Project Control Group (PCG) is a corporate real estate and project services provider that offers total delivery of commercial or industrial workplaces. They provide companies with a complete corporate real estate package – from seeking out new property, to negotiating on their behalf, to designing and delivering a workplace that will unlock the full potential of their clients’ business.
First started in 1988 by Managing Director Simon Gunnis, PCG has more than 25 years of experience in the delivery of both comprehensive commercial and industrial property. Though the company has evolved over the years, their goals have never changed. From the start, they have sought to provide a highly personalised service that helps clients achieve an optimal property and workplace outcome.
According to Simon, PCG has consistently been able to achi
eve that goal due to the unparalleled knowledge and experience.
“We’re of the firm opinion that when it comes to corporate real estate, enlightened decision making cannot be made in the absence of the three fundamental skill sets,” he says. “Those three are property, design, and project management skills – all of which we provide for our clients.”
Clients come first
“I worked in the design industry for some time before starting PCG,” recalls Simon. “One thing I often noticed was that the client’s relationship with the designer or architect was quite often compromised. That was because of the inherent tension that exists within a head contractor / client relationship.”
When Simon founded PCG, he set out to remove that tension by creating a “relationship model,” rather than a transactional one. He ultimately came up with a corporate real estate solution whereby there’s no head contractor, and no potential for nasty variations.
“The client is in control,” he explains. “And we’re their informed partner.”
Initially, Simon says it was challenging to change the way that companies approached corporate real estate. The market’s traditional approach was very flawed, and it took some educating on PCG’s part to convince clients that there’s a better way.
“Let’s say a company is looking to reposition their work place and facilities,” Simon says, offering an example. “I would ring them up, tell them I want to help them make an informed decision to maximize their opportunity. They reply with telling us they have to do the property bill first. I would counter that we should probably be there, standing beside them, but to no avail.”
“A month later, they’ve done the deal,” he continues. “Our people spend a month or two with theirs about what they really need for their organization’s workplace and/or facility. We find out that they are a square organisation, and that they need 5,000 square metres in the east sector of the city. Turns out they bought a round building, 10,000 square metres, in the west area of the city. The property decision was transactionally led by the supply-side, and was not informed by the specific needs of the DNA or processes of the business.”
In PCG’s model, the opposite is true. Every single decision they have to make – from property selection through to interior design – is made with the goal of optimising the potential of the client’s business.
“We got sick and tired of inheriting the dumb property decisions,” Simon says. “Today, it’s our people that write the strategy and are also responsible for the realization of the vision for corporate real estate – and while there are cases where we provide just design services or just property management services, the Holy Grail for us is a holistic one-two-three, or an end-to-end service.”
Over the years, PCG has worked with some of Australia’s largest employers, including private corporations and government bodies. Many of those companies have gone on to become repeat clients, and the majority have happily written glowing testimonials for their website.
“We enjoy a high level of business with our clients, who we value enormously,” says Simon. “In the majority of cases, when we first meet a client they’ve never encountered the type of proposition we offer. Nine times out of ten they’ve got this muscle memory of managing multiple service providers, and are usually unsure about hiring just one group for it all.”
“At the end of it though, they say it’s a lightened load,” he adds. “They say if they’d known about it beforehand, they’d have been doing it for years.”
“Probably the longest lasting relationship we’ve had is with a food and beverage organisation called Lion,” he continues. “That’s a particularly impressive one because it has survived four different CEOs. We were even recently recognized by the Master Builders Association (MBA) for our latest project with them on Sydney Olympic Park.”
The award-winning project was a five-storey building on Murray Rose Avenue, and was designed to house 800 people from several diverse divisions, including wine, beer, and dairy products. The office is Lion’s largest in Sydney, and PCG was involved with Lion’s property team right from the lease and building negotiations. Their mandate was to ultimately create a space that brought the company’s values to life.
The completed project involved some very modern design, including themes for each floor, and meeting spaces that bear names such as The Beach, The Jetty, and The Pool. Simon says they managed to create areas that were distinctive to the various divisions and teams housed within them – areas where those teams would be happy to work, and meet with customers and suppliers.
The building also includes a variety of interesting staff facilities, such as a large gym, table tennis tables, massage rooms, a bar that accommodates 250 people, and even a fleet of 30 branded bikes for staff to ride before work or during their lunch hours.
At the MBA NSW Excellence in Construction Awards, that development was awarded with a win in the category for Interior Fitouts $20 million to $30 million. Judges praised it as being a “a sensational project throughout” and said that it was “obvious from the outset that careful thought had been given to depict the client’s diversified interests.”
“We value that highly,” Simon says of the recognition. “There’s a great calibre of projects submitted for those awards. It’s a Master Builders award, and there’s a high standard of evaluation.”
“The MBA has a panel of very highly experienced judges,” he explains. “They spent hours with us inspecting the projects and establishing a close, intimate understanding of what went into them – the background, the rationale, the design process, the whole specifications. They got it, and they walked away with a very in-depth understanding of the projects and therefore an insightful conclusion. We respect that.”
Moving forward, the vision of PCG is to continue doing what has made them an award-winning success, Simon explains.
“It’s just more of what we’ve been doing – continuing to grow within our markets, build quality relationships, work with organisations that value their employees, and appreciate the linkages between people, processes and place to achieve success.”