Builder Scott Hutchinson Joins Urbanity 2019


Scott Hutchinson, the chairman of ​one of Australia's largest private construction companies, Brisbane-headquartered Hutchinson Builders, will be joining the line up for Urbanity ’19.

The fifth generation family-owned construction company, affectionately known as Hutchies, is responsible for constructing office buildings and apartments blocks across the country.

Under the guidance of managing director Greg Quinn, the 112-year old private builder has grown from $170 million turnover and a $60 million balance sheet to $2.8 billion turn over a $320 million balance sheet.

The builder which currently employs 1,793 people across 14 offices, was ranked Australia's sixth largest private company on the Financial Review's Top 500 Private Companies for 2019.

▲ The company is one of the Bank of Queensland's largest and longest serving customers. Image: Scott Hutchinson on site
▲ The company is one of the Bank of Queensland's largest and longest serving customers. Image: Scott Hutchinson on site

Hutchinson’s great-grandfather, John “Jack”, started the construction company in Brisbane in 1912 after arriving from England in 1911 and landed his first major contract working for the Queensland state government to construct a new kitchen at Fort Lytton on 29th January 1912.

Fast-forward to 1986, Scott, armed with a civil engineering degree and an MBA, joined the family business and managed to steer it through trying times, including sharemarket crashes, property booms and busts.

Hutchinson started with Hutchies full-time in 1986, tasked with door-knocking for new business, following in the footsteps of his father in the ’60s and ’70s.

Hutchinson and his wife Mary-Jean have three sons and a daughter — the eldest, 27-year-old Jack, joined the company after completing his MBA in London, making it a fifth-generation company.

“Jack is going really well and understands our Hutchies family is just as important as our actual family,” Hutchinson told The Urban Developer.

“We’ve thrown him into any problem jobs we have so he understands what causes them. He’s working in Melbourne at present.”

While Hutchies missed out on being awarded the $2 billion construction contract for Brisbane’s Queens Wharf development earlier this year, the company has continued its focus on residential work and targeting a growing amount of infrastructure and institutional construction for its books.

The construction giant is now working on a variety of projects, including developer Third Street’s residential tower P.M. in Port Melbourne, Brisbane’s first vertical school in Fortitude Valley and the 43-storey Landmark Tower, at St Leonards on Sydney's lower north shore.

Hutchinson was earlier this year awarded the QCF 2019 Corporate Philanthropist of the Year celebrating individuals & organisations who make extraordinary charitable contributions.

“Something I am most proud of is that giving is now part of our culture.”

“We don’t have any turnover targets, profit targets or strategies to expand geographically — we just want to stay alive, do good work and be a good place to work.”

Scott Hutchinson
▲His four-generation family business remains well capitalised, with a cash pile of $387 million and net assets of $327 million. Image: Scott Hutchinson outside The Fortitude Music Hall

As a patron of QMusic, Hutchinson has a personal involvement in the preservation of the Brisbane’s live music scene and was last year ranked in Queensland’s 100 most influential people by The Courier Mail for supporting the Brisbane music scene.

Live music is Hutchinson’s main interest. Some of the enviable gig’s Hutchinson has witnessed include the Sex Pistols at Brisbane's Festival Hall in 1996, Powderfinger’s last concert at the Riverstage in 2010 and The Cure at the Sydney Opera House in 2011.

He attends local and international festivals every year, including Glastonbury, Exit Festival Serbia, FIB Spain, Fuji Rock Japan, Roskilde Denmark, Secret Solstice Iceland, NOS Aive Lisbon and Nevermore Romania.

Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada USA features as a key event on his annual festival calendar.

When asked to point out a stand-out recent live experience, Hutchinson names the Prodigy at the Riverstage earlier this year.

“It was one of the last times Keith Flint performed before his death and when it started raining just as 'Smack My Bitch Up' started the crowd all held their hands up and sighed because it was so hot — it stopped raining as soon as the song finished.”

Hutchinson's pet project, the $43 million Fortitude Music Hall, opened in July after Hutchinson, former Powderfinger member John Collins, and co-founder of Secret Sounds Paul Piticco erected the 2,500sq m Brunswick Street venue with holds capacity of 3,300.

Brisbane rock royalty, including former Powderfinger members Bernard Fanning and Ian Haug, Custard frontman Dave McCormack and the next-generation pop rock group Ball Park Music and DZ Deathrays played on a sold-out opening night and US rock group the National has signed up for a sold-out show in March next year.

The new venue, which includes a string of bars and two moveable chandeliers above the main floor, opened in July as a testament to Brisbane's Festival Hall, which closed in 2003.

Festival Hall – which held concerts from everyone from the Beatles and Bob Dylan to Nirvana and the Stone Roses – was eventually replaced by apartments.

“That’s Brisbane! We just cop that and have to go out to the sticks to see serious bands.”

“Fortitude Music Hall is not about my legacy, it’s about paying for something Brisbane needs — and music can’t pay the price that inner-city real estate costs so someone has to do something.”

Hutchinson is also an advocate for environmental protection and in 2012 he started Hutchinson Honey Bees to improve the declining bee population by using the company’s offices to create new urban hives — and as a result producing around 1.5 tonnes of honey annually.

The company has bee hives on the roofs of its six office buildings around Queensland, as well as bases in Sydney, Melbourne and Tweed Heads.

Hutchinson will be joining Urbanity ’19 as part of the “The Urban Fightback”, a panel on how a provocative approach to music, entertainment and the arts is saving our cities.

Over two days in October, Urbanity will bring together the leading creators of cities in the Asia Pacific to learn, connect and be inspired.


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