Diverse Skills for Streamlined Solutions

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-By John Boley

One of the most recent additions to the construction and development industry in South Australia is Adelaide-based Trice, a young growing business offering project and development management expertise.

Director Daniel Dello Iacovo says the company was founded in 2008 and has drawn together a team with a vast and diverse skill set which offers a fresh, innovative and specialised service that meets the needs of the client and delivers projects successfully.

Trice’s approach to the delivery of any property development is structured so as to ensure the client’s requirements are adhered to in terms of design, quality, budget and timeframe from the outset to occupation.

Trice describes itself as a ’boutique service’, which, Daniel says, equates to “small and flexible within a multi-skilled team with different disciplines. Sonia [Cheema, design manager] comes from an architectural background, but has also spent time on large residential and commercial projects. My background stems from quantity surveying and with tier one contractors and developers here in South Australia, then I went on to work for an international consultancy in Europe for five years, representing various super-funds acquiring large-scale development sites and project managing them to completion.

“Katrina [Hicks, project administrator] spent an extensive amount of time at one of Australia’s largest property funds. Nick [Argyros, project manager] also has a varied background most recently at a large development company and prior to that with a project management firm.” The team is completed by Julia Michalakos, marketing coordinator, and Tom Hope as Project Coordinator.

Daniel says “there is a lot going on around Adelaide and we have a lot of enquiries at present. We have to carefully select the projects that we would like to commit ourselves to, because another key objective in maintaining this boutique nature and keeping a good reputation in the market is to properly resource the projects that we are working on. That’s extremely important for us.”

The projects that Trice is keen to be involved in are “obviously those that require a good level of input from our team; complex in nature; larger, high-profile projects where we add significantly more value.”

An interesting variety of projects is already posted on the Trice website, with a glasshouse at the top. A glasshouse? Surely that’s a pretty simple structure? “Not so. That’s just what we were thinking when we were driving out to see the client for the first time. But the glasshouses were a really, really exciting and complex project: state of the art glasshouses.”

A $65 million joint venture between Sydney-based fresh food marketing company, Perfection Fresh Australia, and diverse investment company, The Victor Smorgon Group, d’VineRipe is Australia’s largest glasshouse to use pad and fan climate technology. Spanning 17 hectares, the glasshouse has the capacity to produce up to 10,000 tonnes of truss and speciality tomatoes a year. Stage one opened in 2007.

The facility incorporates leading-edge technologies and operating systems including a co-generation plant which runs on natural gas to control the glasshouse climate, water sourced from Adelaide’s waste water supply via the Bolivar Water Reuse Project, a closed watering system, and innovative packing lines. The feasibility of generating renewable energies such as biogas to compost its own waste and an on-site nursery to propagate seeds are on d’VineRipe’s future agenda.

The second stage, which Trice was involved with, opened in February 2011 and more than doubled the size of the facility at Two Wells, near Adelaide. It uses pad and fan climate-control technology and has specialised glass on the roof, which filters UV rays and helps boost light levels inside. A new variety of tomato will be planted this year and there are plans to trial bell capsicums next year.

“The structures are six metres tall,” explains Daniel, “approximately one hundred metres wide and 250 metres in depth, which makes for a 25,000 square metre glasshouse, but what makes them more complex is their highly sophisticated technical design which relates to creating the perfect internal environment which is maintained at a constant all the year round and to do that requires really highly technological building services – heating systems, automatically opening and closing venting systems. Carbon dioxide reticulation was something more specific to do with the growth of the plants, various water filtration plants – there were also many other concerns and complexities that face food production.

“We were responsible for stage two as project managers. It consisted of over 100,000 square metres of glasshouse, a full power upgrade for the site, a 35 mega litre water dam, and we were also managing a new water filtration plant – all in all, a very complex project, all of which was delivered in a very short amount of time. From about May to the end of December we didn’t stop – it was all at a hundred miles an hour.” Services provided by Trice on the d’Vine project were: client representative project management, project administration, project coordination and superintendent role.

So how does this small team divide its time? “It depends on the project,” says Daniel. “We do overlap. The glasshouse is something we were all involved in, because of its size and timeframe. Other projects such as the retirement village or commercial buildings on the city fringe are a lot more structured, easier to control and therefore we can share the responsibilities within the office.”

Other recent projects completed include The Edge. “We were involved during the construction phase – the project was already under way on site. The client wanted us to pull things together and project manage it to completion, which we successfully did. The project has been a success – the offices are now 95 percent let, which is a good outcome particularly as it was a project that took off right in the middle of the global financial crisis, and it was a fantastic beginning for this business.”

Another property, The Wave, positioned in Gilles Street, Adelaide, consists of five levels of premium office space, combined with three levels of luxurious apartments including a roof top pool and retail facilities at ground level. Trice provided client representative project management, project administration and cost management advice. Daniel comments that there were a number of special challenges in this building.

“Yes, The Wave is a whole lot more complex than The Edge. Apart from its architectural design, it’s also a mixed-use development, so it’s broken up into four basic categories – a retail component on the ground floor, a commercial office component, a residential component and then there are all the common facilities that bring the whole building together.” He says it’s Trice’s forte to work with these disparate factors and coordinate everything to completion.

Another current project is Thorndon Park Estate, a retirement village development located in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. This comprises 50 well appointed, single story independent living units with a community club house. Trice’s challenges here, says Daniel, “include the present economic climate and understanding the financial structure of a development of that nature – it’s all very different from, say, an office development.

“You have to take into consideration a whole series of different agreements for occupants and requirements for community facilities, etc. It’s been a good experience for us, we are about six weeks from handing over stage one, which has been a great success, and we are looking at negotiating stage two shortly.”

Despite being relative newcomers, Trice also has a good variety of other projects under its belt, including the Adelaide head office of CPA Australia. This comprised a new office relocation in a five-star green-rated building, offering improved training facilities and a members’ lounge. Here, the company provided project management and fit-out management for integrated fit-out with a dual role to the landlord and tenant.

There is also a new office building in a city fringe location which has outstanding commercial office facilities including elegant and clever design, meeting the needs of workplace diversity and environmentally responsible design, and the Brecknock Hotel on King William Street, Adelaide, where Trice is working with a well-known restaurateur to relocate their restaurant to a heritage listed site.

The company has one current project outside SA – in Willawong, Brisbane, where it provides client representative project management, project administration and project coordination for a community centre comprising of auditorium and seminar rooms – but this was a special case, Daniel says. “Our focus is very definitely in SA and the opportunity in Brisbane came from a client who was really keen on our involvement in the project. We have managed to address that requirement and that project too is going very well at present – it has just commenced on site. Trice specialises in South Australia but is prepared to travel.”

So how are things in the area from Trice’s perspective? “Looking up towards the end of the year. There’s a great deal of confidence in the market, it’s just a matter of getting all the planning and front-end of any project together properly during this quieter period, ready for when finance is more readily available and greater commitments can be made by larger tenants and occupants out there who are wishing to look at the next phase of their businesses.” Daniel is confident his team, currently being augmented, can cope with demand. “Our key strength is the varied skill set within the office.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

October 21, 2018, 11:45 AM AEDT