Coombs Barei Constructions

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Relationship building

CoombsBarei Constructions is one of Australia’s leading building companies when it comes to teamwork, quality management, and client satisfaction. Since forming in South Australia in 1969, the company has completed roughly $1 billion in building works throughout the country, and has earned a long list of industry accolades and satisfied clients alike.

“We’re focused on relationship contracting,” says Kevin Webb, General Manager of the business. “We’re all about earning trust, and building relationships with clients. We like them to feel like they wouldn’t want to build without us on board.”

When CoombsBarei Constructions first began more than 40 years ago– under the name Formwork Constructions – they principally worked as a form-worker to builders and civil engineers within the local industry. As one of the largest operations of their kind within the state, they were involved in numerous landmark projects, including bridges, football stadiums, festival centres, multi-storey buildings, and more.

Eventually, the company transformed into a general builder and civil engineering contractor, where they have been excelling ever since. In 2009, CoombsBarei was purchased by Wunda Projects Australia – a business with an extensive fit-out background that complemented CoombsBarei’s business in the construction sector.

Today, the company is led by Managing Director Bruno Marveggio, who brought Kevin on board in 2013. Kevin comes from a long career in the building industry, and has earned experience at some of South Australia’s top-tier building companies.

Reliability is key

Currently,CoombsBarei Constructions is licensed for commercial work in South Australia and Victoria. The majority of their work takes place in metropolitan Adelaide, and their projects currently rangein value up to $20 million – and the business is currentlyin negotiation for one development project worthclose to $50 million.

Though the company has historically done most of its work for the government, Kevin says they are focusing more on a mix of public and private sector these days. At the moment, they have three ongoing projects valued at $3 million to $5 million in both public and private sectors, and they have commenced works on a new 126 bed aged care facility valued at $17 million. They are alsolooking at a private development, as previously mentioned, that will be among the largest projects they have ever done.

“We’re looking to grow the business,” Kevin says. “We want to rest comfortably in that Tier-2 range, and we have the experience and skill to be there.”

According to Kevin, CoombsBarei Constructions will achieve that desired growth by focusing on “relationship-building.”

“We’re all about building our local network,” he explains. “We like to do negotiated work, or design-and-construct work, where we can be involved with the client from day one.”

Kevin says CoombsBarei Constructions has earned that trust by consistently providing quality results. Once they acquire a job from a new client, they consistently demonstrate openness and honesty. They put the client’s best interests first, rather than their own. After they prove themselves as a company, their clients tend to bring their business back over and over.

The company also earns trust, Kevin adds, by fostering equally strong relationships with subcontractors and suppliers.

“We don’t have a lot of our own labour and trades, so without those subcontractors, trades and suppliers, we couldn’t get anything done,” he says. “There would be no work for us. We need to get them on board, and get them to want to give us the best price, so we’ll have the best advantage. The only way to do that is by making sure they know they’ll be treated right, and the jobs won’t be delayed. We provide that assurance.”

In return for that assurance and respect, CoombsBarei Constructions asks their subcontractors for quality, reliability, and value for money. According to Kevin, that’s exactly what they get.

“Reliability is a real key,” he says. “We work to a strict program. That’s how we make our money and that’s how they make their money. So if you have unreliable trades that don’t turn up, everybody loses. But we’ve formed some good relationships with some very good contractors, and that’s why we’ve been successful.”

Building respect

CoombsBarei Constructions has earned both quality and safety accreditations. Their operatives are all conversant with Work, Health & Safety requirements, Quality Assurance, Environmental & Site Management, and the National Code of Practice. They also place a strong emphasis on “timing, site management, communication, and appropriate resourcing.”

“We insist on full-time supervision on every job,” Kevin says. “On a $3 million job, some of our competitors might only have a part-time supervisor there. But we always have a full-time supervisor, no matter how small the job is.”

“As soon as your supervisor walks off site, that’s generally when things go wrong – be it quality, safety, or anything else,” he explains. “That’s why we make sure we have a supervisor present at all times.”

As a result of that superior project management, CoombsBarei Constructions has the ability to consistently meet quality goals and time-frames – even accelerated time-frames, should the need arise.

“We just completed Lockleys Preschool for the government,” Kevin says, as an example. “That was a new build, and we were asked to accelerate it – which we did, and we finished on time. We’ve received some great accolades for that.”

Moving forward, CoombsBarei Constructions aims to continue delivering that high level of client satisfaction, while broadening their client base in both the private and public sector. They also want to work on more of their own private developments on behalf of their owners.

“We want to be seen as well-established Tier-2 contractor, capable of doing our own developments up to $50 million,” Kevin says. “We want to be known for quality projects and value for money approach.”