Pointing the Way Ahead

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-By Melissa Thompson

In the last few years, the nature of the construction industry in Australia has changed. Buildings do not exist in a vacuum; they are built to stand the test of time, and as such, have a lasting impact on the landscape which surrounds us all. It is not enough to merely have the right tools for the job; projects and teams must be skillfully managed to be successful. A bird’s eye view and the ability to see the bigger picture are critical components of this success, and are areas where Point Project Management has established itself as a leader. Specialists in project management, Point has, in less than five years, made its mark as one of the fastest growing firms in Australia.

With great responsibility comes great risk. Project managers build their reputations by meeting client expectations while remaining accountable for all levels of the building process. The weight of a project’s success, or its failure, rests on their shoulders. Few are up to the task.

After working for private firms and recognising a need for a project management company that could dispel the negative perception of project managers and “develop a new way of doing things, and doing them right,” Michael Snare founded Point in January 2006. Soon after, Brendan Bilston was appointed co-principal of the company. The two have known each other for nearly 20 years and as the company will celebrate its fifth anniversary in 2011, they both agree much of their success relies on the high levels of “open and transparent” communication between on site staff and project managers. As its name suggests, Point considers itself the “central point of contact: connecting clients with service providers to make the project happen.” Point has a genuine focus on the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships within its team that permeates into its client base.

Point’s success is in no small part due to the fact that its senior management team is comprised of civil and mechanical engineers with decades of experience in the industry. Mr Bilston explains, “we’ve worked in the field and understand the technical issues whereas other [project management] firms lack that technical understanding. We challenge both designers and builders as to why they are executing in a certain way, because we have the experience and know what does and doesn’t work.”

Point has aligned itself with key clientele within the public and private sectors. Point is responsible for managing the fitout for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency’s head office within Molonglo Group’s six star Green Star show case “Nishi Building” in New Acton, ACT. The Base Building is being poject managed by Arup and is currently in the documentation stage, with the building slated to be completed by October 2012. Some features are its 400kW photovoltaic array fixed to the roof that will subsidise up to 30 percent of the building’s energy requirements and upon completion, will be the largest in the southern hemisphere. Also, the project aims to meet and exceed a 5 star NABERS rating and a 6 star Green Star Office Interiors rating, representing a new benchmark for environmentally sensitive buildings in Australia. Mr Snare says, with confidence, “it will be one of the most leading edge buildings of its nature in Australia.”

Point is committed to green initiatives. “Those projects are of great interest to us,” Mr Snare states, and outlined on its website are the extensive criteria Point uses to guarantee buildings exceed sustainability standards and work with clients to create them if they are not already part of a project’s mandate. Point has partnered with like-minded organisations; for example, the Anglican Church is a member of the Green Building Council of Australia and Point is now executing projects on its behalf across New South Wales and the ACT. These projects can be challenging as Point acts as advocates for building green and encourages its clients to build with an eye to the future.

Further demonstrating its range and flexibility as a management firm, Point is overseeing all work associated with Qantas as the key tenant in the new Canberra Airport terminal. This includes its business and recreation lounges, administration offices, baggage handling, and ticket sales. As Mr Bilston states, “it’s one of the most high profile and higher quality jobs” currently tendered. Other notable projects include the Air Warfare Destroyer Wharf-side Facilities Upgrade Project in New South Wales, one of the largest Defence projects undertaken by Point, with a value of over $100 million.

Point’s innovative practices have received numerous awards and accolades on the national level in the last several years. In 2009 the ACT Property Council of Australia awarded it Business of the Year and Telstra named it the National Medium Business of the Year.. More recently, it was the recipient of the 2010 ACT Project Management Achievement Award for Small Project. For more information on its awards and impressive portfolio, visit Point Project Management’s website at www.pointpm.com.au.

When the company was founded, it was clear that other employers in the field were not always treating staff well, resulting in burnout and a decline in morale. Point takes a different approach in its treatment of staff. As a company with such high standards, it recognises that its workforce has much responsibility in the enhancement and maintenance of its reputation. As a result, it has ranked in the top 20 in Business Review Weekly’s Top 50 Places to Work in Australia and is the only project management company to appear on the list. Mr Bilston says, “Michael and I are very passionate about staff; we don’t have a product we produce…we have people. Every year we look at the staff and what they want in the workplace, and we ask: what is going to make it a more enjoyable place to work?”

Working from a non-unionised military model, there is real emphasis on a team-building atmosphere, work-life balance, and a commitment to community and social development. This has resulted in the creation of Point’s Corporate Culture and Social Responsibility Working Group, which looks to staff for suggestions in improving work conditions and promoting Point as a company committed to philanthropy and community values. As an outgrowth of this committee, Point recently sponsored three track athletes for the 2010 Commonwealth games in Delhi, India and the Point Canberra office annually participates in the international fundraiser for cancer, Relay for Life.

Point’s energy and enthusiasm for its work has allowed it to grow into one of the foremost project management firms in the nation. In less than five years, its focus on truly representing client interests and on recognising the value of its own staff has given Point the edge in managing projects to the highest standards of quality. It is no wonder that the company, armed with such a successful model, has accomplished as much as it has in such a short time, and has been so lauded by the industry. It is most certainly poised for more success in the new decade.

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’?

August 18, 2022, 9:01 PM AEST