Building quality has been under the microscope for some time, so why aren’t more developers taking steps to reduce their construction risk via an in-house building team?
It may appear counter-intuitive, but the number of genuine developer-builder companies operating in Perth can be counted on one hand, particularly when it comes to larger-scale developments.
Despite the significant benefits of a developer having an in-house builder, including increased quality-control and reduced risk, few construction or development organisations have been successful in making the developer-builder model work.
Mr Michael Read, Director of M/Construction (part of M/Group), one of only a couple of successful larger-scale developer-builder firms in Perth, said the model is generally considered best practice, but it can prove difficult to create a good partnership.
“Achieving the right fit in terms of staff or partnership can prove difficult in an environment where the cultures tend to be quite different. In Perth, our main players are fairly established and there needs to be a lot of trust between both parties for the model to work effectively,” he said.
“While there is unquestionably merit in having a good appreciation of the development process as well as maintaining complete control of the entire building program and its outcomes, the concept has not been fully embraced by the sector and most developers continue to outsource to third-party builders.”
Unlike most construction-based firms, M/Construction evolved within its parent company, M/Group. The company was initially introduced to improve the building quality and maintenance of M/Group’s apartment and commercial projects, but quickly earned industry credibility to work independently of the group.
M/Construction uses its value-add service model to attract new building contracts and build on its capabilities in the building and maintenance sectors. The company recently took home three awards at the Master Builders Western Australian Awards for Excellence, including Best Multi-Unit Development between $10-$20million for Form Apartments by Match; an award the company has won two-years running.
Although most builders today offer a form of design-construct service, a developer-builder can operate both as a single service or independently, and both disciplines’ credentials are of equal calibre.
“Construction is without question a distinct skillset that requires a lot of experience. This is why some 90% of developer-builder companies derive from building firms initially rather than developers. However, the development expertise should not be overshadowed in the mix,” Mr Read continued.
“Certainly, within our organisation, being involved across the entire design and construction process creates a sense of pride in our staff. It is a different experience than working purely for a construction firm. We get to take ownership of the project from concept to completion.”
Michael Read joined M/Group as a highly qualified and experienced Registered Builder with some 20-years under his belt in top-tier organisations. Rather than a company merger, the M/Construction team was built from within the organisation which helped to circumvent any potential staffing or cultural issues.
Of Western Australia’s top twenty builders, very few are considered to be true developer-builder.
Find out more at www.mconstruction.com.au
OUR TOWN | Fremantle EpisodeRead more
We are pleased to announce that Match was part of the OUR TOWN Fremantle episode that aired on Channel 7 & GWN7 on the 24th August 2019, which featured Heirloom by Match & M/27 Apartments by Match.
M/28 Apartments by Match | Construction Completed May 2019Read more
Construction completion has been achieved at M/28 by Match located in the heart of South Fremantle on iconic South Terrace café strip.
M/28 Apartments by Match consists of 20 residential apartments and retail/office space on the ground floor. The building also includes a central landscaped courtyard with an industrial style on the first floor.
Signed Proof Backs Market ImprovementRead more
Amidst the flurry of market projections and crystal ball predictions, boutique land developer Monument, part of M/Group, is celebrating ‘signed proof’ that a significant upswing in the market is now occurring – and the forecast for land buyers looks even better.
In a period that has been clouded by negative commentary, the company has successfully pre-sold 50% of its first land release at the Atop at Beeliar estate, procuring signed contracts even prior to titles being issued.
Director of land at M/Group, Mr John Wroth, said such a positive result of pre-selling off-the-plan lots has been virtually unheard of over the past three years, where sales were almost always attributed to titled land. He said while there is no doubt the boutique and limited nature of land at Atop has contributed to the sales, a range of external factors continue to have a positive impact on the market.
“Since the Federal Election, there has been a notable increase in enquiries across all our projects. This level of activity has also been reported by other developers, but all market indicators are just hearsay until there is concrete proof of sales,” he said.
“At Monument, June was recorded as an extremely strong month in terms of enquiries and sales and July is shaping up to be even stronger. The significance of having signed unconditional contracts on the table before titles confirms that there is renewed confidence in the market and property buyers are feeling confident to invest.”
Record low interest rates, recent tax cuts, First Home Buyer Grant incentives and relaxed lending rules also provide for a solid platform for investment.
Mr Wroth believes that a stronger and more vigorous property market will greatly impact land buying options, with increased quality and quantity of land available.
“The market slowdown certainly reduced the production of new land, with some developers opting to pull back on construction altogether. We are now able to progress construction of future stages and features that really set the estates apart,” he said.
“As a boutique developer, we predicted the possibility that any surplus of land would ultimately run dry in a slow market. We had the capacity to invest in continued construction at Atop so that when the tide turned, we would have ‘ready to build’ land available and packaged with stunning landscaping and ocean views.
“With the completion of construction on Stage 1, we are well placed to meet what is inevitably going be increased market demand.”
“Atop has been meticulously designed around the site’s existing typography. This includes majestic Tuart Trees retained at its highest point along with nature play areas for ‘discovery play’ and meandering walking trails with nesting hollows set aside for the area’s wildlife. It is also a quick walk to Beeliar Village with supermarkets, specialty services, restaurants and cafes, as well as close to the local primary and high schools,” Mr Wroth continued.
“Being first to market was not our only strategy to attract attention when the market shifts, we also wanted to create a unique statement for buyers. Atop at Beeliar is certainly that place and we are looking forward to ongoing interest as the market continues to return.”
Atop offers stunning ocean views and stretches across 11.8 hectares. It includes 171 homesites with varying lot sizes from 217sq.m to 630sq.m. This includes a mix of ocean and parkland view options with natural land undulation that provides character in lot levels.
The recently completed first stage of development includes 37 titled lots from 217sq.m to 494sq.m priced from $199,000.
To register your interest for any of the above opportunities, visit www.atopbeeliar.com.au or call Damyn Strang 0434 070 654.
Another Year… Another Win!Read more
For the second year in a row M/Construction has been awarded Best Multi-Unit Development between $10-$20 million at the Master Builder Awards Excellence in Construction – but this time for our Form by Match building in Port Coogee.
It goes without saying that construction quality is a top priority when looking for a new apartment and we’re proud our team has been recognised as the best in the business for the second year in a row when it comes to boutique apartments.
Along with this accolade, our Maintenance & Minor Works division were awarded Best Educational Building under $1.5 million for Leda Educational Support Centre.
Finally, Josh Stott’s hard work paid off managing the construction of Form by Match as he won Project Manager of the Year.
Unique Regional Opportunity on the Cards at Chester Pass MallRead more
Property company, M/Group, has submitted a development application (DA) to the City of Albany that could introduce a Bunnings Warehouse to the Chester Pass Mall shopping precinct.
Approval of the application would see the existing Bunnings currently located on Albany Highway relocate to a 14,000sq.m purpose-designed space. A number of additional improvements to Chester Pass Mall would also be made, including carpark shelters and upgrades by other retailers.
M/Group Director, Mr James Collis, said introducing a new Bunnings to the area will be a welcome addition to the precinct and could expand Chester Pass Mall’s its catchment across Great Southern region.
“In addition to the 35,000 people within Albany, we anticipate that families throughout the Greater Southern region will travel long distances to shop here. This puts Chester Pass Mall in an extremely unique position and could provide benefits to all businesses in Albany,” he said.
“The approval of our development application would create a shopping experience that complements surrounding retail found along Chester Pass Mall and offers improved traffic management and parking to home improvement customers.”
Bunnings Director of Property Andrew Marks said should the development application be approved the new store will provide Albany residents with an even wider range of home improvement and outdoor living products in a bigger and better store.
“The new Bunnings Warehouse development will feature a fully enclosed timber yard, nursery, more car parking for our customers as well as offering job opportunities for local residents.
“All of our team members from the existing Albany store will transfer to the new store once complete and will continue to be on hand to provide customers with expert advice on their D.I.Y projects.
M/Group National Shopping Centre Manager, Ms Cherie Daly, said she is confident that a Bunnings in the area will be welcomed by the community.
“I’ve no doubt that a larger Bunnings will be welcomed by both the local and extended community,” she said.
“Should our DA plans be approved, Albany would see an injection of $15 million of investment during the construction phase alone.”
While a Chester Pass mall centre refurbishment is also being strategised for the longer-term future, plans are yet to be confirmed.
A Quintessential Apartment Project in the Heart of Perth
As one of Perth’s most iconic neighbourhoods, Mount Lawley provided ample inspiration for a multi-use development created by award-winning M/Construction, part of M/Group. The three-storey M/25 by Match, located on the main road (Walcott Street), comprises 30 apartments plus six commercial units on the ground floor.
According to director Michael Read, M/25 drew its design vision from the suburb’s Federation-style red brick and terracotta homes. It incorporates natural light and cross ventilation into the apartments via the landscaped, central courtyard. The apartments’ décor includes black and white surfaces with elegant fixtures, creating a contemporary design with the end-user in mind.
As a company aligned to M/Group’s own industry-leading values, Cameron Chisholm Nicol was engaged to design M/25 – and they remained true to Mount Lawley’s heritage. The façade uses contrasting shapes, materials and colours to link the lively urbanism of Walcott Street, and create a strong corner presence that is set to become “a local landmark, offering architecturally-designed living in a convenient and desirable location”.
The main challenges faced by M/Construction centred on site constraints and logistics. “There was very limited lay-down area for materials” notes Michael Read, “and we only had one-side access during the duration of the build. This meant that all deliveries of materials had to be thought out and scheduled correctly. These would coincide with the requirement to have regular mobile cranes onsite and traffic management to coordinate traffic flow.”
“The design also changed from masonry brickwork to pre-cast panels for the neighbouring boundary wall – to eliminate potential issues impacting the next door property – so construction methodology had to be adjusted to ensure there was a good continuity of work and to maintain program deadlines.”
This eliminated potential safety issues associated with masonry construction, and also removed the requirement for complicated scaffolding in this area.
Highlighted Project Aspects and Cutting-Edge Features
Danpalon was used as the weather-proof backing material behind the perforated artistic screen at the building’s main entrance, “which provides a unique look to the building from the inside during the day, and the outside during the night”.
Black finish aluminium SHS sections were installed throughout many of the external openings (windows and balconies) to create a picture-frame effect on the building’s façade; and a smooth set plaster finish was applied to the external ground floor walls to create a point of difference from the other levels. As part of City of Vincent’s requirements, an art contribution was designed to include a wall mural by renowned Australian artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers. The brickwork walls also provided added appeal in comparison to the stud frame plasterboard walls.
Elsewhere, an Acratex texture coat was applied to the external surfaces of the building, and an Acrashield coating was applied over the Acratex texture coat to ensure long-lasting added protection. This was substituted for skim coat in areas that M/Construction believed would have had issues with weather damaging the skim coat.
M/Group is highly respected for its solid commitment to sustainability, and the M/25 project is emphatically at the forefront of industry standards in this respect.
“We strived for minimum waste by choosing specific products and ensuring all were accounted for during the build,” notes Read. “We used products that will ensure longevity for the building and reduce maintenance/replacement of materials.
“Upgrading the water-proof coating to the level one landscaped courtyard area ensured that we would not have to worry about potential leaks and added maintenance to the car park area below, now and into the future.” All appliances installed have a high WELS and Energy star rating.
One of the key successes achieved during construction was an ability to assist the client with design changes to upgrade areas of the building that M/Construction believed needed attention.
“Re-designing the lobby area and incorporating a decorative timber panel ceiling not only improved the overall look of the lobby but also elevated the appeal for the end-users.
“Taking on the mechanical ventilation as D&C, and simplifying it, reduced costs and eliminated the requirement for additional maintenance works during the life cycle of the building. In addition, we re-designed the courtyard landscaping area to be less busy and more aesthetically appealing.”
With Cameron Chisholm Nicol also highly regarded as an award-winning architectural practice that aims to place people at the centre of its design philosophy, the completed M/25 project was ultimately a perfect fit for its portfolio… “Unique residential projects that demonstrate refined aesthetics underpinned by efficient space planning and a rigorous attention to detail. The result is liveable, functional apartments that respond to our unique climate and lifestyle.”
Read the full Builder’s Choice Magazine here: