Working Together to Deliver More

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-By Aleisha Parr

As a third generation construction company operating within the small but progressive city of Canberra, Capezio and Co has been able to sustain itself for more than half a century through its dedication to a “˜hands-on’ approach whereby all management is actively involved in the process and outcomes of each and every project. Offering a wide range of property development and construction services, Capezio and Co is incredibly focussed, and has a team of qualified and experienced professionals committed to producing superior outcomes and establishing lasting professional relationships.

FM Projects sprang up out of Capezio and Co through an interest shared by Managing Director Don Capezio and good friend Angelo Damiano (along with another individual who has since moved in a different direction), with the goal of providing Capezio and Co’s existing clients with added fitout and refurbishment services. The endeavour began in the offices of Capezio and Co, and has been working alongside the company now for five years, helping to bring forward a complete and extensive service offering to meet the expanding needs of its clients.

This relationship allows for significant resource sharing, thus enabling the two companies to increase efficiencies while also increasing the pool of skills and services available to clients. Furthermore, the complementary services effectively create a “˜one-stop-shop’ for clients, with Capezio and Co focussing on new constructions and FM Projects on fitouts and refurbishments. “We provide across all of the delivery forms,” says Mr Damiano, Project Manager at FM Projects, “whether it be project management, construction management, design and construct, or lump sum contracting. We’ve got very experienced people.”

The two companies are, however, separate, with different shareholdings, though there is some overlap. What is shared is the strong focus on skills development from within, with the added support from Management who are actively involved throughout the entire process of a project and are always accessible to staff and clients alike. Explains Angelo Damiano, “Each project will have an owner who is responsible for each, so clients deal with us direct and our guys deal with us direct. This simplifies the process; there’s not too much in-between, and we think that what results is a higher level of quality control.”

This same personal attention is also given to all employees, whereby even the new recruits are able to work directly with the owners of the businesses, receiving invaluable mentoring as well as hands-on experience.

The companies also focus on encouraging new recruits to pursue completion of a Construction Management Degree. In order to support this, FM Projects and Capezio and Co offer an exceptionally flexible work environment to help young workers balance work and school. Says Mr Damiano, “We have a number of guys who are getting tertiary education now and we do give them time off and a lot of flexibility for them to do some classes during the day and we also help them a little bit financially with that. We promote that these guys do get through their university degrees.

“These guys work directly with John, Don and me, and there’s a fair bit of mentoring there; we’ve got a fair bit of experience and I think that’s valuable as well, and I think that they do better at university too, getting onsite experience. There are quite a few of them who show potential. We start them off on small projects, and with having the two distinct businesses, they get more extensive experience.” New hires are typically started out with FM Projects, where there are less trades to deal with, and as they progress in experience and skills, they are able to move into construction work with Capezio and Co or on to more complex refurbishment projects. This allows for significant career-pathing for workers new to the industry, and can greatly help to enhance their educational progression and value as a skilled worker within the two companies.

For FM Projects especially, a high level of experienced skill is necessary for continued success in the industry, as the types of projects tendered often present unique challenges. Of these, perhaps the most difficult challenge is learning to work around active sites where work is ongoing within the premises where a fitout or refurbishment is occurring.

“A lot of the time that’s difficult,” says Mr Damiano, “you need to stage the work, there are mechanical and electrical shutdowns that have to happen, and you have to work around what the tenants are doing and we’re obviously trying to not make noise or too much dust or shut down their operations, so there are lots of challenges and I think we do that very well because we’ve had years of experience.”

That level of internal skill is what Mr Damiano says sets the two companies apart in the industry, which is struggling at the moment to provide enough opportunities for Canberra’s many construction firms.

Both Capezio and Co and FM Projects, however, are quite busy, with no signs of slowing down. Capezio and Co is in the middle of some fairly large contracts with Goodwin Aged Care, and FM Projects is steadily at work through a number of industry relationships formed with Old Parliament House, New Parliament House, the Australian Tax Office and others.

Remarks Mr Damiano, “We’ve been quite busy so we’re pretty happy with the level of work we’ve got. People tell us it is a little quieter out there and we get that from our subcontractors but we certainly aren’t any less busy than what we were last year.”

Last year proved to be FM Projects’ and Capezio and Co’s best year to date in terms of turnover, and the companies are poised to continue with their growth while maintaining focus in their respective areas of expertise.

“Looking to the future,” says Mr Damiano, “Canberra has always been a good place to operate out of and so we’ve been fairly steadily growing. We get a lot of repeat business and we take a lot of pride in what we do, so we only take on enough work that we know we can deliver. We obviously want to keep pushing forward, and we’ve got some good, young staff here that are very keen. I think all in all, the future is pretty bright.”

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’?

June 1, 2020, 6:35 AM AEST