Making a house a home
Kim March is the owner and General Manager of David Reid Homes’ Perth operations. Here she and her team have become noted for their ability to create stunning contemporary homes that have been recognised in both the industry and by their happy residents at the completion of their homes. They have been able to achieve this by creating a close knit team with shared talents and responsibilities across the board whose goal is to always to deliver the best quality on a budget and on time. For the past four years they have built the reputation that the company holds in their area.
Knowledge saves time
“We operate as what I would call a luxury boutique building company, we take the client right from the initial design through to the planning, all the documentation, engineering, drawing, to all the council requirements. We take all those steps away from them,” says Kim. Importantly, they also negotiate some of the more treacherous and difficult steps that make sure the entire building is up to code before spade meets soil. “What we want is to take all the difficulty out of the process and be able to hand our clients a beautiful home!” She exclaims.
From start to finish each project has a different timeline, but with David Reid Homes Perth, clients know that they are getting the final delivery at the best possible speed. Kim and her team have navigated these waters before and know the best routes and methods to get their clients to where they are going. What they can control is the amount of time they spend on site once the construction process starts. They have five direct employees, but subcontract to a fair number of trades and designers in the Perth area. “This allows us to be very flexible, and I see it as a very positive thing,” says Kim.
Connecting to Luxury
One of the trends that David Reid Homes Perth has noticed in what their clients are looking for is that they want the luxury, but are also somewhat frugal in their budgets. “Value for money is a big issue right now,” says Kim. “Absolute service is the other. There are looking for both but they are looking for communication above all else.” Staying connected to their clients is something that David Reid Homes Perth does very well by supplying each client with their own online communications portal. She has also seen a bit of a trend bucking within the industry; many economists are predicting that the majority of the 30-something generation are unlikely to own a home, and will rent for the duration of their lives. Not so, says Kim, 3 of their current clients fall right into that age category, something she thinks is just fantastic.
They look to produce 8 to 12 projects a year which represents 15 to 20 million dollars per year in building and with that, the 30-somethings are making up a substantial portion of their work.
There from the get-go
Ideas for the projects come right from the clients who often come prepared with scrapbooks of concepts and inspirations. “These can be photographs they have taken, magazine clippings, their own sketches, but others want to be inspired by the designers,” David Reid Homes Perth then sits down with a team of designers and the client and flesh out the ideas to create exactly what they are looking for. Alongside the design process, they are look at how the family unit will function within the living space that they create. “What their requirements will be as a family is very important, and the biggest issue is again – budget,” she says. “Our goal as a building company, by clever design, is to stay within the budget.” When presented with a budget, they keep a close eye on expenses during the planning and building process, making sure that the product matches with the budgetary constraints and wishes of the client. “There is no point in designing something and then not building it because we have gone over budget, it is that simple,” she says. David Reid Homes Perth will take their clients form the design phase right on through to the delivery of the final product, and will incorporate many of the inspired ideas that the client may have. Recently they even designed a house that had an actual bridge that attached the main bedroom to the house, and Kim thinks it was a very fun idea. “It is fabulous, it is a suspended bridge with glass on either side, looking down into the gardens and cobbled stone work,” she comments.
This may sound like pretty common sense operational guidelines, but with the amount of industry notice that Kim March and David Reid Homes Perth have gotten, there is something more than common sense going on here. In 2010, the Master Builders Association recognised David Reid Homes Perth as their Best New Builder of the year. “This was huge for us,” says Kim.
At the time Master Builders’ Director, Michael McLean, congratulated the team at David Reid Homes Perth. “To qualify for the Best New Builder award, you must be a registered builder for five years or less, and display qualities befitting a Master Builder which include quality workmanship, attention to detail, pride in the job, excellent safety standards, be innovative and complete projects on time and on budget.”
“Master Builders will always be proud to showcase the best housing builders, like David Reid Homes Perth, to the public through our housing awards,” Mr McLean said. “This is an important award for our industry as it demonstrates to the public the quality of young builders coming through the ranks.”
This has been a great vindication for the work that Kim and her team have done for the past four years.
It’s not always a man’s world
It is important to note that you do not see that many women occupying the position that Kim does, but as she says “I was pretty much born on a construction site, my father was a builder in his own right so I grew up around the industry.” In her earlier days she does say that it was a bit of a struggle to get the respect she deserved on the job site. “But I just don’t tolerate it anymore, but as a younger woman I would get a tradesman asking me where my father was. I would have to tell them that they are not dealing with my father, you are dealing with me,” she says. She says that the industry from a building perspective remains a man’s world, but the advantage is that from the client’s perspective it is very much a woman’s world. “When thinking about what a home means, and appreciating what is important from that perspective, it is really important to have a woman’s point of view,” says Kim.
Attached to their work
By the time many of their projects are completed, Kim says it is sometimes hard to hand it over to the clients. “We hand over the homes totally completed, to see the home like that is just great. You want to take hundreds of photos. You follow the home from the inception – from the first meeting, and then getting it onto paper, all the way through to having the product at the end – it is just an amazing experience,” says Kim. This experience is something that they hope to share with every client, and show them that building with David Reid Perth they aren’t just getting a house, they are getting a home.