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Newstart Homes and Chapcon Design & Construct: Covering residential and commercial construction

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Chapcon Design & Construct prides itself on delivering quality outcomes and value for its clients. The group behind Chapcon recently took over Newstart Homes, a Brisbane-based custom homebuilding company serving southeast Queensland since 1987.

Nick Chapman is the Managing Director of both Newstart Homes and Chapcon Design & Construct. Starting out as an apprentice carpenter in the residential sector at the age of 15, Mr Chapman quickly developed the ambition to gain a Diploma of Building and Medium Rise Builder’s Licence. He started Chapcon in 2011, and quickly established himself in the Brisbane market as the go-to contractor for innovative solutions and budget-conscious decision making. Mr Chapman spoke with The Australian Business Executive recently about the different offerings of his two companies, and the long-term focus which has served both outfits extremely well. 

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“Both businesses have a great culture, which is something that we pride ourselves on, and something I couldn’t be more thankful for as the director of both outfits." - Nick Chapman

Long-term focus

Although Newstart Homes and Chapcon Design & Construct are both construction companies, the two companies are vastly different in offerings, and very different from an operational aspect.

“Newstart Homes is a custom homebuilding company,” Mr Chapman says, “focused on building high volumes of houses in southeast Queensland. It was established in 1987 and acquired by our group in late 2016.”

In order to achieve high volumes, the whole process from project inception to the delivery of a new home is designed to be as efficient as possible. This efficiency also helps negate many of the practical issues inherent in the construction industry.

“Sales and marketing, accompanied by a good offering, is really our main focus. Reaching the customers and presenting our offering is paramount, so we’re constantly reviewing our designs, inclusions and pricing, to ensure that we have the most suitable products for the markets we cater for.”

Chapcon is a commercial construction company, which has served a wide range of sectors since 2011. The company has worked on many different types of buildings, and operates in several different markets, including hospitality, fit-out, education, early learning, medical and industrial.

“The company works with government departments, local councils, private schools, along with large, medium and small private enterprises. Every project is different with Chapcon and has different ‘pressure points’, requiring a different approach from project to project.”

The team at Chapcon are highly experienced and diligent with project management and careful procurement, Chapcon makes sure that each project is appropriately resourced in order to deliver high quality projects and remain competitive with other specialist companies.

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Chapcon Design & Construct prides itself on delivering quality outcomes and value for its clients

“Both businesses have a great culture, which is something that we pride ourselves on, and something I couldn’t be more thankful for as the director of both outfits. We also maintain a long-term focus with all our clients, contractors and suppliers, where we try not to get caught up on the little things, and work towards outcomes based on long-term prospects.”

This long-term approach has been extremely beneficial to both companies, helping them forge great relationships and loyalty with the people the companies deal with on a daily basis, and from project to project.

Well-rounded skillset

Mr Chapman has recently taken over at Newstart Homes, a company which had been in financial trouble for some time. On taking over, the first order of business was to enact some changes to help sure up the business.

“Newstart Homes was placed into liquidation in late 2016,” Mr Chapman explains, “as a subsidiary of the Home Australia Group. At first, the interest wasn’t really there, but after having a bit of a closer look at the IP which was for sale, the potential became apparent.”

The acquisition of the company itself was problematic. Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the sale, there were no background documents on the processes, so the new owners were required to reverse engineer the IP.

“A lot of the designs were outdated and the pricing had been incrementally increased since 2014, which was quite prohibitive. You don’t price because you have a thousand homes a year to build, you price to get a thousand homes a year, and that’s what we’re working towards. So now I think we’re in a good position to hit the market with confidence.”

With such a wide range of builders to choose from, Newstart Homes works within an extremely competitive market. The company has had a good name in the industry since 1987, and continues to be well trusted despite its recent troubles.

“We’re affordable and flexible when it comes to our designs, we try to take a bit more of a tailored approach than most of our competitors. We cater for various parts of the market, and I think we’re doing the right thing, so we’ll just keep that up and try to re-establish the brand amongst our competitors.”

Chapcon Design & Construct is a very different outfit to Newstart Homes. The company has the capabilities for a very diverse scope, as well as having some extremely strong relationships and a great reputation.

“[Chapcon] served as a great parent company to foster and enable the new beginnings of Newstart, where in some instances we were able to introduce some of Chapcon’s systems and processes to compliment Newstart’s model, and vice versa.”

Unlike Newstart, Chapcon doesn’t have a key area of expertise. By working across a wide variety of sectors, Chapcon’s strength is the way it approaches each project and is able to remain competitive despite the difference in project types.

“It’s an interesting market at the moment,” Mr Chapman says. “Money is cheap, but the banks are still quite tough on lending. There seemed to be a high level of caution during the year, as a result of things like the Royal Commission and a bit of bad press about the Australian housing market, and even the election.” 

Despite these concerns, general hesitation seems to be easing up, and some confidence is returning to buyers in the market. For Newstart and Chapcon, the key to growth is to maintain their adaptive approaches and keep fostering good relationships.

“We do have a well-rounded skillset and a good offering, in various areas of the market, so while it’s all going strong, we’ll continue expanding the way we are. If things do tighten up in one area or another, we can probably join our efforts into a niche in high demand.”

With a continued focus on fostering long-term relationships, Newstart Homes and Chapcon Design & Construct are both at the leading end of the Queensland building market. Find out more by visiting www.newstart.com.au and www.chapcon.com.au.

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