Strength in Diversity

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-By John Boley

To say that Benmax just kept on growing would in some ways be true, but that seems too random a way to describe the progress of this mechanical services provider. From its origins in 1985 as a family business involved in the new Parliament House building project in Canberra, Benmax has continued to expand the range of services it can perform by, wherever possible, obtaining the skills required to do the job from within the company rather than hiring in from outside.

Director Scott Polsen explains that the company is based on more of an old-fashioned structure and traditional values. “A lot of companies used to operate in the same way, where professionals and tradesmen are directly employed, although it seems the Canberra and Sydney model has moved away from that idea into high proportion of sub-contract work. But what we pride ourselves on is being able to deliver the services in an in-house arrangement. Our philosophy is that our expertise is in-house and we can use our own resources.”

This model, says Scott, “suits our clients’ needs and the way we believe the industry is moving.” Mechanical services, and HVAC in particular, have become very much more complex over the last 15 years and extra skill sets are needed, skills that are best controlled from within the organisation. Hence the company’s emphasis right from the early days on training and developing the employees into highly skilled workers. “This gave us the advantage of all those in-house resources. Obviously the projects that we do these days are highly complex, especially with the increased emphasis on energy efficiency and awareness of our social responsibility to the environment.”

Benmax has established relationships based on its delivery of superior service and quality with commitment to client-driven results the priority, says Scott. “These values have seen Benmax build proud associations with local, national and international builders and developers. The company’s able to provide a service delivering outcomes in all areas, from planning and technical ability as well as output of work to meet tight deadlines, all while maintaining high standards of quality and safety.”

This is in no small part attributed to Benmax directly employing a core group of more than 80 professionals and tradespeople, “which allows us to manage workloads efficiently as well as ensuring control over every aspect of our work. This allows for single point control and responsibility, and a responsiveness and quality that cannot be matched by companies doing comparative work solely by subcontracting their works.”

From that original parliament house project, Benmax’s diversity has given it access to the region’s most prestigious and wide ranging projects (please see sidebars for further details). “With all the projects and developments we have been associated with it’s a fantastic company to be involved with. We are all committed to Benmax with long term goals, and being able to deliver all services in-house is a point of difference for us. We are currently training our drafting professionals in BIM (Building Information Modelling) and believe this will allow us to continue to offer our clients up-to-date work practices and innovations.”

Prestige projects aside, Benmax is a very down-to-earth business with a highly motivated small works division as well as a maintenance company, BEMS (Benmax Engineering and Maintenance Services). “BEMS undertakes all of our maintenance projects, but also in its own right is a very successful maintenance business with in excess of 50 building contracts to its name,” says Scott, who says the scope of projects undertaken by Benmax ranges from $30 million down to as modest as $50,000. “This allows us to service all our clients’ needs and ensure we are able to offer a complete service from design through to service.”

In-house expertise is enhanced, says Scott, by the company’s partnership with its suppliers. “Benmax’s commitment to quality means we only engage with the most reliable and high quality products to be installed in our buildings.” It’s still a family owned company and “we still believe that you are only as good as your last job. Our commitment to deliver that quality really needs to be consistent throughout the project, not just through the services we provide but by the equipment we install and maintain.”

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, 11:11 AM AEST