Building with passion
Bauen Projects WA is a Perth-based company that is dedicated to building both high-end construction projects and trusting relationships with clients. Their success at both goals is based on the vision, passion, and wealth of experience of their two directors. They are both committed to delivering high quality work in an open and honest way, and to leaving a great impression with every client.
“We reject the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” says Mark, one of the directors. “Words like ‘flexibility’ and ‘adaptation’ better describe our ethos. We are all unique individuals and that is how we approach every project.”
Mark has taken that approach for over 12 years now, ever since he arrived in Australia from the UK and started working in the building industry. With, Bauen Projects his a goal to do the kind of “bespoke, one-off” projects that most benefit from his and his co-director Phillip’s joint way of thinking.
Bauen Projects WA builds exceptional luxury homes,
and retail spaces and
renovations, valued anywhere from $200,000 to $4 million. They do
everything from hotel refurbishments and restaurant fit-outs, to small bespoke
apartments, residential additions and alterations, and brand new custom homes.
The commonality is that every project is “a little bit different,” Mark says. They
are all the kind of projects that other builders might shy away from, because
they are too complex, or they require too much problem solving.
According to Mark, Bauen is set apart in that niche by the value they provide at every step of the process – starting from the very beginning.
“We offer the full package, where we’re involved with the client from day one,” Mark says. “We take a team approach, which is, by default, very collaborative. We do it slightly differently than most of the industry.”
By working alongside clients and consultants in the early stages of a project, Mark and his team can offer valuable input and suggestions on construction methods, materials, and value management. They can help manage budgetary constraints and build times, all without compromising the integrity of the design.
The company can work solely on the construction phase of a project, Mark clarifies, but they prefer to offer clients a turn-key service – a service that includes everything from the initial consultation, through to plan development, council approvals, design and interior fit-out solutions, product selections, landscaping, detailed costing, full construction, and project management.
Bauen also offers a very personal, individual service. They get to know the clients “quirks, motivations, and vision,” and at every step, the company tailors their “delivery model, communication, advice and performance” to the client’s specific needs and wants.
“We prefer not to wedge a round client into a square hole,” Mark explains. “We like to get to know our clients and fit a bespoke pattern around them.”
Bauen Projects is also different due to their transparency. When it comes to time and costs, there are “no smoke and mirrors” – and unlike with other builders, there’s no reason to come up with any. Bauen offers a fixed fee based on their initial program, they are open about the costs of material and labour, and they don’t charge additional margins on variations. Alternatively, if savings arise, and they don’t spend everything allowed, neither does the client.
“There’s an incentive for us to finish on time,” Mark explains. “And there’s an incentive to make sure we get the budget and schedule right from the start.”
“That’s the way we would like our builders to work, if we were the client,” he adds. “As a business model, it might not be the best – we’ve had to turn down some work, we’ve had to do some variations for no margins – but it’s worked out for us so far.”
As a result of their complete openness and transparency, Bauen has earned almost all of their business to date from word of mouth and referrals. They have also done repeat work for several clients – which is the very best evidence of customer satisfaction that there is.
Big on quality
Bauen Projects has the ability to deliver challenging and highly technical projects due to the experience and expertise of their team. That starts at the top – both Mark and Phil have been in building for many years, and have worked in multiple sectors, on projects of all shapes and sizes.
“We have a good pedigree,” Mark says. “We’ve delivered a lot of complicated products. That’s what we’re good at. That’s what gets us excited about a job.”
The company’s subcontractors and tradespeople are similarly experienced, and equally enthused by a challenge. That’s why Bauen chose them in the first place, and more importantly, it’s why they stick with them. A high percentage of those relationships go back many years. Some subcontractors and suppliers Mark has been working with ever since he’s been in the building industry.
“We don’t just go out and get random trades, and we don’t chop and change,” he says. “We form long-term relationships with genuine craftspeople.”
“We’re big on quality, so it’s very important we use only high quality, talented people,” he adds. “And we pay them. We may be able to get a job done for less with different trades, but we know that the quality won’t be there – and that quality is too important to us.”
“There might be cases where we don’t think the client would even notice, he continues. “But we stick by what we believe in. We believe in doing a great job, and working with people who share the same ethics.”
Bauenalso believes in never taking on more than they can handle. That means sometimes turning away work, as previously mentioned, but they believe strongly in giving every job and every client the personal attention they deserve.
“We could manage more jobs, we could spread our supervisors thin, we could have them on site for an hour-and-a-half a day – but we know that’s not enough time,” Mark explains. “We know we’d end up having to fix problems later, and the client wouldn’t be overly happy. We might be able to make a bit more money, but that’s not how we want to work.”
Building with passion
When asked to cite a project that demonstrates his company’s typical standard of excellence, Mark says “all of them.” He says Bauen Projects puts the same level of care and attention to detail in everything they do, no matter the size of the job or the sector they’re working in.
That’s true, but the building industry at large did recently single out a home they constructed on Albion Street, in Cottlesloe. At the 2018 Master Builders’ Housing Awards for Western Australia, that project was recognised as a finalist for ‘Best Alterations & Additions $750,000 to $1 million.’
The existing fisherman’s cottage on that site was built in the 1920s, and Bauen Projects worked closely with the clients to design a renovation and addition that worked in empathy with the older building. They added a new rear, two-storey addition, and in the process dropped the entire back garden down 600 millimetres. Their design was inspired by Hamptons-style architecture.
“That was a really nice renovation,” Mark says. “We really worked to preserve all the character and feel of the existing site.”
“We actually had a conversation with the client beforehand,” he adds. “We made sure they understood that if they knocked the home over and put up a project home from one of the more established builders in town, they could save themselves maybe $250,000.”
“They said ‘’Thank you, but that’s the last thing we want to do,” he recalls. “That was so nice to hear. Those are the clients we like to work with, the ones that are super passionate about what they’re creating.”
The same year, Bauen Projects also demonstrated their quality excellence on a brand new custom home, which they built on Clarendon Street in Cottlesloe. They worked it on “from first concepts to the final roll of turf,” designing and building a high-end residential home for a family of six.
That home required a number of practical solutions and innovation use of materials and construction methods. Examples include integrated SIPs panels in the upper floor walls for maximum insulation, German made double glazing specifically designed for the home, pool retaining walls for the foundations and underpinning of the neighbour’s property.
Moving forward, Bauen Projects’ goal is to continue delivering high quality projects that live up to those examples, in those sectors and more. They also want to grow, but at a manageable pace. They currently deliver four-to-five projects a year, and turnover roughly $6 million per year – in the near future, they see themselves delivering eight-to-10 projects, and turning over closer to $12 million.
“We also want to get our story out there a little bit more, and encourage more clients to come to us first,” Mark says. “We want them to know the advantages of working with us from the very beginning. We want them to know about the value we can add.”
In the process of doing what they do, Bauen Projects also hopes to help rehab the image of their oft-maligned industry.
“Traditionally, builders have a bad name,” Mark says. “They’re known for taking their clients on a ride. The horror stories are far too frequent and far too true.”
“But we’re very passionate about building and we’re very genuine about the approach we take,” he adds. “We’re doing something a little bit different in a market that is usually pretty traditional. We’re trying to change the face of the industry a little bit. We want to stop the race to the bottom of tenders and the constant conflict between clients, builders, and architects.”
“It’s a big mountain to climb,” he concludes. “We’d like to think we’re getting there, slowly but surely, one project at a time.”
For more on Bauen Projects, their services, past projects, and contact details, visit https://www.bauen.com.au/