Forging Ahead

Smith Brothers Group

The IBIS World Industry Report lists Adelaide-based Smith Brothers Group as one of the top four major plumbing companies in Australia. No other South Australian company is listed. The company serves all locations in and around Adelaide from the metropolitan to the remote.

As founder and Managing Director, Chris Smith comments, “there are very few companies who have the resources and the experience we offer. Our experience continues to grow across all sectors.”

Although the commercial and industrial sectors represent the main bulk of the business, Smith Brothers Group has a very full set of services on offer through a number of divisions.

In the commercial sector, the company works on both major and minor construction projects on the installation of hydraulic services including sanitary plumbing, sewer drainage, trade waste drainage, hot and cold water reticulation, trade waste and stormwater drainage complete with underground pump stations, DAF (dissolved air flotation) plants, hot water plants, gas and fire services, conventional and syphonic stormwater drainage including the rainwater collection and reuse.

Smith Brothers Plumbing’s construction division is one of only a few companies with the resources and ability to handle large complex developments. Major projects undertaken over the last few years cover all areas of South Australia from local Adelaide projects to rural and remote areas such as Murray Bridge, Mount Gambier and as far as Port Augusta and Iron Duke and the Northern Territory.

Its Pipeline Technology Services branch was the first operation of its kind in Australia and remains the leader in leading edge technology for pipeline emergency, maintenance and repair services. It specialises in all facets of drainage and water mains, from large bore sewer and storm water drainage to domestic house drains. A sub division of Pipeline Technology Services, INGROUND SOLUTIONS is a utility location division that provides clients with the resources, equipment and skilled personnel to tackle the numerous problems involved in determining the location, orientation and depth of inground utilities. These services can then be exposed with the use of Vacuum Excavation or commonly called Non Destructive Digging.

The company also operates South Australia’s largest service plumbing, gas and roofing division offering both preventative and general programmed maintenance programs for clients from property managers of apartment buildings, offices, hotels, public buildings and remote accommodation facilities to the Adelaide Airport Passenger Terminal.

Maintenance clients include major hospitals, nursing homes and residential care homes, major supermarkets, function centres and shopping centres as well as ongoing repairs and maintenance for major bank regional offices.

The company also performs industrial service and maintenance on factories and manufacturing complexes including shut down maintenance and programmed maintenance, roof repairs and backflow prevention and testing. The Holden’s vehicle manufacturing plant at Elizabeth, for which Smith Brothers operates a long-term preventative and general maintenance contract, is but one example.

Clearing of blocked drains and sewers for councils and government departments, tapware repairs and maintenance services provided to various councils and many government departments is yet another aspect of the business.

Clients like hospitals and major convenience food franchises have particular needs to which the company caters with its 24/7 service and one hour emergency attendance promise.

The company added to its complement of plumbing services offered to schools with the addition of its Water & Energy Saving – Community Water Grants contract which supplies and installs energy saving initiatives for schools in Adelaide and area. These have included installing dual flush toilets, push button taps, flow control valves and waterless urinals as well as plumbing rainwater tanks to supply water for toilet flushing.

All of the company’s divisions are fully owned by Chris, who says that, “Through all divisions within the group, we are uniquely able to provide a true 24/7 multi-service approach to the delivery of services.” There are significant advantages to the client, he adds.

All the group’s divisional management are situated in the Adelaide office and work together as a team giving the company a greater ability to technically integrate building services to provide the latest in technical solutions.

The system results in reduced time and risk because it uses a multi skilled workforce and in-house teams in lieu of multiple subcontractors. This also eliminates any problems coordinating trades or any potential conflict of trades availability.

As one company manages multiple services and trades, it also has the flexibility to incorporate changes with minimal cost and time delay due to single point responsibility with the resulting efficiencies leading to a reduction in price.

Smith Brothers Group only employs the very best in qualified plumbers, technicians and operators and warns that there are serious implications of having unlicensed plumbing works done. “We invest in our plumbers, ensuring that they develop and maintain the highest standards of qualifications and experience. We have an extensive ongoing training program including the latest in new products, methods and environmentally sustainable solutions. We guarantee our workmanship providing our clients with peace of mind.”

The use of internet in all industries is growing at a rate that surpasses all previous forms of communications and marketing and the company encourages the use of online booking which is available on all of its websites. Nevertheless, “we firmly believe the old fashioned way of actually talking to clients is still the best so we can get to the root of the problem, which can only be done by actually talking to the client. We are available 24/7 every day of the year and calls are answered at any time of the day or night by our friendly and industry experienced call staff. You don’t even have to pay for the call if you are using our online booking form: type in your number and we will call you back at no cost to you.”

With over thirty years in the industry, the group’s team is fully equipped to apply the most up-to date knowledge, techniques and technology to deliver better solutions. “We are justifiably proud of our team and many have won awards of excellence during apprenticeships and post trade qualifications.”

Every effort is made to train, encourage, motivate and reward staff for total commitment to best practice and quality service. “We promote and assist our team to further their career and trade qualifications; to move with the new technologies, methods and materials becoming available to our industry. We work hard to keep our competent people.” A recent review shows that more than twenty per cent of the workforce has 15 to 25 years of service and an astounding 75 per cent has five years or more service. “We know that it is the people that make our business a success.”

The Smith Brothers Group has a long and successful history of employing apprentices. “We are a major host employer of apprentices in South Australia, currently with thirty apprentices. In 2008, we were acknowledged with the Minister’s Award of Excellence for Employers of Apprentices; in 2005, we were a finalist in the SA Training Awards. Our specific focus is on ensuring there will be sufficient qualified tradespeople for the future. We have continuously employed apprentices for more than thirty years and work hard to attract and retain people to the trades.”

The group attracts people to the trades by offering work experience to some fifty students per year; talking at schools and TAFEs (technical and further education institutions) about the opportunities in a trade career; aiming to recruit five to ten apprentices per year and having continuous post trade training for all its employees.

A successful business must anticipate and be able to easily adapt in response to change in the marketplace. “Our growth has come about through our capacity to change and constantly challenge and improve our methods. By being innovative and taking on new technologies, we have built a culture where employees have a sense of lifelong learning, of loyalty and achievement about their work and their company. By rotating our apprentices and tradesmen through different projects and divisions, their knowledge and skills increase.”

The group is keen to keep moving forward. “The Smith Brothers Group never sleeps. We are always looking for new opportunities.” Although the construction industry may be currently going through a bit of a rough period, solid businesses like the Smith Brothers Group keep forging ahead.

For more information about Smith Brothers Group, please visit http://www.smithbrothers.com.au/default.html

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 17, 2019, 6:08 AM AEDT