Up For a Challenge


Initially, CamPak Construction Pty Ltd had concentrated most of its efforts on educational institutions but slowly moved into working on contracts for the Defence Department and airports. In the past, CamPak operated four distinct company divisions but has now reverted back to two, CamPak Construction Pty Ltd and CamPak Asbestos and Fireproofing Services Pty Ltd (which specialises in asbestos removal, demolition and fireproofing).

CamPak Construction performs work on commercial and retail spaces, hospitals and community centres. The company also works for The Department of Defence, through its facilities managers, Spotless Services. Generally speaking, there is no job that it can’t handle.

“We do some work for Queensland University as well as the Queensland University of Technology,” says Craig Witherspoon, the Co-Director of CamPak Construction. “We also have a few private clients, but only one or two; we don’t work with private (domestic) clients extensively.”

The first major airport client for CamPak Constructions was Qantas and before too long, the Brisbane Airport Corporation was in need of some construction work as well. Today, these companies are the major clients of the company.

“Our major strength is our ability to work in the airport environment,” explains Craig. “We’re very familiar with working in high security areas and we tend to specialise in project managing some of the more complicated projects, where there is a high interaction with the public and the operation of an airline. We have also worked extensively around the actual aircraft (airside) and we’ve got very experienced staff that are familiar with the dos and don’ts of working close to fuel supplies and aircraft in an operational airport.”

The experience needed to be able to accomplish such daunting tasks has come from years of working in these environments. In an airport, one can’t completely shut down the area; there are always passengers as well as employees using the space. Expensive machines and explosive jet fuel add further challenges.

“It’s experience based,” shares Craig. “Some of the work that we’ve done for Qantas and Brisbane Airport Corporation, they’ve entrusted to us because of our experience and knowledge of working in those environments.”

Indeed, CamPak has completed some truly impressive projects at the Brisbane airport. One such project was the installation of the massive new doors on Hangar 1. This set of five red doors span the entire seventy-one metre front of the hangar and range in height from twelve metres for the outer doors to the twenty-two meter high central door. The idea is to create a giant space that can accommodate a Boeing 747 jet or two Boeing 737s side by side.

There was really no detail spared on this project. Not only were there over twenty-six tonnes of doors installed but CamPak also constructed and upgraded the facilities to include office space for up to thirty-two staff, a gleaming epoxy floor and an additional thirty tonnes of structural steel used to strengthen the ageing roof to be able to support the new doors. The company also provided fire, electrical and security upgrades for the hangar.

CamPak was also responsible for completing the new check-in area (Next Generation Check-in) at the Brisbane Domestic Terminal including floors, terminals, pillars, baggage handling systems, conveyors and lighting. The upgrade has given the entire domestic terminal a shiny new look.

At CamPak, no job is complete until it is one hundred per cent satisfactory; there is never a job that can be just average. Particularly with the challenging economic times that have hit the construction industry, there is no room for mistakes that can cause the loss of repeat business. “It’s extremely competitive at the moment; it can be quite hard to find work,” says Craig.

“There is an election called for September and there seems to be a mood of holding back on expenditures and I think that it’s evident in our industry that a lot of projects are on hold pending the outcome of the election,” he continues. “There seems to be a lag on the GFC and confidence hasn’t really turned around yet, so it’s a very competitive market.”

To make things easier for clients who are looking to get work done, CamPak has been reviewing its prices, reviewing its subcontractor base and talking to suppliers to get even more competitive pricing so that the company can still maintain a fair share of the projects that are available.

Through its tried and trusted network of subcontractors, there is no need for searching as all the right people are at hand whenever they are needed. It’s very important, Craig emphasises, to have contractors who are experienced, accredited and have the proper security clearance to work in an airport environment where extra precautions must be followed.

“Having said that, though, when we are doing work on schools there is a broader range of subcontractors,” he explains. “Because there aren’t any prerequisites, we like to spread the work a bit to those other trusted workers who need it. It also keeps us competitive, because we can look for competitive prices.”

At some other companies, getting in touch with the company directors can sometimes be a daunting task for a client. With CamPak Construction, there is no complicated corporate structure to wade through before receiving answers. In fact, Craig and Philip are personally available to any and all of CamPak’s clients for a prompt and direct solution to any queries that may arise. Says Craig, “We like to know what’s happening at all times within every level of our company.

“We are personally involved with every project, so we keep our finger on the pulse and we run a very tight ship, so to speak. We keep a very close eye on timeframes, quality, costs and programs so that we know that we will be on time. That’s why we have such success.”

The company’s success is also due to the unique role it assumes while working for its clients by reflecting the values of the client company as if CamPak were part of it. This goes for any company that is having work done. If it is possible for CamPak to help a client’s brand grow then that is what it will do and this strategy has paid off as CamPak’s brand keeps growing alongside.

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?

December 16, 2018, 6:41 AM AEDT