Doing It Right


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-By John Boley

Neil and Penny David are names well known throughout Australia’s construction industry. They have experience ranging from earthworks to mining, pavement construction, piling, bridges, dams and marine works, having been involved in many prestigious projects. For the past six years they have been owners of Global Contracting Pty Ltd, a civil contracting and earthmoving business accredited to VicRoads and holding quality certification to ISO 9001:2008 as part of an integrated quality, safety and environmental management system. Global Contracting undertakes contract civil works, as well as providing engineering and project management support to the wider industry.

“We have been working around the country for a number of years, working for many of the government authorities and with other major contractors,” the husband-and-wife team explains. They began working with Global Contracting as consultants but took control of the company six years ago because “we thought we could do a better job” (Neil) and because of the “challenge of doing it better than others in our own business” (Penny).

“We have worked all over Victoria; we have our head office in Broadford (some 90km north of Melbourne), an office in Perth too and we also work in New South Wales. Predominantly regional is our game, not so much cities, working primarily for local and state government authorities.” Neil and Penny also sometimes take on subdivision work for leading consultants or developers.

Global Contracting offers a variety of plant hire and logistics services too, but the main focus is on construction – and the company is busy. “We’ve got a lot on at the minute,” reports Penny. At present there’s construction of a new car park in Geelong for Deakin University, construction of the Pyrenees Highway-Wallace St intersection, Wesley Hill, signal installation and roadworks at Bellarine Highway-Christies Road as well as many reconstructions – road junctions, crossroads and roundabouts including “some very large ones for VicRoads”, for example Swan Hill on the Murray Valley Highway and reconstructions and box culverts in Mansfield Shire. Neil confirms that it’s always a challenge to keep heavy traffic flows moving during such works.

For Global Contracting, the work comes mainly via tender but as Neil says, “you have to be successful in past projects or you’re not looked at.” Aiming for the most suitable projects for the company and doing them properly is the way to get repeat business, he underlines, largely based on price “but there is a quality element too”.

In general the government clients that form much of the company’s work are concerned primarily with quality. Global Contracting has the requisite independent quality accreditation and Penny confirms that “usually at least half the allocation on a tender is to safety and quality so it often happens that the cheapest tender doesn’t get the job.”

Global Contracting was responsible for building the criterium cycle race track at Geelong used for the recent world championships. This was a “fast-track project” because the time available was limited by the event deadline while “we had some pretty bad weather. But we still got it completed on time. Given the nature of the project and the time of year and the type of ground it was built on,” Neil says – low ground that was saturated underneath – it was a logistically difficult job and required use of as many people and machines as possible between the heavy rains.

Neil David attributes the success of Global Contracting to some traditional business values. “We’re very self contained. We have our own trucks, our own concreters, own pipelaying and hydraulics crews; we’re a bit old-fashioned when it comes to not subcontracting everything.” The firm likes to be in complete control over quality, he says. “We have everything of our own, we can control our own destiny a bit better than relying on subcontractors.

For example, “if we want to move something in the middle of the night we just get out our low loader and move it” – the company has its own fleet of new and late model earthmoving machines including 5.5-24 tonne excavators, tracked loaders, bobcats, low loaders, tandem tippers and others – “There are companies twice as big as us and half our size; they don’t have their own transport division, but we can just pick up and move stuff.”

It’s not complicated, according to Neil. “We do it right. It’s a tough business, especially over the last six months with the weather, [but] we do it right and don’t take short cuts. That’s the way to keep customers and that’s the way we are.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

September 27, 2020, 3:28 AM AEST