Cape Cod Australia is Sydney’s leading design-builder of home extensions and additions. Throughout their 45-plus years in the industry, they have completed more than 7400 projects for satisfied clients, have built a reputation as a “builder to rely on,” and have earned a long list of industry accolades to show for it.
“We genuinely care that a client has no problems, and the process goes smoothly for them,” says Paul Petrusma, Director of Business Development. “Everybody says that, of course, but we have the evidence to back it up. We’re proactive in making sure it happens – we design to their budget; we have a 180-point checklist to ensure quality; and we check in with them after the job is done.”
“We basically want to make sure they have a great experience with Cape Cod – before the build, during the build, and after the build is complete,” he adds.
Cape Cod was established in 1965, and pioneered the “roof conversion” industry in Sydney. The business commenced with a few standard designs, but has evolved to designing and building home additions in all styles and materials.
Paul got involved personally with Cape Cod in 2007, when he and his friend Robert Moerman – a long-time Construction Manager & Director at the company – took over the reins.
“Robert had been with the company for more than 20 years, and had great relationships with all the suppliers and the trades,” Paul recalls. “He and I had been friends for a while, and we both saw the opportunity to take a very good business and make it even better.”
Today, the company is based at North Parramatta, NSW. They employ 28 office staff, and have a network of approximately 100 building contractors – many of whom have been working with the company for 15 years of more.
Confidence in quality
Cape Cod Australia services the greater Sydney region, from Sutherland to Gosford and west to the Blue Mountains. Their projects suit budgets from $100,000 to $1 million, and their service offering includes all aspects of the design and construction of first floor home additions and large ground floor home extensions.
“We begin at the concept design stage and manage our projects through to obtaining approvals, then construction,” says Paul. “We provide a single point of responsibility and contact for our customers.”
Essentially, Cape Cod is a “one stop shop”, which is one of the many ways they stand out in the market.
In general,the company is set apart by their experience. In their more than 45 years of building in the region, they have learned how to “get it right,” and have won awards for everything from their designs, to their quality to their customer service. In that time, they have also learned the value of courtesy and cleanliness.
Their experience has also enabled them to offer clients several guarantees that few other builders can match. That starts with their fixed price quote, which incorporates all costs from council fees, to building inspections, and even footpath deposits.
“The price we quote you is the price you pay,” he says. “That’s our promise to clients.”
Cape Cod also promises to complete construction on time, and with minimal delays – because they know that building in a client’s home can be inconvenient. If they are late, they pay their clients $500 a week. Then, once the project is completed, Cape Cod doesn’t just “build and go,” Paul says.
“We look after clients with our Extended Maintenance Period and 10-Year Structural Guarantee, and go out of our way to fix any problems that might arise,” he explains. “We’re just a phone call or e-mail away. Our systems ensure every contact is logged, monitored and handled quickly to our client’s satisfaction.”
Those proven building systems – which have been refined and improved over the company’s long history – also go a long way to setting Cape Cod apart in the marketplace, as they ensure only the highest quality will be delivered.
As part of those systems, all plans and specifications for a project are checked and re-checked prior to construction. For example, project working plans are checked by no fewer than eight parties, from the architect, to the client, to Cape Cod’s Managing Director, and everyone in between. Those plans cannot proceed until signoff is achieved at each stage.
During construction, Cape Cod’s techniques and standards are further ensured through the use of trained/experienced contractors and thorough documentation. A detailed checklist is completed and monitored to ensure that quality is maintained at every level – so that clients can have full confidence in the finished product.
Cape Cod’s relationships internally, with their staff, are equally as strong as the company’s relationships with clients. According to Paul, the company has made it a priority to provide an environment where staff and contractors can develop their careers.
“We do this because it makes for motivated employees, and also because it can be difficult to find the specialist skills we require within our own market segment,” Paul explains. “If we don’t develop future expertise, who will?”
Cape Cod takes the initiative to “invite employees to consider their career development,” he adds. At a formal review process each year, two of the questions asked of the staff member are, ‘What do you hope to be doing 12 months or more from now?’ and ‘How can we help get you there?’ The same questions are asked of the employee’s manager.
“This generates good discussion about career aspirations, role design and training needs,” he says.
Once those discussions are held, Cape Cod will actively develop a career path to meet their employees’ objectives. And their policy is to fund the cost of accredited training if it’s connected to their goal.
Cape Cod’s commitment to both clients and employees has consistently paid off in the form of exceptional home improvement outcomes. Those outcomes, in turn, have resulted in consistent award attention from industry bodies such as the HIA and MBA.
Over the years, the company has received numerous industry accolades for individual home addition projects, with recent wins for “best addition under $150,000” (2011) and “best addition $200,000-500,000” (2012).
“To have somebody go through your product very critically, and say ‘You are doing a good job’ – it’s great,” Paul says. “It’s great for our staff to hear, and it’s great for us to hear.”
Cape Cod has also been honoured with both regional and national HIA Professional Renovator Builder awards – most recently in 2012 (NSW). According to Paul, the company particularly values that kind of recognition because they keep everybody motivated.
“They are great tools to keep us aiming to be the best,” he says. “They give us a standard to go after, and that’s what we do. It keeps us sharp, and keeps us moving forward.”
They have also been recognised for their commitment to safety with the HIA NSW Occupational Health and Safety Best Practice Award – which they won in 2007, and then again in 2011.
A company of choice
Moving forward, Paul says the company aims to grow at five to ten per cent a year, increasing sustainably to ensure that their systems are never left behind. In general, he says the company’s vision is to continue to lead the industry in innovation and continue to deliver a quality product and service to their customers.
“Our company’s strengths are our values, our systems, our networks and our financial strength. Those are the four pillars we have built our company on, and we never want to sit still in any of those areas. We’re always looking at those things and looking at how we can improve.”
“We want to be the region’s builder of choice for consumers and employer of choice for staff and contractors,” he concludes. “I’m confident that we’re well on our way to accomplishing that.”