While businesses rush to be known as cutting edge, nostalgia seldom rates a mention. But for one Perth construction company, a flashback to memories of traditional style and quality can be welcome in a home market dominated so often by studies in concrete, glass and steel.
Domenic Morolla, General Manager of Endeavour Homes in Perth, sees new potential in old values. When he took on his role, the company – at that stage named Gemmill Homes after Founder and Managing Director Craig Gemmill – had a deserved reputation for quality and distinction in the area’s property market. But after Craig left, a reinvention of the business brought the new name of Endeavour Homes and a revised focus on the combined expertise of the teams building the homes, sparking both fond memories and new adventures.
“What I’m looking for in Endeavour Homes is actually a sense of nostalgia for something that will take you back to a happy memory,” Domenic explains. “So walking into one of our display homes might remind you of your grandma’s house. The idea is to bring that happy memory forward because you’re going to be creating your own happy memories in your new home.”
Endeavour Homes’ Mossvale display home won Best Display Home (A$220,001–$240,000) and its Bridgehampton display home won Best Display Home (A$320,001–$370,000) at the 2020 HIA Colorbond Steel Perth Housing Awards.
Domenic’s passion for building started at an early age, but after high school he studied electronics. He became a registered builder in 2001, moved through the ranks in residential building from site supervising to construction and building management, and most recently as General Manager. His desire for nostalgia throws back to a time when pride in quality was everything.
“The highlight throughout my career is a passion to ensure that homes are built correctly,” he shares. “A house is never just a house – it’s always someone’s home, irrespective of what you’re building. Even an investor’s house will always become someone’s home. So building it correctly and on time, and with a series of events so clients can actually see it from the ground up, makes me incredibly happy when it’s finished.”
The notion “from nothing to something” was the key driver of his move into construction. “I’m in control from sand to completion,” Domenic says. “Of course, I rely on my team and suppliers, but I’m keystone to the actual finished, tangible product. And that gives me a real sense of pride. It’s almost like there’s sand and cement in my blood that’s keeping me going.”
Endeavour Homes is stepping up in its performance, he says, based on its team of people rather than any individual’s past reputation. Domenic is at pains to inform the Perth market that the team’s long experience sets them apart.
As does its technology, a critical component of Endeavour Homes’ process. Domenic’s electronics background is a driver of its systems, including an electronic call-up system, or progress tracker, he developed in 2003, which changed the way supervision was conducted in Perth, from paper to electronic means.
“We have a workflow process that goes through different departments and at important milestones, our clients get an electronic communication. And they also get personal phone calls at other milestones as a home goes from concept through construction and then to completion. We choose key milestones that people like to know about – the exciting stages,” he says.
It’s one thing to build a home; it’s another to build lasting relationships with suppliers who can be relied upon, come what may. The interdependence of quality materials and building expertise can uplift a new home from interesting to outstanding.
Endeavour Homes can count on partnerships with a coterie of suppliers that mark its homes out from the crowd, including WA Marble & Granite, which can deliver not just first-class products but also the reliability of supply that Domenic counts on to ensure deadlines are met.
“When I met the CEO, Maria, and other staff members of WA Marble & Granite, there was a sense of understanding,” he says. “Without them we can’t go forward and, within reason, they can’t go forward without us. It’s their products, service and quality that ultimately come under our banner of Endeavour Homes, so we take responsibility for what they do.
“The relationship between WA Marble and Endeavour Homes is we know what the other needs. It’s as simple as that for each of us to be successful. It’s a wonderful relationship that’s only getting stronger – it’s one of those relationships that reminds you of family.”
The company uses an acronym – TICK – to describe its core values of trust, integrity, collaboration and knowledge. The significance of that acronym is transparent, clear communication with every stakeholder who engages with Endeavour Homes, Domenic explains.
“Clear communication is why we’re successful with our clients and suppliers,” he says. “The meaning we put behind the word integrity is that we are responsible for our actions. In other words, we look after everybody as much as we can because ultimately, we’re responsible for the outcome. We want to take home building to the next level, so our clients and the public know that if you build a home with us, your experience of it is at the heart of our team’s focus.
“Our collaboration with each department, each staff member, shows how important each person is. It’s a close-knit family forum where every person has a responsibility and each knows what is needed from the others, understanding that someone else will follow them at the next step.”
“A house is never just a house — it’s always someone’s home.”
That chain of events is a guideline for Domenic in his role as General Manager, setting the agenda and letting people get on with their jobs. He tends to lead by example, but doesn’t control. What he prefers to do is listen. “It’s very important to listen,” he says. “As General Manager, I tune into what my staff is saying and give them the guidance required and the overall plan of where we want to go.
“Early on, when I was a construction site supervisor, I used to take control. But when I moved into management, that style of leadership in my early days, when I thought I was assisting people by pushing them, was not the right approach. The best approach is to listen, see what needs to be done, and then just give guidance for them to follow through. The biggest thing I learned was that the difference between leadership and management is listening.”
Domenic has a passion for training and allowing people an opportunity to better themselves by listening to their reasons for wanting to improve and grow, and then guiding them in a direction that helps them to do so.
“My late father said to me once, ‘Life is never easy when you’re responsible for others’. That’s very true,” he recalls. It’s a responsibility he takes seriously, but one he gladly accepts.
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