Award-Winning Work and Personalised Service

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

Back in 1995, veteran carpenter Wayne Hough – along with his wife, Theresa – founded Kirway Constructions Pty Ltd with the goal of creating a company that could successfully take on a wide variety of projects and provide clients with high-quality work delivered on time and within budget. The company’s first project was budgeted at a modest $69,000; a decade and a half later, Kirway Constructions has taken on jobs valued up to $25 million, and continues to deal with clients in ways that are friendly, open, and help them to realise their vision.

“Wayne became the “˜way’ in Kirway, and my wife Theresa’s last name, Kirk, is the “˜Kir,'” says Mr Hough. One of the Directors at Kirway, Mr Hough – a carpenter for 14 years before starting Kirway – brought in friend and fellow carpenter Ross Clavarino and his wife Ruth about a year after founding the company. Together, the two Directors have brought decades of combined, first-hand construction industry experience to the company. Their skill sets have proven to be an invaluable asset to the company, as they possess a wealth of practical, professional knowledge of all facets of construction, including logistical and practical applications to construction and management, negotiating skills, business development, cost planning, construction management, project supervision, tendering procedures, and much more which has helped the privately-owned Kirway Constructions to grow over the past 16 years to 60 full-time staff.

“We’ve worked in locations such as Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and New South Wales,” says Mr Hough of Kirway, which has successfully completed over 400 projects with a combined value of AU $285 million. Kirway has the experience to take on projects in many different sectors, including education, entertainment, offices, aquatic sports and leisure centres, health and aged care, multi-storey apartments, retail premises, public facilities, industrial buildings, and hotels. No matter the project, all are undertaken with the same degree of pride and professionalism, no matter the structure’s location, budget, or complexity.

At Kirway Constructions, the company believes in being open and accountable every step of the way on all its building projects. The company has International Standards (ISO9001) accreditation on its quality systems and standards for construction, along with Australian Standard certification for its Safety systems (AS4801), and accreditation by the Office of the Federal Safety Commissioner (OFSC). Kirway’s safety systems and achieved safety record provide the best possible workplace for employees, subcontractors, and everyone else on the company’s work sites. The OFSC certification substantiates this and is achieved by very few regional builders. Nationwide, 140 companies have the coveted accreditation, with Kirway Constructions being one of only 30 in the state.

The process of accreditation, says Mr Hough, took about two years to implement, and requires documenting processes and systems, implementing them, ensuring they are adhered to, and installing internal auditing systems. It is costly and time-consuming, but well worth the effort. “The accreditation allows us to tender on federally funded, or partly federally funded projects, within our region, or anywhere in Victoria,” says Mr Hough. “The Federal Government introduced legislation that if you wanted to tender on projects that have Federal funding, then you have to be registered with the Office of Federal Safety. We knew that if we didn’t move in that new direction, we’d be limiting our ability to provide work in that area, hence the reason we went down that road to get ourselves accredited.”

Over the years, Kirway Constructions has received numerous accolades for its superior quality work in a variety of sectors, including this year’s Gippsland Business Award for Building Services and Construction, and the Master Builders, Australia’s major building and construction industry association. The most awarded of the Regional Commercial builders in Victoria by Master Builders, the company has won several awards this year already for a number of projects, including Regional Commercial Builder of the Year – South East for the Leongatha Learning Centre; Construction of Commercial Buildings $3M-$6M for the Lardner Park Exhibition Centre; Construction of Commercial Buildings Over $6M for the Leongatha Learning Centre; and Construction of Commercial Buildings $3M-$6M for the St John Of God Hospital extension in Warrnambool. In past years, Kirway has won awards for many other projects, including commercial buildings, residential aged care facilities, multi-unit developments, commercial/industrial projects, aquatic centres, learning centres, basketball stadiums, and others.

One of the reasons for the company’s success and repeat business, according to Kirway Director Wayne Hough, is the skill and training inherent in every one of the company’s Project Managers. “All of our Project Managers come up through the trade,” says the company’s Director. “One of my estimators was my first apprentice, so he’s worked his way up through the business, and two of our senior Project Managers were carpenters working on the tools for us, and they’ve progressed through the business into project management. Since the skills of our Project managers are pretty much equal across the board, there isn’t a project that they wouldn’t be able to put together.”

Taking on a tremendous range of commercial, industrial and residential projects over the years, Kirway has embarked on one of its most ambitious projects to date: the construction of 25 new housing units in Mildura. To be constructed at 183-185 Deakin Avenue, the two double-storey buildings – part of a $7.8 million initiative – will play an integral part in housing socially disadvantaged individuals in the district. Once constructed, the buildings will contain 17 one-bedroom units and nine two-bedroom units. Among the project’s unique features are that the units will not have conventional and costly air conditioning, but will instead feature unique, new solar radiation technology.

At present, there are only two other structures of the “Housing No Air Conditioning” design being built in the world, with the other two located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

To be built by Kirway Constructions under the Department of Human Services, the Deakin Avenue project is part of the Australian Government’s nation building housing program, a three-year, $5.65 billion initiative announced in February of 2009. Of that amount, Victoria will receive $1.266 billion to build over 4,500 affordable rental homes, which represents Victoria’s largest investment in affordable rental housing since the mid-fifties. Unlike the 1950s, however, the new Deakin Avenue project will be anything but traditional, and will incorporate cutting-edge materials and technologies that will benefit not only tenants, but the environment.

The new solar radiation technology will give the Deakin Avenue project a coveted six-star energy rating. Known for very warm spells, the buildings in Mildura will benefit from innovative energy saving initiatives, such as the Passive Solar Radiation Shield (SRS), which will provide shade, reduce the radiant heat and glare of summer, and lower the actual and perceived temperature of the building, such that it requires no air conditioning. Tenants, mainly small families and single persons, will also benefit from other environmentally-friendly technologies such as internal compact fluorescent lighting, light-activated sensors, and greatly reduced water consumption through rainwater harvesting. Set for completion later this year, 183-185 Deakin Avenue is an ambitious project that will provide state of the art, low-cost housing to those who need it, benefitting their self-worth and helping the environment at the same time.

Along with the Deakin Avenue project, Kirway has a number of other projects underway, including the $4.95 million Bairnsdale International Motel, the $6.70 million Housing Community Building in Traralgon, the $5.6 million Monash University Housing in Churchill, and the Lyrebird Banksia Redevelopment, valued at $9.10 million. “We’ve got university housing projects, performing arts centres, and other projects underway,” says Mr Hough; “a very wide variety of buildings at the moment.”

No matter the nature of the project – from schools to aged care facilities, to entertainment complexes, to aquatic centres, to warehouses, to retail/commercial – Kirway Constructions has the experience needed to complete all projects professionally on time and on budget. In addition to construction, the company is more than able to assist client with permits and approvals, and can provide an architect for the design aspect of the project if required. “We have relationships with a handful of select architects that we would recommend to clients if they’re looking to have a building done,” comments Mr Hough.

Kirway Constructions also works with subcontractors who are professional, reliable, and competitive. The company typically tenders for most projects, and Kirway gets at least three prices per trade for any project. The company has also created an electronic portal on its webpage for subcontractors and suppliers to download their own tender documents. “So we would send out an email letting them know that a new project has been loaded, and if they’re interested in it, then they can go and get their own documents and submit a price.”

With numerous awards and hundreds of successfully constructed projects, Kirway Constructions is expanding its business further into residential and commercial maintenance. The firm recently secured a maintenance contract in Gippsland for the Department of Human Services, and is about to offer a 24/7, one-stop shop for maintenance to other industries. It is a logical step for the company, which began years ago between fellow carpenters Wayne Hough and Ross Clavarino, and has expanded to become one of Victoria’s premiere builders.

“Coming from a building background, Ross and myself, we’re not frightened to take on anything,” says Mr Hough. “And because of our skills background – whether we’re building a school, an aged care facility or a performing arts centre – we’ll deliver a quality product that our clients are going to be very pleased to have for a long time to come.

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, 5:50 AM AEST