A Better Way to Build

Projectcorp Australia Pty Ltd

Projectcorp was launched in 2002 to provide innovative solutions across a wide range of commercial construction sectors. A dynamic team of Estimators, Architects, Project Managers, Contract Administrators, Building Cadets, Site Managers, Foremen, and Leading Hands execute projects covering the commercial, retail, industrial, community, health, aged care, and education sectors.

The company’s dedicated Estimating department arms Architects and Owners with a detailed budget for every project and offers clients a complete understanding of the job’s projected cost and feasibility. The Design Management department manages, oversees, and coordinates the design team consultants, from architects and structural engineers to plumbers and electricians. The company’s Construction Department covers all aspects of the construction process. Hands on management and comprehensive capabilities across all three departments give clients peace of mind and ensure the best possible build.

Projectcorp boasts a team of highly qualified experts able to provide the newest and most innovative solutions. “We are a young team with high aspirations and that benefits the client because we are always driving to deliver the best possible outcome for them,” Projectcorp’s Business Development Manager Vanessa Benitez explains. “The benefit of Projectcorp having this dynamic team is that we won’t just stop at the bare minimum. We will always strive to deliver an exceptional building at the best possible cost.” Team members are always on the lookout for possible improvements during the construction process to ensure that clients get the highest quality structure for the lowest price. “We are always looking at the documents,” Ms Benitez says. “We are always looking to see how we can benefit the client; a proactive approach to construction.” This commitment includes thinking outside the box and exploring any alternatives that might lead to a better building at a better cost or improve ongoing cost from an environmental perspective. “[When] looking at a set of documents we don’t take it at face value,” she explains. “This is part of our service to the client.”

The majority of the company’s staff hold university degrees and advanced training. “All of them are very high calibre,” Ms Benitez reports. “They are all very knowledgeable [and] extremely good at what they do. Whenever clients ring, they are always going to get an experienced person who knows what they are doing.” Furthermore, “senior management is always available to take any calls so the job is always going to stay on track and the client will always be serviced.” The team also puts tremendous effort into preplanning to prevent a project from veering off track in the first place. And, to ensure that the next generation of building cadets, construction administrators and project managers meet the highest possible standards, Projectcorp mentors young employees through special programs and apprenticeships.

The team takes on jobs valuing from $500,000 to $20 million. Most jobs fall in the multimillion dollar range, but the company is willing and equipped to take on smaller projects to meet clients’ needs. Projectcorp may also execute a smaller project simply to demonstrate the team’s unique skills to a new client. “We understand it can be difficult for a client to get you on board if they don’t know anything about you,” Ms Benitez explains, “so sometimes we do smaller projects to demonstrate our expertise, our knowledge, and our ability.” This strategy almost inevitably leads to larger, higher profile jobs with the same client. Ms Benitez is also quick to point out that the benefit to the client is not limited by the scale of the project. “We will provide the same service regardless [of the project’s size]. At the end of the day our focus is having a happy client.”

Projectcorp buildings stand out and showcase the team’s creativity and attention to detail. An innovative upgrade to the Waterloo Oval Youth Facility in Sydney, for example, features sustainable technologies and a unique canopy roof. The ground-breaking, $2.5 million build utilises high levels of thermal mass to reduce energy use, rainwater collection and re-use, natural ventilation and lighting, recycled and recyclable materials, and low-energy lighting. A structural steel roof canopy is designed to support the growth of climbing plants from a rooftop terrace. The structure features triangular mesh panels alongside vertical and horizontal razor panels from which the plants will hang, creating a green veil flowing down the sides of the building. “To get that geometry and those triangular forms… that took a lot of planning and a lot of design development with the client. I don’t know if many builders out there could have achieved what we achieved,” Ms Benitez says. “It is a pretty extraordinary building.” The one-of-a-kind structure has been submitted for a 2012 Master Builders Award in the Public Building and Best use of Steel categories.

Another landmark build for the company is the civic and retail development project at Blacktown Village Green in New South Wales. This $2 million job involved the partial demolition of existing retail space and the creation of an inviting outdoor public dining area. A central feature of the project is a complex, curved roof canopy designed to shade diners enjoying an al fresco meal. The 300 square metre tensile membrane roof admits high levels of natural light and is made of low maintenance materials. The unique structure displays Projectcorp’s ability to pre-plan complex construction works and successfully execute fine details. “The balustrade is curved in two directions,” Ms Benitez explains. “There was a lot of preplanning [and] coordination required.”

The canopy’s unusual Polytetraflouroethylene fabric was supplied by MakMax, an international leader in tensile membranes and fabric structures. The project is the first in Australia to utilise the revolutionary self-cleaning titanium dioxide coating (PTFE with Ti02) specially developed by the company. As a result of the project, MakMax won the Outstanding Achievement Award in 2011 from the Industrial Fabrics Association International (IFAI) for this application of leading edge fabric technology in the Commercial Awnings and Canopies category.

As these two projects demonstrate, Projectcorp is constantly seeking newer, better, and more innovative ways to build. “We are always getting up to date with new technology and new ways of construction,” Ms Benitez explains. The company is also committed to developing sustainable building methods, and now, with the new carbon tax, Ms Benitez says that the team is working even harder on finding ways to minimise waste. “Environmental management is becoming a critical part of construction,” she explains. “We are always looking at ways to be an environmentally friendly builder.”

For instance, “wherever we can recycle material on the site we will propose that to the client. And in some cases that can provide a cost savings as well.” In a refurbishment, for example, the team looks out for any materials appropriate for reuse. Doors, door frames, and window frames are just a few items that may be refurbished rather than discarded, offering a greener build and significant savings for the client. “One of our jobs was to do an interior fit out where they were going to just throw out all of the interior partitions, interior doors, and workstations,” Ms Benitez recalls. “That would have been quite a lot of rubbish. Instead, we utilised all of that and put it into an office that we fitted out. So, we reused all of that material rather than purchasing new.”

Projectcorp also utilises the most up-to-date technologies and systems. The team manages projects with the latest construction software such as CHEOPS, Buildsoft, and MS Project. For the Waterloo Oval Youth Facility in Sydney, the team relied on leading edge modelling software to generate a 3D model of the structural steel roof during the design phase. “That’s quite innovative,” Ms Benitez remarks. “Without the use of the tekla software, it would have been extremely difficult to detail, manufacture and assemble the complex structure successfully.”

Comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety management systems are also in place as well as Quality Assurance and Environmental Management Systems, and the company boasts Best Practice Certification.

Projectcorp has enjoyed a high level of success over the past decade, though the GFC has certainly posed some recent challenges. “It’s a very competitive market at the moment,” Ms Benitez admits. The company has been able to maintain a consistent workload “from repeat clients and clients electing to work with us based on our reputation. We keep getting jobs from the same client,” Ms Benitez says. “That’s a testament to our work.” She believes that the team’s exceptional results will enable the company to successfully “ride the storm” that the GFC presents, as well as lead to future expansion. “We are not here to cut corners,” she explains. “And that’s what clients look for. They want to get a good result at the best quality price.”

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’?

January 21, 2021, 10:21 PM AEDT