Award Winning Construction
With 30 years of experience in their field, Ri-con Contractors has become a leader in the industry. Focussing on projects in both isolated and sensitive areas in Australia, Ri-con has “become somewhat of an Aussie icon when it comes to remote construction,” laughs John Jenkins, founder and managing director. “We have clients come to us out of the blue, with what they consider near impossible project briefs, because they know we are the only ones who can deliver,” Jenkins adds. The Dunk Island rebuild after Cyclone Larry devastated the resort in 2006 is a classic example of Ri-con Contractors accomplishing the near impossible.
Throughout the last decade or so, Ri-con, as it’s been known for eight years now, has changed its focus. Whereas they used to do a lot of work in the resort industry in addition to luxury homes, they now have diversified in order to offer services in many different areas of construction. These new areas are: commercial and industrial, remote area and interstate projects, government work, and multi-residential projects, just to name a few.
A feeling of home
Unlike some of their competitors, Ri-con is happy to be a midsized company. “We keep a close-knit relationship with our staff,” says Jenkins. Both John Jenkins and Don Littler, the Chief Financial Officer at Ri-con, explain the feeling of “family” within their company. Ri-con promotes team building and development among their employees. They also practice a policy of promoting internally, as opposed to bringing in new members to the team. It is important to keep employees happy, Jenkins says, and sees no better way to do this than through promotion. Ri-con also provides their staff with ongoing training and monitoring – again, theirs is a policy of support and encouragement. Under this policy, members of the Ri-con team are able to improve where needed, as well as continuously better themselves in terms of skills and personal development. Ri-con further cultivates this familial atmosphere by hosting several yearly social gatherings for their employees. This sort of commitment to their employees – and to the concept of family – is just glimpse into the values of the company as a whole.
In 2009, Ri-con won the Excellence in Construction Award from Master Builders Australia. Over the course of two years, Ri-con was responsible for a major design and upgrade of a cattle station for the Indigenous Land Corporation. The project was completed in two years, and in two different phases. The first phase involved the construction of a new workshop, stables, two camp ablution areas, twenty-three staff accommodation units and eighteen holiday cabins. The second phase was even more extensive, and required the building of twenty-seven guest units, an art gallery that could double as a conference room, a house for the manager, a commercial kitchen, two commercial swimming pools and a restaurant and bar. Although the region experienced one of its worst wet seasons in years, Ri-con completed the project on time and with their signature stamp of excellence.
That stamp has been consistently applied to all of Ri-con’s projects, no matter how remote or challenging that project may be. They are a company that has a proven track record, who emphasises quality workmanship and having trades people ready and available. Their success is based on two things: access to a large pool of subcontractors, tradesman and labourers – and logistical support from planning to completion. Those two things, when coupled, give Ri-con the ability to achieve results as well as maintaining a flexibility that is not always shared by its competition.
The current global financial crisis presents a challenge to the Australian economy and its local businesses. Ri-con has combated this challenge by getting more involved in government projects, a field of work that remains mostly untouched by the current global financial crisis. “It hasn’t really affected us,” says Littler. “Because we do a lot of government work, we remain relatively stable. We get away from the ups and downs of the economy.” The projects done for the government are often necessary and must be completed, regardless of economic conditions.
Going Lean and Green
Sustainable initiatives are extremely important to both the environment and Ri-con clients, which is why the company is so invested in them. Jenkins says clients often want to know what is being done to reduce the company’s carbon footprint, or impact on the environment. Back to the future principles of construction which look at building performance over aesthetics is the company’s focus. At Ri-con, all possible measures are being taken to reduce the potential harm to the environment. First, and most importantly, is reducing the amount of waste they create. The benefits of cutting down on waste apply not only to the environment, but also to the company. By eliminating some of their construction waste, which is often measured by weight, they significantly reduce their transporting costs. Littler says that that the company has embraced Lean Construction techniques (first introduced by Toyota) across the company to ensure that all wastes are kept to an absolute minimum.
With Federal Accreditation in WPH&S just a few months away, the company is poised to make a splash in the resource sector in 2012. The company sees their involvement in this sector as a logical next step in their development. Ri-con has also recently received accreditation as a sub-contractor with Rio Tinto after a comprehensive application process – no mean feat for a mid-sized company based in Cooroy, Queensland. The company, however, has roots that extend far outside Queensland with an office already in Kununurra, WA and offices soon to be opened in Perth and Darwin. The sky’s the limit for this dynamic construction company that thrives on repeat business and who are now actively looking for new long term clients. Any interested parties are encouraged to contact Mark Jensen, the Business Development Manager at Ri-con on 07 5472 0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.