From Aquatic Centres to Industrial Complexes

Douglas Construction & Engineering

Based in Auchenflower, the Queensland construction company has earned a reputation among its clients for timely delivery, working closely with all customers, and quality above all else.

Soon after it was incorporated in 1998, the team at Douglas Construction & Engineering made a decision: to focus on quality above all for its clients rather than under-price itself on tenders for projects.

Armed with a civil engineering degree and working as a site engineer for well-known companies such as Leighton Holdings Limited wholly-owned subsidiary John Holland, Alex Douglas worked on a number of infrastructure sites and shopping centre expansions. Growing up in a business family, Mr Douglas saw the opportunity to form a Queensland-based industrial / commercial construction company of his own, and pursued his vision.

Today, as Company Director, Mr Douglas works with a highly skilled staff and hundreds of qualified subcontractors on a range of projects across the state, from industrial warehouses to manufacturing sites, and multi-purpose buildings to offices. With projects ranging in value from approximately $1 million to $15 million, the company has earned a reputation for its quality construction and concrete work, particularly with aquatic centres. No matter the project, Douglas Construction & Engineering maintains its firm commitment to quality from project inception to handover.

“We’ve built our business up to a high level of quality, and it is important to us to maintain that quality and not drop our price to compete with other people who are offering lower quality,” says Mr Douglas. “We made a strategic decision to concentrate on the core areas, such as a better skill set, and that is appreciated in the marketplace by our clients.”

With projects ranging from the renovation of existing industrial and commercial buildings to the construction of new industrial buildings and warehouses, the company often works within the design and construct delivery method. Working in collaboration with architects and designs firms, Douglas Construction & Engineering works with a wide variety of skilled subcontractors who have proven their worth on a regular basis, along with others on a project-by-project basis, such as civil engineers and hydraulic engineers.

“We have hundreds of subcontractors who work for us,” says Mr Douglas. “We are looking for quality, and they need to have the resources to be able to do the project. If they get past those two criteria, we look at their price and choose the subcontractor who is most competitive and able to comply with the first two points.”

Able to facilitate all aspects of construction from start to finish, Mr Douglas says that managing and co-ordinating projects through to handover is a service greatly appreciated by clients. As a result, customers do not have to try and juggle or manage a plethora of consultants to get to the approval phase, document it, and put it out to tender. “That’s one of the advantages of design and construct; the client knows right from the beginning what their commitment is cost-wise. Sometimes a client may spend $100,000 to $400,000 on design and approval, and then it goes out to tender, and only then do they find out that the project is costing more than they budgeted for – and they’ve already spent the money, so to speak.”

With decades of cumulative, hands-on construction industry experience, the dedicated team at Douglas Construction & Engineering has staff with the right skill sets to take on all building projects across Southeast Queensland. Able to engineer any building to suit any requirement, the company’s full-time team includes a Project Manager, Account Manager / Accountant, an in-house Architectural Draughtsman, Junior Contracts Administrator, Site Supervisors / Foremen, Leading Hands, Carpenters, and Apprentice Carpenters.

In addition to staff, the company prides itself on attracting and retaining skilled subcontractors and professional associations, such as Architects and Engineers, to ensure all projects are completed to the highest quality of customer satisfaction, on time and on budget. By ensuring all council, government and engineering requirements are met on any development, Douglas Construction & Engineering goes a step beyond the competition, and makes certain that every client’s building or renovation experience is as worry-free as possible.

“The main thing with our staff and the people we work with is that they have to take their job very seriously,” comments Mr Douglas. “We deliver to a high standard, and expect others to do the same – they need to pay a lot of attention to detail.”

Working within the spirit of collaboration with clients and staff, the company does everything possible to guarantee all customer specifications and requirements are met, while minimising risk and delivering optimum value for the dollar. Projects are managed professionally and cohesively, which allows for a proper approach to important factors such as budget, site, council regulations, building codes, and other parameters which require seamless project management and delivery. This focus on customer satisfaction has resulted in the company receiving numerous contracts from repeat clients across Queensland.

“Our staff has to be client-focused,” emphasises Mr Douglas. “One of our greatest assets is that we always look at things from not only our perspective, but from our clients’ perspective, and we try and find common ground at all times.”

Recognising that the design phase is one of the most important stages of the construction process, the company works with outside firms and has in-house design expertise which ensures goals and cost optimisation of a project are achieved. The construction phase, which realises the execution of a design by the company or others, showcases the company’s proven ability to construct a wide range of industrial buildings or commercial complexes, all built above industry standard site supervision and resulting in a superior quality finish.

In recent months, a number of sectors of the company’s business have grown – particularly new construction and the conversion of space into industrial warehouses. The company is also able to re-purpose buildings originally intended for one sector into another, keeping the capital value of the property intact – such as with its transformation of a Bunnings Warehouse location into a retail centre.

Over the years, Douglas Construction & Engineering has earned a reputation for superior renovations and new construction, along with being recognised for its concrete work. Many of the projects the company takes on reveal its reputation for high quality concrete delivery. As a result, the company often takes on jobs which require impeccable concrete work, such as high-volume distribution warehouses, which require quality concrete floors that are durable enough to tolerate the wear and tear from hard-wheeled forklifts. “This is very important for our clients because of durability and lifecycle costs,” says Mr Douglas. This attention to quality concrete has led to the company taking on a number of aquatic facilities, most recently the Gatton Aquatic Centre.

Responding to an ad in the local newspaper calling for expressions of interest, Douglas Construction & Engineering won the bid for the Gatton Aquatic Centre over some stiff competition. Successfully awarded the contract from the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, the company is about three months into a 12-month contract for the centre.

To be co-ordinated and constructed using the company’s own staff and qualified subcontractors, the $11.9 million contact will be built next to an existing sports centre. In addition to a 10-lane Olympic sized swimming pool, the complex will include a ‘learn to swim’ pool, plant rooms, and a clubhouse. At present, all of the earthworks are completed, along with most of the underground services. The ‘learn to swim’ pool structure will be completed by the end of this year, along with 50 per cent of the main Olympic sized swimming pool structure.

“Pools and aquatic centres have very different construction techniques to domestic builds, due to the tolerance of them,” explains Mr Douglas. “Municipal swimming pools have a wet edge to them, essentially a grate where water flows into along the long edge of the pool. We also have a lot of clay soil in Queensland, so if a pool develops a leak at any stage, or the ground moves due to seasonal movement, it will put the pool out of kilter on the level, so the wet edge pool fails to perform properly. As a result, we effectively build these pools as suspended concrete structures sitting on top of piles.”

Douglas Construction & Engineering regularly finds itself called upon for its expertise not only in construction, but in high quality, durable and innovative concrete work. After 15 years in the industry, the company has not lost sight of its main focus: maintaining a client-focused business. “This is the result of a lot of repeat customers over the years,” comments Company Director Alex Douglas. “We are very technical and quality-orientated, and I think that’s why we get into some of the more technical aspects and technical projects that we do, because it is a good fit with our technical skill background, which is considerably above the average in the industry.”

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June 2, 2020, 3:04 PM AEST