Practical, Progressive, Professional

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-By D. Barratt

Palumbo Building is one of South Australia’s premier names in the building and design industry, boasting an impressive portfolio of retirement, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The company is also one of the few construction firms able to advise on Green Star rated projects with its Green Building Council of Australia accredited professional.

Known for quality work and ingenious design completed to schedule and to budget, Palumbo has accumulated a number of awards and recognition throughout the industry.

Daniel Palumbo, the Managing Director of Palumbo Building, draws from his wealth of experience in the information technology industry, as well as his work for both the government and private sector. Not only is Daniel the company’s lead project manager, he is also involved in general operations and holds a position as a committee member on the Property Council’s Urban Development Committee.

Daniel has a great deal to say about the family company that he helped to build with his father Tony, and now helps lead. He is enthusiastic to discuss the company’s work with the South Australian government, the amazing qualifications of its designers and builders, and the future that he envisions for Palumbo Building. But even as the Palumbo name continues to grow, Daniel suggests that, “Our success and proven ability in the projects we undertake can be attributed to our people and the approach we take to treat each project as if it were our own development.”

The invaluable relationships that Palumbo has built with clients, suppliers and others within the industry do play a great role in the firm’s success, allowing the company to push the boundaries of design and construction while offering competitive solutions for clients.

“It does give us a competitive edge,” Daniel states. “Because there are three directors here, and the way our company’s structured, we have one director who looks after the construction team on the ground so he’s liaising with all of our subcons and suppliers on a daily basis. Another one of our directors looks after the estimating department, and through that and ordering and quoting he maintains a very strong face to face relationship with those groups. I take on project management roles from time to time and work directly with the clients, and they appreciate that and being able to talk with one of the Palumbos, which is invaluable.”

Though Palumbo Building may have began as a small family business in 1989, today it is a leading designer and builder of high quality projects and spaces that take into consideration the needs of the client, as well as those of the environment. “We initially started with small renovations and then, last year, we built over 200 hundred homes, multilevel apartments, and three school projects as part of the ‘building the education revolution and we’re looking to build on that again this year.’”

One of the invaluable services that Palumbo has to offer is its in-house design and construction capabilities. “One of our main points of difference is our in-house design team which can provide the complete design and construct capability – one of our members is even accredited for Green Star,” Daniel says. Green Star is a comprehensive rating system used to encompass ecological sustainability and social architecture which leads to a longer building lifecycle and reduced ongoing costs. Having a Green Star accredited professional on the team is a major advantage for the company in an industry that values sustainability more and more each year.

Other major accomplishments include various awards, certifications and accreditations. “Over the last five years we’ve been accredited with the Australian standard 4801 for safety. We also have our environmental accreditation which is ISO14001, and quality certificate which is international standard 9001. We have also recently been successfully reaccredited in the Federal Safety Commission accreditation allowing us to undertake federally funded work.”

As with most industries and especially building and construction, the last several quarters have been quiet, but Daniel and Palumbo Building have not lost sight of developing markets and exciting new opportunities. Though he admits that sales experienced slower growth in the last few months, signs of growth are on the horizon. “Obviously after the GFC a lot of the investor groups went quiet, but we’re just starting to see some signs of activity emerging from what have been a pretty quiet 12 months on the sales front.” When asked how the company has worked to overcome slow market conditions and continue to grow in the face of these challenges, Daniel suggests that there is always a market for a high quality product. “We’re finding that if you provide a quality product, people do seek you out, and we’re certainly finding that.”

Looking toward the future, Palumbo Building sees the retirement market becoming a major focus of interest and a wise investment. In a nation where the elderly outnumber the young by a significant margin, this makes excellent business sense. “We’ve aligned ourselves with some of the opportunities which are evolving, particularly in the retirement village sector. We developed a business plan about three years ago to become more involved in that sector. We’re now servicing multiple clients from that sector including Prime Life, Masonic Homes, and we have done work for many others within the industry as well.”

As a current associate member of the Retirement Village Association, Palumbo has a wealth of practical experience to draw upon when designing and building retirement living residential spaces, experience the firm has put to great use as it constructs 21 dwellings at Ridgehaven Rise and completes further stages at Trinity Green, Mawson Lakes.

“We’ve been working over the last several years to create healthy relationships with the industry,” says Daniel of retirement living spaces. “By the end of the next decade there will be more people who are aged 65 than one!”

Of course, one of Palumbo’s most exciting new projects is the Aspire Apartments at Mawson Lakes. “It’s a complex which has 440 square metres of commercial offices on the lower level and it has three stories above consisting of 48 two bedroom apartments,” Daniel explains.

“Being in Mawson Lakes, it has quite strict encumbrances related to sustainability. It’s been designed to have things like grey water, passive design elements to provide natural airflow, shaded windows, low flow fixtures and solar hot water.” It is Palumbo Building’s sustainability culture which has allowed many of these developments to happen. “Sustainability is a major focus for us; we’ve done a great deal of training, and we are probably one of the very few builders that actually has an accredited Green Star Professional as part of their team.”

But not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Daniel is also interested in “high density” construction. “There aren’t many people who are in the lowrise field (about four to six storeys). Our capability allows us to develop in an unlimited way for commercial properties.” These commercial properties include office structures, apartment buildings, libraries, schools and other important structures.

Having been awarded the Department of Transport, Energy, and Infrastructure Certificate Category One also enables the company to tender on government contracts over 10 million dollars.

The company’s high levels of qualification and great wealth of experience have allowed it to grow, and growth is exactly what Daniel expects for Palumbo Building in the future. “We are looking to continually grow and are actually hiring several new fulltime positions at the moment.”

Daniel was understandably vague as to the details of some upcoming projects which are in the works, but excited at the prospect of unveiling several new and exciting properties that will begin development in the near future. “We’ve got some exciting projects on the horizon which are going through the DPA process – one in the city and one on the city fringe. They will be major landmark projects for our company.”

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, 10:56 AM AEST