On Time and On Budget – And Under Pressure!

Cadwell Construction & Interiors

Since its inception in 2003, Cadwell Construction & Interiors has been steadily building a broad portfolio, specialising in education, healthcare, industrial, office and hospital fit-out and refurbishment projects.

In particular, though the company caters to a broad range of industries, Cadwell has completed over six hundred commercial fit-out and construction projects worth over $60 million – a significant portion of which came from within the healthcare industry, ranging from Hospital and Operating Theatres to Office Complexes, Blood Bank Laboratories and Professional Sound Testing rooms.

In this way, Cadwell Construction & Interiors are true experts in the healthcare space. Through the company’s hard-won experience within the industry, it is effectively able to eliminate risk on every project, leading to exceptional quality outcomes for its clients delivered consistently within pre-established time frames and budgets.

“Our level of quality and our level of service sets us apart within the industry,” shares Soren Jensen, Managing Director for Cadwell, in a recent interview with us. “We work very closely with our clients to achieve positive outcomes for them and for stakeholders. We focus on quality, certainly on time, and on working through to very tight deadlines within budget.”

As a financially stable company, Mr Jensen says that Cadwell has been able to offer its clients a certain “peace of mind’ – which has also gone a long way in building long term industry relationships. Furthermore, the company does not require any ‘up front’ fees or hidden charges and always takes the time to sit together with clients prior to the commencement of each project to ensure that payment terms are agreed upon.

Throughout the process of each project, Cadwell provides periodic progress updates, which demonstrate, in a high level of detail, the percentage completeness in all areas of work. Through this process, clients are able to see that they are only ever paying for actual work that has been completed and not just pie-in-the-sky promises. “And in our experience, by the time the actual payment is due, these levels of quality have been well and truly exceeded,” adds Mr Jensen.

The company pays particular attention to the way in which its representatives work together with clients to exceed expectations. “We have a very proactive approach to solving any site or design issues,” explains Mr Jensen. “We notify clients of any changes to the original plan and we obviously work to an overall construction program. We also break that down so that we can communicate with our clients every week and every day to let them know what will take place each day and what type of interruptions could be expected, to ensure that that fits with their business requirements for that day, and if it doesn’t, we will reshuffle or reschedule to carry out noisy or shut-down work to fit in with their business requirements.”

By working this closely with clients, the Cadwell team is able to immediately flag any design issues, which are then addressed with appropriate and efficient alternatives. “Rather than throw our hands in the air to say that it will cost more and take longer, we generally will find a cost-neutral solution to ensure that we can move forward to not impact the budget or the program.”

On every project, a Cadwell foreman is available on-site – to ensure timeline adherence, quality of workmanship, sub-contractor management, and to answer any questions or concerns raised by the client – for the duration of the project. “Our foreman on site policy is in stark contrast to industry norms where foremen flit from job to job making it very difficult to get hold of them in case of issues,” explains Mr Jensen. “And yes, this does add to our costs, but it aligns to our absolute commitment to quality and a job well done.”

The company also works closely with a very select roster of subcontractors to ensure a comprehensive experience for its clients on even the most complex projects. Sub-contractors, explains Mr Jensen, are the key factor in the success – or failure – of a project, which is why he says the company only uses sub-contractors with whom it has developed long standing relationships and who are known to meet quality standards and who deliver on time and budget. New sub-contractors are put through a rigorous selection and quality evaluation process whereby their previous work, financial records and accreditations are assessed in depth by the Cadwell team.

“Effective communication between builder, architect and clients is vital to the successful completion of a project,” asserts Mr Jensen. “Every job will have issues – it’s the nature of the beast – but it’s how you handle these issues that make all the difference to stress levels for all concerned! As such, our clients constantly positively comment on our level of proactive communication. If we come across an issue (potential or real), we take immediate steps to communicate to the relevant parties be they the architects or client’s project managers.”

In general, the company is always looking to improve upon its systems to ensure that they assist in delivering exceptional quality – especially with regards to improvements where safety and environmental concerns are addressed – two areas of particular importance within the healthcare industry. “We are always looking at ways of minimising dust in the air and noise, specifically within healthcare environments where we are always using the latest technologies or innovations to come up with smarter ways of doing things – not necessarily conventional or faster ways, but ways which will facilitate a better project for the client with less interruption or inconvenience.”

Cadwell is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia, ensuring that sustainable practices are at the forefront of each and every project. Cadwell is also an active member of Master Builders Australia, and, as many of its projects are completed in sensitive areas such as health and education, the company is also a member of the Infection Control Association of NSW. The company is ISO accredited to AS9001, AS4801, and AS14001 standards for its quality integrated management systems.

The company, due to its specialisation within the healthcare industry, has also developed work site practices which are minimally invasive or disruptive, as frequently the team must work in live environments – such as in hospital spaces or emergency departments – in which working safely and without interrupting the flow of business in critical to overall success. “Many of our sites are constructed around live operations – and in the case of hospital operating theatres, quite literally,” says Mr Jensen. “Many a time we’ve had major surgery being performed right next door. This means we must minimise disruptions, access issues and noise letting our clients get on their jobs without being hassled by our presence.”

Central to the company’s ability to deliver such high quality results under this sort of pressure is its ability to problem solve – with a focus on solutions rather than on problems. “Our clients consistently benefit from and comment about our problem solving capabilities,” shares Mr Jensen. “We look for solutions, take away their headaches and are very easy to work with. Our primary objective is to have each project come in on time, on budget and be of exceptional quality – and of course help them to look good in the eyes of their client.”

Indeed, the company endeavours to continue this problem-solving throughout the entire life cycle of the project, well past its delivery date. Within the industry, a standard defects liability period is generally twelve months; however, Cadwell Constructions stands by its work even beyond that, offering constant availability should issues or questions arise or if minor changes, modifications or advice are required by the client.

“We like to stay in touch with our clients and we like to ensure that they are satisfied and happy with the project and are ongoing with the service and support beyond the end of the project,” says Mr Jensen. “We are also happy to assist with feasibility type budgets and to offer advice on buildability and similar types of service. If our clients are considering moving forward with a project and they’re not sure if it will fit within budgetary constraints we are always happy to look at that and have some preliminary budgets and conversations around that and the various scenarios possible.

“At Cadwell, our price will reflect a quality project which over the lifetime of the project represents excellent value. Our aim is to accurately cost a job and present a fair, sustainable price, ensuring you get a quality result. As such we spend considerable time evaluating the specifications to ensure we can deliver what you require for the money you’re willing to spend. And if we don’t believe it’s possible (or that you’re paying too much), we’ll let you know,” Mr Jensen asserts.

“It’s an unfortunate reality, but many constructions firms lowball their quotes to get the job, and once they have signoff, are ruthless when it comes to exclusions, holes in documentation and variations. These organisations will try and make up the money they’ve under-quoted post signing, which can lead to significant budget blowouts, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. At Cadwell we have an absolute commitment to fair pricing. We fully scope the job and our price reflects fair margins with every inclusion necessary.”

In this way, Cadwell has been consistently building its core customer base through the loyalty earned from jobs well done – with client referrals and long-term relationships ensuring the company a steady stream of interesting and challenging work. “We work on building relationships,” says Mr Jensen. “We look at projects long-term. We don’t just look at finishing, getting paid and that’s the end of the road, we look at the lifetime of the client and the project and we obviously are very responsive to any issues or projects.

“We also take pride in our workmanship. We don’t cut corners to save money. We keep to the contract’s specifications and never try to slip in something cheaper as an alternative. And if we find savings during a project we pass them on to [the client]. We believe honesty builds trust and loyalty both ways.”

This year marks Cadwell’s tenth year in the industry – a celebration which Mr Jensen assures us will certainly be celebrated, though may take a back seat to the other exciting company news – an upcoming move into a new Head Office.

“We are moving office in a week’s time to a new location and will combine moving in and our ten year celebration into some sort of festivities. It hasn’t been quite planned yet – we are all very busy though we will stop briefly for a glass of champagne before we move along to focus on the next project!”

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 18, 2021, 8:55 PM AEDT