Redefinition

Figurehead Construction

The company began its journey into the commercial, industrial and residential construction market by first taking on a few domestic projects and one industrial project in early 2008. From there it has gone on to complete many other multi-level residential projects. “Since then, our name has become more prevalent in the market,” says James Banks who, along with Joe Grasso, is one of the two Managing Directors of Figurehead Construction. “We’ve been involved in a number of projects which have raised our profile in the market, including Iris apartments due for completion in early 2013, Errol Apartments and more recently Sanctum Brighton Apartments.”

The company, which began with the guys working from James’s spare bedroom at home, quickly grew, relocating to a small office in Port Melbourne in late 2008. By 2011, requirements had changed and Figurehead purchased land in Burnley and built an office to accommodate current needs and allow for further expansion. Figurehead has progressively expanded each year since its inception, its numbers quickly growing from two to the twenty four staff it currently employs.

Figurehead employees, who largely come from backgrounds in tier 1 construction firms, bring a wealth of expertise in construction project management to the firm. Their experience enables the company to take on projects and provide the solutions typical of a larger company while being able to offer a much nimbler approach. “All of our staff have come out of larger corporate style construction companies,” says Joe, “and they have all taken that step back into a small business where accountability is required day in, day out. That’s part of our culture and it’s one of the things we are most proud of.”

Despite adopting systems and procedures comparable to larger organisations, Figurehead has left behind the road blocks and unnecessary processes which make large organisations excessively political and cumbersome in daily function. The hassle of having to go through the hierarchy of a corporation whenever concerns arise is eliminated at Figurehead, as both staff and administration are always readily available to deal with any issues. A change or a concern could take months to work out at another firm, but Figurehead prides itself on having its door always open.

The company has been selective when choosing projects within the past five years because of its unique way of getting involved as a partner in the design process. According to James, “I think our real strength comes in our ability to provide prompt service to our clients. We really pride ourselves in being able to get involved in projects early, from the design foundation through to completion. We don’t charge a fee to be able to get involved in the project early, so we look at it as being able to generate work from providing that expertise without having to necessarily tender on those projects. Our clients recognise the benefit in this. We manage the design process and also get our preferred method of construction, whatever it might be for the specific project, incorporated into the design, thus being able to build as quickly and efficiently as we can while maintaining a very high quality product at the same time.”

Figurehead’s meticulous logistics planning ensures that a client’s target budget and timeframe will be met without compromising the architectural intent of the design. Figurehead achieves this balance through open communication, adapting to the client’s needs throughout the design process. “We’re generally completing projects well in advance of contractual completion dates and we’re always within the client’s budget,” says Joe. “So the complete service we offer and our ability to deliver to our promise is the most satisfying part of the job.”

That service doesn’t stop when the project is finished. “Due to the strong relationships we develop with our clients through construction, Figurehead is pleased to stay involved – whether a defect is found or just to chat with a client who may need some additional information.” For a client who has just spent millions on a project that will be a part of their lives for many years to come, the importance of this type of service is indisputable.

Repeat business is a major goal for a small to medium sized construction company such as Figurehead, and providing excellence in customer service goes a long way toward achieving that. “We like to look after our existing network of clients; we don’t want to necessarily go out and chase new customers from everywhere and anywhere.” Particularly in today’s economy, customer and contractor relations are of the utmost importance. Larger competitors may lavish money on marketing campaigns to lure in and impress potential clients but Figurehead has succeeded by word of mouth alone, proving that its existing customers are indeed very satisfied.

Although it has been involved in a number of high profile projects, when asked what the company’s greatest achievement was, James replied, “I think our staff are our greatest achievement. The culture within the team that we have and the family-like environment is a real testament to what we are about.”

Added Joe, “We love the work we do and it’s a great environment to be working in with the hand picked team that has been established. We get a lot of feedback at our level in the construction market that there aren’t too many that can offer the service that we do so we’re very proud to be known as a company that is so innovative in the service that we offer our clients. We like to partner with our clients while working on projects, not bump heads with them. We do this by being completely transparent with them when it comes to every aspect of a project. Without them, there is no us.”

Figurehead’s policy of treating clients as partners working toward a shared goal has done more than create satisfied customers; it has created fans who have no hesitation in recommending the company’s services. The business is very happy where it is today and will continue to offer the same quality service while growing gradually.

The directors of the company make it abundantly clear that, even though the company may continue to grow, the work culture and values will remain the same. Concluded Joe, “We’re really redefining the market that we’re in. To have the edge in professionalism and service really goes a long way.”

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, 6:46 AM AEST