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If you want it built right, Get it Norbuilt

Norbuilt was established in 1987 in Darwin, and has made a name for its self by simply being the best in the industry. With experience reaching back for more than 50 years, the founder and Managing Director Greg Thompson says that they can build anything thrown at them, and not only well – do it much better and for less than the competition.

What Norbuilt can build

Norbuilt has specialised their abilities in order to deliver high-quality projects in many areas, including projects for the Department of Defence, and Police and Correctional Institutions. They have also developed Industrial developments, Commercial and Institutional projects – including schools, colleges and Child Care Centres. They have also notably become involved in specialised construction projects based in remote areas.  “Norbuilt also specialises in community type projects such as nursing homes, emergency services, recreational centres and sporting facilities,” says Greg Thompson, Managing Director and founder of Norbuilt.

“We started out quite small, as you can imagine, and in the last 23 years we have grown to be able to deliver projects that exceed the 15 million dollar mark, of which we deliver up to seven a year,” says Thompson. Specialising in commercial construction, they have garnered a reputation for excellence, delivering on their promises, and doing it all on budget.

They have several secrets in maintaining their reputation for doing great work; the first is that they only take on projects that are challenging and have broad trade and deliverable scopes that require the full engagement of their expertise and tools. This means that they only take on the tough jobs, and they get the recognition that their efforts deserve. “With increased client expectations we have more then met them, and this is how we have been able to get recognition,” says Thompson, “and much of federal work has been secured because of our outstanding safety record,” he adds.

“We do a lot of work with Defence as well as the Northern Territory Government and the Western Australian Government. Safety wise we have been accredited under the Australian Government Building and Construction OHS scheme since 2008,” says Thompson, “We continue to have very high standards for safety on all of our projects.”

Doing it better all the time

“We have continuously been improving our abilities, work force and management systems over the last 20 years. This has become very important because of our ever increasing workload and employee level.” Now with more than 30 permanent management staff, they have bolstered their operating ability with the use of many trusted sub-contractors, using about 400  separate companies a year. “We have built up a strong relationship with our contractors and sub-contractors over the last 20 years in the Northern Territory as well as in the Kimberly Region of Western Australia,” says Thompson.

“The range of services we deliver includes design and construction co-ordinated by our design and development manager. Construction is managed by one of our experienced Project Managers and there is always at least one in-house development being delivered at any given time,” says Thompson. “From our design and construction past performance we have developed strong working relationships with a wide range of design, engineering and sustainability consultants ensuring that the outcomes are modern and chic,” he says.

“We focus on delivery of quality projects that the community will be proud of,” Thompson says, “When deciding which jobs we will pursue first, an assessment is made to ensure appropriate consideration has been given to the project in the planning stages such as design to achieve fit for purpose and value for money.”

“With more than 20 years of delivering commercial projects of quality and prestige, we are now in a position to choose projects that will enhance the community and our reputation,” says Thompson, “After all, our stamp is on all our achievements.”

They are operating at almost full capacity at the present time, and see no indications in the market that the opportunities for Norbuilt to showcase their abilities will be drying up any time soon. Their reputation for being one of the best, if not the best, project managers out there which has continued to grow just as their list of satisfied customers grows.

Future and green friendly

Thompson says that each project is planned to include sustainability innovation and address ecological issues. “With each building that we work on we incorporate some definite green qualities, and we pride ourselves at incorporating these technologies before it is required at the state or federal levels. Our projects are modern and innovative and developed for the future.” With the sustainability in mind Norbuilt has developed Environment Management Plan, which dictates best policies and practices from the initial design to the construction and completion of a project. Norbuilt looks to embrace more modern and green technologies in their present and future developments.

“Our Environment Management Plan governs our activities and ensures maintenance of ecologically sustainable developmental principles, practices and outcomes,” says Thompson.

Filling the order

Many of the projects that Norbuilt has become involved in require tight timeframes and Thompson has described this as one of their major challenges, but not one they have ever been unable to meet. Thompson says that the difficulty really arises because they absolutely refuse to cut corners. They are bound by AS/NZS ISO 9001 standards, but their toughest critic is often themselves, simply meeting the requirement is not enough for Thompson and Norbuilt, meeting and exceeding their own high standards is what they aim for.

The other challenges, he says, are the same across the industry. “To stay competitive in the market, to provide quality – on time and on budget, and to maintain our employer of choice status,” he says. Norbuilt has a very low staff turn-over rate, and Thompson says this is lucky for a number of reasons. It means that people they have grown with, and grown with them, stay with the company and are able to apply their years of experience and skill to any job that comes up. “We have been able to maintain this because of just how the company is run,” he says. “We make sure that all the staff are well looked after.” Remaining flexible and accommodating has been part of their strategy.

Staying current has also required them to implement continuous improvement strategies that include everything from training to constant upgrades to the tools of the trade – be that high-tech or machinery.  “We look to improve the skills of all of our operational personnel – especially in safety, environmental and compliance issues,” says Thompson. They have also recently set up an intranet, which will securely manage and distribute important information to clients, sub-contractors and site managers. This ensures that no one is ever out of the loop, and they can call up needed documentation at any time.

The change from paper-based documentation to electronic communication has also saved a lot of time and confusion on the job site, and is something that Norbuilt constantly makes sure that they have implemented when it is appropriate. “Technology is not a major factor in the ground work we do, but innovation in building methods is something that is very important. When we look at technology on the ground level it is more about product and method substitution to achieve build-ability, sustainability and value for money to our clients,” says Thompson.

Meeting the market head-on

Depending on the opportunities that Norbuilt sees within the market, it is perfectly possible that they will expand their operational reach. “We provide a competitive service, and many of our customers become return customers when they realise this,” says Thompson.  With their years of experience, Thompson sees that the future is bright for Norbuilt and is sure that the next decade they will continue to improve upon the systems they already have in place. “We will still be building, but doing it just bigger and better,” he says.

He includes that their future is also dependant on the people and methods they have implemented to get them where they are today. “Our work with our client base has been the best advertising we could possibly ask for, when you work closely with individuals and meet – or exceed – their expectations, word of mouth is a very powerful tool,” he says. So what is everyone saying? Just what the company motto is: if it’s built well, it’s Norbuilt!