A Breadth of Experience

Scott Salisbury Group

AREA Construction originally started out constructing town houses and similar builds. About fifteen years ago, that type of work grew into a division which focused purely on commercial projects: factories, warehouses, retail, car yards and other buildings related to the commercial industry.

“They did a variety of commercial contracts and then two years ago the commercial side of the company was rebranded into AREA Construction,” explains Christopher Went, the current General Manager of AREA Construction.

AREA Construction is able to serve the whole of South Australia from its main office in Camden Park about five minutes from the Adelaide central business district. The company is also now looking into opening up a regional office that will be located somewhere in the Northern part of Australia as there is word of more work coming up in Northern Territory. Today, AREA Construction is working on many diverse projects including retirement homes and independent living units. According to Mr Went, “We are also doing a reasonable amount of developer housing still and that seems to be an area that’s come on stream again, having been a slow area in the past three years. It’s interesting to see that segment is moving again and we’ve also taken on our own design and fabrication of framed steel structures which will give us a performance edge in the factory and warehouse market. We’re really looking to push forward into that market within the coming year.”

Working with quality developers in the construction of commercial and industrial buildings, medium density housing and retirement villages, the skilled team at AREA Construction has a broad range of expertise, enabling the company to deliver the service and quality synonymous with the Scott Salisbury Group at a number of different price points. The company’s approach is that with every project, it is working to balance two distinct elements of success: Building Quality Projects and Superior Customer Service.

With the experience to build “everything from 80 square metre two-bedroom affordable homettes to 5-story multi-function complexes” and everything in between, AREA’s unique blend of residential and commercial knowledge allows the team to create high quality projects through clever design and better construction methods.

The company utilises a project management model rather than a contract management model; the employees all work for the client. “We look after the client’s needs, rather than working for that money transaction,” says Mr Went. AREA Construction is all about working with the customer to get the best outcome for every project that is taken on.

Typically, the company has two people working per job, a site manager and someone working in the office. The company’s structure is essentially flat and everyone works together to achieve the same goal. This model makes it easy for the client to maintain a direct line of contact with all of the decision makers for the project rather than having to play telephone tag with a director. Explains Mr Went, “This way the jobs can be pushed in the right direction and have good outcomes.”

The company employs trusted contractors for its labour, who are typically hired for a twelve month period and moved from project to project as work gets completed. This model makes the contractors available to the company when hired on for twelve months at a good price rather than hiring them on for a single job and then having to go after them again for the next one and bargain different terms. It’s a unique way of doing business, but it is proving and effective part of the company’s business model.

“We feel that it gives everyone a sense of security and teamwork for moving forward in the future,” says Mr Went. “A good number of them have been with us for the whole fifteen years or longer and we also tender most of our projects out to the marketplace so our regular contractors seem to be very efficient and right on the ball in regards to pricing. We also use a good selection of general contractors from the general marketplace to make sure that we stay competitive and up with the latest ways of doing business.”

According to Mr Went, “We tend to attract people who have the same ideals when it comes to getting on, getting work done quickly and efficiently, and getting out of jobs with a minimum amount of hassle. This tends to give better results for all those who are involved.”

The company is similarly selective when working with design partners. AREA Construction has longstanding relationships with a number of design firms, and with such a broad range of projects being undertaken, the company will select the design firm that is best suited for the project.

The secret to AREA Construction’s success, shares Mr Went, is the amount of small to medium sized projects that it takes on. With an extensive amount of work to be done in that segment of the market, it enables AREA Construction to keep busy without having to wait for that next $10 million project to come up.

With the current state of the marketplace, even after the company’s bid has been accepted, it often takes a lot longer to get projects underway. The problem that a lot of construction companies are facing today is market confidence. A project that would take three months to get off the ground normally, may take a year in the current business climate. “It takes a lot longer to get good projects to site and that, in itself, is a challenge. Making sure that we can give these clients the confidence that they need to get the job underway always has to be at the front of our minds.”

Of course, the biggest confidence boost for a client is the knowledge of how long the Scott Salisbury Group and AREA Construction have been in business. The Scott Salisbury Group has a reputation for quality construction and that brings in a fair amount of repeat business. “Our greatest achievement is the large number of repeat clientele that come back to work with us exclusively,” says Mr Went.

“They know that we’re always competitive on pricing, and they enjoy the process and the service. You can talk about building big and exciting things until the cows come home but the reality is that this is about a process and if the client gets to the end of that with a smile, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s two tiny houses or a multi level apartment block. The happy customer is the achievement.”

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 16, 2020, 10:39 AM AEST