Boutique Building

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-By Aleisha Parr

M Construction is a growing yet versatile building company, formed to complement the work of parent company, Match, in the boutique apartment development marketplace.

The building arm was established when the increasing market demand for apartment living was identified and apartments were no longer seen solely as an investment, but as a lifestyle preference demanding the same level of attention as is expected in the housing industry. Having found its niche in creating stylish, design-focused signature apartments and mixed-use facilities, Match transferred its skills into the commercial sector.

The natural next step for the organisation was to not only provide a more client focused service, but to increase its capacity, enabling the firm to take the project from sale to handover, including the critical after service processes.

M Construction was launched just over 12 months ago and has already emerged as a specialist builder for Match’s more boutique projects, but also as a construction management operation serving private clientele.

M Construction is headed by Michael Read, who had previously worked with Broad Construction as the Quality National Manager, BHP on a $300 million housing project and served as General Manager of Arccon Construction. Match Directors Lloyd Clark and Cameron Barr join Michael as Directors of M Construction, and the two companies streamline operations, using shared resources and economies of scale.

“We are not like your typical builder, and we certainly don’t compete with those undertaking large-scale projects. We are very boutique in that our background is in development and we have a comprehensive understanding of every aspect of the development process,” Michael Read said.

“We value-engineer by ensuring that the building process remains fluid and that quality control is governed by a single entity. We provide a service that controls costs and ensures quality. The process is completely transparent and we are looking to build relationships with clients and become part of other boutique project networks.”

Match is the first development company of its size in Western Australia to take the leap into building, and Match Managing Director believes it is the way of the future. “The apartment industry is evolving, the clientele is more sophisticated and look for signature homes, which means detail is important and after sales service is critical,” he said.

“What we are doing is cornering a niche market to provide specialty product. Given the increased demand in the apartment market, we believe it is a timely and appropriate move.”

The company is a member of the Masters Building Association (MBA) and is confident its projects will soon emerge in industry award winner’s lists.

M Construction hit the ground running and is currently working on a seven townhouse development in North Fremantle, named Lime, and a 58 apartment project in Fremantle for the Department of Housing.

While the current economic climate presents challenges in the property market, the M Construction business model is based on progressive and sustainable growth. Mr Read is positioning the company for manageable and steady expansion. “If there are lessons to be learned in the current market, it is not to bite off more than you can chew. We have seen a lot of companies grow too rapidly and now have to wind back,” he said.

“Perhaps the biggest advantage we offer to our clients is our ability to measure all aspects of the development plan. We can mitigate cost blowouts in design and watch the market for changes so costs can be managed accordingly. We are experienced in this area because we are effectively a developer-builder acting on behalf of developers.”

While M Construction, like its parent company Match, will always strive for excellence, the company takes a balanced view of its procedures and is mindful of issues associated with best practice guidelines. “In larger companies there are a lot of procedures to follow, and a great deal of paperwork, costs and audits that really add to the bottom line of any project,” Mr Read said.

“We strongly believe that ticking all the boxes doesn’t necessarily equate to doing a quality job. On site, we plan to do things a bit smarter by putting quality systems in place, but without the excesses. We would rather have 100% quality on site than adhere to a burdening administration cycle.”

Similarly, the company is not prepared to enter into extensive marketing, either online or offline, until such a time when it can demonstrate its point of difference. Instead, projects will be generated from Match’s more boutique portfolio and private engagements as and when they arise. “We want to make sure our strength in the marketplace is well established before launching ourselves on a website and to the open market,” Mr Read said.

“We know our work and personalised approach can make a difference to the whole development experience, but we want our work to speak for its self.”

M Construction is open to work valued at $10 million and below. Its current Lime Street project is effectively house and land packages that give clients the freedom to make any internal changes prior to construction.

“The Lime Street project is a great example of what can be achieved through personalised and consistent service. It is effectively a house and land package, but instead of working with 2 or 3 schemes, the plans are open to personalised evolution – the client can actually make any internal changes they desire,” said Mr Read.

The company’s launching pad and flagship project, Lime Street goes back to traditional green titled living. With medium density townhouses accommodating a small back yard and typical terrace look, the architect-designed townhouses are all three bedrooms, two bathrooms, with feature glazed bricks strategically located on the exteriors – an example of the unique elements Match often adds to its designs.

On the other end of the scale, M Construction is currently constructing 58 affordable housing units in Fremantle, incorporating the retention of a heritage façade in front of a new five-storey apartment complex.

Based on the reputation Match has developed in specialised and heritage sensitive projects, along with M Construction’s hands-on approach, it is expected that more work of this nature will be given to the organisation.

Being small and boutique has its advantages in that the company can afford to be selective with the types of projects it works on. M Construction, in its current state, is not necessarily suited to every construction job. It is, however, a growing company that wants to take its time in being considered a partner for sensitive and design focused work.

M Construction is best suited to working under a construction management agreement for work that is generated outside of Match where sophisticated clients can work closely with the team from design to construct, under a pre-agreed budgetary arrangement. M Construction’s understanding across all phases of development can be a cost effective strategy for ensuring quality and meeting budget.

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July 14, 2020, 1:13 AM AEST