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Building for now, Planning for the future

Dante Candetti founded Candetti Constructions (Candetti) in 1958 and has enjoyed more than 50-years of expansion of services and success. Now, Alex Candetti, Dante’s son, runs the Candetti Group of Companies as Chairman of the Board. They continue to innovate and create award winning projects. Candetti has the national capacity and focus on 8 main markets including Senior Living and Residential, Commercial, Education, Industrial, Recreation and community, Civil and Infrastructure, Defence and Security, and Retail.

It is an impressive list, and no one does it better. By sourcing and applying innovation and cutting edge technology, Candetti continually incorporates new processes into their services and as a result they have remained current and competitive. Customers approaching Candetti have access to the national presence of the group that can bring the combined experience of their staff, and tools to their needs. Their new head office is located in Kent Town in South Australia, serving the Southern and Central region of Australia and their Queensland office provides its services to the Northern and Eastern Australian regions from Bowen Hills.

Getting started

“It was started as a specialist concrete contractor,” explains Jarrod Lengs, Development Manager.  “Through Alex’s involvement, the company expanded, and in 1988, Alex took over the company.” Since that time, says Lengs, the company has steadily grown into its present form and represents an important national construction institution. With all of their projects they demand that they include future proofing and technologies wherever possible that can easily include new additions, technology and expansions, and that they are large enough entity that they really showcase their skills.  The mix of projects that they deal with requires that they have a very flexible team. Often clients come to the table with a specific design in mind, with much of the project planned, and other times they must quickly assemble a team to identify and meet the needs of the client and design and build the project from the ground up. “We do have a number of in-house architects and qualified engineering people. We don’t do any internal design but this is critical in the management of our external consultants.” The companies that they select are carefully vetted on a number of attributes, including experience, positive feedback, and general good standing. It is an important part of every project, says Lengs, that they have the right people doing the right job.

Award winning planning

“Recently we picked up the National Master Builder’s Award for one of the projects we did in South Australia, the Miele Showroom,” says Lengs. “We delivered that building so successfully, though it was considered a small value project, the quality of the finishes, and the overall quality of the project was so outstanding that we got a national award for it.” He also relates that they also picked up a number of awards for their work on St Peter’s school, which was a complete refurbishment of the site. “We also just picked up a state award for an Aged-Care apartment project from the Urban Design Institute of Australia, and that same project has been nominated now for a national award that we are waiting to hear back about. We are defiantly kicking a few goals, and our clients are reasonably satisfied with our work and that has turned into awards.” Candetti have identified unique construction processes in many projects, recently they have successfully modularised as much of the construction processes as possible outside of the construction site. This allows them to complete the project faster, and gives them much more freedom on the sites than they would otherwise enjoy. With modular techniques, the pieces are almost perfect for those clients who wish to future-proof their facilities, allowing easy expansion or replacement.  But this approach requires extensive experience and specific skillsets.

Blueprints for the future

One of the most recent projects that Lengs says they are enthusiastic about is the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre. This project represents the accumulation of their skills and technology. “It’s pretty exciting in a number of ways, and it represents 15 months of construction, and over 100 million dollars in value.” He says this is an important way they have demonstrated how Candetti apply and demonstrate their broad experience and technical skills. On the 22nd of February the taps began to fill the 2 main pools at the centre, the Competition Pool and the Dive Pool. The facility is scheduled to be completed ready for a National event this April, and filling the pools will take about 10 million litres of water.  Canetti Constructions regards this project not only as a trail blazer for their own company- but a first for all of Australia.

The Competition Pool is 52 metres x 25 metres and 3 metres deep, the Dive Pool measures 55 metres x 25 metres, with a depth that run from 3 to 5 metres deep. The completed facility will also have 2 Thermal Hydro Spas, a Polar chilled hydro spa, a 25 metre Program Pool, a 12 person spa, and a shallower Learn to Swim Pool as part of an extensive leisure water area. Adding a bit more fun this area also has an integrated water playground, as well as a Toddler Pool and Water Slides.

Living in interesting times

“It looks like it is shaping up to be an interesting year,” says Lengs. “The talk has been all about funding, funding, funding. Funding and government policy are the two things that are driving the construction sector presently. Both of those are facing some interesting challenges at the moment.” The funding is necessary to get a lot of new projects off the ground, he says. “We have been experiencing something we haven’t in a very long time. Projects start off fully funded and when we are about to get ready to go, the funding gets pulled at the last minute.” The other issue that they must learn to adapt to is the disappearing stimulus spending that will be largely disappearing this year. Much of this stimulus funding with be rechanneled in to rebuilding after the various natural disasters experienced this year, but, says Lengs, no one is sure how that money will be spread around.

Luckily, they have remained active in parts of the industry that seem to provide much promise to continue to provide them a steady stream of work. “The Aged-Care, Health, and Defence sectors are still very active, and we are pretty active in them. However, some of the other areas like general commercial construction and general industrial construction are drying up at the same time,” says Lengs.

One of the other dangers that the industry faces, says Lengs, is the looming potentiality of the widening age gap of the people involved in the industry. With many senior and key personal nearing retirement age, they have begun implementing mentorship programs. This represents a way to keep access to important industry knowledge and pass it along to a new generation.

Quality control

“We think we have a high quality product, and we try and build buildings not for just right now, but for tomorrow as well.” Lengs says that clients have seen the work they do and consider it a very high quality investment. They often try to get Candetti involved in the very early stages of a project, rather than have them come in at the end. This is important to companies like Candetti, because the more control they have over the development of a given project, the more they are able to put in their quality hallmarks that set them apart and drive higher financial returns for our clients.  “Our current involvement in the generation and implementation of a Business Case for the Fleurieu Aquatic Centre and Regional Development is an indication of what we are capable of” says Lengs.  It is clear from this project and the recent national interest in the company that Candetti are continually setting benchmarks in the industry and are the one to watch now and in the near future.