Sean Richards Building is an award-winning company that delivers high quality, custom-designed homes and renovations to Port Stephens, New South Wales. Over the years, founder Sean Richards and his team have developed an intimate knowledge of the area and have become experts at building homes that suit the climate and the lifestyles of its residents.
“We’re well known for our local knowledge and for building quality homes,” Sean says. “We’ve built a strong local team and have worked with the same quality group of tradesmen for many years. We know what we’re doing, and when clients come to us, they know they’re going to get a high quality result for their money.”
Sean first entered the building industry as a carpenter’s apprentice, back in 1986. After later working as a carpenter and leading hand, he struck out on his own and formed Sean Richards Building in 1999. In the years since, the company has evolved from doing extensions and decks to doing high quality custom homes.
Open and honest
Historically, Sean Richards Building has mainly worked in and around Port Stephens, largely for clients looking to move to the area from Sydney. In recent years, their niche has become custom-designed architectural homes valued $1 million and up.
According to Sean, the company stands out in that market due to their expertise, which they have been developing and building on for more than a decade. Over time, they have used that expertise to build an unrivalled reputation for quality in the Port Stephens area.
Sean Richards Building is also set apart by their focus on communication. Sean makes it a priority to keep in touch with clients and even organizes weekly site meetings once a project is underway. He devotes a lot of time and energy to making sure the relationship with clients is strong and, if they have any questions or concerns, he makes himself available to respond to them.
“I try to catch up with clients every week, even if there’s nothing urgent to talk about,” he says. “I want to ensure we maintain open communication throughout the entire project. If you lose communication, things can start to break down, so I am very conscious of staying open, honest, and reachable.”
Many of the company’s clients are building homes for their retirement, so they don’t tend to become repeat ones. They do, however, pass Sean’s name along to their friends and family and speak highly of the company when it comes up. Some clients even go on to become personal friends with Sean, which would be very unlikely if they weren’t completely satisfied with the work he did.
“The relationship with the client is key,” Sean says. “And communication is the key to maintaining it. So I don’t ever let that break down.”
Over the years, Sean Richards Building has delivered a long list of high quality homes to satisfied customers and that history of success has not gone unnoticed within the building industry. Recently, at the 2013 HIA Awards for the Hunter Region, the company’s skill and dedication was recognised with an award for Custom Built Home of the Year.
“That recognition proves we’re doing something right,” Sean says. “It gets people talking about the quality and finishes of our homes, and that’s always nice.”
He says that he always sets out to satisfy clients, and not to win an award. But when the awards come as a result, it gives him and his team a good feeling and motivates them to do even better on the next project.
He adds that the award-winning project – located in Salamander Bay – was a particularly difficult one to build, which makes the recognition mean even more to them.
“We used a lot of different materials and finishes in some really unique and unusual ways,” he says. “It’s a really interesting project and it certainly stands out.”
In their comments, judges said the Salamander Bay home took full advantage of its magnificent waterfront location and complimented features like the timber-lined entry portico, the highly polished stainless steel columns and the “striking” internal steel staircase. They also admired the way the “free flowing living areas seamlessly connect with multiple outdoor entertaining spaces.”
Sean credits the attention-grabbing result to the unique vision of the architect, Torren Bell. He also credits the clients for their willingness to “let him go” and design something really unique for the area.
Although the project was challenging to build, Sean says he was able to overcome that challenge due to his experience as well as the dedication of the team around him. That team includes his wife, his site supervisor and his roster of talented subcontractors – many of whom he’s been working with for 15 years or more.
“I’ve been with those guys for a long time,” he says. “They provide an excellent service that I can rely on. They know the area and they know how to deliver quality.”
“Clients like that too,” he adds. “They like that we’re working with local people and they like it if they’ve been working with us for a number of years. That way they can be confident that the quality will be consistent.”
Moving forward, Sean says he aims to keep that team together and keep delivering the high quality they have all become known for. He says the company will evolve and maybe move beyond the borders of Port Stephens, but their exceptional quality – and the personalised service that goes with it – will remain consistent.