2 | Econstruct Building & Project Management A B E Econstruct is a building and project management company that specialises in non-standard residential and commercial construction with a complete focus on minimizing environmental impact and maximizing resource efficiency. Everything you need to know about the business is right in their name – a combination of “ecosystem,” referring tohuman interaction with a particular habitat, and “construction.” Together, those two concepts represent everything Econstruct is about. Founded in 2002 by partners Phillip Crogan and Geoff Britton, Econstruct has always been focused on sustainability. In their more than 18 years of involvement with Western Australian construction industry, Britton and Crogan managed numerous construction projects and contracts. They saw first-hand how the industry contributed to the depletion of natural resources, and they gained a mutual desire to reverse that trend. Britton has been in the industry for nearly 30 years, and started his career in the United Kingdom working as a Quantity Surveyor. He moved to Australia in 1991 and operated for 10 years in the commercial field. After feeling unfulfilled with commercial construction, Britton followed his dream of creating something eco-

Econstruct Building & Project Management | 3 T T E R W A Y friendly, and formed Econstruct with Crogan in 2002. In June 2012, Crogan decided it was time to move on, and left the organisation to travel Australia with his family – making Britton the sole owner. Econstruct has gone through a number of significant changes over the years. For example, when they first started, the idea of building ecologically-friendly houses was relatively new, and the competition was scarce. “There were very few people doing environmental construction and very few that were specialising as a ‘We only do that’ kind of contractor,” Britton says. “It was scary going into it initially, but now we’ve established a role where we don’t do anything that isn’t eco-friendly.” “We pick and choose our clients and the architects we work with,” he adds.“The industry has grown quite large, but we still are one of the major players.” A BETTER WAY The philosophy behind Econstruct’s business has developed over many years, Britton says. After working in the industry for many years with dif-

4 | Econstruct Building & Project Management ferent companies, he felt there “had to be a better way” of constructing, and decided that going green was the right – and only – way to go. “There is a better way than just putting air conditioners on roofs and having people put up with high electricity buildings,” he says.“You could see 10 years ago, it just wasn’t right.” Today, Econstruct works primarily in the metro Perth area, but have ventured as far north as Geraldton and as far south as the south western part of Western Australia. “We’re looking at branching out to the south west over the next couple of years,” Britton says. The price range for a typical Econstruct project is “half-a-million and up,” Britton says. They are currently building a $3-million home, for example. “The sky’s the limit. We can do anything in-between as long as it’s over half-a-million.” There are three things Econstruct focuses on that set them apart from other green companies – budget, time and quality. “We make sure that our jobs are done completely on budget, on time, and with an extremely high level of quality,” says Britton. To help achieve that, their supervisors limit their projects to no more than three apiece at any given time. “We make sure our quality is very high.” Econstruct also offers a completely open process, where they go over each job with the clients all the way through from the start of the

Econstruct Building & Project Management | 5 project to completion of construction. That ensures top-notch quality and personalised service. “We’re constantlymaking our clients aware of where they can save money and where they can do things better,” Britton says. “We’ve also got technical information of what we’ve done before, so we know what will work and what won’t work from an eco-point-of-view.” As part of that open process, Econstruct is completely up-front about costing. That transparency gives clients peace of mind, and has enabled the company to develop and maintain longlasting relationships with them. “They get what they paid for and they can see that in the quality of the work,” Britton says. “We show them quotes and notes on how much exactly it’s going to cost so they can see where we’re coming from in relation to costing. “We’re open to phone calls 24/7 and we always answer the phone,” he adds. “If a situation arises, we deal with it immediately. We don’t shy away from any situation, and we come up with solutions that our clients are happy with.” Econstruct has also formed long-lasting relationships with their architects because they always do what the specification is – they never try and cut corners. “We never try and do things our way. We always do things their way,” Britton says. “They are always inherently confident we’re going to build the job exactly the way they want it built.” The company’srelationships internally –

6 | Econstruct Building & Project Management with their employees, subcontractors and suppliers – are also positive. They try to use the same subcontractors for all of their jobs, because it creates the same kind of family-feeling and trust they’ve built with their architects, employees and clients. “We know how they work and they know how we work. They know they’re going to get paid on time for a job well-done,” says Britton. “Our office team also works well, they know what job they’ve got to do and when they’ve got to do it. Everything works pretty well.” GREENSMART AWARDS Econstruct has won numerous awards over the years due to their tireless commitment to sustainability, quality and service. In 2012, for example, the HIA GreenSmart Awards recognised one of their projects with an accolade for Custom Built Home. They won that project for an 8-star rated dwelling that the award describes as proving that “GreenSmart homes do not need to compromise on their looks and style.” That kind of industry recognition is highly-valued by the organisation, Britton says. “We work pretty hard and aim to be at the pinnacle of the industry, particularly the eco-friendly industry. These awards attract a lot of good builders and a lot of very good buildings as well.” It’s also nice recognition for their customers, he adds. “Our clients are over the moon that their house is award-winning, and they can’t stop

Econstruct Building & Project Management | 7 talking to people about it.” Econstruct’s Custom Built Home award was not the first they won, and it is unlikely to be the last. Britton credits the company’s awardwinning consistency to the superb quality of their homes – which use only the most modern technology, and “cutting edge” processes. “When a client walks into their home, they can feel the quality of the workmanship throughout the house,” Britton says. Going forward, Econstruct has short-term plans for sustained growth, including a number of major projects lined up for 2013. “Slowly but surely, we will be getting a grip of the industry over the next six to 12 months,” he says. From there, they will build a bigger platform and “really take off ” in 2014 to expand the business exponentially, and develop a larger project home market. “We’re in the process of developing some project home designs, where we can be more competitive with the under-$500,000 market.” Looking ahead to the longer term, Britton says that Econstruct will continue to be the leader in ecological construction in Western Australia. They will be “shaking up” the more conventional housing market and providing people with a product they could build as a competitive green product with standard project housing. “In the long-term, I would like to be able to become a major player in the project home market inWestern Australia,” Britton says. National Greensmart Winner 2012