If you ask CEO and Managing Director Toru Abe what Sekisui House Australia’s main operations are, he won’t respond with ‘home building’, or ‘community development’, even though they’re essentially the sectors the company works in. Rather, he would describe Sekisui House as a technology company that is continuously striving to provide better homes for people living in Australia.

“The word ‘better’ means so many things to us at Sekisui House,” Toru explains. “We’ve implemented it into our corporate statements on a number of occasions because it’s simple, easily understood, and the truth. We want to provide more satisfaction to our customers, and to do that we need to strive to be ‘better’ in everything we do.”

Toru has lived this mantra for twenty-seven years. In 1990, he joined the company at its Japanese headquarters and, over the two decades that followed, held a variety of senior leadership positions.

Then, in 2009, he was asked to head up Sekisui House’s expansion into the Australian marketplace. “I was reluctant to accept the challenge,” he recalls. “I could not speak English and I didn’t know the Australian way: the people’s desires, or the culture.

“I brought a team of fifteen professionals from the Japanese office to help me start up the operations, and we had to begin from scratch: we had to understand Australia’s property market, the laws, regulations, people,  culture, and environment. Our aim was to introduce better products and services to Australia that were in line with the Sekisui House philosophy, which has been nurtured in Japan for many years.”