Keeping it in the Family

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

In business, strength and success often come as a result of working with the best people. Few companies realise this more than Whitten Brothers Pty Ltd. Established a decade ago by brothers Clayton and Tyron Whitten, Australia’s Whitten Bros specialises in all facets of concrete construction and contracting. Able to handle jobs ranging from forming the foundations of the largest industrial structures, to power plants, mining infrastructure, office buildings and warehouses, the company is proud to offer its services to the nation’s mining, oil and gas, industrial, civil, commercial, and industrial industries.

Since 2001, the company has been providing a wide range of services to its clients. From excavating to concrete supply and placing, surveying and steel fixing, to scaffolding and the installation of formwork, to concrete pumping, the family-run team at Whitten Brothers is able to offer its clients top-notch services across the nation.

“Working together has had a lot of great benefits,” says Tyron Whitten of his brother, Clayton. With both brothers serving as company Directors, they are able to strategically serve their clients Australia-wide. When they started the company, both brothers brought their own skill sets along. Today, Tyron oversees the company’s operations in New South Wales and Western Australia, focusing on business development, the tendering process, project planning, quality control, and growth and business strategy. Like his brother, Clayton is also involved in many of Whitten Brothers’s business activities such as tendering and project planning, and is passionate about the company’s daily operations, often going to sites to oversee pours and other crucial core activities. “I look after the business in one direction, and he looks after the other, and we complement each other,” says Tyron.

Prior to forming the privately-owned, family-run business, both Tyron and Clayton worked alongside one another in an oyster processing and seafood business. “Our father’s a concretor,” says Tyron Whitten. “We’re sort of second-generation concretors. He left the concreting industry, and went oyster farming, although he and I were both in the construction industry prior to that. We sort of fired along and did a similar thing, but we came back to construction.”

Along with a solid core of employees, including Clayton’s wife – company Business Manager Louise Whitten, who oversees the business development arm of the company – the trio ensures that the operation continues to maintain its high standard as an industry leader, and its philosophy of strength from proven performance.

Repeat Business

At Whitten Brothers, the company’s abilities to get the job done on time have earned the firm a great deal of repeat business over the years. “We mobilise very quickly,” says Tyron Whitten. Recently, the company was called in to save the day after another contractor wasn’t able to complete the job. “It was on a Thursday or Friday of one week, and within two weeks we had people on site so as to keep their client happy, and show that we were committed to the project, which is pretty much unheard of. It is a huge task, getting people and gear, and ordering. It was a huge task, but we managed to do it.”

In a number of cases – seven, to be precise – Whitten says the company was brought in to complete contracts that had initially been awarded to other companies, and were not satisfactorily completed by them. Part of the problem, says Whitten, is that some junior estimators for other companies will give their bosses the cheapest price, not the price that genuinely reflects quality workmanship. “We were trying to convince them that if they spend a little bit more at the start, it will save them a lot in the end,” says Whitten. “They all would like to use us. We’re a premium product, and we’re trying to market ourselves that way, and we give them more than what the others can give. We get the job done quicker than other people. We have very good people who work for us, and where others say and make promises, we actually deliver on them, so that’s why we get repeat business. Construction managers do see the benefits of having us on-site and driving their jobs.”

Quality from Start to Finish

No matter the size of the project, Whitten Brothers maintains committed to ensuring all its jobs are delivered on time and to the highest standard. While many companies will use the word “quality” when describing their work, Whitten Brothers strives to produce work that does not just meet the expectations of clients, but exceeds them. The company’s project managers and site supervisors are on hand to ensure structural soundness and material longevity. To improve efficiencies, the process itself – rather than just the end product – is constantly evaluated. This continuous improvement, along with procedures in place to verify standards are met every step of the way, assures customer satisfaction.

“Our people are our business,” says Tyron Whitten. “They’re the most important part of what we do.”

The team at Whitten believes in offering its clients service that is efficient, reliable, and flexible. As a total package concrete contractor, Whitten Brothers offers all concrete construction and related services, including concrete placement and finishing, concrete form work and design and installation, steel fixing, concrete pumping, bulk/detailed excavation, material handling, scaffolding, and subgrade trim and levelling using laser controlled graders.

Along with the professional people it has on board, Whitten Brothers owns its equipment, and takes advantage of the latest available technologies, from laser screeds to a 42 metre truck-mounted concrete placing boom, and ride-on trowelling machines capable of achieving superior quality finish up to 2,000m² in a single concrete pour.

Able to handle everything from multi-level residential structures to mining projects, commercial and industrial facilities and civil projects, Whitten Brothers has all experience and equipment needed to take on virtually any concreting project. All preconstruction needs – from estimating to scheduling, and design to survey – are offered. The past few years have seen Whitten Brothers expand from its base in Newcastle to operations from NSW into Western Australia and Queensland. With offices on the east and west coasts, the company is better able to serve its clientele across the nation.

Serving East and West Coasts

“On the west coast, we’re purely civil and mining,” says Whitten, “whereas on the east coast, we do some commercial and industrial work.” With the skills needed to take on large jobs in the oil, gas and resource sectors, the company’s major projects include Pluto LNG, Sino Iron (where Whitten Brothers built the largest AG Mills in the world), Cloud Break Mine, NCIG Coal Loader, and Glendell Mine. On the commercial side, Whitten Brothers’ repeat business reveals itself time and time again, as the company is currently working on its ninth Bunnings store, which speaks volumes about the company’s core business values, integrity, stellar workmanship, and value for clients.

To further enhance its reputation, the company is in the process of achieving ISO accreditation. “We’re trying to establish ourselves at the top end of the market in terms of our service and quality and those sorts of things, and we realised that in order to do that, we need to have some sort of management system, and the ISO accreditation is going to give us that,” says Whitten. “The benefits it brings to our clients is that they’re dealing with a higher-tier contractor. There’s not very many concrete companies with ISO accreditation, so we’re in a small field of people.”

Guided by principles and a code of conduct, the company believes strongly in promoting excellence, honesty, and integrity in every single project, no matter how big or small.

Its list of satisfied clients in civil, mining, commercial, and other fields reads like a who’s who of the industry, with project clients like John Holland Group, BGC Contracting, Ward Civil, Thomas & Coffey, Taylor Projects, Mainbrace, Drayton Constructions, and Richard Crookes Construction.

The company, which regularly handles multi-million dollar jobs, opened its WA office last year, is actively pursuing the Queensland market, and is in talks with a company in West Africa at the moment. Always with an eye on the future, Whitten Brothers Pty Ltd remains a company proud of its Australian roots.

“Australian companies like dealing with Australian companies” says Whitten. “If we were an overseas company over here trying to get work, I think it would be much harder.”

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’?

January 27, 2021, 1:45 AM AEDT