticulous attention to detail. Fremantle Builders & Contractors carried out the complete restoration of the cottage, including re-stumping and re-flooring, building an additional ensuite, two bathrooms and bedroom, replacing ceilings, building in all windows with new jarrah double-hung and French doors, installing new light fittings and fixtures, fans and air-conditioning, replacing and making good traditional skirting, rebuilding the fireplace to suit a gas log heater, and making good all walls before repainting. The project was designed and built to embrace solar passive gain. The cottage frontage is constructed with limestone walls and blocks, giving it good natural thermal properties. The concrete floor running along the large north facing window creates a thermal mass and is designed to collect, store, and distribute solar energy in the form of heat from the winter sun, whilst it rejects solar heat in the summer by use of external directional shading louvres. The design encompassed abundant windows for cross-ventilation, comprising 50 percent of the north facing side. This allows ample circulation and sun and heat penetration to permit passive movement of air throughout the home. Insulation was added in ceilings and stud framed walls to minimise heat gain and loss. The addition is timber-framed and clad in a mixture of five ply and vertically positioned timber boards. White gloss paint reflects

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 67


the summer heat, creating a cooler and more energy efficient structure, resulting in a more comfortable ambiance inside on hot days. Restoring an old home doesn’t mean that the owners are missing out on modern facilities or comforts. The home harmonises and successfully combines old world charm with contemporary design and living. For example, all toilet cisterns are concealed within the wall frame, allowing a clean and sleek appearance to the bathrooms, and each wet area has its own temperature control pad to adjust the room water to the individual’s desired requirements. The home now also has new additional features like custom-designed skylights which have been incorporated both as a clever design feature and to allow an abundance of natural light into what used to be a dark home. Australian jarrah hard wood was used throughout the construction in the sub-framing, flooring, windows and door frames and roof framing. Jarrah’s natural properties include a high resistance to weather, rot and termites, making it ideal for a range of uses. Its density also makes it more fire-resistant. One challenge relating to materials that Fremantle Builders & Contractors faced during the works was sourcing a supply of recycled bricks which were suitable for the purpose and would be approved by the architect. Another challenge was allowing enough time for ordering and importing fixtures and materials from overseas and interstate as required for the project by the architect. These were all overcome. The restoration and addition reflects the combined personal style and passion of the clients, embracing a clear respect for the heritage of the front cottage. The open plan living style to the rear addition offers convenience and sociability. Another fashionable feature is the large expanse of glass extending the eye beyond the living area to the backyard. The sliding glass wall cleverly extends


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Jeff Burgess – 0418 914 084 Office: 9304 1020 Fax: 9303 9970 Email: PO Box 1195, Joondalup WA 6919

68 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

the living area to encompass the back yard, creating the ultimate embodiment of indoor-outdoor living. As with any construction project, Fremantle Builders ensured that they met all local government and Worksafe obligations. This incorporated monitoring OH&S requirements which included controlling dust and reducing noise intrusion into adjoining properties, ensuring limited disturbance and inconvenience to neighbours. All aspects of the construction process had to comply with AS, BCA and relevant codes of practice – something John Henderson (director of Fremantle Building & Contractors) is particularly diligent on. Given the age and importance of the home, construction also had to strictly comply with Fremantle Council’s Heritage guidelines, which included facilitating the conversion of a building of heritage significance and ensuring that development occurred with due regard to identified heritage values in the interest of the community. Fremantle Builders specialises in ensuring restoration and additions respect, and are sympathetic with, the heritage values of the area. “The most important factor this project reinforced was the need develop clearer, more detailed and realistic objectives for time and cost, with more stringent management of such constraints. On a project involving a very old structure, allowing additional time for the architect to co-ordinate and deliver his decisions on products and producing construction details, and procurement of international and interstate materials not identified in the specification is vital,” says John. BC Fremantle Builders and Contractors: (08) 9314 5595

Tuckpointing & Brick & Limestone Restoration

Gary Barrow 0418 904 989 22 Collick Street, Hilton WA 6163 Email:


up close + personal with

john henderson DIRECTOR, FREMANTLE BUILDERS & CONTRACTORS // interviewed by rocky amatulli

What type of work does your company Fremantle Builders & Contractors do? We are a quality residential and commercial builder that specialises in new and architecturally designed homes, renovations and extensions - in addition to Heritage and National Trust restoration work. We have more than 30 years’ experience and have provided services to private individuals and enterprises, public corporations and various government organisations throughout Western Australia. And what does your role encompass? I am a director of the company; my role includes estimating, arranging supplies of material and equipment, co-ordinating construction, labour and materials, liaising with the clients, programming, recording variations, and negotiating with subcontractors. There are also many standards, regulations and codes of practice that I ensure compliance with. What are some of important considerations that you have to deal with? Quality is a most important outcome and takes effort to achieve consistently, as finding and recruiting suitable skilled people is becoming increasingly difficult. Safety remains an ongoing concern for construction, as it carries some degree of hazard and risk. Finally, time constraints affect both client and builder regularly, as ‘time is money’ and lost time and revenue has a negative impact for both. What about non-construction issues that you face? Construction is a complex array of interdependent activities. The very nature introduces challenges typically not encountered in other industries. The impact of environmental and legal issues on building construction is escalating. It is now paramount to have full knowledge and understanding of environmental regulations and permit requirements to local authorities and government departments. How do you think your industry has changed? Basically building practice itself has not changed a great deal. It is the fundamentals in design and the heightened interest in sustainable

living driven by growing environmental and energy supply concerns that have resulted in important changes in the way buildings are designed - and therefore constructed. That, and the implementation of health & safety and revised regulations and laws all add to the changing environment of the construction industry

And looking forward? The global economic and financial crisis is likely to have a significant ongoing impact on sales and growth over the coming years. There are a range of other issues impacting on the industry, including labour and capital supply constraints with escalating costs, which constitute a significant risk to the growth and development of the industry. Strong growth in the rising price of oil and metals will further lead to significant increases in the future cost of construction. What do you enjoy doing when you are not working? When my mind is free from work I enjoy cycling and keeping fit. For the past few years I have been meticulously restoring my timber classic boat which was built in York in 1954 as I enjoy boating, fishing and diving. I also love to travel and explore new areas I haven’t been to before. BC

Brendan Gorman ABN 4045 927 4497

mobile: 0413 004 152 home a/h: 9300 5420 fax: 9300 6515

specialising in all aspects of timber flooring The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 69

Brikmakers Romanbrik enabled me to create a comfortable 21st Century space with classic design integrity and style. Emiliana Vanni Project Architect | JCP Construction

70 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


rikmakers’ is constantly working on ways to help architects, designers and builders to make innovative and very different design ideas achievable and remarkably affordable. The new Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired RomanBrik Collection is one example of the unusual colour, size and shape combinations which Brikmakers has made possible. To find out how Brikmakers can work with you to find the ideal Romanbrik for your project, or even to create a brick which satisfies an entirely unique set of specifications, simply call 1300 360 344 or email to or visit

friendly feeling which is also undeniably chic and stylish. The brickwork beneath the casual blackleather sofa-seating exemplifies this point perfectly.” What do you like most about the RomanBrik Collection? “Obviously the distinctive, more refined size is the key differentiator for me but I really love the imaginative colour variation Brikmakers has created in its pallet. The best way of obtaining a fuller appreciation of its interior and exterior design potential is to examine the website at

Here’s how JCP Construction’s Emiliana

the tone for a unique, contemporary display

Vanni used Brikmakers’ distinctive

space for BGC.

RomanBriks as the inspiration for her

Here Emiliana answers some of the key

interior design of BGC’s magnificent new

questions she has been asked since

display area and client-service kitchen

creating the ultra-modern facility which

within the company’s Mount Street

Pope Boniface VIII would have found

impressive new headquarters.

aesthetically pleasing seven centuries ago.

Having begun her formal tertiary studies at

Why did you choose face bricks?

The University of Rome, surrounded by the

“In recent times the traditional view is that

ancient structures of the Pantheon and La

bricks are hard and cold and not conducive

Sapienza, Emiliana had a deep respect and

to enabling a comfortable and caring”

How specifically has the RomanBrik contributed to achieving your specific design objectives? “I wanted to create a substantial number of design ‘lines’ within the approach. This would have been impossible using traditional thicker bricks. I really love the increased flexibility the Lloyd Wright-inspired bricks allow and certainly recommend them, and the Brikmakers BGC’s innovative CBD display area at 22 Mount Street, Perth

team, to any architect or landscaping specialist daring to be different whilst still

abiding passion for classic architecture.


ensuring their project has universal appeal.”

She also had a profound understanding of

Brikmakers RomanBrik has a more refined

How you can find out more about

how the time-honoured, slimmer, lower-

appearance and its slimmer shape makes

Brikmakers’ RomanBriks.

profile ‘Roman Bricks’ had been used to

it far more versatile and better suited for

For all the details and advice you need,

create buildings which have enchanted

creating designer features which don’t look

simply call Brikmakers’ on 1300 360 344 or

scholars and lovers of beauty since the

at all cumbersome.

visit the website at

early 1300s.

Throughout the area there are examples of

And she had a clear vision as to how she

the way in which sparing use of the bricks

wanted to use the iconic brick-shape to set

has resulted in a very cosy, relaxed and


The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 71


Old buildings. New Domes Two new Dome cafes in Kalamunda and Midland have just been built in recycled old buildings that look like they were just made for the cafes. // words rocky amatulli

Dome Midland Sites of significant heritage are typically perfect for the Dome cafes’ design and footprint as they marry perfectly the warmth that the cafés provide into the existing character of these older buildings. This Dome project came about as a result of Dome Coffees’ need to establish a cafe in the location, and their desire to install their brand into a suitable building. Once the site was established Michael Ogilby and his team from Masterbuilt Construction began working with Dome and their designer. Masterbuilt initially ran cost estimates to ensure the projects stayed within the preliminary budgets set for each site. It then helped to develop key elements such as the service counter and dining areas to optimise the use of floor space, and to incorporate the existing character of the building. Masterbuilt also assisted in some of the design elements, focusing on the structural changes required to these sites to maximise the buildings’ assets whilst maintaining its integrity. The primary driver for this project and site was centred around maintaining the integrity of the existing building (originally a





72 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

primary school) and ensuring a smooth transition into a functional café - transforming a building located within an area were it was subject to vandalism and giving the precinct a new lease of life by drawing new people into the area. Internally, a full mezzanine floor was built over half of the entire length of the building to provide office space where Dome could run a training academy for future staff and franchisees. The main inherent challenge with the building was the demolition of the existing internal and external walls to accommodate the new mezzanine floor, and opening up the segregated spaces into various dining areas while maintaining structural integrity – all without disturbing the existing external and internal look of the building. Large steel RSJ beams had to be installed to support the new mezzanine floor frame and were placed into cut-out sections of brickwork that once formed each class room. These beams had to be ‘‘threaded’’ through the existing double hung windows and then manoeuvred carefully into position (as they were almost the length of each room so the shear size and weight made them very difficult to swing into their final position). The new openings inside the building and to the external walls all had to be propped and carefully cut to ensure that Masterbuilt didn’t cause any cracking. Then steel beams and lintels had to be installed and re-bricked up using the existing removed bricks that had to been cleaned and relayed. Architecturally, the most notable feature of the interior is the original vaulted ceiling (lined with original mini-orb) in what was the school main hall area. Being heritage, this ceiling could not be touched apart from re-painting. The area now provides a large dining area including the café counter. The original classrooms each had fireplaces in them and Masterbuilt retained and refurbished these so now each training room has this feature within it.


Sites of significant heritage are typically perfect for the Dome cafes’ design and footprint as they marry perfectly the warmth that the cafés provide. (Left & above): Dome Midland

Dominant materials used on this project are steel and timber. The mezzanine floor is steel-framed with timber infill and recycled jarrah floor boards laid to finish off. The offices on the mezzanine floor are all timber framed and the walls lined with timber panels to the walls. All the internal fixed furniture has been constructed in Tasmanian Oak in a polished finish. From a builder’s viewpoint, this site is unique because of the nature of the original schoolhouse architecture and layout, and its subsequent transformation into a vibrant café. Dome has changed the environment around the small precinct into a more family oriented zone. And as usual, Masterbuilt, though experienced in working in older buildings (refer The Stables Bar) has learnt that no matter how old a building is, the basics still apply and one can

always find a way to achieve a better result through good design and planning. Dome Kalamunda This project came about as a result of the Shire of Kalamunda doing a full redevelopment of the surrounding area (incorporating the Dome site) to create more public open space and amenities adjacent the commercial precinct of the town. The building originally housed the Shire of Kalamunda offices and over time it had been extended to create more accommodation inside. The building was used as the local police station up until a few years ago, and had been vacant until Dome moved in. Like Dome Midland, the conversion of an existing and older

The best coffee deserves to be enjoyed under the best awning

For over twenty years Dome has been obsessed with sourcing, roasting, brewing and serving the best coffee. An obsession for quality that extends to their tantalising menus and even the awnings they choose to enhance the European feel of their cafés. Kenlow shares Dome’s passion for quality and attention to detail. That’s why Kenlow has designed, manufactured and installed custom-made awnings and blinds for Dome since its inception. For more information on Kenlow’s extensive range of awnings and blinds call or pop into one of our showrooms, or visit our website. Maddington Showroom: 1970 Albany Highway, Maddington. Call 9459 2533 Mount Hawthorn Showroom: 7/267 Scarborough Beach Road, Mt Hawthorn. Call 9443 7866

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 73


Photos: Dome Kalamunda

building was required. A modern kitchen and public toilet facilities needed to be designed and built into the existing footprint of the building. Dining areas made use of existing features such as fire places and the alfresco area on the street front needed to be built up from footpath level to existing internal floor level to ease access for the public and disabled members of the community. And similar to the Midland site, the main requirement was to maintain the original fabric of the building. Some of the main works were again centred on modifying existing rooms to form one area for patrons whilst still maintaining the original building fabric. The new kitchen was designed to sit in

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the centre of the building which made extending services (which included a grease trap) into this area challenging. This meant that the complete floor had to be removed, services laid and then the floor replaced. Due to the addition of rooms over the years, the existing timber floors required some adjusting so as to remove any trip hazards when customers transitioned the space which was formerly made up of a series of separate rooms. Many new openings into existing rooms were added which meant Masterbuilt had to support the existing roof frame and re-engineer additional roof steel to achieve this. The old holding cell was cleverly converted into a disabled


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Management and staff of Practical Products would like to thank Master Built for providing Practical Products with the opportunity to manufacture and install the stainless steel and refrigeration works at the Dome Cafes. We wish them all the best for the future.

08 9302 1299 QUALITY • ON TIME • ON BUDGET 74 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


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This project is important as it has transformed an old, vacant building into a vibrant café which now serves as a new meeting point for the local community. toilet facility. According to Michael Ogilby, the cell was built like a “bomb shelter” and many hours were spent inside it, cutting and jack hammering away to bring all the required services into it. “The holding cell was certainly formidable in its appearance and method of construction. Once you were in there was no way out,” says Michael. The building also has two entry porticos which Masterbuilt has altered to provide access to the new alfresco dining on the street. These create the perfect entry statements the café needed. As with many sites of this vintage, the original colonial windows needed re-conditioning and reglazing to maintain integrity and originality of the building. The original fireplace was refurbished to provide a warm ambience in one of the dining rooms, which over the cooler months had become very popular with patrons. Masterbuilt

installed two sets of new bifold doors on the northern elevation of the building so as to allow more natural light and also providing the café with the facility to open them on fine days to give that room an indoor/outdoor feel. This project is important as it has transformed an old, vacant building into a vibrant café which now serves as a new meeting point for the local community. The internal fitout complements the original architecture with the external alfresco area providing some additional amenity to patrons and colour to the streetscape. Masterbuilt works with Dome Coffee from the very beginning of each project by initially preparing budgets on basic sketch designs of various optioned layouts (until one stands out as the final design). Once the design is completed Masterbuilt liaises closely with Dome and its consultants who prepare plans for council submission. Masterbuilt also handles some design and construct components on each project. “We use a regular team of highly skilled tradespeople on every project which combined create a completed café to a high standard of quality in a relatively short period of time.” When the project commences, Masterbuilt is responsible for the complete turnkey project so all Dome needs to do is turn on the coffee machine and commence trading. BC


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76 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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Displaying the right Signature Signature Custom Homes are proud to put their name against one of their latest homes in Bicton. // words rocky amatulli // images joel barbitta – dmax photography





Western Australian luxury residential builder Signature Custom Homes was approached by architect Giles Harden Jones to collaborate on the design and construction of a home for one of his clients who had visited one of Signature’s completed homes. Signature had previously worked with Giles on a number of projects and it was one of Giles’ designs that Signature had built which drew the client’s attention to them. Giles was selected because he has worked extensively (and has a great deal of experience) in designing contemporary homes characterised by their simplicity and elegance. The project was perfect for Signature - as was Signature perfect for the project. Signature’s principal role was to manage the construction phase and build the home. They also assisted Giles in the initial design, and then developed that design as required. (Signature typically works closely with all of its designers, providing valuable feedback and contributions on building options and alternatives as well as functionality and space management). From a client brief point of view, naturally working to a budget was a primary consideration and this underpins most of the design and construction decisions for this home. The design was to take maximum advantage of the expansive views and create a contemporary, minimalist style which offered a functional living space for the family. The clients wanted an unpretentious home which took advantage of the northern aspect and especially one that considered light and space over having too much detail. The principle influences were the expansive views the site had, but this also meant addressing the difficult sloping site in the design.

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 77

The site lent itself to a three-level home as a result. The site had a large fall from front to back and was nestled between two existing homes. This presented the greatest challenges in terms of the construction. Signature minimised the impact of the sloping site as much as possible by sinking part of the home into the site, and using it to create part of the site’s retaining. Not only did this reduce costs but it also allowed Signature to

put the home deep (back) into the site and orient the living and outdoor areas to the front to capture and maximise its northern light and views. Whilst the home is recessed into the site and has been cleverly designed to provide part of the required retaining, it still maintains the highest possible levels to take advantage of the views. Simplicity was also a dominant driver for the design, and


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78 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

37 Sowden Drive, Samson WA 6163 P: 08 9337 1607 F: 08 9337 2656 Alan 0414 914 132 I Russ 0414 914 135 I Jake 0402 294 156 E:


continued to be a central theme during the project. The home has large, voluminous spaces but the proportions of height and space (and expansive use of full-height windows and glazing) have combined to achieve this effectively and dramatically. Additionally, the internal and external finishes had to find a balance between the use of natural and manufactured products without one single element overpowering the design. It is not a home that is full of very intricate details yet it gives the owners and visitors an amazing sense of space and light which makes it feel instantly warm and inviting without the need for details which can often add a lot more cost and clutter. Overall, the home has crisp, clean lines both internally and externally. The façade has expanses of glass, maximising that vista. And whilst the home may be three levels, it does not appear overbearing, due to this glass and softer, less structured landscaping. In fact a better word to describe the home is ‘‘commanding’’. It has a strong look without appearing heavy. The design and construction certainly have that restraint from over embellishment which David alluded to. The ground floor accommodates a large garage and cellar, along with storage and pool plant rooms. The first level incorporates the front terrace, entrance, living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, bathroom, linen, dining, laundry, office, and an alfresco area overlooking the pool. The upper level includes four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchenette/bar, upper living



Modern 1300 360 344

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T 08 9339 0231 F 08 9339 0233 M 0419 908 162 E The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 79


and linen. The large two level void in (and over) the entry extends back into the home to the staircase. It provides an immediate connection between the two levels of the home, and conveys a sense of openness to the home. “I feel this is a refreshing design,” says Signature Homes’ managing director David Steadman. “Giles has achieved an amazingly luxurious and spacious outcome with minimal details and this does make it a unique home in my opinion. The principle components and materials we used are brick structures with flat metal roofing and aluminium frames and glass. There are smatterings of natural stone walls and flooring and some timber floors and details in the cabinets. This all serves to add interest and texture.” The company has won many awards over the past 10 years

for new homes, kitchens, bathrooms and renovations. It utilises the skills of a number of selected, experienced (and also award winning) architects and designers so that Signature’s clients have choice. David believes this is one significant way in which Signature Custom Homes differentiates itself from most other luxury home builders. This means that the home’s design can be driven from a construction and pricing aspect during the design – providing a better outcome for the clients. The owners and Signature Homes are so proud of the Bicton project that the home is currently being used as a display home by the builder. BC Signature Custom Homes: (08) 9317 6800, Harden Jones Architects: (08) 9380 9900,

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80 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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up close + personal with

david steadman MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIGNATURE CUSTOM HOMES // interviewed by rocky amatulli

How did you end up in the building industry? I started in the industry as a sales representative for a plasterboard contracting business in 1978. I became general manager and eventually bought the company from the owners. We subsequently sold that company to the then managers and I left with my young family to live in Spain and the UK. We eventually came back to WA in 1999 and started Signature Custom Homes in 2000. Tell us about Signature Homes We custom-design and build exclusive luxury homes for the top end of the residential market. I am the CEO/general manager and my role is to manage the overall strategy and development of the company and its brands. No two of the custom designed homes we build are the same, so each home is designed and built ‘‘from the ground up’’. Are there any significant challenges on projects? Typically the homes’ complex structure, and sites that are very difficult to access or require extensive underground works, excavation and reinforcing, provide the greatest challenges for us. The level of detail incorporated into our homes also requires special construction knowledge and experience. Utilising a team of experts and consultants in specialised fields (such as engineering and design) to develop solutions, as well as our own experienced supervisory staff who are all registered builders in their own right, makes all the difference. Where do you see your place in the housing industry? We provide a unique offering at the premium level of the market. We manage the complete project from initial site evaluation to design and construction of each new home. Our offering is also very different because we choose to contract some of Perth’s leading architectural and design firms to prepare designs for us rather than employing designers. Our clients receive a real choice of design options and the very best

design available in the market. Typically a client would contact an architect or designer help to select and project manage the builder, however by handling this responsibility we believe we provide a far superior outcome - particularly as we have enormous experience at designing and constructing homes over many years. We are aware of all the pitfalls not the least of which being the ability of designers to adhere to the client’s brief and budget. We have been recognised by our industry through various awards as innovators and have been responsible for introducing many new innovations in our homes which have subsequently become industry standard features.

Do you see future change in the industry? I feel we all need to focus on improving efficiency in our industry to start with. We have tended to over-specialise our trades and suppliers to the point that there are many different trades, resulting in slowing down the building process. I also think that the building of new homes in Perth’s is not keeping up with its rate of rapid population growth. If this continues it will surely result in challenges for building companies retaining and sourcing staff. Also land availability, general planning strategies and inefficiency of the approvals process needs to be addressed and streamlined so we can achieve better time frames. What about on the personal front? I would like to be thought of as a fair and professional person and my legacy to my industry would be the creation of an enduring aspirational brand that is remembered for building homes that people aspire to own. Outside of work my family are the most important people and factor in my life (but selfishly) I also love my two favourite sporting pursuits, which are surfing and cycling. My wife and I enjoy travelling and seeing different parts of the world. This helps open your eyes to what we have here, which is very special. BC

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 81


Stars align in South Perth This home proves that saving energy takes some effort – but is ultimately worth it. // words rocky amatulli





82 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

As a professional quantity surveyor and having been in the construction industry all of his working life, Geoff Britton was always interested in the built environment. He remembers having a desire to drive past buildings and say “I built that!” So after 10 years spent working in the commercial field in Perth, Geoff (general manager of Econstruct Building and Project Management) decided there was a niche in environmental construction - an area he was passionate about. And so, Econstruct was established. The company has now been operating for 11 years and specialises in environmentally sensitive construction, mainly in the residential sector. Homes are custom-built to client, architect or Econstruct’s own design and construction specifications. Econstruct’s general build costs are from $500k up, with its largest project to date being $3 million. One such project is a recent two-storey, 8-Star-rated house (designed by building designer Roger Joyner) Econstruct built in South Perth. Econstruct won the construction tender for the project and worked closely with the designer and owners throughout the project. Three generations of the same family live in the home, so it has three separate comfortable areas for family members to have their own space. It does, however, include a central gathering area for meals, general living and conversation. The home is open to the street rather than sitting behind big fences and walls. It is all about community and family for the owners, so there is also a large patio located on the street elevation where the owners like to sit and interact with the community. It is


not a large house and meets the client’s needs perfectly. Its contemporary look belies the tradition of its occupants. Energy efficiency was considered from the outset in the construction. Whilst the block was initially cleared, Econstruct had to retain three large trees on the site to allow shading and maintain a connection with the original site layout, and the home is built on a concrete raft to allow the existing tree roots to be undisturbed. One large tree has even been retained by adjusting the eaves line of the house and creating a cut-out within the eaves, to accommodate one of its major limbs. The rear fence has been built around another one of the trees. The design and build use solar-passive design principles which result in low ongoing energy costs for the home. The

home is oriented and positioned so the main solar aspects (living area, master bedroom and verandah) face north. A motorised louvre solar awning on the verandah maximises the solar gain into the house in winter and ensures no solar intrusion in the summer. The room layouts and window locations and sizes are designed to enhance winter cooling, prevent summer heat gain and enable the passage of breezes through the home to cool it. Two plantation shutters are installed to allow airflow from the front bedroom to the upper level, and high-level motorised awnings to the upper void areas ensure that operation is simple and that hot air escapes easily. A good balance of thermal mass and lightweight construction can provide excellent results from a solar passive perspective.

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 83


Energy and water consumption are low, bills are negligible and the home is performing to the anticipated high standards.

The external walls of the house are constructed from a steel frame with a Masterwall EPS cladding system applied externally with R2.0 insulation batts to the frame area void. This creates a high level of thermal insulation to the home. Major internal walls are constructed using rendered solid calcium silicate bricks. These bricks have a high level of thermal mass (meaning that they can absorb latent heat as they get warm and radiate this heat as the air cools) therefore providing excellent temperature control in the home at all times of the year. Travertine floor tiles have been laid to the ground floor areas and provide an excellent heat sink and additional thermal mass for temperature regulation. The home also is extremely energy efficient. It has LED and low energy fluorescent lighting throughout. The reduced power use, lower heat gain and extremely long life of the lamps combine to create very effective and efficient energy savings. A 2.28 kW Photovoltaic system with a 4kW inverter is installed on north facing roof to provide sufficient power for the home and to return excess power to the grid. It has been designed to add more panels or wind turbines to in future. A Kemlan Supa-Nova wood heater has been installed in the home to boost winter heating. This unit has been found to be one of the most efficient products of its type on the market, and provides effective direct heat (and reflective heat due to the clever use of a hebel block insulated duct and high and low level vents to increases the flow of warm air from the flue area via a

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84 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

fan-assisted ventilation system). Coupled with R3.5 batts in the ceiling, double glazed and low E glass windows and ceiling fans in all bedrooms and living areas, it means no air conditioning system is required in the home to maintain a comfortable living environment. The home is also efficient when it comes to water use. A 3000-litre rainwater tank system connected to a solar pump for garden reticulation has been installed. The Bosch Eco+ 26 instant gas hot water system is close to the kitchen, scullery and bathroom areas, meaning water is not wasted whilst waiting for the hot water to come through the tap. All fixtures and tapware in the home have been selected with the highest possible WELS star rating. The dishwasher and washing machine have 5-star water efficiency and 4-star energy efficiency ratings. (The owners moved into the premises in November 2012 and have since advised that despite extremely hot temperatures in the summer, the home has remained extremely comfortable throughout. Energy and water consumption are low, bills are negligible and the home is performing to the anticipated high standards). The other way in which this home takes a strong environmental stance is through the use of low-VOC and embodied energy materials. The use of calcium silicate bricks which are not kiln-fired like standard bricks (meaning they use low embodied energy in manufacture) reduces the carbon footprint of the products used in the house. Travertine and stone products were used to reduce the embodied energy use in the home as they are natural and require no manufacture or firing processes in their production. Strained wire barriers have been installed in lieu of boundary fencing on the home (except where existing fences were maintained) allowing the client to grow fruit trees along the boundaries to enhance the aspect, attract wildlife and negate the need for high energy bricks or fencing materials. Termimesh physical barrier termite treatment ensures no chemical exposure or use in the home,

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as was H2-treated ‘Blue’ Pine timber. Timber veneers and low-VOC laminates and carcass materials are used in cabinets, along with the latest low-VOC wall tile adhesive and grout products. Even during construction minimal waste was produced as all waste was removed by Instant Waste Management for recycling at their plant in Bayswater. Econstruct is not resting on its laurels after the project’s successful completion. “We are in the process of completing a large rammed earth project that has incorporated a number of innovative design elements and sustainable products and practices. We are also hoping to unveil our first spec design in the next six

months,” says Geoff. “Working with new and unusual products on the South Perth project was challenging for Econstruct. Getting a good knowledge of any new product and how it works and integrates with other materials is very important. We are getting used to it as we deal quite regularly with new products. Working closely with clients and designers provides excellent high quality results and ensures everyone is excited and happy with the final results. We are proud to have constructed such a well performing, high quality home.” BC Econstruct: (08) 9329 9422,

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Home Sweet Home When a boutique home builder decides to design and build his own family home, you know it’s going to be something special. // words rocky amatulli // images silvertone photography





Home builder Rob Frigo (owner of Promenade Homes) had lived with his family on the same block, in an older home, for a number of years. They did this so that they could get better a feel for the area and the best orientation for a new home before demolition and construction commenced. Being his own home, it was a turnkey project from demolition of the old, to design and construction of the new (right through to landscaping, pool, etc.) delivering a home ready for Rob’s family to move straight into. “We wanted a home that whilst practical, also made us feel like we were staying in a resort,” says Rob. “I believe that light and space can be created by clever use of high ceilings, full height internal door frames and large expanses of glazed areas looking through to the alfresco and out over the pool area. We also have extended family visiting from overseas on a regular basis, so a couple of bedrooms have their own ensuites, allowing visitors to have their own private facilities.” Rob’s biggest challenge was trying to design and build a home in harmony with its surroundings but still maximising the use of passive solar orientation. Living in the old home for a number of years prior to building allowed Rob and his family to come up with the best solution. The winning formula was achieved through clever design and maintaining the appropriate scale of the home with respect to neighbouring properties. Energy efficiency has been an important part of the design, with extensive use of comfort-plus glass, cavity insulation throughout, upgraded ceiling insulation, solar hot water units, solar pool heating and strategic use of louvre windows to

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 87


capture and best circulate cooling summer breezes. Rob also added operable roof skylights to the loft area, which basically draw out all the rising hot air in summer. The family finds that they don’t use the air-conditioning much at all over summer. And these practical energy and cost saving incentives aren’t just limited to the home’s interior; the home also has low water-use native gardens. True to Rob’s own love of natural materials, the home includes extensive use of Toodyay stone, recycled timber floorboards, cedar lining, polished cement render finish to feature walls and natural

stone benchtops. All these materials and textures combine to give an earthy feel to the home. “We made a conscious effort not to use imitation stone or stick on claddings that seem to be overused these days,” says Rob. Coupled with 3m-high commercial windows and louvres, the shadow-lined cornice details to ceiling junctions and full height tiling throughout also give the home a contemporary feel. Rob has also used many low-maintenance materials such as a Colourbond tin roof and acrylic texture render to the external walls. Rob’s aim was always to create a home suited to his growing family, having three teenage children, but he didn’t want to create a home which was too large or with unnecessary rooms or wasted space. His philosophy has always been ‘less is more’, and Rob believes that “a well-appointed home with quality finishes is more important than sheer size.” A testament to the successful design of his home is that the family of five now lives in a single-storey home which fulfils all of their needs – and yet still allows them plenty of room to grow. And planning ahead, the home will still be manageable after the kids have moved out. “Everyone who visits our home comments on how spacious the home feels, considering it is only a single-storey home with a loft. We feel that we have achieved our goal of creating a modern home that suits our lifestyle and has enough room for our family and plenty of room to entertain. It is a home that will suit our needs even well into our old age.”

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88 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


The upside for clients of Promenade Homes is that Rob has built many homes for himself and his family over the 30 years that he has been a registered builder. This means that Promenade’s clients get the benefit of Rob’s personal experience as an owner and family man, as well as his expertise as a builder. Promenade has a number of new homes under construction in the Perth metropolitan area, and a few more on the drawing board with its designer. All the homes Promenade builds are treated as if they were Rob’s own home and Promenade is always ready and willing to offer helpful

advice and assistance to its clients to achieve a home that Rob is proud to hand over - and that the owners are equally as proud to show off to all their friends. When asked what he has learnt from building his own home, Rob responds: “It is possible to create a home that is grand, luxurious and spacious on a modest suburban block without having to build a home with a lot of unnecessary rooms and wasted space.” BC Promenade Homes Pty Ltd: (08) 9201 9898,



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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 89


Expect the unexpected Zazen Building & Design shows us how a historic cottage, a builder’s own residence and a display home can all be accommodated in one. // words rocky amatulli // images carly – cj williams photography





Zazen Building & Design director Dino Colica was looking at a historic home that, once renovated, would become a unique display home which would showcase his company’s abilities and skills to its clients - and double as his personal residence. The opportunity came about by chance when Dino was inspecting another home for sale. While briefing the agent of his requirements, he was told of this property, built around 1890, and up for sale. Although the home was much-neglected, Dino realised the excellent potential and knew that in the right hands the house could become a showpiece. The property was secured soon afterwards.


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90 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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One of his main objectives for the project was to capture the marriage of the element of “old world” charm meeting “new world” possibilities.

Zazen Building & Design was, naturally, appointed as the builder, with Dino personally overseeing all aspects of the project - from initial design concepts and heritage compliance, through to on-site supervision of construction and renovation. Due to Dino’s personal connection with this residence, he carried out various aspects of trade labour himself. One of his main objectives for the project was to capture the marriage of the element of “old world” charm meeting “new world” possibilities, without being excessive or out of context. The residence needed to achieve a classic and inviting appeal. Dino finds that often display homes possess all of the latest materials and technology available on the market, however lack character, substance and warmth. Unlike the standard display homes built on vacant land and designed and built specifically for the site, Dino was faced with a number of considerations which home builders do not usually need to face. For example, the orientation and location of the home on the site was difficult to work with, as the home was set back considerably from the front boundary, with the rear of the property coming to a point in the middle. This would have most likely have been attributed to the original sub-division


and creation of the lot on what had once been dairy land. As the residence is set back to the rear boundary, the front yard has effectively become the outdoor recreational area. Furthermore, having to create a functional design and one which was aesthetically pleasing was imperative. Having to contend with heritage compliance was another significant influence on this project which included requirement to ensure the home had a distinct difference between the finishes of the original home and additional work. There were many meetings and consultations with local council officers, heritage consultants, historians and heritage architects in order to understand and then satisfy all of the relevant requirements. For example, the residence had no garage and it had a 750mm-high existing asbestos fence which was erected on one boundary. This was obviously not acceptable to the owners from a privacy, security and insurance point-of-view nowadays. However council planning officers maintained a different opinion, given the significance of these elements with respect to heritage. Trying to maintain ongoing diplomatic discussions and reaching reasonable compromises with the local authority was challenging at times, as they may have seemed

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to be unresponsive to the fact that a family had to reside in the property. However agreements were reached and the project progressed and was completed. The roof structure was the most complicated construction issue Zazen faced. The roof consisted of many angles and directional changes, as well as an extreme pitch more than 40 degrees). Wall tiling, wall plastering and ceilings also became challenging due to the ceilings heights (as high as 3300mm to 3600mm in some cases). And this was in addition to ensuring that the wall substrates were made sound prior to any new treatments or applications. The walls of the original home consisted mainly of compressed mud blocks. After removing the old plaster and before applying the new coats, careful consideration was given to restoring the original walls with suitable impregnating bonding agents, in order to ensure that the new wall finishes adhered adequately. In order to overcome these (and other) challenges on the project, there needed to be significant forward planning by Dino. In the case of the roof structure, it was a matter of several site meetings and design briefs to achieve the desired result. As some sections of the new roof pitch still exceeded 40 degrees, meeting safety requirements were paramount. There are three original combustible fireplaces in the original home, which have all been recommissioned and fully restored to their former glory. The jarrah timber floorboards have been

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92 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

hand-selected, in order to match with the original floors, which were laid almost 130 years ago. Other architectural features in the home include; extra-height doors; laser-cut feature metalwork; smart wiring; LED switchgear; negative detailing to ceilings; plaster-glass cornice; and internal timber door and window frames. Scyon Stria external wall cladding was used to define between the original structures from the new addition. As this product is secured together in a tongue and groove format, it created a fresh, linear finish compared to traditional overlapped weatherboard lining. Finishes include rectified porcelain and stone mosaic tiles imported from Italy, thermo-laminated vinyl wrap cabinetry, limestone render, acratex acrylic texture external coatings, James Hardies Scyon Stria wall cladding, zincalume roof sheeting, and jarrah floorboards. 900mm x 450mm rectified porcelain tiles were laid from floor to ceiling in the wet areas and, and in order to ensure that they remained secured to the walls, mechanical fixings were installed in addition to specialised glue. The tiling has now become one of the standout features of the home. With a combination of stone mosaic and porcelain tiles which reach up to a height of 3600mm in some areas, they make quite a statement. As there was significant wastage with the tiles, Dino explored an idea of utilising all the off-cuts to create mosaic tiles from them. This was a pain-staking exercise whereby each tile was cut by hand on

The residence represents a unique difference to the typical display home, as it combines a restoration and an addition.


site into small mosaic pieces and then laid in a custom-designed pattern. The results are literally a work of art. Dino also decided to add a rustic element within the home, by applying limestone render to the main dividing wall between the original home and the new addition. This feature continues in a contrasting colour around the adjacent chimney breast. This theme has also been used around the pool area, to create continuity. The fact that the home is the original Bibra Lake “Homestead” makes this project unique on its own accord. In addition, the residence represents a unique difference to the typical display home, as it combines a restoration and an addition, as opposed to being a potentially simpler newly built house. “Where block sizes

today are becoming smaller and smaller,” Dino says, “this home offers an abundance of outdoor entertaining and yard areas. For example, there is over 300 square metres of lawn area at the front of the property, where the traditional Sunday family cricket match of yesteryear would comfortably have been accommodated. “This project has taught me to expect the unexpected. When you deal with a project of this magnitude, you regularly encounter challenges that need to be overcome, in order to ensure a quality outcome. I am pleased to say that I think we achieved that outcome,” says Dino. BC Zazen Building & Design: (08) 9414 8779,


Aristo Balustrades are proud to have collaborated with Zazen Builders by supplying and installing the Glass Pool Fencing and Decorative fencing and gates at their new premises. The glass fencing featuring our unique Glass Vice Clamps and Hydraulic Soft Close Pool Gate system fits well with the high build quality and standard of finish on this project . Congratulations to Zazen Building on the completion of their excellent building showcase. Aristo balustrades are balustrading and glass fencing experts. We are service oriented and experienced in the supply and installation of most types of balustrade. Glass is our specialty and we are Perth’s foremost experts in curved glass, and toughened toughened laminated glass solutions. We welcome invitation to quote on your next project.

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Housing the past Located in Manjimup, the new History House Archive building ensures that the past has a future. // words rocky amatulli

Manjimup was first settled in 1856 (the same year Perth was made a city) by timber cutter Thomas Muir, who took up land near the present town site. It was declared to be a town in 1910, and in 1911, a railway line from Perth was built. Manjimup’s population expanded when the town became part of the post-World War I Group Settlement Scheme. The Group Settlement Scheme was largely unsuccessful because the land was difficult to clear and many of the new settlers were not experienced farmers. The settlers who did stay became dairy farmers until the Great Depression of the 1930s when the price of butterfat collapsed.





94 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Timber was the town’s major industry, but it has been joined by fruit and vegetable farms, dairy farms, wool, grain and vineyards. The Pink Lady (or Cripps) apple was created in Manjimup in 1973 by John Cripps of the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and that trademark name is now used on products across four continents. Manjimup used to produce frozen French fries, and had a lucrative tobacco industry that ended in the 1960s. The town and surrounding region are steeped in Western Australian history and tradition. Another one of Manjimup’s assets is Karamfiles Builders a family


“The completed building is to be sympathetic in aesthetic such that it does not look out of place.”

run building company established in 1948 by registered builder Sam Karamfiles’ grandfather. There is a strong tradition of building on Sam’s side and together with wife Franzine the couple have developed their company into a successful local business employing up to 20 people directly and dozens of local subcontractors. Karamfiles Builders will generally tackle any building project ranging from residential to large commercial or industrial projects. Karamfiles Builders can use either standard or alternative building methods depending on client preference, budget and suitability to the project. The company and its team are based in Manjimup but will travel up to 120km to complete projects. The company focuses on energy efficient projects and offers a complete design and construct service. It is a custom builder and builds homes to its clients’ individual specifications taking into account the spectacular views available in the south west, also designing homes compatible with the climate. Karamfiles Builders has completed a large number of commercial and government projects in recent years including the local Community Resource Centre upgrade, several unit developments - and most recently this project, the History House Archive building. The History House Archive building project was part of the Royalties for Regions government funding and supported by the South West Development Commission and the Shire of Manjimup. The project was put out to tender by the Shire of Manjimup in late 2012 and Karamfiles Builders was the successful tenderer. The project was a design-and-construct


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It does in fact look very much like a traditional community hall ...

one with a design brief put together by MCG Architects in Bunbury. The building has to achieve certain requirements for the future tenants (the Manjimup Historic Society) including adequate library storage for valuable historical documents, a meeting space for the society, and a kitchen area The new building was required to be built and finished in the style of the existing buildings in the Historical Manjimup Timber Park. To quote the brief, “The completed building is to be sympathetic in aesthetic such that it does not look out of place.” Generally the design was reminiscent of the shape and style of the other dwellings to satisfy the intention “that the building will replicate a traditional community hall.” Karamfiles Builders achieved this by cladding the building in James Hardie ‘Scyon Linea’ so it looked similar to existing buildings in the precinct, then painting the exterior of the building in the same

colours as adjacent buildings such as the old Police Lockup. But unlike the heritage buildings which sit nearby, this new building needed to comply with AS 1428 to allow access to both able and disabled members of the public, have a disabled toilet, and also required an archive store room that had to achieve a 2 hour fire rating to protect valuable archive documents and records from fire damage. Modern materials and construction methods also reinforce current standards and practices. These include engineered roof trusses, aluminium doors and window frames, Colourbond roofing, gutters and downpipes, laminate benchtops and cabinetry, commercial sheet vinyl and AS compliant sanitaryware. The project commenced in February and was to be completed by early July as the client had a strict requirement for practical completion by this time. This became the main challenge for

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The main influences on the project were the specific requirements of the Manjimup Historical Society to have a building to effectively house their important records whilst ensuring that the building fitted in with the existing environment.

the project – a challenge that was overcome by co-ordinating local subcontractors to achieve the required outcome. What also inhibited the process was that the Manjimup Timber Park is a public area, so Karamfiles Builders had to secure and maintain the site whilst providing adequate fencing and signage to prevent unauthorised access to the construction site or risk of injury to the public over the construction period. Again, tight management of all facets of the job ensured that all stages of the project stayed within the allocated timeline and did not extend the works. In hindsight, a notable feature of the building is that it does in fact look very much like a traditional community hall whilst achieving the intended purpose of housing archive documents safely and providing the Historical Society with a modern and comfortable facility and meeting place. The main influences on the project were the specific requirements of the Manjimup Historical Society to have a


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building to effectively house their important records whilst ensuring that the building fitted in with the existing environment. “As with all of our projects effective management and good planning achieve a successful and timely project. You can’t beat local experience when it comes to building in the South West”, says Franzine Karamfiles (company director of Karamfiles Builders). “We are one of the most highly awarded and long standing builders in the South West and we continue to gain recognition from industry bodies such as the HIA & MBA for our quality workmanship and customer service.” Karamfiles Builders is currently working on three aged care units in Manjimup that are nearing completion and several private residences that are located in Bridgetown, Manjimup, Pemberton and Windy Harbour. BC Karamfiles Builders: (08 )9777 1900, MCG Architects Pty Ltd: (08) 9791 6993,

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 97


Small block delivers perfect fit

The four-level residence Campbell house has the ‘wow’ factor in spades. // words berlinda conti // images angus martin photography





When Besson Construction’s director and builder, Shane Besson, saw the initial drawings of the award-winning Campbell House for the first time, he knew it wasn’t a build for the faint-hearted. What immediately sprung to mind however was the rare opportunity to create a home of award winning pedigree. “I knew this would be a challenging build, especially with the complex engineering to support extremely large spans and the ultra-high-spec finishes demanded by the design,” says Shane. The stunning four-level Campbell House, built on just 400 square metres in the leafy suburb of Swanbourne, won two prestigious awards at the 2013 WA Architecture Awards. The home won, out of 16 finalists, the much-coveted Marshall Clifton Award for Residential Architecture and the State Mondoluce Lighting Award. Designed by internationally-regarded architectural practice Kerry Hill Architects, the home is a stunning example of pure, unadulterated and modernist-inspired design at its finest.


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Shane says the building had to be respected as a full commercially-engineered structure similar to constructing a much larger building in order to create the spaces required by the architect’s design. The owner was aware of Shane’s familiarity with larger commercial projects and his prior successes producing buildings of a high-spec finish, so wasted no time in appointing him to manage the build. The home, which began construction in 2010, cost just under $4 million to build and was fully completed in two years. Every room in this four-storey home is considered with precise detail and as Besson and Kerry Hill Architects would attest, provides “an experience to behold” upon entering. The basement level, with room for five vehicles, also consists of a guest bedroom overlooking a below-ground swimming

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pool. Clad in Turkish travertine, the pool is offset by an integrated water feature and pond which is enjoyed from a cantilevered timber deck which appears to float over the pool and surrounding greenery. “The travertine creates a beautiful turquoise effect to the (pool) water and the whole sunken courtyard creates a serene private relaxation area,” says Shane. Level two consists of three-bedrooms, all with generous and well-appointed ensuites, plus a children’s entertainment area and study/library. The bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling travertine which is themed and continues throughout the home. The travertine was quarried in Turkey with many large specially-ordered slabs shipped to Perth for milling to custom sizes required by the design. “Special features such as the master ensuite’s island-vanity

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 99


and bath surrounds were cut from these large slabs so they could be installed in one piece rather than smaller ones,” says Shane. “Large customised stainless steel frames had to be constructed throughout the home to support the stone slabs as they didn’t have the integral strength to support themselves in the large pieces intended to suit the architect’s required designs. These specialised custom-engineered features, cleverly concealed from view to anyone touring the home, are one of the secrets that truly set this home apart,” he says. The highlight of Campbell House is the third-level main living and entertaining area which spans the full length of the home. At 20 metres long, it is flanked by 3.6-metre ceiling-height windows which take in uninhibited views across the Norfolk pines and

parkland beyond. Upon reaching this level, one truly experiences a spatial moment – the hallmark of a Kerry Hill design. With filtered views through the trees, the effect evokes feelings much like being at one with the outdoors. Eleven-metre-wide bi-fold, full-height doors open out to a wide balcony which wraps around the home’s north-eastern side. The home’s signature look is in its integrated louvre shutters that move almost organically with the home to suit the prevailing conditions. A seamlessly integrated kitchen complements the imported Canadian rock maple used throughout the home which covers floor-to-ceiling expanses. A secret and cleverly concealed door integrated into the living area’s timber feature-wall leads to the roof-top terrace.

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“The door is electronically controlled and opens to a grand timber staircase. Once at the top, the 360-degree views are incredible,” says Shane. The lighting is a talking point for this exquisite home. “From the outset of the design process, lighting designer, Flynn Talbot, who travels between Europe and Perth, was engaged to bring the building to life at night,” says Shane. “His use of subtle integrated lights in selected areas gives the building a beautiful glow which is due to the clever use of exquisite European fittings and LED strip lighting. As a result, he has deftly integrated non-evasive lighting to do an incredible job of subtly and seductively lighting this building after dark.” Many of these lights presented substantial challenges for the builder. To integrate the lighting into very difficult positions and surrounded by unforgiving materials meant Shane spent a great deal of time in consultation with the architect and lighting designer, as is evident in winning the Mondoluce award. Shane described the journey as one of the most satisfying construction projects of his career. “To work with, and be challenged by, one of the most highly regarded architectural firms in the world and to win the highest residential award in the State was just phenomenal,” he says. BC Shane Besson: 0414 455 880,


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Home is where the (Lock)hart is This Como home perfectly suits a family’s growing needs. // words rocky amatulli // images bellcourt property group







102 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

This Como home required a design that would enable particular family circumstances to be met within the design on a narrow lot with a rear access. This meant that Brent De Pledge, of De Pledge Design, needed to design a house that would accommodate teenagers (as the dynamics of families today are changing with the children now staying home until a much older age and therefore requiring privacy for themselves and their parents). Brent has been in the industry for 34 years and started his career at the age of 18 as an architectural draftsman in Albany. He moved to Perth in 1982, managing various drafting offices in building companies until establishing his own design company in 1988. De Pledge Design now develops building designs from client briefs and then provides full documentation to obtain planning and building approval for these buildings. Brent’s final design for the Lockhart St home includes a zoned area at the front of the home that can be used by the teenagers, with the parents living and sleeping areas being well isolated from this zone. Brent also designed a second level “apartment” above the garage at the rear of the property completely isolated from the main part of the home, giving an older child complete privacy from the main home. “I believe in making rooms available for other activities as a growing family moves forward, so we have positioned doors in the front bedroom to gain access from the front of the house independently of the main entry. This is done in case the owners decide to work from home and can therefore convert this room into a home office. This is what makes this home unique - it is designed to allow for a growing and changing family,” says Brent.


Providing an “open” feeling to the home whilst meeting not only the client’s requirements for a home that suited a growing family but also suited the narrow lot was paramount for the designer.

Providing an “open” feeling to the home whilst meeting not only the client’s requirements for a home that suited a growing family but also suited the narrow lot was paramount for the designer. Brent feels he achieved a successful outcome by incorporating a number of courtyards within the design. These courtyards provide great visuals from the main living area, main bedroom area and also from the entry. At no time does one feel closed in with this design; all of the major rooms have a great outlook to open spaces. As always, designs are completed to take advantage of cross-winds and northerly light and heat aspects which creates a more energy efficient home. The project’s builder, Norm Sims, started in the industry as an apprentice bricklayer in Narrogin. After completing his Builders Registration in 1987, he moved to South Perth, initially building units for himself and then working for clients in the area (which he continues to do today). Norm’s building company is a family-run business that has operated around South Perth for

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the past 25 years, constructing new homes and units and also additions and renovations. Norm actually initiated the project when the land became available. Having a client who was interested in a development site, Norm suggested this particular block would be ideal. Norm had previously built on similar plots of land with very successful results. Given that previous experience on similar lots, and his extensive experience in the South Perth and Como areas, he also had input in the planning of the home. Essentially, the residence is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with a central outdoor area off the living area to create that feeling of space for the relatively narrow house. The studio/ granny flat added above the garage at the rear provides added accommodation. The dominating feature of the project was the long narrow nature of the site and the rear access lane. The size of the house to plot ratio on this narrow site produced the biggest construction challenge of the project for Norm due to the lack of storage areas for the materials due to the site. However he believes the project is unique due to the very design of the house because of it being situated on such a narrow block. He also believes the most notable features of the project are the studio and the outdoor living. “The studio above the garage is a great innovation as it creates a separate living area for teenagers and/or a guest room. This is not a feature that is commonly seen in homes nowadays, but it worked really well,” says Norm. Externally, the materials selected result in a sensible blend

of rendered walls with a metal roof with various roof heights to create interest. The idea was to design a home that will not date over time and will always look attractive from the street. What Brent feels he learnt from this project is it’s possible to design a home with diverse living requirements on a narrow lot and create a feeling of space, incorporating great visuals from all rooms to outside spaces. The project was a fairly conventional in materials and construction, however key features such as slumped glass to internal doors and exterior fence panels stand out. Internally, the home literally “sparkles” with its predominantly white interior interspersed with natural stone flooring and benchtops. The interior is clean and uncluttered, but by no means cold and uninviting. The connection with the outside courtyards and gardens adds life and light. Some of the other notable design features of this home are the high raking ceilings in the main living area, the colonnade rear entry, the open alfresco areas off the main living area, and courtyards to provide open visual aspects from living and bedroom areas (therefore providing a lot of natural light into a home which is built on a long narrow site). And it looks like Norm’s continued patronage to building in the area continues. His company currently has three houses under construction on the corner of Greenock and Lockhart Streets in Como and due for completion in September. BC De Pledge Design: 0438 196 172, Norm Sims: 0412 920 629

PH: 13 15 40 104 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


Here and Now! Modestly nestled into a gently sloping hill, this Yallingup home is worthy of any location. // words rocky amatulli // words peter hughes photography







Given his love of Italian cars, it is no wonder that Paul Odden’s practice name ORA (Optimum Resource Architects) also translates into ‘now’ in Italian. The word is about presence and being. It is about being grounded in the moment and dealing with reality – not unlike Paul’s philosophy on architecture. He dislikes unnecessary embellishment or labels when it comes to design, and believes good architecture is all about design being specific for a client and set of site conditions. So where does an architect apply that mantra at its utmost? Surely when designing a home to be located on a one-hectare rural block situated in the state’s south-west. The block on which this home is built is situated amongst other similarly sized lots, and slopes down towards a lower, cleared valley, providing a pleasant vista from the more vegetated area towards the front of the lot. The prescribed building envelope had limitations on where and how high a new home could be built on the lot. This set of restrictions was further exacerbated by the client brief including a 36 metre x 18 metre tennis court. ORA developed a design for the home which essentially makes it three levels in places. This solution was enhanced by the slope on the site, one bonus for the owners being that they have a better outlook than was possible from a single-level home. The other bonus by partially “submerging” the front of the home and terracing it down the slope is that it saved on site costs related to cut and fill – and the home benefits from the thermal mass of the ground making the internal temperatures generally less prone to swinging wildly with the ambient temperature. This aids the home in meeting its sustainability requirements. A substantial amount of friable clay needed to be removed from the site, and replaced with suitable fill. As a result, a feature which was suggested by ORA and could then be accommodated was an ‘earth tube’ temperature management system. Based again on the principle that the ground’s thermal mass provides a more stable temperature, hollow pipes run through the ground and air is pumped through them and into the home. The resultant air is cooler than the ambient temperature in summer and warmer than it in winter, therefore providing

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the home and its occupants relief in both the hotter and colder seasons. (The air temperature exiting from the pipe’s vents does not vary from 18 degrees Celsius by much more than 2 degrees). Sitting with a north-westerly aspect at the rear, the home is perched behind the treed frontage of the site and looks towards the rear boundary down to the valley. The home seems to have two distinct “faces”. Upon approach from the main road through the tree-lined meandering driveway, one sees an unassuming natural stone and painted façade which barely rises over one storey. This face is clean and solid but very much understated. The other face of the home (on the opposite elevation) is the one visible only to the owners and their visitors. It has steel and glass as its main components, affording that great view across the tennis court and down the valley. All of the major rooms (situated on this elevation) have a view to the valley. Given that this elevation faces north-west provides the home with warming winter sun, but in summer the heat and glare can be harsh. ORA remedied this with screening – but not the more expected slatted or operable metal screens which Paul finds somewhat crude and disrupting to the views. They designed eight separate remotely controlled sun shades which can be dropped to any desired height. In a dark perforated UV-resistant fabric, these screens (moreso shades) allow the view to be retained while tempering the heat and glare. The aforementioned sustainability of the home is relevant on a number of fronts. It relates partly to the mandatory requirements set by various authorities, but it also to the context of the home.


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When quizzed on his views of sustainability, Paul Odden replies: “I think that sustainability is about buildings that last and don’t require maintenance, and is not just about lowering running costs related mainly to cooling and heating.” Finishes such as the Colourbond roof, fibre cement sheeting, glass balustrades, reconstituted decking and natural stone wall as used on this home all contribute to that low maintenance statement. Apart from not wanting to constantly maintain the home when trying to enjoy the time they spend in it, the home’s running costs (or the reduction thereof ) have also been catered for via solar panels which can fully operate the refrigeration and pool pump without the owners paying for additional power during their absences. One interesting feature of this home is the plunge pool. Unlike more traditional pools which are built underground, this one is built up so that the lowest point of its structure is 1200mm above the ground (as high as the mandatory pool fences) and so compiles with the current safety regulations. “So many homes that are designed and built nowadays require constant maintenance. Life is complicated and busy enough without adding to that with having to maintain your home. Some home designs are more about making a statement than sensible practical architecture. Many homes that are being built in these rural locations seem to have more restraint that some of their suburban counterparts,” says Paul. The home’s builder, Cape Constructions, was responsible for all construction and what director Charles Grist refers to as the ‘extreme

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earthworks’ on the home. Whilst the design of the three levels works with the natural fall of the landscape, the extensive slope of the block and the existing clay based soil caused many architectural and engineering challenges when trying to maximise the panoramic views. Cape Constructions had to remove large amounts of clay and then have all drainage laid and backfilled, and had to create the ‘footprints’ on all levels by building high retaining walls. The quality of the tradesman that Cape Constructions used to construct this unique design that blends in with the surrounding landscape can be seem with the completed residence! Cape Constructions builds and renovates all levels of homes and small commercial buildings. Currently, the company has homes being built between $300,000 and $2.5 million, and commercial work up to $2.2 million on its books. Cape has reputation for listening to its clients and takes pride in ensuring every aspect of the project is checked and re-checked. Assessed annually by the Master Builders Association, Cape Constructions is acknowledged as being a high quality building company. Charles Grist started his career as an apprentice carpenter working his way through the industry until becoming a director and major shareholder in Cape. He has more than 35 years’ experience in the building industry and has worked alongside David Norrish to create Cape Constructions with the aim or providing its clients the best service and skills available in the region. In 2010 Greg Hough, Cape Constructions’ building supervisor, became a partner in the business because he shared the same vision and commitment to excellence. Charles, David and Greg have built a strong team of professional trades’ people that collectively has over 100 years of combined building experience. BC

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Cape Constructions: (08) 9759 1921, Optimum Resource Architects: (08) 9383 3111,

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F. 9418 2120 M. 0418 912 364 5/32 Clark Ct, Bibra Lake 6163 E. M: 0419 936 366 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 107


Helix spiralling upward These beautifully appointed Beckenham units are another successful project delivered on budget and ahead of time by Helix Group // words rocky amatulli // images terry smith – challenge developments





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The development and construction of 20 units at Beckenham in Perth’s southern suburbs is the result of the design rules changing, converting the site from the previously allowable 11 units to 21. Taking on board the feedback of neighbours, it was agreed to decrease the number of units to 20. Helix Group had previously completed a multi-storey multi-level development for the same client who was very satisfied with the company’s approach and procedures having built them from start to finish, so the Helix was re-engaged for this project. Helix Group provided input from the very start of the project - from designing, securing council design approval, building permit approval, through to the management and completion of construction. The complex is located near the Westfield Carousel Shopping Centre, which offers a variety of restaurants, fast food outlets, an international food court and many specialist retail shops and amenities. Bus and train transport are only a short stroll away. The client wanted Helix to build the apartments in the complex to a high standard but to be cost-effective as the dwellings were aimed at the first home buyer or investor market, which is typically price-sensitive. The two and three-storey apartment blocks include a range of three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments plus a number of two and one-bedroom apartments, with one bathroom. All apartments are fully fitted throughout and include quality carpet to bedrooms, timber look floors to living areas, window treatments and ceramic tiles to all wet areas, so all the residents needed to do was furnish the apartments and move


The two and three-storey apartment blocks include a range of three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments plus a number of two and one-bedroom apartments, with one bathroom. in. The apartments are equipped with caballing for telephone, television and Foxtel, split system air conditioning units, electric oven and hot plates, exhaust fans, programmable dishwashers and tumble dryers. Stone benchtops are installed throughout all kitchens and bathrooms in the development, and the kitchens include stainless steel sinks with quality tapware. Helix upgraded the cabinets with soft-close hinges and lacquer base units and doors during the construction, which added quality to the cabinetwork and overall final product. Externally, the multi-million dollar complex has a remote vehicle access gate with a security controlled system. A combination locked pedestrian gate allows easy access to the complex from the ample visitor parking bays, and every unit has its own covered carport. The development features communal entertaining areas in a private courtyard with a gazebo and barbecue facilities set in landscaped grounds and designer gardens throughout the complex. This all adds to the feeling that the residents live in their own village rather than just a unit development. True to Helix Group’s focus, the complex was completed on budget and ahead of time which benefitted the client. This was due to the strict adherence to the Helix Project Delivery System

(a system developed by the company and adopted on all of Helix Building’s projects by the onsite and contract administration teams) and attention to detail and superior finish, including fitout. Helix Group managing director Doug Harvey studied business (majoring in property) and once he completed those studies he worked as a project manager in building and construction to gain practical experience. His parents ran some small businesses over the years, including a building company, completing a few houses a year, so Doug joined their company and became a registered builder with the view of growing the business to include multi-storey projects, commercial and fitouts. The foundations of Helix Group were laid by Syd Harvey over 40 years ago and Doug combined that history with his vision and business structure and thus the Helix Group was born. Asked about his role and involvement in the company, Douglas says: “I’d like to think that although I’m ambitious, I’m approachable and see myself as one of the team. I’m honest and listen to the views of others. I don’t presume to know it all. I’m always looking for ways of improving myself, my staff and business, and the quality of the projects that are produced is a reflection of that. I wear many hats in the business, but as managing director I also encompass the roles of sales manager and construction manager.”

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True to Helix Group’s focus, the complex was completed on budget and ahead of time.



While the main focus of Helix Group’s construction portfolio in recent years has been multi-level residential projects, the company has had great success with high-density multi-unit/multi-storey projects. The company is also involved in building single or double-storey residential dwellings, commercial buildings, and carries out fitout and renovation work. In all cases Helix Group focuses on producing buildings on budget and within the prescribed timeframes, whilst maintaining the highest level of finish - regardless of project target market. The company works very closely with its clients, keeping them informed of their construction programme so they are aware of what stage their project is at, at all times. Helix Group is now working on the construction of another 15 units in this same development, with a further 102 units to be built over the next three years. The company has just been awarded a multi-level 12-unit project in North Perth, a multi-level 10-unit project in Leederville and a multi-level 12-unit project in Woodbridge. It looks like a case of onward and upward for the Helix Group. BC D J Harvey & Associates (Trading as The Helix Group and DNA Living): (08) 9337 0177,

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From Denmark with passion! Danish-born architect Michael Sorensen applied Scandinavian principals when designing and building his own home in Margaret River. // words rocky amatulli // images tim swallow photography





“I wanted to be an architect from about the age of 15, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else,” says Sorensen Architects director Michael Sorensen. “Sorensen Architects has been a small practice in Margaret River for 18 years. I originally started as an architect in Perth and then spent a number of years gaining experience in the United Kingdom and Germany where I teamed up with designer (and now wife) Britta. My wife Britta was born on the German Danish border and had a Danish education. My heritage is Danish but I was born in Perth.” Sorensen Architects’ work is primarily residential, with some commercial work, predominantly in the state’s South West. As a world-renowned wine growing region, there have also been many opportunities in the wine industry, both for front-of-house and production facilities, for the firm over the years. Michael and Britta’s previous place fell victim to a by-pass road and after many years of heartache dealing with the local authority and road authority. Finally, they just threw their hands up in resignation and came to the same resolution. This enabled them to start afresh on this fabulous Margaret River site. They took this as an opportunity to try and showcase all the things that they believe in and have learnt over the years with regard to sustainable architecture. To some extent, they had been frustrated by conservative clients not having the confidence to take the next step with their buildings, and so they felt that they needed to put their principles where their mouth was and lead by example. Michael loves Scandinavian architecture and thinks it has a real sense of place and an affinity with its landscape and people. (That may have something to do with his Danish heritage).

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Michael and Britta wanted to demonstrate how the whole site could be utilised and therefore have an integrated design. They are totally self-sufficient in producing fruit, vegetables and eggs – and have their own power and water supplies. The other thing they wanted to strongly demonstrate was that a small footprint building can work well: you don’t have to have a sprawling mansion to fulfil a site’s potential. “Western Australia has an obsession with double-brick construction but this project was used to demonstrate that timber can feel just as sturdy and strong (and perform better) than the ubiquitous double-brick”, says Michael. The view was one of the main drivers of the design. There is a sensational view across the river valley to the forest on the other side. The building is orientated to focus on that view; it integrates a calmness and peacefulness into the building. The garden and how it relates and interacts with the built structures was very much a part of the concept design stage. With regard to climate, many houses in the region do not seem to acknowledge that it can get very cold in winter but Michael has created a great indoor environment which he believes is at its best in winter. The project wasn’t without its challenges. In Michael’s opinion, the sloping site, the clay content in the soil and the fact that Margaret River “seems to be the next town past the last stop on any delivery run” provided additional considerations for the architect and owner builder. Michael tried to source as many local products as possible, but because of what he was trying to achieve, that was not always possible. He eventually had to procure materials and products from further afield – increasing the cost of transport and trades. Coaching local trades through the slightly different building and construction styles was also something he had to contend with.

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But not all of the challenges were detrimental to the project or process. Michael tried to use the sloping site to his advantage and put in a part-cellar, utilising the spoil elsewhere on site. He also says he “tried something a bit different with the ground floor concrete slab to avoid cracking” which he claims he will divulge for a case of wine. (We have a feeling it has to do with the heated concrete ground floor slab being finished with a special olive production bi-product. Did this innovation work? “Yes, it has,” says Michael). The highlight of the home would have to be the glass wintergarden/dining room. It acts as the climate driver for the whole house with its glass walls and roof. At this time of year (winter) there only needs to be a small amount of sunlight to heat up the concrete slab and the thermal mass then stores it for the rest of the day. It is so efficient that the hydronic heating rarely comes on at night. The stacking sliding doors allow the owners to open the whole room up to the outside timber deck and with the glass roof overhead they are able to watch the clouds drift by during the day or stargaze. Michael describes this as “a wonderful treat.” The home uses milled marri (collected from site) as a finishing product internally and reclaimed jarrah for exposed feature structural elements and retaining walls. It has recycled jarrah for feature external elements, spotted gum (fire rated) for feature external elements; plantation timber for framing and cladding and 13mm thick internal lining board made primarily from recycled gypsum and cellulose fibre. Being able to use so much of the timber from the site gives the home a sense of place and belonging. The view from every room, the way the rooms interconnect with each other (as the home has no passages or corridors), and the small palette of materials all blend to give this home a real harmony. It


It was about combining all of those sustainable materials, finishes and construction techniques into one building to demonstrate that it “doesn’t hurt or look weird, and it doesn’t have to come from hippieville”.

has a peaceful tranquillity that can pacify and relax at the most stressful of times. Michael feels there was nothing startlingly new or innovative in this project from a global perspective – yet it is a unique home regardless. From a local (perhaps even a regional) perspective there are quite a few new ideas. For Michael, it was about combining all of those sustainable materials, finishes and construction techniques into one building to demonstrate that it “doesn’t hurt or look weird, and it doesn’t have to come from hippieville”. Perhaps the biggest hurdle was that at the beginning of the project Michael had a lead carpenter supervising the project as well as being the lead carpenter on the job. Despite having commenced the work however, the carpenter left after three months to work on mine sites in the North West. This left Michael and Britta with the difficult situation of either trying to find another builder to take over the project, or to owner-build. In hindsight, Michael wishes that he had tried to find another builder rather than taking on the full project management himself! He had four other projects on site at the same time and it was overwhelming. In

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the end however, the home was built and stands as a testament to great design and detailed project management and construction. Currently, Michael is project managing an eco-village nearby. The project is still in the concept design stage and he is (slowly) working his way through the bureaucratic planning process and inching toward something more concrete. He hopes this innovative project will set a benchmark for sustainable urban development. Sorensen Architects has always focused on, and applied, ESD principles. Michael and Britta are passionate about the environment and the way we engage with it. They create buildings that function well and have a longevity and flexibility; buildings that are good to live and work in, inspiring and stimulating. Their designs are location-driven, innovative and individual – just like their own place! As a final comment about his home, Michael adds: “This is our place; our home and our work studio. We did everything ourselves, but I don’t think I want to owner-build again.” BC Sorensen Architects: (08) 9757 3581 / 0409 831 458


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Automatic for the people New technology makes entertaining and running your home easy, enjoyable - and energy efficient. // words rocky amatulli

Once upon a time, when the home theatre concept was new, they were all the rage. They represented the pinnacle in home technology. Incorporating cinema-like sound, with huge screens was the envy of many a home owner – and still is! And this is one aspect of what Ultimation provides for its clients. But technology is forever developing and changing. Not only has home theatre technology developed much further but technology now integrates into homes to provide much, much more than just a theatre experience for owners, and their families and friends. Advances in lighting, switching, wiring, and audiovisual technology now means that your home can be as technologically advanced as, say, a modern office. Televisions for example, connect to the internet and are getting ‘‘smarter’’ by now incorporating many functions which were formerly only seen on computers. Many homes now have wireless networks within them. Nowadays, the options available to homeowners extends to listening to high-quality music throughout your home via wireless speakers all streamed via the internet or played wirelessly from





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your mobile phone or tablet. And this is simply the beginning. Remotely controlling lighting (and even heating/cooling), or monitoring your home’s surveillance cameras from a laptop whilst on holidays is all possible with the advent of the latest technology and the internet. The best results are available to be enjoyed when that (complex) technology is integrated properly into your home. Ideally, when that technology is designed into the home from the very inception of the project, you get the best results. As with every project, initial planning involves a client brief. It is during the development of the brief that the client lets the designer know what they would like to achieve. However, it also gives the designer the opportunity to let the clients know what their technology can do for them. The brief can then be developed into a design concept, and sometimes initial cost estimates can be prepared. For this initial design concept it is prudent that the designer initiates dialogue with the home designer/builder. This is important because it is crucial that any adjustments to the home design or construction be made as early as possible. The planning process then extends to the preparation of detailed drawings and specifications. These documents need to be incorporated into, and read in conjunction with, the home construction plans so that again necessary provision can be made. At this point, it is always advisable for the client to check the plans and specifications to ensure that their requirements have been considered and catered for. At this point it is also advisable for the client to raise any questions or uncertainties with the designer, and to ensure that they fully understand what their system will - and will not - do. “Functions such as automation integration, energy monitoring,

THE BUILDERS CHOICE home automation

scheduling, water tanks, solar, controlled ventilation are all now possible for the home owner, particularly those who build new homes,” says Jarrod Silverlock, owner of Ultimation. “Energy efficiency and managing energy wastage is at the forefront of our clients’ minds, therefore building a prestigious home and incorporating a luxury lifestyle that includes a home cinema with audio visual available in other rooms, music distribution, and full home automation is high on their wishlists. To achieve all this, and with minimal impact on the environment, be auto-managed, practical and simple to operate requires a whole other level of expertise. That’s where we come in.” With many environmental resources being incorporated into new homes (such as rainwater tanks, solar panels, heating, cooling and natural ventilation) Ultimation’s role is to provide efficient, seamless control systems that are efficient all-year round without compromising on a client’s lifestyle. Some of its innovative solutions include:

able to eliminate excessive wall keypads and simplify controls for all systems that are connected to the touch screen.

Design A complex wiring structure is required for data, communications, MATV, cinema, audio visual, electrical, HVAC, lighting control, security, access control, CCTV, intercom and home automation control systems. With their highly detailed pre-designed integration plans, Ultimation is able to eliminate the potential wall clutter of controllers and ensure that all systems are integrated into switch automation touch screen panels. It is also

Audio visual The notion of having an eco-home with, say, 14 zones of music, and up to eight wall-mounted LED TVs and a dedicated home cinema may contradict energy savings, but by using Control 4 and C-Bus power relays we are able to turn standby power in non-essential AV gear off when the alarm system is armed to ‘‘away mode’’ thus reducing power consumption by 3 percent.

Energy management To achieve energy management and power monitoring, we use switch automation to monitor power, display graphical usage and do monthly comparisons. Home scheduling functions are also enabled for heating/cooling, towel heaters, and lighting during peak power usage thereby potentially reducing power consumption by 25 per cent. Lighting control Utilising C-Bus lighting control dimmers, relays and the new Pierlite 11watt LED down lights, we are able to dramatically reduce power consumption by 30 percent and still have full dimming and mood lighting control for the ultimate ambient environment.

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 115

THE BUILDERS CHOICE home automation

Security Ness M1 alarm sensors and C-Bus lighting sensors allows Ultimation to ensure lights in all hallways and non-occupied areas are automatically controlled for convenience and energy savings. Home-secure and secure-remote access for arming, disarming and door opening can also be incorporated. “Keeping this integration simple yet maximising functionality to provide a home’s low energy usage without the occupants knowing any difference is the ultimate achievement in an integrated sustainable home,” says Jarrod proudly. Implementation generally involves the careful laying of cables and switchgear for power, audiovisual, communications

and data. Particular care is required at this point in the process, especially where cables may not be easily accessed once the construction of the home is complete. It is also important to ensure that cables do not sustain any damage at the time of installing, or later during the construction of the home. Whilst wireless and Bluetooth technology minimises the need for hardwiring (cabling) in some instances, hardwiring may still be required and therefore needs to be done carefully and correctly. “The speed in which technology changes these days is a challenge for even the most experienced integrator, therefore ensuring all cables have been installed correctly is the number one priority-check that we do, as finding that a cable is broken or damaged during fit-off is a costly lesson we have all experienced before. With this in mind, every wire is visually and electrically tested during and after construction is complete, to ensure a smooth and uncomplicated commissioning process.” Programming of systems can sometimes require considerable tailoring and testing – sometimes even during the night so as to make sure that the intelligence does not interfere with the client’s lifestyle habits. Commissioning can sometimes be lengthy – especially if towards the end of the process clients want the system to do more than was asked for initially. For this reason, Jarrod suggests to clients to over-engineer their system so that it is easier to expand and re-configure, rather than just ensuring it is adequate for the tasks agreed on in the initial brief. When all goes well however (as it ultimately does) then the system is handed over to the client for their maximum enjoyment! BC Ultimation: 1300 880 554,

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116 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


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Remote-controlled construction

What does it take to build successfully in one of WA’s remote regional towns? // words rocky amatulli

Headed by Paul Carter, MITIE Construction recently undertook the challenging task of building a 1000 square-metre warehouse, complete with office and accommodation facilities, in the regional WA town of Tom Price. While navigating the tangled web of design constraints, organisational hurdles and local council rulings, Paul couldn’t help but think back to his humble beginnings in London’s construction industry. To some, the bustling English capital may seem a far cry from the scarcely populated regions of WA where Paul now finds himself, but he believes the formula for success is the same the world over. It all comes down to quality relationships and attitudes, he explained,





telling us candidly that honesty and ethics in the construction industry have been on the decline for years. Refusing to play a part in this toxic culture, Paul recognised that trust, honesty and communication were universally valued, especially in regional areas. This attitude to his work has pushed MITIE forward, and together with his partners John Farrell and Robert Handsley, Paul has grown MITIE Construction into a formidable business. Despite the decades of corporate and construction experience these men have between them, it is their reputation for running a “good, honest business” that they name their most valuable asset. Their sterling reputation has indeed served them well – their current Tom Price project being referred to them by a mutual associate in the region. To many, such an imposing job in such a remote location could seem daunting but Paul’s confidence in his company is unwavering. “MITIE Construction is firmly based in knowing what it does well, and focusing on doing it better,” he explained. “Over time, large builders have begun taking on smaller jobs, eroding their margins and harming performance. Simultaneously, smaller builders are


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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 117


trying to take on larger jobs and stretching themselves to the point where delivery suffers.” His vision has kept MITIE working only with the clients they know they can serve well, and as a result their targeted client base means around 20% of their total projects are tendered. The Tom Price warehouse project posed many unique challenges, from designing and implementing refrigeration and freezer units for a food distribution company, to insulating the warehouse and equipment against both the hot summer days and bitterly cold winter nights. Along with this, MITIE’s designs incorporated two

hundred square-metres of office space upstairs, as well as a covered loading bay and caretaker’s accommodation. This is an impressive level of diversity, considering the entire warehouse has been made completely adaptable, so that the client has complete control and diversity with their asset if and when the time comes for further strategic planning. Couple these construction difficulties with the obstacles presented by working in a region that sits fifteen hundred kilometres away from Perth, and over a hundred kilometre drive from the nearest main town, Newman. Logistically sourcing materials for such


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118 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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MITIE prides itself on utilising local tradespeople in all of its projects, both for convenience and to help support the community that has invited them to develop its properties. a project is a formidable and expensive task, but more difficult still is finding the human resources required for such a project. As a company, MITIE prides itself on utilising local tradespeople in all of its projects, both for convenience and to help support the community that has invited them to develop its properties. A significant number of local suppliers and trades were engaged to carry out the works, however there was also a requirement to fill the balance of trades which meant accommodating a substantial number of skilled workers from locations such as Port and South Headland, Karratha, Derby and Perth. Even in remote regions, developers can’t escape the ever-present sub division, shire and statutory requirements, which can significantly raise the cost of a construction project. The Tom Price warehouse was no exception, as design challenges were raised by site retaining requirements, traffic management and other constraints resulted in a substantial amount of fill and earthworks to accomplish a satisfactory end result. Obviously, this further increased the workload, time and potential project cost implications for the client. MITIE doesn’t just rise to face these sorts of challenges; it relishes the opportunity to prove itself time and time again – for its success is the foundation of its reputation. Paul says that looking forward, MITIE will continue to develop its regional

relationships, ensuring it treats clients and contractors alike with the wholesome values of the past while utilising the technologies and tools of the future. Currently MITIE Construction has a busy calendar, with residential and commercial projects all across the northwest of WA, including developments in Karratha, Port Headland and South Headland. Along with some exciting projects of their own, it’s clear that MITIE are in a very strong position and are well equipped to deal with whatever the future brings. Having already achieved their budget for the 2013/2014 they are now eager to seek out new and challenging opportunities to help develop regional and urban Australia, while showcasing the skills and work ethic that have brought them respect from clients, contractors and competitors alike. It’s the quality service of MITIE’s professional team that has inspired trust and admiration in such a highly competitive industry. Combined with its significant skills in refurbishment and developing showrooms, shopping centres, office buildings and apartments in both regional and urban areas, it’s clear that MITIE Construction is going to enjoy the fruits of its hard-earned reputation for many years to come. BC MITIE Construction: (08) 9201 2211,

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 119


Rescue mission right on the money // words rocky amatulli





120 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Éclat Building Company was approached by the developers of the 10-unit Vickers Green retirement units in Hamersley when the original builder fell ill and was unable to complete the project. Éclat was asked if it could complete the project – on the original budget and timeline. Gareth Owen (Construction Manager of Éclat Building) took the project on in what he describes as “in a sorry state”. “The client and project needed rescuing, so we did the right thing and helped them out as best we could,” says Gareth. The degree of difficulty for the project was also increased because this was not just a simple unit development designed for a quick sale or to satisfy the rental market’s demand. The development was for 10 luxury retirement units to be marketed and sold. Additionally, the method of construction was not the traditional (and relatively simple) double-brick and timber-roof framed construction. The units were designed using a less common method comprising polystyrene/Vilaboard sandwich panels with steel trusses to create open-plan layouts – so Éclat Building Company had certainly taken on board a series of challenges other builders may well have walked away from. The project comprises 10 three-bedroom/two-bathroom residences with five built on each side of a paved central roadway – giving the development a small community feeling. The residences are around 140 square metres and each sits on its own 300 square metre strata titled lot which provides the perfect balance between having one’s own space and privacy, whilst being easy to


maintain. The complex is only accessible through intercom systems and remote-controlled gates, offering the residents security. Each home has its own lock-up garage, but as the development is aimed at the over-55 retirement market, the developers decided to incorporate additional parking bays for a caravan, boat or visitor for each owner. These bays include power and water.

The degree of difficulty for the project was also increased because this was not just a simple unit development designed for a quick sale or to satisfy the rental market’s demand.

The residences have high energy efficiency designed and built into them. They have white Colourbond skillion roofs which reflect summer heat and are ideal for the solar hot water panels located on them. The insulated wall panels are rendered with a texture coat and there are feature brick-clad near-entrance walls which all enhance the energy rating of the homes. The grounds are easily maintained as they have water-wise gardens and edible plants.


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Given the state that the project was in when Éclat resumed work on it, one would not expect that this project may have even come close to failing to come to life, let alone to the standard it has now established.

The unit interiors have an open plan layout with the bedrooms and bathrooms on one side of a central corridor, and an open plan kitchen/meals/living area on the other. The galley-style kitchens add space and improve accessibility. They are finished off with quality stone benchtops, as are the bathroom and laundry benches. The interiors are very light and bright – again augmenting the spacious feel. Given the state that the project was in when Éclat resumed work on it, one would not expect that this project may have even come close to failing to come to life, let alone to the standard it has now established. This is moreso the case given the less conventional wall panel system. Having now worked with the sandwich panel system of construction, Gareth feels that panel construction is going to increase over time. “Although traditional bricks-and-mortar are a reliable and trusted material, bringing in new methods of construction can’t be a bad thing for the industry,” says Gareth. “The addendum was lacking in a lot of detail, so we had to develop details as we progressed with construction. There were a lot of loose ends that had to be brought under control on this project. The nature of the project’s construction being polystyrene/Vilaboard sandwich panels was a major influence on

122 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

how the project would be run. This was the first major project of this type of construction that was undertaken by Éclat Building, but I am glad to say that we completed it successfully. I feel that we turned the project around to make both the owners and Éclat Building Company proud. “The responsibilities were to get the project back on track and on budget, and to firm up a completion date. How gratifying it was to help out good people and turn around everything when it all seemed doomed,” he says. And when asked how Éclat Building Company was able to achieve the results on the project, Gareth answers: “Through constant and unremitting supervision.” Gareth completed his bricklaying apprenticeship with BHP Port Kembla. He arrived in Western Australia in 1978 and worked as a sub-contracted bricklayer until he received his builder’s registration in 1995. Éclat Building Company is experienced in all facets of the building industry - from remote area work to housing, unit and commercial developments. The company is busy, having just completed two doctor’s surgeries recently. It is about to commence work on another 10-unit development. BC Eclat Building Company Pty Ltd: 0411 850 961 Ray White: (08) 9347 3088

// words asi

Western Australian builders have more opportunity to gain Green Star points for their construction projects since three WA-based steel fabricators recently committed to the Australian Steel Institute’s (ASI) Environmental Sustainability Charter (ESC). The WA steel businesses concerned are Italsteel WA in Welshpool, Pacific Industrial Company at Naval Base and Southern Steelworks in Mandurah. The Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) requires engagement of ESC member fabricators for building projects to qualify for an available Green Star point. The ASI is the peak body nationally representing the complete steel supply chain and there are currently chartered fabricators operating in each Australian state, 30 all up. The point is awarded if 60 percent or more fabricated steelwork is supplied by a steel fabricator accredited to the ESC. The ASI Charter requires members to provide management commitment to a set of environmental principles, communicate these and engage with staff, measure their consumables and emissions and develop environmental improvement plans through an audited web-based mentoring system provided by the ASI. As a result of the GBCA’s Green Star ‘Steel’ credit review in 2010, the ASI created the Charter and environmental management program for downstream steel processors to embed environmental improvement in this section of the steel industry. In many structures, downstream processing may be a factor in determining whether a structural steel or other building system has a lower overall environmental impact. A US study of the fabrication sector reported in Modern Steel Construction (July 2010) found the average steel fabrication process can contribute up to 20 percent to the structural steel package portion of the overall steel building frame’s environmental impact when coatings are included. The number of Green Star projects grew by almost 50 percent over a year according to recent figures from the GBCA with 148 certified in 2012 compared with 101 the previous year. For those planning to actively reduce the environmental impact of structural steel, particularly for Green Star construction projects, the use of ASI ESC fabricators experienced in material management and scrap and energy use reduction is designed to

result in a more environmentally friendly outcome. The ASI’s ESC requires members to be independently audited to the system annually to retain membership and to demonstrate continual improvement and culture change in environmental management of their business operations. The audit ensures that each ESC company is working through the structure of an environmental management scheme to: 1. Operate to optimise the eco-efficiency of steel manufacturing, processing, treatment and construction throughout the full product life cycle. 2. Minimise impacts on resources and energy in steel manufacturing, processing, treatment and construction. 3. Continue to build environmental awareness and to share this knowledge with suppliers and subcontractors to encourage the full supply chain to embrace and implement sustainable policies. 4. Engage with local community on environmental issues as appropriate. Managing Director and Chief Change Facilitator at Allixir, Amy Luscombe who conducts the audits said that she was generally impressed with the level of commitment demonstrated by Charter members in the latest round of established Charter member fabricators. “The change in mindset has been astonishing and inspiring,” she said. “I’ve witnessed businesses embrace environmental improvement and management across their entire organisation. “We’ve seen environmental improvement initiatives such as lighting retrofit and roofing replacement projects, environmental management training of all staff, full waste sorting and recovery and better stock management to improve steel utilisation and lower wastage.” ASI National Manager Marketing, David Ryan who manages the program, said: “These dedicated steel businesses which directly interface with designers and builders are helping shore up a critical link in the steel supply chain to produce steel products more responsibly for the built environment.” “A good environmental case is often also the best business case so this program is also often reducing steelwork costs and improving efficiency. “This has a strong commercial case also for builders to gain that extra Green Star point as more buildings look for a GreenStar rating.” The ASI also conducts a national awards program that recognises the environmental sustainability performance of an outstanding ESC member with the next to be announced this September at the annual Steel Convention. To locate an ESC member in your state, visit: au/asi-committees/environmental-sustainability-charter/find-acharter-member/ BC ASI: David Ryan (National Manager - Marketing) Email:

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 123


David Ryan (National Manager - Marketing)

WA fabricators key to builders gaining extra Green Star point


Steel stunner Steel-framed low energy home wins HIA GreenSmart Awards. // words nash

The adaptability and versatility of steel in strengthening and beautifying modern low-energy homes was showcased recently in the HIA Western Australia GreenSmart Awards 2013. The winning home in South Perth, designed by passive solar design specialist Roger Joyner and constructed by Econstruct, took out three of the awards in the ‘Energy Efficiency’, ‘Custom Home’ and the top prize ‘Home of the Year’ categories. Econstruct are committed to sustainable construction and business practices. They are passionate about conservation and sustainable building and living and prefer working with like-minded supply chain members. Roger Joyner specialises in passive solar design to minimise operational energy and maximise comfort levels in practical, well-designed modern homes. He is a Certified ‘Passivhaus’ Consultant developing Ultra Low Energy Homes. The winning home was designed as a versatile, multi-generational dwelling for a retired academic couple. It incorporates independent space for their son and occasional guest bedrooms for older family members and visitors, with several rooms doubling as activity/study spaces. The modest, compact house nestles back into the site with its northern orientation maximising solar gain and its outdoor living areas offering views across the park to the Swan River and Perth CBD. All rooms have northern solar access and are configured to maximise cross-ventilation and convective cooling. The northern patio area is shaded with solar louvres that provide summer shade with winter solar access to warm the interior limestone floor in the heating season.

124 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

THE BUILDERS CHOICE alternative methods of construction

one of these is an inferior copy.

The extensive use of steel in modern, low energy home designs enhances their environmental value and maintains long-term energy efficiency performance.

Delivering the year-round benefits of good solar design principles requires a strong, durable framing system. The home is constructed over a thermal mass concrete slab with lightweight steel wall frames to the exterior, clad in 75mm-thick expanded polystyrene with fibreglass fill to the frame voids. This wall system creates a high insulation envelope achieving exceptional insulation values when linked to the double-glazed aluminium doors and windows. The roof and intermediate floors utilise steel C sections in combination with galvanised RHS posts and columns, some of which form exposed features internally and externally in the finished home. The main roof and balcony have perimeter frames of parallel flange steel sections left exposed as an architectural feature. Additional thermal mass is provided by the solid masonry internal walls which, with their minimal 90mm thickness, absorb stratified winter warmth from a high level and return the warmth of the day to the lower part of the house during winter nights. Weather tightness and rainwater collection performance are achieved with steel roof sheeting and roof plumbing, complemented by steel architectural trimming and detailing. Enlightened design, informed material selection and careful construction have combined to produce an outstanding home achieving an 8-star energy rating. The extensive use of steel in modern, low energy home designs enhances their environmental value and maintains long-term energy efficiency performance. Steel’s high strength and low waste ensures just the right amount of steel is used in the right places to achieve the design objective. Steel products are central to achieving the successful project outcome against which the HIA awards were assessed. BC

the other comes with a full rondo written warranty. Only Rondo metal finishing beads come with a full written Rondo warranty that guarantees the quality of the surface coatings used, to ensure the beads have an appropriate protection for their intended purpose. So why risk it? The Rondo Warranty is the only way to make sure you are getting the real thing.

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 125


Natural choice Addressing climate change; why timber is the best choice for your next project. // words rav mukushi (personal assistant/project assistant – fifwa)

Minimising adverse environmental impacts is now a priority for every building project as consumers have become more conscious of their carbon footprint.

126 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Timber is one of the oldest and most durable building materials. Timber is a smart choice for environmentally friendly construction, with properties that are unmatched by many other building materials. Structures produced from timber are highly appealing as the product is natural, renewable, low in production energy, a store for carbon, a good insulator, readily available and easy to work. In construction timber is commonly used for applications such as framing, formwork, flooring, decking, landscaping, window frames, fencing and joinery to name a few. Timber is also aesthetically appealing and one would find it hard to look past the attractive qualities of timber accessories, furniture and fittings found in residential and commercial spaces. Minimising adverse environmental impacts is now a priority for every building project as consumers have become more conscious of their carbon footprint, many seeking environmentally sustainable building solutions. The construction industry has acknowledged this trend and shifted its focus toward environmentally sustainable and responsible building, focused on consuming fewer resources and constructing energy efficient buildings. For the environmentally conscious architect, engineer or building professional timber is a logical choice. Using sustainably sourced timber can help tackle climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy. Removing carbon from the atmosphere is one way to reduce the effects of climate change. Timber is a fantastic option in this regard as timber stores carbon for its entire life. It is well known that 50 percent of the dry weight of timber is carbon, absorbed from the atmosphere by growing trees ( This carbon would otherwise be adding to the greenhouse effect. Using timber in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building stands or the timber is in use, while another tree grows in its place, increasing the total amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere. The embodied energy in timber is also very low as it takes very

THE BUILDERS CHOICE alternative methods of construction

Timber, with its low embodied energy, again comes out the superior product when compared with many other building materials.

little energy to convert the wood in trees to the timber used in buildings. The greater the input energy required to make a useable product, the more fossil fuels, such as oil, gas or coal, are burnt and the greater the total emissions released into the atmosphere. Timber, with its low embodied energy, again comes out the superior product when compared with many other building materials. Australian timber products are also a popular choice as they are durable. This means that timber products, buildings or structures perform their function for a significant desired period of time with the capacity to resist elements such as decay, fire and termite attacks. To increase the timber product’s durability a combination of the right species, design, workmanship, finishing and maintenance is essential. All timber species are assigned to a durability class of 1 to 4 to assist with selecting the best species for the right use. Australian forests are well-managed; in addition many also carry independent certification which gives consumers the confidence that they are buying timber sourced from sustainably managed forests. The certification process closely monitors and reviews

T w i s T

management activities, from planning processes through to harvesting, haulage and regeneration operations (Radiata Pine – A Sustainable Greenhouse Alternative. Brad Barr & Paul Brennan. 2009). The use of timber products sourced from certified forests provides assurance that all harvested areas are fully regenerated, maintain healthy ecosystems, protect the water and soil and also safeguards the safety of workers, local jobs and communities. Climate change is one of the most important global environmental issues we currently face and today’s consumer is increasingly conscious and determined to respond by choosing more environmentally friendly products. Timber is that product as it is natural, renewable, low in production energy, a store for carbon, a good insulator, readily available and easy to work. With the ability to meet the requirements of a variety of Australian standards and rating schemes, timber is the ideal choice to meet the increasingly popular demand for energy efficient buildings. BC Forest Industries Federation W.A. (FIFWA): (08) 9472 3055

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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 127


Using timber today // words timber constructions wa pty ltd

Timber is an organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable building material. To effectively tackle climate change we must remove carbon from the atmosphere as well as reduce new carbon emissions into the world we live in for our future generations. Timber is the only building product available that offers this carbon relief and to its manufactured counterparts which form the remainder of building products available today. We, as carpenters, have a great sense of achievement and satisfaction building a timber structure from start to finish, also decorating the building with natural timber finishes. When we build a timber-framed structure from start to finish, it is like the timber is coming back to life, growing into a house around you, standing strong as they have been built for centuries. When designing a timber-framed structure, you are on your

way to sustainable living creating a home of natural beauty and unique craftsmanship from a carpenter’s love of timber. Wood is a durable material for both residential and commercial buildings. Wood is very strong structurally. A comparison with steel and concrete shows that radiata pine structural timber, for example, has a strength-for-weight ratio 20 percent higher than structural steel and 4-5 times better than non-reinforced concrete in compression. Timber frame requires fewer on-site labour days and ensures a significantly faster construction period overall. This means a faster return on investment, reduced disruption to local communities, and tidier, safer sites. Timber frame builds can be built all-year round throughout WA. Design flexibility Timber frame systems are particularly suited to sites with poor soil conditions (sites that favour lighter buildings), and sites with restricted access with the advantage of pole homes. Modular components are also easy to transport whilst prefabricated panels are built off-site. Wood is a natural insulator due to air pockets within it structure. Timber’s insulation properties are about 15 times better than masonry, 400 times better than steel and more than a 1000 times better than aluminium. One of the principle benefits of timber frame construction is its speed of erection and ability to significantly reduce manual handling of materials on site and working at height, therefore limiting the risk of injury to site staff. Timber framing is easier to make modifications to during, or after, construction. Whilst framing a structure, changing your mind is generally simpler, for example, the option of moving openings to suit your new ideas created in your living spaces. Timber is a much easier fixing option that masonry or steel. Timber can be clad with most of its counterpart products with timber being the heart of the home or building. Wood can also be recycled. BC Timber Constructions WA Pty Ltd: 0418 924 190,

128 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013


Local governments helping drive water use change // words government of western australia – department of water

Living in a water wise community has benefits for us all. Recent recognition of the State’s Waterwise Councils at a breakfast attended by local government officials and sustainability representatives provided an opportunity to reflect how much this program is helping transform the way communities use and manage water. By adopting new technologies that use water more efficiently in buildings and in the watering of parks and ovals, these Waterwise local governments are making sure their communities have a high level of amenity whatever the weather. They are also providing householders with assistance in the form of education and subsidised water efficient programs. Water Minister Terry Redman congratulated the State’s 21st Waterwise Council – the City of Cockburn – which was last year’s winner of the 2012 Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Sustainable Cities Award. “The City of Cockburn has taken a broad approach to improving the way water is used in the area, from installing water efficient appliances in council buildings to working with the community to promote the Waterwise message,” Mr Redman said. “Cockburn has carried out significant improvements in the use of its precious groundwater allocation for parks and gardens. “This includes upgrading irrigation systems and installing soil moisture monitoring equipment to use groundwater more efficiently and reduce unnecessary watering.” The Waterwise Council program is collaboration between the Department of Water, Water Corporation and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives - Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). It involves a purposeful multi-staged program that starts with meeting the requirements under ICLEI’s Water Campaign and involves detailed commitments to improving most forms of water use by the council and where possible, demonstration that they have supported and attempted to positively influence sustainable water use inside the local government area.

There are 21 fully endorsed Waterwise Councils, with a further 25 working towards endorsement. These councils cover more than 80 per cent of the state’s population. There are also 31 metropolitan and 22 regional local government authorities who have developed public open space water conservation plans, which are another required step in becoming Waterwise. “The endorsed Waterwise Councils have reported saving more than 4.7 billion litres of water since 2009,” the Minister said. Local governments help the State’s water conservation and efficiency target by meeting their own needs, as well as taking a leadership role. “They also help drive behavioural change through example, encouraging households in their area to adopt more efficient water use,” the Minister said. “This has seen, individually and collectively, a growing culture that reduces water wastage and overuse inside the community.” The leadership role extends beyond using water more economically. It includes helping manage the quality of community water resources such as lakes, wetlands, rivers and aquifers through water sensitive design and improved water practices such as planting native gardens and retrofitting urban stormwater drains, as well as encouraging residents to use low impact fertilisers and detergents in the home and garden. They also integrate Waterwise guidelines into planning processes to ensure builders and developers build Waterwise principles into developments. The Waterwise Council Program won the Program Innovation category at the 2011 Australian Water Association State awards. At the 2012 Australian Water Association’s National Water Awards, ICLEI, the Department of Water and the Water Corporation were highly commended for their work on the Waterwise Council Program. If you want to know about your local government’s Waterwise initiatives give them a call direct or visit the Department of Water website. BC Government of Western Australis – Department of Water:

PHOTO (Above): City of Cockburn recognised as Western Australia’s 21st Waterwise Council. Left to right - Stephen Cain, CEO City of Cockburn; Jenni Harrison, Environment Officer City of Cockburn; Maree De Lacey, Director General Department of Water; Ashley Vincent, General Manager, Planning & Capability Group Water Corporation; City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett JP; Anton Lees, Manager Parks and Environment City of Cockburn.

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 129


Power of the people A State Government backdown reinforces how sustainable energy is now an important part of the WA landscape. // words sustainable energy association

If you needed any evidence that the concept of sustainable energy is now firmly entrenched in mainstream thinking in Western Australia, look no further than the events over four days in late August. A social media-led firestorm erupted when the State Government announced it was slashing the residential solar feed-in tariff from 40 cents to 20 cents a unit. More than 75,000 WA households who installed solar PV systems from mid-2010 to mid-2011 were entitled to the Feed in Tariff (the scheme was discontinued when the capacity cap of 150 megawatts was reached). Householders had been promised a FiT set price (40 cents a unit) for the electricity the solar systems exported back to the main grid - for 10 years. The Government claimed it had received legal advice that it could alter the contract conditions without any legal comeback. But the “moving of the goalposts” was too much for many, and not just those who had signed up for FiT in the first place. The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) was a focal point for galvanising what quickly became a “people’s revolt” against the State Government. “The fight then began,” says SEA chief executive Kirsten Rose. 130 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

“We were working with the media; talkback radio went absolutely crazy. We partnered with a grassroots consumer advocacy organisation called Solar Citizens who mobilised immediately with online petitions and letters. The story morphed and evolved over the weekend, with the public outrage growing every day and threats of legal action abounding. “We were still doing media and encouraging people to write to their local and Federal members when the Cabinet convened on Monday.” An hour before the Cabinet meeting, Treasurer Troy Buswell was adamant, despite the hue and cry, that the Government was standing by its decision. But, in an amazing backflip, Premier Colin Barnett emerged from the meeting to declare the Government had got it wrong. He told the media: “It was a mistake, we accept that, we reverse the decision and I guess we move on from there. We have listened and we appreciate the commitment that many people have made to take up renewable energy, like solar power.” Cynics would say the political ramifications of the Government’s original stance had led to the about-face (backbenchers were inundated with angry correspondence, much of it from Liberal voters while Canning MHR Don Randall and Pearce candidate Christian Porter had warned the move would affect the Liberals’ Federal election chances in WA). But the general uproar also points to how West Australians have embraced, in the face of soaring power bills, the concept of renewable energy sources such as solar power, even without the “generous” FiT still being available. (Synergy still pays buys back energy from solar power customers via the Renewable Energy Buyback Scheme, or REBS, at 8.8529 cents per kilowatt hour). Western Power says around 2500 solar PV systems are being installed each month in the state; as of June 30, according to

THE BUILDERS CHOICE energy efficiency

Ecologically sustainable design Clean Energy Regulator, there were 139,300 residential solar PV systems in WA - generating 310 mW, or roughly equivalent to the Collie coal-fired power station output. “This was an important battle to win, but there will no doubt be more battles to fight in the coming months and years,” says Kirsten. The electricity market in WA -- and indeed across Australia and the world -- is in a period of transition as rooftop solar penetration grows. More households will look to lower their bills and generate their own electricity, but this in turn reduces the revenue available to the networks, who provide the ‘’poles and wires’’ in our grid. How governments and utilities respond to this issue is a subject of much debate. The WA Government has suggested that they may look at higher fixed charges for electricity, for example. Changing the way West Australians pay for electricity is not a bad idea, says Kirsten, but she adds that: “The devil is in the details of how reform is structured. Households that install solar shouldn’t be penalised just because they’re using less electricity from the grid. The benefits of renewables need to be recognised as well.” BC

Cadds Energy provides advice on the latest Ecologically Sustainable Development (ESD) and NCC/BCA - Energy Efficiency Compliance practices to a number of Perth’s leading Architects and Building Designers such as Oldfield Knott Architects and Hodge Collard Preston Architects. Utilising modelled solutions and best practice benchmarking, Cadds Energy works closely alongside their clients and key project consultants to provide integral design advice, to achieve robust and structured energy efficiency plans. These plans on average can lower buildings energy consumption and greenhouse emissions by substantial volumes, often around 20%-30%, yielding in consistent, direct annual cost savings with surprisingly little compromise in initial design. As a case in point, Cadds Energy was asked to undertake a JV3 Verification for Westpoint Star’s Vehicle Service Centre. The outcome of this extensive process resulted in a host of changes, including the installation of high performance glazing, increased insulation and energy efficient lighting systems. The culmination of these recommendations saw a 33% reduction in annual energy usage while maintaining the design aesthetic. For more information on how to incorporate ecologically sustainable design into your new development, contact Matthew Pike on 9418 8725 or email

Sustainable Energy Association: (08) 9228 1292,


Your First Choice For Award Winning, Complete Energy Consultation Services • BCA – Energy Efficiency Compliance • ESD Consultation & JV3 Reports • Residential & Commercial Energy Analysis • Sustainable Building Consulting • NABERS & Green Star Building Ratings

An Alternative - Cadds Energy offers advanced Solution assessment methodologies to achieve compliance with the BCA that set us apart from our competition. By utilising our significant experience alongside our thermal performance modelling we offer diverse and adaptable energy efficiency solutions which help to retain design aesthetics, whilst frequently reducing construction costs.

To find out more, call (08) 9418 7725 or visit

The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 131


We’ve Got You Covered On Cabinet Protection




Retail Merchandising Solutions

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132 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

THE BUILDERS CHOICE building products & services



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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 133

THE BUILDERS CHOICE building products & services


Artisan Blinds & Shutters COLORBOND SUPPLY & INSTALLATION FACTORY DIRECT PRICES Colorbond Gates • Garden Gates Pool Gates • Slat/Wood Look Gates Wood Look/Slat Fencing 17 YEARS EXPERIENCE STRONG & DURABLE POWDER COATED FINISH T: (08) 9409 4005 M: 0426 954 134 F: (08) 9409 4010A/H: 0416 018 625

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PHONE: 9201 0088 134 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013












THE BUILDERS CHOICE building products & services

Designstone, bringing a quality masonary walling system to the northwest Designstone is a unique masonry building system; a layered combination of mold un-reinforced concrete cladding panels, hung on a light gauge steel framework that is reinforced by concrete-filling, backed up by internal linings and foil insulation. The panels are consistently coloured throughout, fade resistant and maintenance free. Fast, dry and clean erection, reduced scaffold hire, early lock-up and finishing, all reinforce major economies in hoisting and handling. This can mean substantial savings of interest on bridging finance, of rent for temporary accommodation, as well as through earlier commencement of income flow from investment properties. The entire wall system is of non-combustible materials. There is a very high resistance to burning, spread of heat and flames, and resistance to collapse during fires. This means safety for fire-fighters, and reduction of risk to life and property. Designstone’s wall thicknesses is considerably less than in comparable masonry systems. Designstone delivers more internal space with less wall and roof area. The thin (but solid) masonry cladding stores only limited heat, that dissipates quickly as the day cools. Insulation values can be tailored to suit demanding polar, desert and tropical climates. Energy for heating and cooling is much reduced because of these thermal design factors. Construction water use is minimal and un-polluted. There is virtually no site waste and therefore little contribution to landfill. (See full page advert on page 9) ADVERTORIAL SUPPLIED BY CLIENT

SECURITY FENCING Palisade Fencing • Garrison Fencing Automatic Gates • Chain Mesh Fencing Electric Fencing


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136 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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THE BUILDERS CHOICE building products & services




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& Toilet Hire & Sales & Chemicals/Waste Removal & Servicing Hire a work site loo from a low $5.50INC GST per day* Buy your own portable toilet from $1800 inc.

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Phone: 08 9753 3623 Fax : 08 9752 3908 Email: The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 137

THE BUILDERS CHOICE building products & services

Leaders in the innovative and creative field of decorative metal coatings Metalcote WA’s unique service began here in Perth with the support of our Melbourne partners in 2006. We have enjoyed exciting growth as leaders in the innovative and creative field of decorative metal coatings

being that it is also lightweight.

Metalcote WA is proud to inform you of the recent amalgamation of a parallel service in Perth.

A wide range of semi-precious metals are available including Aluminium, Brass, Copper, Bronze, Pewter, Iron, Stainless Steel, Nickel, Graphite, and alloys of these metals.

Our goal of providing an industry leading service with innovative and creative design has been proudly presented throughout many projects throughout Western Australia Metalcote allows seamless adhesion to a vast range of profiles and substrates creating a semi-precious metal skin. The metal surface can then be treated as solid metal allowing custom finishes both modern and traditional to be created. You can choose from a wide variety of textures, patinas rusts and surface finishes creating a distinctive and innovative dimension to your project. Metalcote maintains all the traditional advantages of metal in durability, strength and consistency with its key advantage

138 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

Metalcote opens an entire new realm of metal opportunities for a variety of commercial and domestic feature designs, including doors, reception counters, signage and wall panels.

For all queries please contact the Metalcote WA customer service team. Western Australia Office / Showroom Unit 1 - 2, 53 Prestige Parade Wangara WA 6065 Phone: (08) 9302 3011 Fax: (08) 9302 3022 Email: Website: (See full page advert on Inside Front Cover) ADVERTORIAL SUPPLIED BY CLIENT


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We cater for Corporate, Groups, Bucks and Hens Parties.



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Phone: 0415 030 103 Email: info@perthferrarihire


The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 139

THE BUILDERS CHOICE tradies corner


Experience the adrenalin of flying a huge, powerful jet airliner — with friendly, hands-on guidance from our experienced pilots. Jet Flight Simulator Perth gives you a piloting experience as close to the real thing as possible. You don’t need any experience. Book in and take-off today!

GREAT GIFT VOUCHER IDEA for that special occasion. JET FLIGHT SIMULATOR PERTH Unit 8, 4 Moonie Street, WILLETTON 6155 Tel: (08) 6555 7910 Email:



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(08) 9440 0099 501 Wanneroo Road, Balcatta WA (Near Reid Hwy Intersection) 140 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013




AIR CONDITIONING “YOUR ONE STOP SHOP” Mechanical Services Commercial & Domestic Design & Manufacture Supply & Install Air Conditioning Services Property Maintenance RTA No. AU22817


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The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013 141







PHONE: 9201 0088 Proud to work alongside Jaxon Construction on the Indian Ocean Suites. For all your painting needs from Perth and the Pilbara.









t. (08) 9200 6275



Call Daniel today for a FREE QUOTE 0417 978 139 PO Box 3752 SUCCESS WA 6964 Registered Painter No. 5439




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0422 098 180 142 The Builders Choice Magazine – September 2013

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Builders choice magazine september 2013