There are many variables in the building industry that are out of a company’s control, and exchange rates and economic downturns can play havoc with and organisation’s bottom line. The CEO Magazine talks to Next Construction’s Joseph Di Girolamo to uncover how his company keeps going from strength to strength.
The CEO Magazine: I understand there is a history of building contractors in your family?
There is; my father-in-law is a builder and was my first employee. Back in the 90s, my father-in-law had his own business. Sadly, his business partner passed away, so the projects on the books were completed and he went to work for other builders. When I came into the family and started Next, my father-in-law joined me and is still working for us today.
It was a brave move starting a company during the GFC.
When I started out, the banks weren’t lending, so construction was very quiet. Commercial projects were typically smaller in nature, and included projects such as rationalising workplace floors into smaller floor plates—because companies were closing down or downsizing operations—and the upgrading of lobbies and foyers of buildings so that they were more attractive to lease or sell.
In those early days, it became apparent to me that most of the opportunities in the market, which were still very hard to come by, were hospitality and retail projects. Many of these projects were at busy locations like Westfield shopping centres, and involved live environments, making for complex projects. These difficult projects required highly-experienced builders who understood how to plan and execute tight construction programs while still achieving a high standard of quality and delivering on time, so the organisations could open ready for business as planned and on budget.