We can do it all – including construction
In only a short period of time, and with over ten different building awards, RGD Constructions has created a name for itself as one of the leading companies in the construction industry. Working under the direction of Ron Grabbe and Steve Hopes; the pair brings knowledge, practical experience, and team leadership to their company. The duo have been working together since the early 90’s and since that time have established excellent relations with both suppliers and key contractors.
RGD was founded by Ron Grabbe when he established a family based business sub-dividing parcels of land in the Sunshine Coast Region. When the property market crashed in the early 1980’s Ron was quick to innovate and start building homes on the land in order to sell it – so began his property development and construction career.
From here Ron went further afield developing large multi-million dollar residential projects up and down the Sunshine Coast in the 90’s, also branching out into the commercial market.
RGD Constructions was formally established back in 2003 as a division of RGD Property Group. In under a decade, they have differentiated themselves from their competitors in several ways. In addition to award-winning projects, professionalism, and integrity, RGD is largely committed to their consumers, their employees, as well as the environment.
While remaining in the family business, Ron’s son, Klint, discusses his role within the company as a site supervisor. RGD Constructions takes on both residential and commercial projects including but not limited to: medium-density unit apartments, retail, commercial, and industrial buildings. RGD’s turnover over the last 5 years has been about $150,000,000. RGD Constructions usually embarks upon one large project a year, among other smaller ones, with a target project range between 4 and 60 million dollars. “Being a small to medium sized construction company, we don’t want to exclude the lower range projects,” says Klint. This sort of inclusiveness allows RGD to take on a variety of projects, not limiting themselves to one particular sector.
Happy employees, happy customers
As the saying goes, happy employees mean happy customers. RGD Constructions understands the value of their employees and the direct impact they have on the business as a whole. “We are looking at different things for the employees over the next few months, looking at different ways we can try and foster better relationships, and one thing we’re looking at doing into the future is structured career paths in the site supervision and project management realms. That’s what we’re looking into at the moment – it’s a building phase,” says Klint. “Basically what we’ve been working on over the last 6 months now is reviewing our vision and structuring strategic planning towards achieving our vision.”
One step ahead
Within the last few years the media has focussed their attention on the environment and green initiatives being made by different companies. While businesses are beginning to hop on the bandwagon and ‘go green’, RGD Constructions has remained one step ahead. RGD is one of the leaders of green initiatives within the construction industry; incorporating many sustainable initiatives into their projects. Additionally they recognise the need for further technological advancements within the area of sustainability.
Completed in June 2010, the Edge is one of RGD’s prized projects. In addition to being a beautifully designed building and work of architecture, the Edge is the Sunshine Coast’s first Certified Green Star Project. “The Green Building Council of Australia is a not for profit organisation committed to developing a sustainable property industry for Australia by encouraging green building practices. The Green Building Council’s office design rating tool was adopted for the project and a target of four stars was set. The GBCA rating tools have very stringent criteria to achieve the target rating,” says Klint. The Edge was a $30 million dollar development which was completed in only a short 10 months. It includes 14,000 m2 of floor space and is one of the Sunshine Coast’s largest commercial projects to date.
“Obviously the biggest thing is additional costs. We managed to do that without incurring any significant additional costs to the client or ourselves. Basically we were able to achieve a 4-star rating and the Edge was actually the first building north of Brisbane to achieve a Green Star rating at the time. We have been leading the industry in terms of sustainability,” says Klint. Different types of initiatives receive a different amount of points, Klint explains. “Through the construction phase, we manage to recycle up to 69 per cent of all construction waste. On one of our current projects we achieved up to 90 per cent which is based on weight.” In regards to construction waste, RGD Constructions is doing their part to reduce their impact on the environment. This has attracted the regional council’s attention and they are now looking at ways to encourage other builders in the region to adopt the same style of recycling regime. This is only one of the green initiatives they have taken, in addition to several others including energy efficient lighting, and the implementation of an Environmental Management System.
Why should consumers choose RGD Constructions over the countless other construction companies? Klint explains how RGD is different from its competitors. “Being a small to medium construction company at the moment, I’d say that it enables us to provide a more hands on approach to the management of our projects and company as a whole meaning smaller overheads. For our clients this converts to value for money, increased efficiencies and competitive prices without necessarily reducing the quality or compromising the quality of the end product,” says Klint.
“The Housing Industry Association (HIA) represents builders and subcontractors. They can help us in terms of lobbying to the government but they’re also good for marketing initiatives and general business development training. One of their key policies is maintaining housing supply and housing affordability.” says Klint.
RGD’s Ocean Reach was runner up for Home of the Year. RGD won Outdoor Project of the year for the Sunshine Coast Region and Queensland and just recently was awarded the National Award. “This award is really important to us. It recognises us as a national leader in terms of resort style apartment living and reinforces the forward thinking and visionary of Ron our founding director. The Outdoor Project Award is based on outdoor living design, landscaping and external works. We have spent significant dollars on the external features of the building and the seamless integration of the external landscaped areas and its interconnection with the atrium areas within the building,” says Klint. Keeping with the theme of green, consumers are able to see the consistent attention being paid to the land and environment. While buyers may be looking for a beautiful home or commercial building, the beauty is not limited to the structure itself. RGD recognises the importance of outdoor landscaping, and in turn, they too have been recognised by the HIA for their projects.
The effect of the economy
“We have to be more competitive in our pricing structure and that has obviously worked considering we have been awarded the projects. It makes it harder for developers to get projects up and running. There have been delays but due to efficiencies with our overheads, we’ve managed to retain key staff and personnel. Over the last 18 months when other companies were retrenching other workers.” Despite being clearly affected by the economic downturn, according to Klint, RGD has “been through the hardest already.” They actually plan on expanding within the next 12-18 months. So even though they have been affected by the economy in the short term, RGD has come out with a positive outlook for the future of their company.
The future of RGD Constructions
“Now we’re at the point where we’re looking at expanding,” says Klint. He explains RGD’s intention of increasing its turnover over the next five years. While their larger projects are in the $20 to $50 million bracket, he says they would like to step it up to the $50 to the $100 million bracket within the next few years. In addition to increasing project size, RGD plans to tap into additional markets. “Two key emerging markets we’ll be focussing on will be health and its supporting industries, and retirement villages with the aging population,” says Klint. With the planned hospital for Kawana set to open in 2013, Klint believes there are a lot of opportunities for the local construction industry to tap into over the coming decade.