Hutchinson Builders is among Australia’s largest privately-owned construction companies. Established in 1912, the Hutchinson success story is based on project delivery and their commitment to integrity, expertise and customer service. Whilst the company’s primary focus has been Australia, they have grown to have a presence on an international scale, having taken on projects in New Zealand, Japan and Canada.
Projects undertaken by Hutchinson Builders include commercial and residential high-rise, mining and resources industry infrastructure projects, industrial, sporting, health, government, retail, education, hotels, clubs, tourism, civil works, modular construction and more. In each of these sectors, the company is set apart by their expertise, integrity, and commitment to quality.
“Clients enjoy working with us,”says Joe Watson, Project Manager at the company. “We’re a down to earth builder. We always work as hard as we can to make sure the project is done on time and to budget, and because of that we get a lot of repeat business.”
“There are clients that we’ve done several jobs for over the past 15 years,” he adds. “They keep coming back to us because they know we deliver.”
On budget and on time
A recent example of Hutchinson Builders’ commitment to delivery is their work on the $17 millionNorthpoint Shopping Centre. That project consists of 7000 square metres of retail area and five separate precincts anchored by Coles Supermarket, and it creates a “new dimension in shopping for North Toowoomba.”
The client on that project was Hallmark Property, a leading property development company based in Queensland. With Northpoint, they wanted a shopping centre that looked well-established, and they gave Hutchinson Builders an opportunity to create “something different,” with a variety of detailing, concepts and finishes that set the project apart.
“They wanted to use local products, local suppliers, and really develop something that would be an iconic feature of the Toowoomba landscape,” Joe says. “Our vision was to get that done for them on budget and on time, which we succeeded in.”
Hutchinson Builders started work on site in April 2013, and were challenged by weather during the early works stage. Despite this, the company kept the project on track, and handed over the finished product less than a year later.
The shopping centre itselfcomprises two levels. In addition to Coles, it includes a medical centre and pathology, chemist, newsagent, and twenty specialty shops including a butcher, cafes, a barber, a florist, and a bakery.
The centre also features rainwater harvesting and storage, in addition to other sustainability features – including parking for cyclists and end-of-trip facilities, with a separate external amenity block offering lockers and showers.
Joe is particularly proud of the unique “bluestone cladding,” used throughout the project. It was purchased from a local supplier, and was especially utilised around the entrances, making them “quite attractive.”
“Also, by the front entrance, there’s a small recreation of Stonehenge,” Joe says. “There are a dozen big blue stone pillars in a circle, which is a unique feature and talking point of the centre. There are a lot of different external features like that, which is a credit to the architect and client. It made it a bit more challenging to build, but the end result was worth it.”
Cottee Parker served as the architect on the project, and Brown Engineers served as the structural engineer. Joe says Hutchinson Builders formed close-knit relationships with those companies at an early stage.
“They put a lot of effort into the features and finishes of the project, and we coordinated well,” Joe says. “We had a good working relationship throughout with all consultants. If we had some ideas, they’d listen and give us feedback, and vice versa.”
At the end of the day, Joe says Hallmark Property was extremely satisfied with Hutchinson Builder’s finished product. In the time since completion, they have already hired the company to do repeat work, including several fit-outs at the shopping centre.
“I’ve been back to the site a few times since the project’s been completed, and the car park’s always full,” he says. “So the town of Toowoomba is really embracing it too.”
A great achievement
The exceptional result that Hutchinson Builders achieved at Northpointwas not only rewarded by the client – it was also recognised by the industry at large. At the 2014 Master Builder’s Awards for the Downs and Western Region, Hutchinson Builders won Project of the Year – as well as the category for Retail Facilities $5 million to $20 million – for their work on the project.
“The quality of the finish, efficient construction time, and overall appearance are inviting and noteworthy,” said the MBA judges in their comments. “Testimony to the success of the project is the rapid occupancy of tenancies and how quickly the town has adopted the centre as their own.”
According to Joe, that kind of industry approval is highly valued by Hutchinson Builders – as well as himself personally.
“It’s a great milestone, and it gives you a nice sense of achievement,” he says. “It makes the hard work that we put into the project worthwhile. And having worked on the job, and knowing how hard it was to get across the line, it’s nice to know that dedication is recognised.”
According to Joe, that dedication was shared by every member of the project team, from Hutchinson’s internal staff and numerous apprentices, to their roster of subcontractors and tradespeople – many of whom were locally-based.
“We get on well with subcontractors,” Joe says. “They tend to want to work for us, because we have continual workflow, and the company is financially stable – they know they’re going to get paid. And once we find a good subbie, we want to look after them and keep using them.”
In return for that stability, Joe says the company’s subcontractors can be counted on to deliver a high quality product. At Northpoint in particular, Hutchinson Builders had upto 140 people onsite per day – all of whom worked well together, and worked hard to deliver the project on time and on budget.
“They delivered a complex build in a relatively short-time frame,” Joe says. “And they delivered an award-winning level of quality. That’s a great achievement.”
Moving forward, Joe says Hutchinson Builders has many more projects into their future. They currently have projects underway from the Far North of Queensland down to Tasmania and west to Western Australia, and they are looking to “keep those relationships going with existing clients and subcontractors, build relationships with new clients and keep delivering a broad variety of work to a variety of clients.”