Sydney’s Western suburbs are a thriving melting pot of cultures and nationalities. And for Parramatta-based property developer Dyldam, the region is also a prime centre for business. Over the past 50 years, the company has been responsible for numerous properties in the city’s west, and has been ranked as Australia’s number one apartment builder for two consecutive years (2017 and 2018) in the ‘HIA–Colorbond® Steel Housing 100 Report’. The business is showing no signs of slowing down as it continues to secure real estate for some big projects.
The Opera Merrylands is one such development that is currently underway. When complete, it will comprise eight individual buildings with 1,200 apartments as well as commercial and retail space. “The market in Merrylands wants the benefits of city living – being so close to Parramatta – as well as a little bit of extra space and privacy,” says Dyldam CEO Fayad Fayad. “So we planned to create that scenario with The Opera. Our focus is more on larger two- and three-bedroom apartments, compared with other developments in Parramatta, which focus on studios and one-bedroom apartments. The experience we want to create with The Opera is to capture the lifestyle of a home on a quarter-acre block without all the maintenance.
“We’ve have had a lot of interest in it already; residents can expect to move in by 2021. Many local families and second-generation individuals living in Merrylands, particularly those who are looking to move out of the house or get an investment property, are showing a lot of interest in the development and putting pen to paper.”
Dyldam is a family-owned and -operated business. It was founded by Naim Khattar and his sons in 1969. Fayad’s father, Sam Fayad, Naim’s son-in-law, joined the company some 30 years ago and is currently the Director, while Fayad stepped into the CEO position in April 2018, after working for almost four years as Dyldam’s COO
“My brother, brothers-in-law, father and uncles are all involved in the business,” Fayad notes, adding that working with family means having to step back from work after office hours. “It’s important not to bring work to the dinner table, to set some boundaries. You need time to enjoy the irreplaceable things in life – family.”
Fayad himself hadn’t initially intended on joining the business. In his early teens, he had aspired to be an architect but later changed his focus towards construction.
“Growing up, I used to spend my weekends and school holidays on the sites,” he says. “I started from the grassroots of construction, and worked all the way up to leadership; from leading hand and site manager, to project manager, project director, COO, and now CEO. I picked up a lot along the way from firsthand experience but I also learned from the people around me. I still catch up with those who guided me back in my days as a leading hand, as part of my daily tour of our construction sites. Their industry and company experience has been invaluable.”
Fayad says he’s proud of how far Dyldam has come over the years and he doesn’t hesitate when asked what makes the business stand out from the competition. “Dyldam started as a builder,” he explains. “For one, we know construction; we’re not dependent on third-party contractors to build our projects. We are born builders, and because of that we’ve got an edge that makes our processes more refined. We execute them in a streamlined manner.”
And with building comes an extensive network of suppliers to support the projects as they come together. “We approach every relationship on more than a transactional, project-by-project or task-by-task basis,” Fayad says. “When I talk to suppliers, contractors and consultants, it’s more of a ‘come join the Dyldam family’ scenario. Not, ‘We’ve got this project in Parramatta. What are you going to do for us there? What are we going to do for you?
“Although we do enter into individual subcontracts and supply agreements for particular projects, our suppliers and contractors do so knowing that there will be more opportunities to do projects with us. Once they’ve worked with us, if they’ve done the right thing by everyone, then the door stays open for future work. It’s a continuing scenario rather than a work-in-isolation situation. It gives our partners long-term stability so they can grow their businesses.”
Fayad is on track to achieve his father Sam’s vision to have one of his sons build the first 100-storey building in Parramatta. “We have just secured an approval for a development with 62 storeys. Who knows, this may evolve into 70-plus storeys,” he smiles. “Our goal of 100 storeys is only a few years away. Dyldam started with three-storey walk-ups, we then moved on to medium-density buildings, and we’re now starting in high density. I’d prefer to focus on one building with 200 apartments rather than 10 buildings with 20 apartments. It’s about working leaner.”
“It’s about working leaner.”
As Fayad continues to leave his mark on Dyldam and propel it towards an even more prosperous future, he shares some advice that has guided him throughout his career.
“Keep your focus locked down but know that the approach on how you get there can vary,” he says. “Set your goal in stone and accept that you may need to re-engineer the plan to achieve that goal. Embrace opportunities and challenges alike. The key is to be agile in your approach but keep your eye firmly on your target.”