Keeping their Word

Next Constructions

Mr Di Girolamo, who has years of experience and a degree in construction, quickly brought other industry insiders on board – several of whom have thirty years’ experience – to ensure top notch quality and efficiency.

This team of experts has helped drive the organisation forward, and Next Constructions has enjoyed significant growth during its seven years in business.

Next Constructions’ portfolio is split evenly between construction work and fitout / refurbishment projects, and both sides of the business typically take on projects in the $1 million to $20 million range. Construction jobs are diverse and include service stations, hotels, multi-unit residential, aged care centres, data centres, and child care centres. Recent and current projects include several Caltex service stations, a mixed use 42-unit development in Ultimo, a KFC in Lidcombe, and a CBD building refurbishment at 33 York Street, Sydney.

Fitout and refurbishment projects also cover a variety of sectors, including hotels, restaurants, clubs, offices, and high-end retail. The company has carved out a niche for itself within this sector by taking on particularly challenging jobs. “We have grown the business by doing projects that are in harder locations and live environments,” Mr Di Girolamo explains. And the company is known for completing these projects on time and on budget, despite the challenges.

For example, the team delivered a complete fitout for Zara at Westfield Sydney two weeks ahead of schedule, even though the work was complicated by the ongoing redevelopment of the shopping centre. “We are very good at working with other contractors, working collaboratively to get the job done,” Mr Di Girolamo points out. “We manage our time and think of ways to speed up the program, so that at the end of the day, whatever job we are doing, whether it is a restaurant or a retail store, they can actually open on or before the date they were planning to open. We have a track record of doing that.”

In fact, Next Constructions was recommended for the Zara job because the team had recently completed a fitout and refurbishment of the Sky Phoenix Restaurant on time, even though the project suffered a series of unavoidable delays. “We worked around the clock to get the job done,” Mr Di Girolamo recalls. Nick’s Seafood, located in Cockle Bay, was also finished ahead of schedule and earned the company a second contract with the same property owner. In addition, Next Constructions completed a $4 million five star green star office fitout project for Ricoh Australia, in just 12 weeks. “It was a very fast track job for a very happy client.”

Completing jobs on time and on budget is key to keeping clients satisfied. Quality is equally important, of course. “We do the right thing by our clients and make sure that they are happy,” Mr. Di Girolamo explains. “We are passionate about making sure that, at the end of the job, our relationship is better than at the start of a job. And the way that you achieve that is by doing a great job – delivering the job on time or earlier, delivering a high level of quality, and delivering the job defect free.” Restaurants and retail sites don’t allow for second chances, he adds. “With most of the jobs that we do, there is really no opportunity to come back after and [fix] defects. When we hand over the job, we actually hand it over.”

The team’s ability to deliver on their promises can be a breath of fresh air for property owners who have experienced construction headaches in the past. “Our clients are always pleasantly surprised because it is not typically what they experience from other builders,” Mr Di Girolamo states. Anticipating problems before they occur – and proactively enacting solutions – helps the team keep their word.

The team is also committed to keeping their promises to suppliers and subcontractors. “We are very passionate about making sure that our suppliers and subcontractors get paid on time,” Mr Di Girolamo explains. The team is also careful to set up realistic, carefully managed programs so that “all the trades have enough time to get in and do their jobs well.” Too often in the industry, subcontractors “aren’t given a chance to do their job because the programs are unrealistic.” But Next Constructions’ well managed programs help keep subcontractors happy, creating a win-win situation for both parties. “We like to build relationships with our subbies and look out for them, and they look out for us with their pricing as well, so that allows us to win more work,” Mr Di Girolamo points out.

Next Constructions also focuses on innovation. In fact, Mr Di Girolamo chose a company name that would reflect a forward-thinking mentality. “We are innovative in terms of how we deliver our projects,” Mr. Di Girolamo insists. “Our policy and procedures are all in line with the newest and latest systems.” A big part of this commitment is making sure that the company is utilising the most up to date software. “We are using all the industry leading software programs for construction,” Mr Di Girolamo points out. For instance, the team relies on Jobpac in order to deliver the most efficient project and financial management. “Jobpac is used by larger tier one builders, not typically a builder in the tier three like we are.”

Furthermore, the company takes advantage of the cloud for maximum efficiency. “The guys all have a laptop and they can access the servers whenever they want,” Mr Di Girolamo says. For example, the company uses Buildtools for document management, so all project correspondence is uploaded and easily viewed from any location. “Wherever I am, I can log onto the server and have a look at a job and see what is actually happening there. We are very transparent that way.” As a result, all involved parties remain on the same page. “[It is] very seamless for the subbies; it is very easy to manage the documentation and the correspondence.”

This commitment to communication is seen throughout the company. “We are very passionate about ensuring that our communication lines are open and that everyone knows what is expected of them,” Mr Di Girolamo says. In fact, one of the team’s first steps after the business was launched was to hire a consultant, Gallop Solutions, to help them put a system in place that would streamline communication and clarify employee duties. As a result, Next Constructions has an organising board that breaks the company up into seven distinct divisions. “That is another reason why we have had a lot of success with the business. We have a very clean structure on who does what and what the product is that they produce. Everybody knows what their job is; everybody knows what is expected of them. That makes it much easier to get the job done.”

The team has also taken the steps necessary to assure clients that they are delivering jobs to the highest standards, both in terms of quality and environmental responsibility; Next Constructions has ISO Certified Quality Assurance 9001, OH&S 4801 and an Environmental 14001 Management System.

The company’s strategies and efforts have helped the business grow at a healthy rate, seeing Next Constructions achieve BRW Fast Starters Finalist in 2011 & 2012 – and this growth is set to continue. “Our main goal is to keep on growing our turnover and our profitability year on year like we have been since we started,” Mr Di Girolamo shares. In fact, in five years from now, the team believes that Next Constructions will have expanded into a national company with a presence in every state. In the meantime, the team will focus on promoting their capabilities doing fitout and refurbishment and construction in the CBD space. “Part of our plan is to do a lot more CBD fitout and refurbishment because we have a lot of experience in that area,” Mr Di Girolamo explains. “We really want to capitalise on that market in the CBD space. We want to be recognised as a CBD fitout, refurb and construction contractor.” With a roster of successful projects under its belt already – both in the CBD space and beyond – Next Constructions is certainly well on its way to meeting its goals.

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 19, 2018, 9:24 AM AEDT