Going the extra mile
Performance Building Group (PBG) is an award-winning Toowoomba-based builder that specialises in residential and commercial works. They are a relatively new company, but in the short time since commencing, they have worked on some of the city’s most acclaimed projects, and they have already earned a robust local reputation. Among the biggest names in the region, they are known for the quality of their workmanship and the excellence of their service.
At the 2019 Master Builders Queensland Housing & Construction Awards, for example, the company’s excellence was recognised several times over. They won a residential building award for a home they recently completed, and three of the commercial projects they worked on as carpentry contractors also earned awards for their building partners.
“That recognition means a lot to us,” says Adam Thomas, founder and co-director of PGB. “We put a lot of work into everything we do, and we’re not happy unless we’re delivering to a very high standard. To be recognised by the Master Builders as standing out from the crowd gives us a lot to be happy about.”
“It shows that our quality is definitely up there,” he adds. “There are a lot of builders out there, and a lot of good projects. It’s a hard market to get into and do well in, and the awards show we’re on the right track.”
The company’s recent award-winning home was built on Mayes Street in East Toowoomba, and won the category for ‘Individual Home $551,000 to $650,000.’ The client on the project runs a development company, and started as a commercial client of PBG’s. He trusted Adam and his team so much that when it came to build his own personal home, he came to them first.
That home was a double-storey, Hampton’s-style home, which was designed to allow for a lot of natural light and ventilation. It included a lot of louvres, several voids that that went from the ground floor all the way up to the top-floor ceiling, and big open windows in the rear.
The finished product was not only well received by the Master Builders’ – according to Adam, the client was “over the moon” with the result.
“That’s even more important to us than the award,” Adam says. “He’s an ongoing client we do shop fit-outs with, so for him to turn around and want us to build his personal home – that’s something we’re proud of, and something we take seriously. We’re thrilled he’s happy, and the award is just icing on the cake.”
At the same ceremony, three of the PBG’s commercial building partners also won awards.
Hutchinson Builders, for example, won ‘Educational Facilities up to $10 million’ for their work on the Downlands College Mooney Wing Refurbishment. FKG Group won ‘Refurbishment / Renovation over $750,000’ for the redevelopment of the Bellevue Hotel, which is now called the Mort Estate Hotel. Northbuild Construction, lastly, won ‘Sporting Facilities’ for the Glen McCraken Sports Centre in the Toowoomba Grammar School – and then went on to win the overall award for ‘Project of the Year.’
At the Toowoomba Grammar School, PBG came aboard near the end of the process, as much of the work was already complete by the time the company was founded. Adam had done some previous work with Northbuild, however, and he was recruited to contribute in the margins – they did some “compressed fibro work on the stairs,” for instance, as well as the timber seating in the change-rooms.
“We didn’t do a great deal there, but it’s a great centre, and a building we were proud to work on, even a little bit,” Adam says.
The company’s involvement on the Bellevue Hotel, on the other hand, was much more substantive.
The Bellevue Hotel is historic to Toowoomba, and that project involved extensively renovating into an expansive new modern headquarters for Mort & Co, an even more historic Darling Downs-based beef producer. Mort & Co engaged FKG Group to convert the hotel, built in 1904, into a modern office space, while still incorporating its many heritage features. FKG, in turn, engaged PBG for roughly six months of work, starting from the very beginning of the process.
Adam is particularly proud of his contribution to that job because he was trusted to serve as the site foreman for the first three months. FKG’s foremen were otherwise occupied when the project began, but since the company knew and trusted Adam, they were comfortable putting him in charge of overseeing the demolition and the structural changes portions while some of their other projects finished up, and their foremen became available.
Adam was honoured by that trust, and he was also honoured to be part of such a significant conversion to such an important building. He says now that he’s amazed at what the old heritage-listed building has turned into.
“The journey of that project was amazing,” he says. “From what it started out as, to what it is now – it’s been a huge transformation.”
Adam’s personal career in building goes back almost 20 years. He started his apprenticeship at only 17-years-old, beginning it with a residential builder and concluding it with FKG Group. After graduating, he worked with FKG for 10 years as a foreman and site manager. He enjoyed his time there, but he wanted to broaden his experience, so he spent a couple years with an insurance builder, then a couple more with another company, before deciding it was time to strike out on his own. A little over two years, he officially commenced Performance Building Group in partnership with co-director John Nicholas.
Adam and John both have significant experience in the commercial building industry, and their vision for PBG has always been to grow into a trusted local commercial builder. Early on, thanks to their experience and contacts, they have achieved that designation. They now work consistently as a subcontractor on large-scale jobs for larger commercial builders like Hutchinson Builders and FKG Group, while also taking on work as a general contractor for residential projects like the recent award-winning one, as well as on shop fit-outs and smaller commercial jobs.
According to Adam, those clients choose PBG due to their high standard of quality and equally high standard of service. The former is evidenced by their award wins. The latter is evidenced by their client retention and repeat work – Adam estimates that 95 per cent of their jobs are for clients they have worked with before.
The Executive Chairman of one of the company’s repeat clients – Gary Gardner of FKG Group – has even turned to PBG to renovate his own house. The company won their first residential award for that job in 2018. Adam considers that project particularly meaningful:
“If the owner of a building company chooses you for a renovation of his own place, I think that says something,” Adam says. “I think it shows that you’re definitely doing the right thing by him.”
Adam credits that kind of loyalty to his and John’s focus on relationship-building:
“Client relationships are, at the end of the day, what’s going to make you or break you,” he says. “We put a lot of time and effort into making sure ours are very good.”
“It’s all about how you go about things,” he continues. “At the end of the day, everyone is in the business to make money, but it’s not just about making money. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile and not expect anything back for it. That’s what we do. That’s why we get repeat business.”
Adam and John are also good communicators, which goes a long way. They make sure to keep clients updated on the progress of their jobs at all times, they make them aware of issues when they arise, and they always present solutions.
They also employ a talented and likeminded team of subcontractors, who tend to share those same values and principles. Many of their relationships with those partners go back years, to before Performance Building Group was even founded.
“We use the same guys all the time,” Adam says. “They know how we operate, and they know our expectations are in terms of quality. We treat them fairly and reasonably, we pay them on time, and they go the extra mile for us – just like we go the extra mile for our clients.”
Moving forward, PBG wants to keep going that extra mile – in Toowoomba, and also on the Sunshine Coast, where they recently opened up a new office. Their vision is to grow there swiftly, just like they have in Toowoomba over the past two years. Their vision is also to do keep subcontracting for clients like FKG and Hutchison, but do more of their own general contracting as well.
“We want to grow our business and get our name out there more,” Adam says. “We want to be known as a one of the leading builders in Queensland. That’s where we want to head.”