Building Success in Queensland – and Beyond

Murphy Builders Qld

Murphy Builders Qld is a family owned business with a thirty year history of success. The Mooloolaba based team offers a full range of services, from residential, commercial, and industrial to specialised construction, development, and refurbishment.

Many of these services are provided through Murphy Builders’ commercial arm, Murphy Homes, as well as through five subsidiary companies, which take care of joinery, masonry, concreting, equipment hire and project development sectors, and work exclusively for Murphy Builders Qld.

The company’s original focus was residential, but starting in the early 1990s, the team began focusing primarily on commercial. Murphy Builders Qld relaunched its residential division two years ago, after carefully evaluating how best to stay ahead. “Coming out of the GFC, we realised that market diversification was required as well as regional expansion,” says Administration Manager, Brooke Bastien. “That was when Murphy Homes was born. We could see that there was a clear market there and we focused on that.”

The division is already building 120 homes a year. “We also work with mum and dad developers and help them become developers,” Ms Bastien adds. These mum and dad projects are typically multi-unit town houses or duplexes worth up to $1.5 million dollars.

Commercial projects run between $500,000 and $10 million, “but the $5 million project is our real niche in the commercial arm,” Ms Bastien reports. “We focus on anything from retail industrial office buildings right through to age care and health clubs.” Murphy Builders Qld is also accredited to work with the local, state, and the federal government, and the team lands a substantial amount of work at the local and state levels of government. After dealing with clients suffering financial setbacks during the GFC, the team has found that there definite advantages to doing government funded work. Murphy Builders Qld also offer clients specialised consultancy and development for niche projects, and the team has helped build everything from a nocturnal bilby enclosure to a vineyard.

Murphy Builders Qld’s projects span metropolitan, rural, and remote areas of Queensland, New South Wales, and the Northern Territory. The team has stayed quite busy over the past few years, accomplishing a number of notable projects throughout these areas. For instance, the company recently completed stage one of the renowned State Equestrian Centre. Murphy Builders Qld beat out 23 other builders to win the design, development, and construction contract for the steel super structure, which covers an area over 50 acres in size.

The team was also recently engaged by Lend Lease to refurbish The Spa at the Hyatt Regency Coolum, now Palmer Coolum Resort. The refurbishment transformed the old spa into a world class facility and integrated luxury and nature to create a unique and relaxing environment. The Spa is now the largest in the southern hemisphere and a central attraction at the five star resort.

In another memorable recent project, Murphy Builders Qld led the design and construction process to transform the rundown Isa hotel at Mt Isa into top notch accommodations. The plans required an exceptional level craftsmanship, while the remote location and the need to remain open for business during renovations presented unique challenges. Furthermore, the team was able to complete nearly 80 per cent of the project using local service providers.

Another major project is currently in the works at the company’s home base of Mooloolaba. The sunshine coast holiday destination, an hour north of Brisbane, will be the site of the company’s newest in-house development. The six storey, $12 million facility will have retail, office, and residential space, as well as stunning views of both the waterways and surrounding parkland. Achieving environmental sustainability will be a major goal. “We are really focused on it being a green building,” says Ms Bastien. The team also wants to provide the future residents and office workers with a full range of amenities, including a café, gym, and pool. “We are integrating that work life balance that we uphold within our office and we are bringing it into a development,” Ms Bastien explains.

The team is putting so much into the development, in fact, that they will house their head office within the building. So far, everything is going according to plan and expectations are running high. “The council to date has been really supportive. We are really excited to have them on board from an early stage.”

The projects continue to roll in, and Murphy Builders Qld has enjoyed considerable growth in recent years. The timing is particularly significant considering that much of this growth took place when the economy was still rocky and the construction business slow. “Our firm has had such strong growth at the tail end of the GFC,” Ms Bastien points out. She credits this success to a forward thinking assessment of the company and the realities of the market. “It really came down to looking at ourselves closely and to really looking at the industry holistically – looking at our company across all areas and not just focusing on one area.”

As a result, the team has placed a strong emphasis on market diversification and regional expansion. “The industry, particularly on the sunshine coast, was really affected by the GFC,” Ms Bastien explains. “We only had 10 per cent of our work locally, so we really had to stretch out.” Moving into New South Wales and Northern Territory and launching Murphy Homes was a magic bullet for the business. “Our company had about a 60 per cent growth last financial year, and we are looking at another 25 per cent this financial year and beyond,” Ms Bastien reports. The team also added 15 new positions within the company last year alone. The expansion is not only good for Murphy Builders Qld, but for the local economy as well. “We are pretty excited about creating jobs and helping the community,” Ms Bastien remarks.

The company’s ability to have the right systems in place has also been crucial to its success and expansion. Murphy Builders Qld is a FSC and PQC Level 2 registered firm, certified to AS4801 for Workplace Health and Safety, and is currently implementing an accredited ISO 9001:2008 Quality Assurance System. The team also has systems in place to maintain the highest environmental standards. “We spent a lot of resources and time developing these systems and working with consultants to get our firm to this level.” Slowly but surely, the investment has helped the company “step up a notch from a smaller builder and move up the ranks.”

The company’s success is also built on teamwork and a strong sense of family unity. In fact, the list of names on the management and executive team is so full of relatives that they could easily be rearranged into a family tree. “It’s very family oriented,” says Ms Bastien, whose mother co-founded the company thirty years ago along with the current Director, Leigh Murphy. And, Ms Bastien adds, even staff members who aren’t related are still “like family.” As a result, “we have an open door policy. We work as a team.”

The company’s successful strategies and recent expansion have been recognised through numerous awards. The team is particularly proud that Ms Bastien received the 2013 Women in Building Award. “Construction is generally seen as a man’s game,” she points out. “But behind every fantastic guy on site there is usually an administrative woman working hard to produce the building. I really feel women are the backbone to our industry. So I am really thankful for the recognition. Not so much for myself but for women in the industry.”

With so much already accomplished, Murphy Builders Qld is eager to continue its expansion. The team has managed to grow the company during lean times, and they believe that the near future will bring even more growth as the economy continues to improve. “We are really excited because we can see that the industry is really turning,” Ms Bastien says. “We can see the housing market starting to really move again.” On the immediate horizon is an expansion into even more states; after thirty years in the industry, Murphy Builders Qld is more than ready to take the business across the nation.

For more information about Murphy Builders Qld, pleas visit http://www.murphybuilders.com.au/content/mbq-home.asp?

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January 17, 2019, 5:58 AM AEDT