Meet Steve - our construction manager
We recently caught up with Steve, our Construction Manager, to find out a bit more about him and what he does.
What does your role as a construction manager involve?
I still haven’t worked that one out yet, every day’s different. It’s quite a mix of things, which is better than going to work in the morning knowing I’ll be doing exactly the same thing I did the day before. I manage all things construction and love the challenge of problem solving.
How long have you been with Comdain Homes?
11 years now. With close to 40 year’s experience in the construction industry I’ve pretty much spent my whole career in the building trade.
Is that what you wanted to do when you were a kid?
I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I was growing up. Early on I got accepted by the police force, Telstra and some other companies, but somehow ended up in the building industry.
Why did you join Comdain Homes?
I was a building supervisor and then a construction manager with another home builder for 5½ years; an opportunity came up with Comdain Homes so I applied and got the job!
I did my apprenticeship in residential building in the 80s and once qualified, I sub-contracted and was also employed as a site supervisor. I went back to sub-contracting before becoming a Registered Builder and running my own residential building company for about 10 years.
On average how many jobs to you work on at any given time?
At the moment I’m managing about 20 different projects but sometimes it can be as high as 30 at a time. When a supervisor or trade needs help to resolve something, I’ll go out to site to assist. So in terms of running the jobs, they all run at different stages so my time can be balanced. Not all jobs start on the same day and each job requires different levels of input at the beginning and then again when the job is coming to the end. My input will come at the start, be minimal during the course of the job and then ramp up again just at the end in terms of handing over the finished home.
So you’re a bit of a troubleshooter?
Yes, that’s part of my job. Say a client wants to turn something a particular way and we don’t recommend turning it that way, it’s my job to explain this to them. I’m sometimes seen as the bad guy. Our supervisors are the good guys and do their best to accommodate a client’s wishes, however at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to take the emotion out of the situation and say “Yes” or “No”.
Is it difficult getting jobs in on time and to a high standard?
Well yeah, but we won’t compromise our standards. It’s my role to be good cop bad cop, to maintain our high standard of workmanship across all trades, I’m telling them the truth and sometimes people don’t always want to hear the truth, but usually in the end, they understand why I made a particular decision.
You deal with pretty much everybody don’t you.
Yes, absolutely. From the client, sub-contractors, to everyone here at head office. The sales team will often ask, “Can you have a look at this”, or “I’ve got this email from the client”. So I’ll have a look and guide them or try and smooth out whatever their concerns are.
So you’ve always enjoyed working with people?
Oh yes, but I don’t like to be office bound, I need to get out. I do sit here all day sometimes, for example I’ve got to review the plans for our new display home but I like to come in early at 6.30am and get my correspondence done and then go out on site.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
Seeing each home when it’s furnished and landscaped – that’s when you see the finished product. Looking at blank walls without any furnishing or landscaping, it’s just another house. But when you go back and see it totally finished and lived in, and the client’s loving their new home, that’s important. It’s the best part.
What do Comdain Homes do differently – what sets Comdain Homes apart from other builders?
Everybody involved cares about each client and their project and has input into the home throughout the process.
Another standout for me is that every house is different, that’s where the challenge is and that’s what I enjoy. What we do is different, each home is a custom build, your brain’s always active, each home is unique, that’s what I love about it.
Comdain Homes is celebrating its 30th birthday this year, what changes have you seen in the industry over this period?
Heaps. Realistically there are changes every day.
What stands out is Comdain’s ability to embrace change and to be as relevant and progressive today as they were when the boys first started the company.
If you were to build a house for yourself, what would you build?
The single storey we did in Burke Road, Kew, I thought was spot on and would clean up the market for retirees – I’d probably build a home like that.
Posted: 1st June 2018