Image: Anzac Square, underwent a restoration project by Kane constructions in 2014.
David Rutter joined Kane Constructions in 2000 and was appointed as a Director in 2006. As Queensland Director, David is involved intimately in all projects from the time of tender through to completion. His main focus is to ensure that Kane delivers a quality project that meets all stakeholders expectations of success and to develop ongoing relationships with Clients and consultants.
This year, Kane’s Queensland team celebrate their 10 year anniversary, so we spoke to David about the construction and development industry over the past decade.
Q. Describe the state of the construction industry 10 years ago and what made you want to open in Queensland.
Back in 2006 the Queensland building industry was booming. Several of our peers and many of the Architects and Clients we worked with had opened branches in Brisbane so when a key Client of ours asked if we would deliver a project for them in Brisbane we jumped at the chance.
We took the opportunity to build on these relationships with a variety of projects across many sectors. It was all about making ourselves known within South East Queensland, and there’s no better way than to have the Kane signage on projects under construction.
Ten years on we are pretty much where we would have hoped to be, albeit the journey was much more of a roller coaster than we had anticipated.
Isn’t it always?
Soon after our arrival, we started working with some institutions such as the Universities, and they have remained good solid clients throughout the 10 years. Early on, we organised our pre-qualifications with both Brisbane City Council and Queensland Government, and they have also been consistently good clients throughout.
We very quickly realised that you have to show some respect for the local business culture. Queensland is a great place to do business and saying “we don’t do it like that in Melbourne (or Sydney)” is not going to get you anywhere. Retaining good staff can be a key challenge for any business, and we have been fortunate to create a culture where we have very little staff turnover.
Many of our staff have longevity in their Kane careers, and have enjoyed the journey with us, growing with the business. Some of our staff have moved here from our other interstate offices, which helps enhance the Kane culture.
David Rutter and Managing Director Tony Isaacson look back over some of the highlights of the last 10 years.
The industry is becoming more collaborative (thankfully). More often we find ourselves working alongside architects and consultants nowadays than the traditional hierarchical approach of the past. We are enjoying the increased frequency of an Early Contractor Involvement phase now.
Consultants on the project team can also see the value of working collaboratively from the project outset. This establishes a good level of teamwork and cohesiveness.
Managing the increased risk that we take on is a challenge. Contractors are their own worst enemy at accepting risk in contracts due to the competitive nature of the industry.
Hopefully the increasing collaborative approach will redress this in the future.
Access to skilled staff and trades will also be a challenge as Queensland grows and we feel it is important for all industry participants to train apprentices and University graduates for the future.
The construction industry is notoriously conservative when it comes to the uptake of innovation, but with greater information sharing hopefully that will improve, particularly in relation to new materials such as CLT, prefabrication, 3D modelling and use of IT to assist in the process of building.
I’m sure at some stage in the next 20 to 30 years’ time there will also be one or more quantum leaps from some random source – maybe robotics?