Enthusiastic and Experienced

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-By Robert Hoshowsky

At the youthful age of 39, Mark Slatter has already dedicated over half his life to learning about and working in the nation’s construction industry. The Owner and Managing Director of WA-based Slatter Projects Pty Ltd (trading as Slatter Constructions), Mr Slatter’s positive, go-getter attitude has taken him on a journey throughout a diverse range of projects, including schools, hospitals, hotels, offices, refurbishments, aquatic centres, mixed-use developments, retirement villages, and a great deal more. Along with acquiring a rich skill set during this time spent working for others, Mr Slatter also realised which types of projects he enjoys best.

“I definitely prefer commercial work,” he says. “There is always a lot of variation. Years ago, I became a little bit bored in residential, as it was always the same thing over and over again. With one-off commercial projects, there are a unique set of challenges every single time.”

Formed in 2010, Slatter Projects is the culmination of Mark’s many years in the construction industry. The company – a registered builder with considerable combined experience in commercial and residential construction – represents a carefully planned and logical progression for him, having begun his career with prominent homebuilder J-Corp in 1992 as a Trainee Scheduler. In time, Mark moved on to work as an Estimator for Dale Alcock Homes, “˜WA’s Most Awarded Home Builder’ with over 14,000 homes built in Perth and the South West. As his skills increased so did his ambition, and he worked for a number of other companies, including commercial builder Devaugh as a Contract administrator, and later at BGC Construction and Perth-based Merit Projects as a Project Manager, and completing his Building Registration diploma.

Having gained considerable experience in many sectors of the industry over the years, Mark, along with a business partner, created Niche Construction WA Pty Ltd in May of 2004. Serving as Managing Director for Niche Construction, Mark and his company received considerable praise in the industry for the high quality of commercial work they produced, and won several awards from the prestigious Master Builders Association (MBA), including Best New Builder. In 2009 – the same year he sold his shares in Niche Construction to the company’s other owner – Mark was praised for his cumulative body of work and achievements with Niche, and received a 40 Under 40 award. The honour, designed to celebrate the depth of business talent in Western Australia, is presented annually to 40 of WA’s pre-eminent leaders under the age of 40, and showcases the determination, commercial drive, and philanthropic pursuits of these young men and women.

Slatter Projects is Created

Not one to sit idle, Mark immediately formed his own company in 2010 along with four office staff, two supervisors, ten carpenters and labourers, and a number of trusted and reliable subcontractors. Mark’s experience as Managing Director reflects his depth of experience in all aspects of strategic planning, systems implementation, business development, project management, contract administration, estimating, and financial management. In just two years, Slatter Projects has successfully taken on about 20 projects, ranging from work for banks to a wide range of government jobs.

“Our capability today suits projects from $100,000 to $10 million, and we usually work on six or seven projects at one time,” says Mark. “We had a turnover of two and a half million dollars in the first year and are on track to turn over $20 million in the second year, so it is a massive step-up in growth. We’ll keep growing – though not at that speed – and will consolidate for the next couple of years.”

For Mark, it is vital that the company maintains its professional but personal approach to business, an approach which has gained the company a large amount of repeat business with well-known clients like the Netherlands-based Rabobank group. One of the world’s 25 largest financial institutions (based on tier one capital), Rabobank dates back to 1898, and has offices in Australia. To date, Slatter has taken on three refurb projects for Rabobank.

The company also enjoys a successful relationship with another international giant, Liebherr-Australia Pty Ltd. With offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Mackay, Mt Thorley (Hunter valley), Perth and Sydney, Liebherr-Australia is well-known in the nation’s construction and mining sectors for offering support services for a range of crawler cranes, deep foundation machines, earthmoving equipment, construction cranes, and mining equipment. Slatter has completed three projects for Libherr-Australia, including a fit-out and hardstand.

Successful Government Contracts

Taking on a number of projects for various levels of government, Slatter Projects already has a reputation for producing high quality work on time and on budget. The firm is on tender lists for jobs but, Mark says, upcoming changes regarding how the government selects contractors to take on jobs should decidedly work in the company’s favour. “The government is bringing in a qualitative criteria as well, based on experience and previous performance. That’s been good for us, because we have quite a track record now. It has been open tender, but there have been occasions where they put out an expression of interest, and we’ve got on the select list to tender.”

Since the company was formed, it has been responsible for a good number of state government projects. Working for various departments under the auspices of Building Management and Work, Slatter Projects has built office accommodation and internal fit-outs of existing buildings for the Department of Tourism, Department of Transport, and is now well into its fourth job for the WA Police.

At present, the company is undertaking a design and construct for Centrelink. Operated by the Australian Government Department of Human Services, Centrelink offers a range of health, social, and welfare payments and services and assistance programs to individuals out of work and looking for employment. “For this project, we’ve employed the design team, and are managing construction,” says Mark. “Instead of tendering the project, we negotiate with the client directly on a price, and then we bring the designers on board, and we manage that process as well.” Occasionally, clients will approach Slatter with a contract design in hand, and the company will “take it from there.”

In addition to creating a team of designers and subcontractors, Slatter Projects offers other services upon request, such as helping clients with permits and managing the process to ensure it runs smoothly from start to finish.

Future Plans

In keeping with his company’s progress to date, Owner and Managing Director Mark Slatter is keeping an eye on future expansion. He hopes to take on a dozen jobs this year, and continue working from the southwest to the midwest. The company is investigating opening an office in Geraldton, the capital of WA’s Midwest and gateway to the Abrolhos Islands. “We have a continuity of work in Geraldton, so we are looking at opening up an office there.” One of the projects the company is considering in Geraldton is breathing new life into an eight-storey older office building, converting it into a 37-unit apartment block. If all goes as planned, the project will give the company the “kick off” to creating a new office in Geraldton.

“In the future, we’re going to definitely focus on a fit-out division, and then we’ll branch into all types of commercial, which will include mixed-use types of projects,” says Mark, who would like to see his company as one of the Top 25 builders in WA. With a strong team, including Project Manager Rob Murrell – who worked with Mark at Niche Construction – Site Supervisor Les Billington, Site Supervisor and fit-out specialist Chris Falla, and the company’s most recent hire Katie Andrews, who facilitates contract administration and tendering – Slatter Projects is well on its way.

“We’re a smaller company, but we have the contacts and experience of a bigger company. In this way, clients get not only our professionalism, but our personal attention.”

Home Automation

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July 14, 2020, 1:28 PM AEST