The Real Alternative

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Since it was established back in 1993, Baseline Constructions Pty Ltd has never strayed from its vision: to offer clients a true alternative to traditional building methods. As one of Australia’s foremost construction companies, Baseline believes its unique designs and advanced building techniques save its clients not only time, but money.

“We do jobs that are very different from most builders,” says Nicholas Bettar, Managing Director and founder of Baseline. “Over the years, we’ve proven we’re a real alternative to your normal, everyday, conventional builders, because we do a lot of work off-site, where most builders won’t.”

Recognised across the industry for its innovative work – especially the use of the latest modular construction techniques – Baseline has built a solid reputation for its construction projects, offering a wide range of products and services to clients in the areas of residential, commercial, industrial, and hospitality. “We will also target within those four areas what works best for us,” says Bettar, adding that while the company will work in hospitality, they won’t do clubs, for example, since there are numerous other companies specializing in that field.

Often building with pre-cast concrete, Baseline is able to offer clients creative, cost-effective and solidly-built alternatives for projects of any size, backed up by professional project management teams determined to get the job planned properly, managed, and delivered on time and often under budget. The savings can be significant, says Bettar; one recent $100 million project completed by Baseline was $12 million less than a competing estimate for the job. “We are cheaper than the competition because we offer a real alternative to design and construction.”

Although the privately-owned company has done a great deal of modular construction over the past 17 years, Nicolas Bettar’s knowledge of the construction industry goes back to childhood. Prior to creating Baseline, Bettar earned a civil engineering degree, and worked for another large firm for six years. When Nicolas was young, his father – a cabinet maker and builder – would take him and his older brother to building sites. He fondly remembers spending practically every weekend stacking roof tiles, straightening nails, piling timbers, and learning everything from demolition to building techniques.

“We loved it,” says Bettar. “I think it’s in the blood. We learned about value and respect.”

Today, Baseline’s respect for its clients and the industry shows in every project. With decades of combined experience, Baseline is able to take on all aspects of construction, including site acquisition, project management, concept planning, construction management, financing, design, efficiency/value engineering, project feasibility studies construction methodology, design management and facilitation, general contracting and delivery, construction advice, delivery of construction, sales, marketing, and final placement of end users.

Three Divisions

Over the years, the 75-employee strong company grew into Baseline Group, which is today comprised of three divisions: Baseline Constructions, Baseline Concept Design, and Baseline Developments. When the company began, it did a good deal of modular construction, which required many components being made off-site. Other companies soon took notice of Baseline’s innovative modular construction techniques – which enabled the company to build creative, cost-effective alternatives for its clients of virtually any size – and were amazed by the quality of the work. Soon, the design side of Baseline was born.

“We would often lend our internal designers off to architects and developers to re-design buildings and sites,” says Bettar, “and it just naturally grew. As we started to pick up more and more repeat clients, they would say to us, “˜Do you want to do this?’ or “˜Do you want to do that?’ so we picked up the development side. Today, we have the development side, the construction side, and the design side – they’ve all just basically evolved organically over the past 17 years.”

Known mainly as a large residential modular builder, Bettar is quick to point out that there is much more to Baseline Constructions and the services they offer. Able to do jobs ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to over $100 million, the company is proud not only of its sterling reputation, but the fact that 75 per cent of its business comes from repeat business.

“When you have repeat clients, it speaks volumes,” says Bettar. “It is very hard in a congested market to have repeat clientele. I think we are the real alternative in a lot of ways, and I think that’s a good thing. We do jobs that are very different to most builders.”

Projects the company has taken on over the years remain as diverse as the many services offered by Baseline itself. In almost two decades of operations, Baseline Constructions has worked on a wide range of residential, hospitality, commercial and industrial projects, including heritage houses, adult community centres, child care facilities, hotels, meat processing facilities, shopping centres and plazas, self-storage buildings, and even a family crypt.

Led by a skilled senior management team, Baseline’s corporate structure is created to ensure that every one of its projects is overseen by individuals who are highly capable, skilled, and have years of experience. Working with professionals ensures clients that their building needs will be carried out in a manner that is efficient and safe from start to finish.

Some of the company’s past projects include Metro Residential Units (Roseberry). A $57 million job, Baseline was responsible for design and construction of the entire 274-unit apartment complex, which was entirely modular. Others, like the $88.6 million Rhodes Bay Development – which took 85 weeks to design and construct – feature almost 250 apartments, a café, townhouses, penthouses, pool and gym amenities, associated infrastructure and landscaping over 11 buildings ranging from four to eight levels.

State and Federal Accreditation

A number of years ago, Baseline made the decision to become a state and federally accredited company, a costly and time-consuming process, but one that has paid off for the company and its many new and repeat clients.

“To keep up to the accreditation is incredibly expensive, because the bar is lifted up so much higher than everybody else,” says Bettar of his company, which has recently branched out into the field of school construction for the government. Just last year, Baseline built its first school; today, it are working on six. The reason for its success, says Bettar, is simple: the client was pleased with its first project, and called the company back to construct additional schools.

In addition to schools, Baseline is also working on a number of other large projects, including shopping centres, the restoration of heritage buildings, and industrial construction, mainly in New South Wales. With environmental sustainability being increasingly important, the company has also implemented Green Star ratings on a number of its projects. A voluntary rating system launched by the Green Building Council of Australia, structures are rated for “green” initiatives for construction, design, operation, and other earth and resource-friendly factors.

“Your return isn’t that much higher, but your likelihood of getting a tenant is so much greater,” says Bettar. “People are becoming more and more environmentally aware. We’re in a developed country. We should be pushing the boundaries, and challenging things.”

Although the company has won a number of awards over the years, Bettar says the company’s greatest award is the repeat business it receive from its many clients. The company doesn’t advertise on projects, and generally doesn’t enter into award competitions. “Slow and steady has done us well.”

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’?

July 14, 2020, 2:34 PM AEST