A former car factory in Adelaide’s south is now blazing a trail as Australia’s premier Innovation District.
The former Mitsubishi factory at Clovelly Park was a southern suburbs icon for more than 40 years, but after the plant’s closure in 2008, the 61-hectare site was ripe for re-development.
Now, almost three years into a 20-year redevelopment project, Tonsley is transforming into a world-class
collaborative, innovative precinct – already home to 880 jobs, with scope for thousands more.
With collaboration at its core, Tonsley represents a $253 million State Government investment and integrates on the single site industry, research, education, training, retail, residential living and community.
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NSW is the worst state in the country for mining investment; behind even Victoria and Tasmania.
These are the facts the state is facing in the lead up to the March 28 election. The information from the Fraser Institute’s survey was a major talking point during NSW Minerals Councils CEO lunch address at the Sydney Mining
“When the Coalition was elected we were ranked 20th, now we’re 39th… something has gone backwards” said Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee. “We’re the least attractive state for mining.”
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
With her origins in Malaysian banking and finance, Junies Lim joined National Fleet nearly five years ago to head the Finance & Insurance department.
She joined Australia’s largest automotive dealership network at a critical time when it was going through major changes. Spearheading this change, Junies and her executive team have taken the company through a major growth curve. Several successful tie-ups and product offerings later, the current National Fleet CEO is ready to take the organization even further.
Their ability to spot opportunity has led to the latest joint venture with Yellow Brick Road (YBR). The boutique bank and wealth management company has established YBR Car with National Fleet to offer fleet leasing to YBR’s extensive clientele base. The Australian Business Executive spoke with her to discuss what this new partnership with YBR means for National Fleet.
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
This National Fleet business profile has been made possible by the support of: DVG Bartons
What the Repeal of the Carbon Tax means to Investor Confidence An interview with Sid Marris, Director of Industry Policy at the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)
Sid Marris joined the Minerals Council of Australia in May 2008. As Director of Industry Policy, he has responsibility for a wide range of policy issues of importance to the Australian Minerals Industry including Climate Change and Energy, Infrastructure and Transport, Workplace Relations as well as contributing on trade, economics and innovation matters. J. Landry spoke with him exclusively on what the repeal of the carbon tax means to the
Australian mining industry.
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
Strata Issues and Sydney: GK Strata Managements talks company growth, commissions and delivering value.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding within the general public of how strata management companies work and the benefits that they provide their customers. From issues of compliance, to commission structures and value for money, to building maintenance issues and regulations, there’s a lot that a strata management company must cover.
To address this, we catch up with Melissa Truscott, Managing Director of GK Strata Management. Melissa takes the time to speak with The Australian Business Executive to offer her thoughts on these issues as well as her company’s continued growth.
Within this interview, she’s also invited Greg Haywood to provide a better understanding of how commissions work in the industry. Greg is the Group CEO of Prudential Investment Company Australia (PICA), and speaks to us in his capacity as President of SCA (NSW).
J. Landry: Can you describe some of the key features of GK Strata Management’s portfolio in terms of variations, location and size?
Melissa Truscott: GK Strata Management (GK Strata) has been in business for over 30 years. It was originally established by George and Kay Terry with a small portfolio managed from their home. George and Kay retired and sold their business outright to their son, David Terry, who remains in the business today as a Director and our licensee-in-charge.
GK Strata now manages almost 450 strata schemes and employs 29 staff. We manage all types of strata schemes from heritage listed buildings, residential garden estates, industrial estates, shopping centres, community associations and building management committees.
Historically, we have focused our business on servicing the Eastern Suburbs and inner-city regions. However, we are now driving the business to expand our portfolio to encompass all regions within a 15km radius of the CBD.
JL: What are the strengths and qualities of the management team and what impact have these had on the success of the company?
MT: GK Strata has two directors, David Terry and myself, Melissa Truscott, as Managing Director. David has over 20 years experience as a strata manager. During that time, he has managed all possible issues that may be faced by an owners corporation at any given time. He is extremely well-versed in governing legislation and provides a wealth of knowledge and advice. Not only to his clients within his personal portfolio, but to the other strata managers within our office who are lucky to have access to him on a daily basis to be of assistance where necessary.
Complimenting David’s strata management experience is the corporate business experience that I have gained over the past 20 years. My primary experience is in project management and business process improvement, which has proved particularly beneficial to the back office support of the business. I also have strong experience in human resource management, client relationship management and compliance and regulatory liaison – all skills that have been transferable to the strata management industry.
We are both passionate about continual customer service improvement. To assist us to take our customer service to the next level, 12 months ago we invested in the recruitment of Damien Excell as our Operations Manager. Damien has extensive relationship management experience across a range of industries, including telecommunications, gaming and FMCG. He has been appointed to manage general business operations and human resource management, but most importantly to improve the service experience of our existing clients.
Included in our senior management team are Frances Portokalli (Property Services Manager) and Beatriz Castro (Finance Manager). Between them, Frances and Beatriz have almost forty years experience in the property industry.
Our senior management team has a strong commitment to integrity and reliability and are highly ethical. Our clients trust and recommend us on this basis.
JL: What is the fundamental philosophy underpinning GK Strata Management’s operations?
MT: Continual business process improvement and customer focus underpin our operations so that we may be proactive in exceeding our clients’ expectations and our contractual requirements. We see this as the most important way we can differentiate ourselves in the market. We are continually considering ways to do things better to improve client experiences with our business. We investigate new concepts in customer service across all service industries and determine whether they could be implemented or adapted to our particular industry needs. We don’t benchmark ourselves against the strata industry for customer service, we benchmark across all service industries.
JL: What are some of the company’s successes that really stand out for you?
MT: We have grown the business from a portfolio of a handful of buildings to almost 450 schemes purely through organic growth and word-of-mouth. Historically, GK Strata has never considered marketing the business to achieve growth. In the last six months, we made a decision to test the waters with marketing and we have already exceeded growth in the last six months than we have in any preceding financial year.
We also have excellent retention rates compared to our competitors of a similar size.
I’m also very proud of the corporate culture that we have in our business. Considering the stressful nature of strata management, GK Strata is still a great place to work and the retention rates of our employees are also higher than our competitors.
JL: As an organisation that has previously not done any marketing, how did you decide to market yourself and how did you identify the results as a success?
MT: We recognised that the traditional forms of marketing that small business used in our industry simply wasn’t getting great market saturation. Traditionally, small strata management companies would undertake basic forms of marketing and promotion such as letter box drops and advertising in local newspapers.
Our client base is made up of virtually every market segment – young couples, families, retirees, pensioners, professionals all of which may be either investors, owner-occupiers or tenants, many with competing priorities. Traditional forms of marketing were not reaching many of these segments.
We recognised that we needed to adopt a more diversified marketing strategy. We now utilise print media, social media, internet advertising and industry education as ways to increase our brand recognition. We maintain a web-based CRM software whereby we track all potential new business leads so that we obtain an understanding of where, how, why and when a potential client has considered our services. We also monitor internet traffic and social media interactions to determine what traction we are getting in these less traditional forms of marketing in our industry.
Based on these results, our website is still a great generator of new business leads, however word-of-mouth continues to be our prime lead for new business opportunities. Participating in industry education is also starting to gain momentum for our business.
JL: You’re a board member of the NSW division of Strata Community Australia NSW (SCA). Can you tell us how that came about and some of the key aims of the organisation?
MT: A vacancy became available with the resignation of a board member mid-term in 2012. I was approached by the then vice-president to consider filling the vacancy and was appointed by the board in November 2012 for the remaining term. Whilst participation can at times be challenging and requires a commitment of your personal time and energy, I personally find the experience very rewarding working and meeting with participants across our industry and with the other board members themselves who are all extremely committed to promoting the organisation and its members across the sector.
Our key aims include the education and professional development of our members through accreditation pathways, advocacy for the sector as the peak representative when lobbying government and other bodies or associations, maintaining a code of conduct for members within the sector for the benefit of our clients, determining consistent standards of best practice for the use of our members and to promote business links and networks among all participants in the sector at local, national and international levels.
JL: Insurance commissions are a hotly debated topic in the industry at the moment. Do you feel that they’re a necessity that benefits the industry?
Greg Haywood, President of SCA (NSW): Insurance commissions subsidise the base management fees and this has been the case for over 20 years. Without them the strata industry would have complete market failure as the majority of companies would not be profitable. Market failure would result in many business failures with jobs at risk. The current arrangement has been proven to be cost effective for our clients and the strata managers as authorised representatives of the underwriter/broker has additional PI coverage.
There already exists with the larger schemes the option for a fee-for-service model and a sharing arrangement – this has been the case for many years.
Under the new proposed legislation the commission model will be retained with full disclosure which is supported by the SCA (NSW) board.
JL: Can you give us an explanation of how they work?
GH: The strata manager (some companies have an Insurance Department) obtain three (3) quotes if possible, depending on claims history and/or the state of the building. If required, the strata manager will get their nominated insurance broker to discuss the insurance requirements and covers for the scheme. This is normal practice for the larger schemes.
The industry deals with the strata specialist brokers and underwriters to make sure that the correct covers and types of insurance are in place. In the event of a claim the strata manager and/or company manages the claim process. The commission covers the cost of delivering the above services.
Without this service the owners corporation/executive committee would need to do this themselves and/or get a broker who would charge the full commission and probably charge a fee to handle any insurance claims.
JL: How do these commissions deliver value for companies?
GH: The insurance commission covers the costs that the company incurs throughout the insurance process. They also underpin the true profitability of the strata industry in its current form. It makes sure that the schemes have the insurance values that they need to reflect strata living.
JL: Commission based incentives often have negative connotations to the public, how do you educate them about the benefits?
GH: The education needs to be about full disclosure as the negativity is about secret commissions and in the case of insurance commissions, they are disclosed in the management agreements.
Importantly, the clients need to better understand that the insurance commission has always subsidised lower management fees and that the strata manager (as an authorised representative of the broker/underwriter) is well placed to make sure that the insurance needs of their clients are met.
Without this financial model the overall costs would increase for the client as they would be paying higher fees to brokers and strata management companies would need to increase the existing management fees to replace the loss of commission revenue. In addition, they would need to charge additional fees for lodging insurance claims. In effect, the current arrangement is cost efficient for the client.
JL: How are commissions structured in the industry?
GH: Basically, depending how the insurance is placed, especially the larger schemes, then it could be a fee-for-service. For the majority of schemes it will be a commission which can have a range of 15% to 20% and in some cases lower, due to the covers. These are disclosed in the standard SCA (NSW) endorsed management agreements.
JL: What are some of the problems you frequently have to address?
MT: There are a number, but I’ll discuss new building waterproofing, modern building quality, old building maintenance, and fire standards.
New Building Waterproofing
The two major difficulties we experience when faced with waterproofing issues in a new building is convincing our clients to engage a professional consultant to assess and provide an expert opinion on the cause and solution to rectifying the issues. Often, they believe it is as simple as initiating a defects claim. It’s necessary to clearly specify the issues and provide the necessary solutions before doing so.
The other major difficulty is that the individual owners that are affected want the repairs completed now, whereby the owners corporation wants to undertake the repairs as part of the defects claim through Home Warranty Insurance that often means lengthy and expensive court proceedings.
Modern Building Quality
Whilst issues with waterproofing are an obvious concern we often find that extremely poor paint finishes and cheap fittings and fixtures are a regular concern. The building may get certification from a private certifier however, poor quality finishes and inexpensive fittings and fixtures mean that it is not fit for the purpose of communal residential living. Owners Corporations generally have to allocate expenditure to upgrade to a suitable quality sooner rather than later.
Old Building Maintenance
The problem with older buildings is complacency amongst owners and a reactionary approach to repairs. These are buildings that – despite the requirements now in place for sinking fund reporting – often do not have adequate funds set aside since the building was originally registered. They are hamstrung by a legacy of a minimalistic approach to raising regular sinking fund levies and therefore, works may be deferred for many years.
In addition, the legislation only requires that a sinking fund report is compiled, there is no requirement to adhere to the recommendations or plan.
To remedy the lack of sinking funds, special levies may have to be raised that may create financial hardships and unfairly burden new owners who often have large mortgages and therefore, limited cash flow.
The great frustration to ourselves and our clients remains the inconsistency between fire maintenance companies in their assessment and consideration of fire standards. Fire doors and other fire systems that pass inspection one year – and then the following year are reported to fail standards. Another area of frustration is large fire defect reports that must be resolved within very short time frames to ensure compliance with the Annual Fire Safety Statement (AFSS). However, the recent decision to categorise repairs to fire systems into levels of priorities will help to address this frustration to some degree.
JL: There is often a debate about the value for money that a strata agent offers. What do you think are the key areas of importance for strata?
MT: I’ll break this answer up into four areas – (i) self-managed schemes or owners corporations, (ii) legislative compliance, (iii) time requirements, and (iv) experience.
i). Self-managed Schemes (owners corporation)
A strata manager offers an owners corporation expertise in so many areas including building science, financial management, contract management, project management, dispute resolution, asset management and contractor compliance. The time and energy that owners must apply to these areas in a self-managed scheme is extensive. Therefore, more often than not, the necessary care and attention is not applied and this can put an Owners Corporation at risk in meeting their legislative obligations.
Having a strata manager can be particularly beneficial in ensuring community harmony within the Owners Corporation. For example, when a breach of by-law takes place, the strata manager is the person to intervene on behalf of the Owners Corporation to make residents aware of their obligations. Likewise, the strata manager is the person to follow-up with owners the late payment of levies. In a self-managed scheme, it can be a difficult line to walk when you are the person responsible for ensuring your neighbour – that you may have to see on a daily basis – ‘follows the rules’.
ii). Legislative Compliance
Strata managers provide safe passage in an ever-increasing and complex minefield of legislation. Furthermore, with the possibility of new legislation, it is the strata manager’s role to ensure they are adequately educated in the area of legislative compliance. It is not just the Strata Schemes Management Act and its Regulations that apply to compliance for a strata scheme. For example, the owners corporation of a self-managed strata scheme needs to ensure the compliance of all tradespeople they engage to perform work at the building, that appropriate accounting standards are applied and satisfactory insurances are obtained. Having a strata manager can eliminate most of the legal risk that would be otherwise held by the owners corporation or its office bearers.
iii). Time Requirements
Depending on the size and complexity of a strata scheme, the time applied to self-management can be onerous and extensive. Furthermore, there may come times in the life of the scheme that may be more demanding than normal. For example, managing major buildings works, emergency repairs and owner disputes. Then there are regular responsibilities like making someone available to provide access to tradespersons, providing access to owners or prospective purchasers to the books and records of the strata scheme, personal time preparing correspondence, issuing levies, investing funds, and managing meetings of the owners corporation or the executive committee.
iv). Experience (understanding building issues)
A strata manager builds experience and knowledge through not only continual professional development but mass management. A strata manager will be exposed to varying issues on a regular basis through the management of a portfolio of buildings. Owners corporations can draw on that experience quickly as opposed to self-managed schemes that will need to investigate, research and interview for guidance and assistance.
A strata management company also provides access to an established network of tradespersons, consultants and suppliers. Often these business relationships extend many years and can ensure quality in delivery and service for the owners corporation.
Even should a member, or members of an owners corporation, feel they may have the time and energy to self-manage the scheme, a lack of experience, despite their good intentions, could put the owners corporation at serious legal or financial risk.
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
This GK Strata Management business profile has been made possible by the generous support of:
As a trained accountant who spent most of his working life in manufacturing, it’s been an unexpected journey for Geoff Foster, CEO of Football Queensland.
With a large family that includes three sons and a daughter, and a grandfather to five granddaughters and a grandson, he’s had a long association with the game through his kin. When originally getting his kids into football, he was surprised at the negativity of the parenting and coaching in the sport, leading to his involvement and
eventual ascension to its highest position in the state.
Geoff takes time out of his busy schedule to discuss the unique challenges of managing such a large state, the benefits
of the sport, and corporate opportunities to support its growth.
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Craig Bennett is a health economist by training (University of York) and a Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Management. He has held senior management positions in both the private and public health care sectors in Australia and overseas and has also worked for an international consulting firm and as an academic economist.
Craig took up his appointment as the CEO of Diabetes Victoria in March 2013. Prior to this, he had been the CEO of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne from May 2004 and the Chief Executive of the Sir
Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth from October 1998 until April 2004.
Craig has long been interested in the economics of health; in hospitals; and in how different parts of the health system connect – particularly from a patient’s point of view. This is particularly relevant to his work with diabetes, as a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia last year indicated that about one in four inpatients in Melbourne public hospitals had diabetes. Clearly, this is a wakeup call about an issue that needs urgent and coordinated action by all those involved in our public health care system. Craig is very focused on developing strategies to assist in meeting this challenge.
In this profile, Craig explains the importance of tackling diabetes now and the multi-faceted work of Diabetes Victoria.
The Challenge of Diabetes
Diabetes is a serious and complex condition, in which blood glucose is either not, or only partially, converted into energy. There are three main types of diabetes – type1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, which tends to be diagnosed at an early age, but can occur later in life.
There are many triggers for type 2 diabetes; some known, others not. It tends to occur later in life, although there has been a noticeable world-wide trend for teenagers to increasingly be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy and resolves itself upon the baby’s delivery, but it is known that such mothers are at an elevated risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life.
There are a small number of other types of diabetes.
Of several things, we are certain.
First, the overall statistics are truly daunting.
Diabetes Australia estimates that about 1.7 million Australians live with diabetes and that about 2 million Australians are at risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for at least 85 per cent of all diabetes – a consistent proportion world-wide.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2010), diabetes will account for the greatest single burden of disease in Australia by 2017.
In 2014, almost 27,000 Victorians were diagnosed with diabetes – over 70 each and every day.
Second, the physical complications of diabetes are dreadful. They include heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, vision loss and loss of limbs, to name but a few. People with diabetes are also at an increased risk of mental health conditions.
Third, a number of rigorous international studies have shown that a healthy diet and regular physical exercise can reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes by about 60 per cent as well as ameliorate some of the known complications.
The first meeting of the Victorian Diabetics Association was held in the Melbourne Town Hall on Tuesday 24 March 1953.
Sixty-two years on, Diabetes Victoria is a vibrant organisation with around 40,000 financial members – the leading charity and peak consumer body working to reduce the impact of diabetes in the Victorian community. We provide support, advice, advocacy, education and training to the more than 300,000 Victorians who live with type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes, as well as to their carers; we fund research; we forge partnerships with both public and corporate organisations; we work to reduce the rate of diagnosis of those Victorians at risk of type 2 diabetes; and we strive to raise awareness about diabetes as a serious and complex condition.
Diabetes Victoria is particularly well known for the diabetes camps we have run since 1954 to foster friendships and engender confidence in children of different ages living with type 1 diabetes. In addition, we work closely with almost 90 peer support groups spread throughout Victoria and have embraced social media as a powerful way of connecting with, and responding to, people living with diabetes.
The National Diabetes Services Scheme
The NDSS has been funded by the Commonwealth Government since 1987 and is administered by Diabetes Australia. People with diabetes, who are registered with the NDSS, have access to a range of subsidised products, as well as advice and support services. As at 31 December 2014, almost 1.2 million Australians were registered with the NDSS. However, not everyone with diabetes is registered with the scheme and some people don’t know that they have diabetes – hence the estimate of 1.7 million Australians living with diabetes. Many more Australians either live with or care for someone with diabetes.
Diabetes Victoria is the Victorian agent for the NDSS. Throughout Victoria, there are over 1000 NDSS Access Points (typically pharmacies), where registrants can access NDSS products and services.
The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes
In 2010, Diabetes Victoria signed a collaboration agreement with Deakin University to establish the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes. The ACBRD is unique, with a dedicated focus on research into the psycho-social and behavioural aspects of diabetes – embracing issues as diverse as language, distress and depression, social stigma, preventing complications (eg hypoglycaemia, vision loss) and self-care activities. The ACBRD, led by its Foundation Director: Professor Jane Speight, acts as a national research centre; as a national resource; as well as a national voice. After just five years, the ACBRD has an impressive reputation – largely based on its high-quality, peer-reviewed research publications and their impact on our thinking and our approach to diabetes.
Life! Helping you prevent diabetes, heart disease & stroke
Since 2007, Diabetes Victoria has been funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to deliver the Life! Program. Almost 60,500 Victorians have been referred to the program and over 36,400 have commenced the structured group courses or telephone health coaching designed to prevent diabetes, heart disease and stroke in the at-risk population in Victoria, which we estimate to be approximately 500,000. The Life! Program is the largest high-risk diabetes prevention program currently underway in Australia.
In conjunction with the DHHS, we are currently evaluating the program’s effectiveness in reducing weight, waist circumference, body mass index and so forth for participants, prior to the commencement of the next funding round.
Living Well with Diabetes
Diabetes Victoria core message is that we want people with diabetes to live well.
Generously supported by corporate sponsors, we hold regular half-day seminars: Living Well with Diabetes around metropolitan Melbourne and in Geelong. At these seminars, which are typically attended by up to 500 members and others, we offer information sessions by GP’s, psychologists, podiatrists, exercise physiologists, credentialled diabetes educators and dietitians, as well as cooking demonstrations by our high-profile Chef Ambassadors.
More broadly, we want all Victorians, whether they have diabetes or not, to eat well and be physically active on a regular basis. We are therefore delighted to be the first ever official charity partner of the iconic Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and to present our signature festival event: Breakfast Around the Tan on Sunday 15 March.
In addition, we will be holding our first all-day Diabetes Expo at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, with the format and contents largely determined by consumers.
Diabetes Victoria and the Corporate Sector
The NDSS and government funding for other specific programs typically account for about 60 per cent of Diabetes Victoria annual revenue. The remaining 40 per cent is derived from membership fees, bequests, donations, our collection business and commercial partnerships.
Since 1997, we have operated a collection business in conjunction with Savers Australia Pty Ltd. Upon request or following regular bag drops, we collect unwanted clothing and small miscellaneous items from households around metropolitan Melbourne and then deliver them to Savers outlets, for which we receive a volume-specified payment. These items are then on-sold by Savers.
We greatly appreciate our relationship with Savers and are well supported by the corporate sector via a number of other highly-valued commercial partnerships – but this represents only the tip of the iceberg!
We promote workplace giving programs; run regular tax, Christmas and other appeals; and have introduced an innovative fundraising program: Friends of the CEO. Funds generated from this latter initiative are used for specific projects or programs, as agreed by my friends and me!
We do not raise funds by telephoning people; nor do we undertake on the street campaigns.
In conjunction with Diabetes Australia, we have established a Melbourne-based National Diabetes Business and Community Advisory Board. This Board brings together business and community leaders who understand the challenge of diabetes and who want to assist us in raising awareness and, ultimately, generate major gifts to allow us to fund comprehensive and large-scale prevention programs.
In 2013/14, Diabetes Victoria generated an operating surplus of almost $1.6 million. As a not-for-profit organisation, all these funds were used to support the Diabetes Australia Research Program and the ACBRD.
Together with the corporate sector, we can do so much more.
Director Emeritus Professor Paul Zimmet AO, from the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, has described the current situation with diabetes as a health tsunami. We do not believe that this overstates the current situation…
Diabetes Victoria urges more of the Australian corporate sector to get involved and support our work. Statistically, one in three Australians will develop diabetes in their lifetime – in other words, one in three of all employees and customers – at an estimated total cost of $14.6 billion per annum, in 2010 dollars (Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 2013).
Further details about our work, including our events, programs and other activities, are available from our website: www.diabetesvic.org.au
Written by Adjunct Professor Craig Bennett, Chief Executive Officer, Diabetes Victoria.
This Diabetes Victoria business profile has been made possible by the generous support of:
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
“The feature on Diabetes Victoria in a 2015 issue of the Australian Business Executive was a great profiling opportunity for our organisation. We valued the opportunity of outlining our work and key challenges in depth to a large online executive readership.”
-Craig Bennett, CEO, Diabetes Victoria
To view this editorial as it appeared originally in The Australian Business Executive magazine, click here.
Quality, growth, and a vision: the story of City Beach Builders
“One of Perth’s biggest challenges is to get away from the double brick mentality so often associated with quality,” says Brian Connor, Managing Director of City Beach Builders, a small Perth building practice focused on making the building process personable—whether it be with the architect, the client or when managing trades. The company’s dedicated team work to create exceptional homes at high standards in competition with some of
the best in Perth, helped to achieve this level of quality by a highly skilled pool of contractors.
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
By Scott McClellan, Director of the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce
At a recent Economic Leadership Forum in Melbourne, Prime Minister Tony Abbott drew on old war-time ties to demonstrate the bond that exists between Australia and Canada, a relationship too long taken for granted and inadequately nurtured.
“On a wall in my offices, hangs a painting of a World War One battlefield near Vimy Ridge where Canadian and Australian soldiers had been comrades-in-arms,” he said. “In those days, it would have been taken for granted that Canadians and Australians should have gone into action together, as part of the British Empire’s armies in France. These days, despite a language in common, a shared Westminster parliamentary tradition, and a Queen of Canada who is also the Queen of Australia, we are not so often in each other’s thoughts. That should change.”
By invoking Vimy Ridge, Mr. Abbott would have pushed a button with the Canadians in his audience. For most Canadians, Vimy Ridge is considered their crucible of nationhood, much the same way most Australians believe their own national identity was forged on the bloody beaches and hillsides of Gallipoli.
“With two way investment at over $70 billion – and with Australian companies such as BHP playing an active role in Canada – the commercial relationship is in reasonable shape,” observed Mr. Abbott. “But there should be more to our friendship than money. The relationship is strong but under-developed even though we are as like-minded as any two countries can be. As the world’s tenth and twelfth largest economies, our two countries carry considerable clout. But despite inhabiting a very similar intellectual and cultural space, we are rarely as conscious as we should be of each other’s presence.”
As economies dominated by resources and agriculture, it would be easy to see the two countries as commercial rivals in the global contest for new markets. And there have been skirmishes over the years: for example, a dispute over the import of Canadian salmon to Australia in the mid 90’s. It was not finally settled by the World Trade Organisation until 2000.
But conflict has been the exception, not the rule. A 2012 report for the Canadian Council of Chief Executives found that we have “highly similar economies in terms of size, wealth, governance systems, most observable socio-economic characteristics, resource endowments and specialization in international trade. To the extent that countries trade because they are different, this works as a disincentive to deepening trade relations.”
Despite the shortage of trade in goods and services, the study found that bilateral investment had become a major feature of commerce between the two countries. Clearly there is high level of mutual trust and strong investor confidence on both sides:
“Both Canada and Australia have global direct investment (FDI) stocks that are larger than annual global exports of goods and services. For Canada, in 2010, the stock of investment was 1.55 times the size of global exports of goods and services; for Australia, the comparable ratio was 1.31. However, in the bilateral relationship, these ratios are about an order of magnitude larger: for Canada the ratio of direct investment in Australia to its exports of goods and services to Australia in 2010 was 8.7; for Australia the comparable figure was 13.1. While foreign affiliate sales data are not available on a bilateral basis, applying the global average of a $1.67 in foreign affiliate sales for $1.00 in FDI, foreign affiliate sales in 2010 may be estimated at US$ 36 billion for Australian firms in Canada and US$ 25 billion for Canadian firms in Australia. Seen this way, the relationship suddenly looks neither small—US$ 65 billion in two-way trade plus foreign affiliate sales—nor lagging in growth.”
The same report found that “there is room for further development of trade in various sectors of particular interest, including (in terms of Canada’s export interests) agricultural products; food and beverages; fish and seafood products; agricultural technology and equipment; forest products; metals, minerals and related equipment, and consumer products (including apparel and fashion); and (in terms of Australia’s export interests), environmental goods, mining and oil & gas technology, and wine.”
The Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) has an important role to play in raising the level of ‘consciousness’ between the two countries. Its programs and networking events are designed to help grease the wheels of enterprise.
Founded in 2005, CACC is a not-for-profit organisation whose focus is to build and strengthen trade and business connections between Australia and Canada. It hosts and co-sponsors functions, events, cocktail receptions, trade delegations and presentations from business leaders and politicians from all major parties. CACC maintains relationships with senior and operational level staff of Government in both countries, providing access to an extensive and growing network of individuals and organisations with an interest in the Canada-Australia business relationship.
Crucial to this endeavour is the generous support of sponsors such as Air Canada, RBC Capital Markets, Bombardier, Altus Page Kirkland, KPMG, CAE, Stikeman Elliott, Worley Parsons, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. This support makes it possible for CACC to offer outstanding speakers at a fraction of the cost commercial event organisations might charge.
Membership in CACC is open to all corporations, public sector bodies, educational institutions and other organisations who share our interest in promoting the development and expansion of bilateral trade, investment and commerce. But there are also membership opportunities for individuals looking to expand their own personal business networks. At just $220, Gold Membership provides ‘front of the queue’ access to networking functions as well as bigger speaker events throughout the year. And for those who simply wish to keep in touch with what’s going on, there is a ‘CACC Supporter’ category. Member to member benefits include special deals on airfares and accommodation.
A recent coup was attracting Jack Cowin, founder of Hungry Jack’s and a distinguished Canadian/Australian, as a patron of the Chamber. Since opening his first store in a suburb of Perth in 1971 after emigrating to Australia from Canada, Mr. Cowin has come to preside over a franchise empire boasting more than 340 locations across Australia. As a patron of CACC, Mr. Cowin will provide valuable guidance to the Board and the benefit of one of our countries’ most astute business minds.
The CACC Board itself has recently undergone significant renewal, with the appointment of several new directors who bring a wealth of business and not for profit organisation management skills to the organisation. New faces include Ross Campbell, the co-founder of the MBO Group, a boutique advisory firm specialising in assisting private companies. Mike McGrath is a Managing Partner, Clients, Industries and Markets with PricewaterhouseCoopers and is based in Melbourne. Scott McClellan, former CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, runs an association management consultancy based in Sydney, and Brian Hansen is managing partner of Stikeman Elliott Sydney.
Longer-serving directors include: Dominic Hudson, Managing Director of RBC Capital Markets Asia Pacific; Nathan Seidl, a political consultant and airline pilot based in Sydney; Greg McNab, a Partner in Baker & McKenzie based in Toronto; and Executive Director John Secker, former Country Head of the Royal Bank of Canada for Australia and New Zealand and is based in Sydney. A key figure in the founding of the Chamber was Richard Kohler, Governor Emeritus, a specialist in trade and economic issues who spent more than three decades serving in Canada’s Foreign Service, including in Sydney.
Over the years, CACC has forged a close relationship with the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade), the agency tasked with helping Australian business succeed in overseas markets. Austrade has identified several areas of mutual interest for Australia and Canada to pursue. These include biotechnology, resources, finance, IT, education, and agriculture. This information helps CACC plan its events and other activities in the knowledge that its work is closely aligned with government and business priorities. Chamber supporters can expect the events program in the coming year to leverage these sectors for topics and guest speakers.
CACC also cultivates its network of important contacts in government. The Chamber has a practice of extends Honorary Gold Memberships to senior Canadian and Australian government officials who are actively engaged with promoting trade and investment flows between the two countries. The Canadian Consul General in Sydney enjoys such a membership as do the Canadian High Commissioner to Australia and the Australian High Commissioner to Canada, as well as the Australian Senior Trade Commissioner in Toronto.
The Chamber is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Australian Canadian Economic Leadership Forum, a gathering of business and political leaders of our two countries that has occurred every two years since 2010. The 2014 Forum in Melbourne featured topics including: the global economy and finance; international trade; foreign direct investment; infrastructure development; arts, culture and business; security issues in Asia Pacific; and innovation and opportunities in the mining and energy sectors. Forum Co-Chairs, Thomas d’Aquino and Heather Ridout, along with the Organising Committee, created an exciting program with 49 distinguished private and public sector leaders for a dynamic and interactive exchange of ideas and experiences. The final communique read, in part:
“A recurring theme at the conference, coming as it did after the G-20 meeting, was the challenge of stimulating more economic growth in the two countries and in the world economy. A particular challenge for Australia and Canada in this context is that governments are either running deficits or have barely balanced the budget whereas the private sectors have a great deal of money that is not yet being invested. The fiscal challenge facing both countries occurs as populations are aging, with implications for higher health-care costs and fewer people in the workforce. Therefore, speakers emphasized that governments needed to keep taxes low, and preferably to lower them, and to find other ways of stimulating private sector investment. These include securing bilateral trade agreements, such as Australia has recently accomplished with Korea and Canada with the European Union. Additionally, economic growth would be helped by pushing multilateral trade agreements to successful conclusions, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership in which Australia and Canada are both participants. No participants seemed optimistic about early progress in the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.”
There is plenty of room for optimism about the future of commercial ties. Canada’s Exporter Registry shows that the number of companies exporting to Australia grew from 2,161 in 2003 to over 3000 in 2013 with Austrade reporting about 2,000 companies trading in the direction of Canada.
As Mr. Abbott has said: “Australians and Canadians should be more conscious not only of all that we have in common but of all the good that we might do together. So, my intention is to broaden and deepen the relationship between our two kindred countries. Just as my office rescued the Vimy Ridge painting from a public service storeroom where it had been languishing until just a couple of months ago!”
Find our more about the Canadian Australian Chamber of Commerce (CACC) by visiting: www.cacc.com.au
To read our full editorial profile, click on the cover image below.
To view this editorial as it appeared originally in The Australian Business Executive magazine, click here.
Bower Construction & Design is an Adelaide based construction company synonymous with quality and renowned for bringing architectural vision to life through excellent workmanship and use of the finest materials. A family company through and through, Bower Construction was founded by Robbie Bower in the 1970s, representing a groundbreaking move for women in the construction industry in Adelaide.
Bower Construction specialises in high end residential and commercial construction, embracing an awareness of the needs of top tier residential builders to supplement their portfolio with commercial construction and development
projects in order to thrive. Adelaide has seen a recent increase in the acceptance of high-rise and high-density living, with inner city apartment construction exploding, as well as high-density developments close to town.
Local business has not been helped by the increase in recent requirements for workplace health and safety, which are not relevant to contractors experienced in the residential renovation and extension projects. The requirements of these standards are too onerous from a cost perspective for contractors to undertake these projects. As it is, individual renovations are amounting to individual contract values close to $3 million. These burdens are forcing good trades from the industry, meaning some contractors are taking full time positions, as salaries are equal to the income gained from running a team of contractors.
Nevertheless, Bower Construction continues to thrive in the area. In recent years, the company has been the recipient of several major awards, including the two highest gongs for residential renovations in the 2014 Master Builders awards—the 2014 Renovation under $1 Million for the Medindie Project, and the 2014 renovation over $1 Million for the Hawthorn Project.
One of the people now in charge of the company is Mrs. Bower’s son, Managing Director Piers Bower. Mr. Bower studied at St Peters College before moving on to a Building Engineering course at the University of South Australia. After a move to Sydney, a secondment in Darwin soon followed, which saw him working for St Hilliers Construction, honing his skills on commercial projects of up to $50 million. Prior to his time in Sydney, he was an employee of the family business at a site level, during his school and University years, learning the business from the inside. In 2000, Mr. Bower returned from Sydney to rejoin the family business, and has since been joined by brother Josh who is now also a director.
Mr. Bower’s role includes the overseeing of project management and site supervision on many of the company’s ongoing projects. In addition, he is responsible for accounts, estimations and cost reporting, as well as ensuring that the projects meet the required performance standards and comply with contract specifications. The mainstay of the company’s operation remains working on high-end residential projects with Adelaide’s top architects, a list that includes Williams Burton Architects, as well as maintaining an in-house design service. In addition, the company stays committed to dealing with just a select group of suppliers and contractors, in order that the highest standard of materials and workmanship are consistently maintained.
Over the last decade, the company has grown significantly in both scope and size, with turnover rising from around $2 million to a projected turnover approaching $10 million. In that same period, the company’s modest workforce has grown significantly to reflect the developing needs of the business, with the company now employing a dozen employers.
Master Builders Award
In the last half decade, the company has twice received the Master Builders Award at the prestigious National Excellence in Building and Construction Awards. The first came in 2012, for the Crawford Residence in North Adelaide. When the company approached the project it was somewhat stuck in a time warp, with the terrace upon which it sat still reflecting the original ‘70s design. Good bones and great views were clearly in evidence, but bulky brick stairs cut the living areas in half and the cellular rooms didn’t inspire. Once removed, with little more than the shell and floor plate to remain, it was essential that whilst a sense of the original remained, new moves were not only evident but also celebrated.
By working through the clients’ existing and future needs, the horizontal zoning over three levels was improved. The clawing back of floor space previously given over to indents and light wells helped expand the property’s functional space. Moving the stairs to a single run of suspended treads opened the front to the back, but resulted in structural gymnastics that impacted on the interior space. Addressing this is a ceiling that folds up and down, defining the functional spaces of dining, living, kitchen and circulation, and concealing new plant and new structure. Lighting recesses and LED strips reinforce these spaces, with a dramatic flair achieved by the plunging pendants over the stair landing.
The Achilles heel of the original building was its low ceilings and lack of flexibility; the ceilings have since been manipulated and the level of flexibility increased, achieved by introducing bold structural changes that have all but removed them from the consciousness of the owners and visitors. Whilst virtually every external opening has been altered, the essence of this transformation from a tired but interesting 1970s time warp to a contemporary expression of 21st century urban ‘retirement living’, lives and breathes on its interior resolution, and refined execution of the external changes, a hard fought battle with a militant Strata Corporation.
The second award win came in 2014, for the Fennell Residence in Hawthorn. This already substantial, multi-level villa house had served its purpose for the previous owner, but for the new owner it had become outdated and undersized, both for the changing residential expectations and the open plan living now so common for a modern growing family. The decision was made to give over most of the existing house to the adults and guest wing and, in so doing, making substantial internal alterations to insert bathrooms and bedrooms into previous family zones and creating a new second storey zone dedicated to the owner’s young children.
The kitchen and the double height void is the hub of the house, and the focal point of the plan, with the dining to the north and living to the south, and outdoor entertaining immediately in front, all overlooking the beautiful western vista of the tennis court and pool. These rooms embrace the potential of the orientation, enabling activities to be separate or conjoined. The structural steel stair has been lovingly wrapped in engineered oak boards and abuts a seven-meter limestone tiled wall. The external columns have been clad sympathetically in veneered sandstone, which blends seamlessly with the existing sandstone structure.
Every available piece of roof space has been utilised to accommodate the electrical solar panels, solar hot water system and solar pool heater. Blinds are also being installed between the external columns to minimise the Western Sun. Whilst conceived as a major renovation, the complete redefinition of the spatial flow of the house means the impact and functional transformation reflects that of a new dwelling.
With a large portfolio of clients, Bower Construction is involved in many major residential projects throughout the region. Another of the company’s key designs and builds was undertaken at the Horbelt Residence in Aldgate. The Adelaide hills throw up such wonderful and surprising vistas, it’s a wonder so few houses seem to take up the opportunity to embrace them. This already substantial, single storey conventional house paid little heed to views down or up the valley, and was dislocated from the western garden, infinity edge pool and new tennis court that had been constructed a few years earlier. It also made very little of its northern orientation.
The problem was how to address these inadequacies without completely overpowering the old house, which although hardly inspiring, was nevertheless solid. The majority of the existing house was converted into a wing for the children and guests, creating further room for the insertion of bathrooms and bedrooms. A new two storey living and ‘parents’ pavilion was then constructed, incorporating a first floor Master suite, retreat and enviable north facing study. A new entry lobby became the central horizontal and vertical circulation core, and physical junction between old and new.
The entry sequence remains an underplayed stroll through a courtyard, which then opens up upon entering a 1½ storey entry void, to the pool and valley beyond. A full height timber wall and cantilevered stair provide a fitting sculptural backdrop to a semi-formal dining area, which via the lower ceiling remains a human scaled area. With the kitchen and double height void once more representing the hub of the house, the northern light is invited in, creating a sense of space and connecting the kitchen with the adult retreat upstairs.
-Bower Construction uses Granelec Electrical – call 0418 831 769 for your electrical needs-
The entire ground floor is designed to capture flow to outdoor areas and frame the valley vistas both to the east and west, whilst the upper level floor allows the previously unrealized garden along the southern escapement to be drawn into the house. Existing storm water discharge to the dam and subsequent re-use in irrigation has been upgraded. New evacuated tube gas boosted solar hot water has been added for the entire house. Expansion of the existing hydronic heater panel system, and inclusion of new electric under tile and in slab heating provides the best heating compromise. The existing HVAC system was extended to the lower levels and a new system installed for upstairs, which along with plentiful cross ventilation allows targeted cooling only when necessary.
Residential design trends have been making their way into commercial spaces for good reason, since half our waking lives are spent at the workplace. Making tenants, employees and customers comfortable can have a demonstrable impact on a company’s bottom line. The recent expansion into the commercial sector has seen Bower Construction move into the medical and wine industries, with its strong reputation proving enough to encourage referrals and approaches from commercial organisations looking for great design and execution for their projects.
Having now completed offices in Kent town for Aerotech Pty Ltd, a doctor’s surgery in North Adelaide and a cellar door in the Adelaide Hills for the Nepenthe winery, Bower Construction is quickly building the same reputation for itself in the commercial construction sector as it has long been famous for in the residential circle. The company’s commitment for the future is to continue to expand on the commercial and development sides of the business, whilst maintaining the core business of residential which has brought them so much success over the last few decades.
With its commitment to quality and use of the finest materials, Bower Construction is a company building upon a rich history of serving the Adelaide area, offering an excellent service and working with some the biggest names in Australian architecture. It is clear the company sees plenty of further opportunities for growth in Adelaide, a region it has no plans to expand outside. This is a testament to the work it has already done in the city, and the reputation it has forged for providing high quality builds. Bower Construction’s wonderful attention to the detail of design, coupled with a substantial client list that is continuing to grow, suggests that, to add to its history, it is also a company with a bright future ahead.
South Australia-based Basetec Services, a leading manufacturer of composite pipelines for major projects in Queensland and across the country, is well known amongst the oil & gas, mining, energy and water industries for producing innovative composite materials which have greater corrosion resistance and durability than similar steel pipelines. Basetec has forged a reputation as a leader in composite technologies thanks largely to its commitment
to research and development activities, which has resulted in expansion and innovation of its Novafast product range.
As the company’s founder and Managing Director, Charles Figallo is well acquainted with the industry within which they work. Primarily self-taught in his area of expertise, Mr. Figallo describes his introduction to the business as something of a grasped opportunity: “I got involved in this industry simply because I was working on a project and I overheard some engineers talking about a problem they were facing. I told them even though they were a bit unfamiliar with how to take on the problem, I made it very clear to them that I could fix it for them.”
This simple intervention soon led to Mr. Figallo being approached to provide assistance on the project, and subsequently offered a contract for his services. From that moment a business began to grow. This initial contract was followed by approaches from other companies facing similar problems, and further opportunities for work soon presented themselves. More recently, major projects in affiliation with Olympic Dam and BP in Brisbane, has propelled him into an entirely new sphere of business opportunity.
With his ongoing work in the Middle East, Mr. Figallo was also approached to become a member of the Australian-Arab Chamber of Commerce. For several years he has been taking his industry knowledge to Iraq, Abu Dhabi and Jordan, where a number of high profile contacts have been secured. Just recently he has begun to receive offers from countries in Africa to visit and undertake new projects. Mr. Figallo’s two sons are also a part of his business, having worked with Basetec for over ten years, and are heavily involved in the Middle East connections. Working in conjunction with the Australian-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Figallo and his sons have made great technical input into the region, utilising Basetec’s solid relationship with a number of Australian universities to adopt testing and technical facilities to provide a high technological advantage.
When the New Guinea government requested his help with a project on a water plant in West New Britain, a failing plant that was tainting the town’s water, Mr. Figallo won a large contract with the company to fix the problem, and from there the Basetec business grew into the company it has become today. Basetec was officially formed eighteen years ago, and at its height was home to around 75 employees and several contractors. Today the number employed is 25, as a lot of the mining and energy work has scaled down since the company’s inception. But Basetec has embraced a slightly different model in expanding its business, realising the benefits of working overseas and initiating in response the technical arm of the business, NovaFast, through which it has developed its own products and technologies. It is the NovaFast arm which works closest with Australia’s universities, providing equipment for students and forming valuable working partnerships.
These two separate parts of the company work effectively along side each other to deliver the company’s core vision. The Basetec arm of the business continues to oversee the mechanical engineering and civil work, putting together plants and pipes, trenching, digging, laying and assembly work, before commissioning and handing over to the client. NovaFast takes care of the design and high-pressure work, building and designing some of the highest-pressure pipes in the world, an endeavour which has produced an influx of enquires from all over the globe.
Development in Tonsley
In the coming months, Basetec will be investing $9 million to establish facilities at Tonsley, located just 10km south of Adelaide CBD, including a Centre of Excellence in Composites Research and Development. The project represents a union with other National companies, a relationship promising to greatly increase the export potential for Basetec’s products and services, as well as offering a chance to increase the scale and scope of their investment in South Australia companies.
With the assistance of $1.5 million in funding from the State Government, the proposed Centre of Excellence will be used for research discoveries, postgraduate education, national and international linkages and commercial outputs. The Centre will allow Basetec to pursue opportunities to apply its composite technologies to the defense and marine sectors, particularly the locally built Air Warfare Destroyers.
Many industry leading organisations such as BHP Billiton, Santos and SA Water have already pledged support to the Tonsley development, but the major players at this stage of the project are Australia’s universities. “Tonsley has become a much needed opportunity for South Australia to showcase our young engineers and our Centre of Excellence in this region of work,” Mr. Figallo says. “We believe it’s very important in this business to be in close relations with our universities, and it is being recognised this way through the Middle East, through Europe, through Asia, and I’ve had some great support from other parts of the world.”
The completed Centre of Excellence will allow university students to develop hands- on engineering skills with composite materials, as well as assisting local and international companies with complex composite design and engineering excellence. It will provide help for engineers in selecting the right material for their critical processes and gain a better understanding of composite products, as well as providing engineered solutions for industry through research and development collaborations.
Tonsley offers students a chance to develop into blue-collar workers with high technical training skills behind them. This means opening up a wealth of opportunities for success in the industry, and providing them with the necessary training to be forefront leaders.
The global appeal of Tonsley is already evident, with governments across the world— including Asia , Russia, Poland and several Middle Eastern countries—already showing increased interest in the project, opening even more international doors for Basetec. There is significant value in Basetec being a part of the Tonsley project, as it will create huge opportunities for the future of the industry, not just in terms of creating jobs, but also in terms of encouraging the flow of young people from the country’s universities into the future of the sector. Mr. Figallo admits that it is worth investing an extra few hundred million dollars in order to keep these kinds of opportunities in Australia. “We need the technology, if we lose the technology, we lose our edge in business. And so the Tonsley project is a must for this country, and especially for the state just as the submarines are.”
Operating in conjunction with a wide portfolio of clients, Basetec is currently involved in a number of key projects, across Australia and further afield, that have helped build the company’s national and international profile. One such project is the Santos Gladstone liquefied natural gas project in South East Queensland, involving the design and supply of approximately 75km of high-pressure NovaFlo Glass Reinforced Epoxy (GRE) composite pipes, facilitating oil production flow lines between wells in the outback. Basetec’s position as the leading Australian company working with composite piping, coupled with the international recognition garnered from continuing work in Africa and the Middle East, made them the perfect choice for the contract.
Further NovoFlo composite piping was used in the process at the Ichthys gas project in Darwin, NT. This project fell into Basetec’s hands after the failure of an existing overseas company to meet procurement requirements, highlighting the company’s reputation for providing reliable and highly skilled work. Likewise, NovaFlo will be utilised on the current project for Origin Energy in Port Campbell, at the Otway Basin gas plant, involving refurbishment work on production lines and pipeline.
Over the years the company has fostered a good working relationship with local service providers SA Water, having worked together several times in the past, on multiple projects. Currently, Basetec is involved in work at the Bolivar water treatment plant, initiating an upgrade. Basetec has for many years maintained a good relationship with the SA Water, regularly receiving representatives at its offices, and commissioning work on mainly material related problems. The company’s expertise in materials technology and continuing positive presence in the region has helped this relationship to stay strong and produce impressive results.
In addition to important national and state projects, Basetec’s expanding overseas business has led to recent work with Petronas in East Malaysia. Regular visits to the country over the last six months, incorporating meetings and presentations in the stunning Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, have led to the company’s involvement in a project for an Eastern oil and gas plant. Once more, NovaFlo piping will be installed to process transfer lines. The relationship with Petronas was developed through the oil and gas giants’ involvement in the Santos project, representing a huge advantage for Basetec, since gaining references and winning contracts in this business, especially overseas, are by no means easy tasks.
One of the company’s major contracts has been with key South Australia mining centre, Olympic Dam. The relationship began several years ago, when Mr. Figallo was contacted by a company in Perth, requiring assistance in fixing a problem with piping carrying sulphuric acid. On approaching the company, Basetec discovered that the wrong information and components had been supplied, and stepped in to take over the remainder of the project. Through this company’s existing association with Olympic Dam, Basetec’s affiliation began. From then on, Basetec began to receive bigger orders, commissioned to design and build anything from chemical settler tanks through to storage pressure vessels, all for chemicals and water. Since then the company has nurtured a long and fruitful relationship with Olympic Dam, and is currently engaged in talks over several new projects, with the projects parent company BHP Billiton.
Mr. Figallo concludes the interview by explaining what it is that makes his job so special. “The technical side of this work is massive,” he says. “Every day is a challenge. It’s not a nine to five job, it’s a 25-hour a day job, to work around the clock. And the team love it, they love the fact that they get to use their own skills and their own head, and they have to make a lot of their own decisions. It’s like going to outer space, where the technology is just immense. And that’s the same as our industry.”
With its continuing work across Southern Australia, and expansion opportunities within higher education and overseas development, it looks like Basetec Services will be utilising this immense technology for many years to come. Pushing the industry towards the future and ensuring sustained local and worldwide success.
To read our full editorial profile as it appeared in The Australian Business Executive magazine, click on the cover image below:
As one of Australia’s leading developers, Australand Property Group (now Frasers Property Australia) are focused on developing a portfolio of projects in strategic locations capable of attracting a broad target market, whilst offering a consistent supply and diversity of residential living options. The company seeks to ensure customers have a sense of comfort about buying into a quality environment and peace of mind about a long-term commitment to place creation.
Australand’s activities span across Australia, including the development of residential land, housing and departments, as well as work on commercial and industrial properties and property management.
The company’s last two projects in Cockburn Central have both been Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) award winners, and reflect Australand’s continuing commitment to delivering high-quality, innovative designs and reward a “people driven” company which strives to keep its customers at the heart of everything it does.
The Australian Business Executive recently had the pleasure of speaking with Tony Perrin, General Manager of the Residential Western Australia division, to learn a little more about the company. Mr. Perrin’s resume is highly impressive, having been involved in a variety of property development roles for over 20 years. Gaining a Masters qualification in Project Management and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Quantity Surveying from Curtin University in Perth, Mr. Perrin has also undertaken Executive Management related courses at the MacQuarie Graduate School in Sydney.
After spending some years with Australand in the roles of Business Development Manager and Development Manager in both the Sydney and Perth offices, Mr. Perrin began working for Nakheel in Dubai, spending nearly three years on the Palm Jebel Ali and Waterfront projects as a Development Director, before rejoining Australand in his current position.
Over the years Mr. Perrin has been intimately involved in a number of high profile projects, which have seen him undertake a range of tasks from negotiating with vendors and government authorities, to design refinement and value management. His experience covers a variety of building forms, including both high and low-rise apartment buildings, integrated residential/retail mixed-use developments, combining minor commercial and retail elements, detached and attached villa and townhouses, as well as plot subdivision design. Additionally, he has been involved in high-rise residential and mid-rise commercial offices, and commercial car park developments.
According to Mr. Perrin, residential trends in WA are currently affected by a number of significant industry issues. “With WA’s population growth largely reliant on immigration and interstate migration,” he says, “housing choices are largely reliant on what forms of living people entering WA are comfortable with.” The traditional 4×2 bedroom home with large backyard is a product largely driven by the needs of local mature generations. This is not reflective of the growing offshore and immigrating purchasers demands or sectors of the younger first-time buyer market. The region will continue to see growth in lower maintenance, turnkey compact forms of housing such as apartments and townhouses at the expense of the conventional detached home.
Likewise, WA’s sub-contracting trades will mature in coming years which will see the shift of many sole trades into smaller scale commercialised subcontracting teams. This shift will come as a direct result of the popularity of medium scale infill apartments and large-scale turnkey housing developments. Productivity improvements in delivery time of housing in turnkey outcomes will also apply pressure to the less efficient and unreliable nature of sole trades working on single sites, which are in effect costing purchasers in additional rental payments during construction.
Affordability is driving more compact living, and with costs of building remaining stable over the past five years, the reduction in land area is the primary driving force behind affordable living options. One issue that has become noticeable recently is that there has been a significant adjustment in design to the point where the design standards of apartment living afford better internal space than housing. Some housing plans indicate 3m by 2.4m master bedroom, while others have a skylight and no windows. In Mr. Perrin’s view, “it is very debatable as to whether these forms of accommodation are creating socially appropriate living options.”
Design and development flexibility for the apartment and integrated housing market is currently constrained through strata title reform delays, in particular the opportunity for industry to use the Community Title Scheme. This platform operates in all other states bar WA and puts significant constraints on mixed use projects in particular, but also places large hurdles in the path of major projects that would add great character-changing qualities to the fabric of Perth.
Mr. Perrin believes that Stamp Duty concessions for off the plan sales should be taken more seriously by government as a means of supporting its delivery of the urban consolidation strategy in Directions 2031, West Australian State Government’s initiative to guide change and the growth in Perth over the forthcoming decades. Currently, most new housing on the fringe pays only on the land value of a finished dwelling whilst infill accommodation pays on the fully constructed dwelling price. Infill development is generally driving greater contributions in GST through construction costs being of higher value. Mr. Perrin believes that “some balance in this area would offer the consumer more options and value.”
Development Assessments Panels
Australand’s WA Residential Business unit has been firmly positioned around delivering a mixture of master-planned greenfield communities, urban infill housing and apartment developments, for over 10 years. The Perth market offers a range of new infill opportunities as a result of Development Assessments Panels (DAP) ensuring a balanced view and efficient timeframe for development approval decisions and approval reforms. In the years before the global financial crisis, apartment development was largely constrained to the Perth CBD and its surrounding areas, as well as satellite city Joondalup. The DAPs have greatly assisted the acceleration of apartment development locations outside these traditional areas.
According to Mr. Perrin, the company believes strongly in ensuring attention is focused on a select range of projects that offer excellent living experiences and quality long-term investments. “We expect our buildings to be built safely,” he says, “with a disciplined approach to design, delivery, quality and timeliness to ensure we meet our customers’ needs.” The combination of these attributes help the delivery of a strong, enduring investment value and underpin a continuing interest from previous clients to reinvest in the Australand brand. Mr. Perrin says that the company will continue to operate an internal construction business to assist in delivering complex multistage projects, where flexibility in commencement of buildings is needed to protect the customer handover experience.
One of the most important factors for any property development business is the establishment of quality contractors. Australand have a broad range of consultant teams who align their service values with the company’s key business values of authenticity, respect, dynamism and passion. The company has forged strong working relationships with many of its consultants, which has seen some continue to work with Australand for over 20 years.
In the words of Darryn Stone, Australand’s WA Development Director for Built Form, “we work extensively with AS4801 approved contractors but have a prominent, rigid and focused approach to a safe worksite for our internal subcontractors who support our internal commercial construction team.”
Mr. Perrin is always keen to talk to businesses that offer innovative thinking and new and enterprising services. Interpersonal relationships between Australand staff and consultant personnel are largely founded on trust and reliability, but must also rely on the consultant’s capacity to respect the company’s unique and intense design review and development process. The company undertakes tenders for almost all construction work, but looks favorably upon partnering approaches where time cycle benefits or cost efficiency can be achieved.
One of the company’s most significant works in recent years is the hugely ambitious and multi-award winning project at Pantheon Avenue in North Coogee, on the Cockburn coast. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity to transform an old industrial coastline into a living, breathing, waterfront hub, Australand set out a vision of a well designed, compact and connected oceanside community, to support a diverse range of uses in a sustainable urban environment, well integrated with public transport. The completed Port Coogee project is one of Australia’s largest coastal marina development projects, clocking in at close to a $2billion end cost, and consisting of over 810 house lots, approximately 1,100 apartments, a 300 berth marina and a retail, commercial and tourism precinct of approximately 12,000sqm. The project has won four state awards (UDIA) and three national awards (2 UDIA and 1 Property Council) since completion.
Located within the City of Cockburn, approximately 23km southwest of the Perth CBD and 5km south of Fremantle, Port Coogee will be home to more than 4,000 to 5,000 people and a thriving, modern community set within a coastal playground. Here lies a development unique across Australia in its scale, history, nature and location—a development that is hugely significant for Australand nationally, with truly region-defining implications.
Within the submission criteria for the 2012 UDIA National Awards for Excellence, the Port Coogee application excelled in respect of the key criteria of Urban Form, Community Creation and Integration, Environmental and Engineering Considerations, as well as a number of other specifications. The planning for the development struck a balance between residential zones, marina zones, environmental impacts, sustainability goals and commercial considerations. Areas of environmental impact were reduced, the public areas of Coogee Beach were maintained, and land use zones were linked to rejuvenate degraded areas and achieve high permeability. The Local Structure Plan (LSP) uses included: a marina and associated water-based activities; residential and short stay accommodation; tourism; retail and commercial; and a diverse range of recreational activities.
The entire urban structure is centred around the marina’s natural amphitheatre setting, with a local road pattern enveloping and gravitating towards the centre stage that is the Marina Village. The architecture is strongly influenced by the special qualities of the site. These include the colours of the landscape, the topography of the development and the microclimate, with the need for adjustable indoor/outdoor spaces to create a balance between privacy and transparency. Whilst maintaining a focus on site-responsive design, good solar orientation of lots has been considered and met for the majority of the estate. The urban design has been directed towards maximising passive solar design with north-south streets and capturing maritime breezes through benching and open space placement.
The road layout plans were based on a sound and logical hierarchy to provide for traffic movements of local residents, as well as visitors to Port Coogee. To achieve an integrated development area, the existing Cockburn Road was realigned to the eastern boundary of the developable area into a four-lane road. This moved all the transient traffic from the zone, and also enhanced Cockburn Road itself through its elevated position and views of Cockburn Sound. The street network provides a well-connected, permeable and legible subdivision pattern designed to manage distribution of vehicular movements and maximise pedestrian accessibility. The street layout is also designed to maximise ocean views and celebrate views of the public realm (such as public open spaces). All higher density lots within the development are provided with laneway access to facilitate an attractive and pedestrian-oriented streetscape. The street network within the Marina Village centre allows for temporary road closures for community uses and events, freeing up pedestrian autonomy without adversely compromising road traffic flow around the Village.
The focus for the project was on creating a place that works both on a local community level for the residents and as a destination for visitors. The mix of development is aimed at getting closer to a ‘whole of life’ approach, offering ‘traditional’ or ‘family sized’ lots, small lots and other medium density living opportunities, as well as a significant amount of higher density apartment living, offering choices to suit people at any stage in their lives. Current land for sale at Port Coogee ranges from under $420,000 for centrally located low-maintenance lots close to the Marina Village up to $1.875million for island living lots with a boat mooring envelope.
Port Coogee is a genuine coastal jewel, a superb place to live and a facility for the people of Coogee and Cockburn. It also represents a significant draw for visitors from beyond; a place in which to live, relax, socialise, wine, dine, shop, play, browse and soak up the unique marina atmosphere and the beauty of the West Australian coastal environment, all in an engaging village setting.
Perhaps the most impressive aspects of Australand’s portfolio are the significant apartment developments in Cockburn Central town centre, consisting of six physical buildings (Axis, Linx, Axon, Luxe, Kingston 1 and Kingston 2) with a seventh, the Kingston 3 project, on the verge of completion. The fourth and final Kingston unit is also in the process of being built and sold, as well as Australand’s newest addition to the neighbourhood, Vicinity Apartments. All of these projects are regarded under the umbrella of Cockburn Living, a name Australand owns as the developer in the immediate town centre area of Cockburn Central, and represents a huge boost for the local community in terms of the provision of living solutions.
The Luxe Apartments project was another submitted for consideration for the UDIA Awards for Excellence in 2012, in the Medium Density Development category (Port Coogee was submitted in the category of Environmental Excellence). Luxe was the fourth apartment complex to be completed at Cockburn Central Town Centre—a significant, emerging activity centre situated in Perth’s vastly expanding southern growth corridor. Comprising 13 ground floor retail units and 81 apartments, available in a range of size options, this transit orientated development combines luxury open-plan living with a low maintenance, urban lifestyle.
Australand worked with other developers and key agencies to forge a collaborative approach for Cockburn Central. As part of the Cockburn Central Landowners Working Group, Australand was able to deliver and share its objectives and vision for Luxe to ensure it met and exceeded the shared expectations for the area—projected to eventually serve a surrounding population of 190,000 people. Active involvement in a series of key stakeholder/community vision workshops furnished the construction team with important insights regarding interim improvements and long-term solutions to increase the desirability and functionality of the area. These workshops were instrumental in creating a strong place vision for Cockburn Central town centre and formed the basis for the design and functionality.
Australand invested time in developing a marketing strategy that positioned Luxe as one of the leading residential complexes in the town centre. Developing the ‘healthy living’ theme actively promoted the strong communal features of Luxe—positioning the complex as a lifestyle ‘choice’ rather than a simple apartment purchase. To further promote the healthy lifestyle on offer, all purchasers were given a voucher to purchase a bicycle as part of the welcome pack to Luxe. Strong, directional images offered potential residents a glimpse of life at Luxe, whilst a digitally designed brochure, downloadable fact sheet and web pages furnished purchasers with detailed information on the pricing structure, floor plans and information on the surrounding area.
With prices for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment starting at $430,000, including one basement car bay and 81sqm of living space, Australand received a strong response to the marketing campaign. Since 2007, over 400 apartments have been sold in the entire Cockburn Central complex. The low maintenance, stylishly appointed apartments, featuring communal recreation facilities, offer a convenient lifestyle within walking distance of the Cockburn Train Station and bus interchange, the Gateway Shopping Centre, and are just a short drive away from Fremantle, beaches and the Perth CBD. This active way of life has appealed strongly to young professional singles and couples seeking to enter the property market, down-sizers seeking low maintenance living and FIFO workers wanting lock and leave secure properties.
The Kingston Apartments project in the same area was the winner of the Medium Density Development category at 2014’s UDIA awards, and represents a huge success for the company in the thriving Cockburn Living development. Inspired by the ‘Eixample’ District in Barcelona, Kingston Apartments makes reference to the District’s quadrant neighbourhood designs. It comprises four individual apartment buildings each with their own identity and address, yet inextricably linked by shared recreational and open space zones and symbiotic architectural design. There is a clear and coherent approach to the design of the site and block as a whole. Significant financial and developmental benefits were gained by the innovative design of the apartments. Staged construction of each of the four apartment buildings minimised the financial risk and allowed Australand to fund subsequent stages from sales.
The luxurious central shared zone—which was completed during the construction of the first apartment building, thereby allowing the first residents to take advantage of its benefits—comprises a gymnasium, lap pool and lounge area, barbeque and pizza oven and an outdoor cinema. An integrated car park is concealed underground and accessed from Sleeper Lane, an aspect of the build designed to house the less visually appealing service-based elements of the building. Product differentiation is evident from a wide range of apartment layouts with varying aspects. While affordable one and two bedroom configurations are on offer, there is a high level of product diversity ensuring they appeal to a broad demographic mix attracting both investors and owner-occupiers and stimulating a more diverse occupant character for the overall development in the longer term.
A key focus of the design was to minimise the reliance on high-energy cooling systems, by integrating cross ventilation as much as possible and maintaining an urban design both climatically responsive and sustainable. As a result two thirds of Kingston Apartments have cross ventilation—exceeding five-star national benchmarks for energy efficiency. Designed by award-winning architects Cameron Chisholm & Nicol, the apartments all have an average six-star overall energy rating, with some even up to 7.5 stars, well above the minimum requirements of Australia’s national building code. Kingston offers residents a healthy, energy efficient way of living with excellent indoor air quality, lighting, heating and water consumption.
Committed to meeting the needs of the local community and the aims of LandCorp to develop Cockburn Central as a key Activity Centre, as with the Luxe development, Australand was able to draw on its relationship with stakeholders, local government and community groups to generate a visually appealing design that complemented the area, while at the same time promoted the vision for the estate. The approach to the architectural character of Kingston was to successfully blend the built form with the character, grain and scale of the building edge at street level.
The impact that Australand is having on property development both in Western Australia and across the country is truly commendable, and no doubt there will be more to come from this socially conscious company in the coming years. Those residents benefiting from the excellent accommodation and amenities at any one of these WA developments will agree that Australand properties are an extremely welcome addition to the area.