Sal Quah is the Director of Operations & Development Manager at ICD Property, an Australian property developer with projects across Melbourne, Sydney and Perth. Sal actually has a background in engineering but developed a passion for property while working at ICD Property while undertaking his Masters degree at the University of Melbourne.
He is primarily responsible for acquiring new properties, securing joint venture partners for projects, operating feasibility studies of prospective developments, sales and marketing and the complete project management of their various properties across the country. Sal is also oversees all company operations and developing and executing their expansion strategy along with the Director of Finance.
What sparked your interest in property development?
I was first exposed to property development when I embarked on a journey with ICD Property as a Research Assistant. I was quick to be intrigued with the complexities and challenges of a multifaceted career and have invested my interest and passion in property development ever since.
What drives you - has there been someone or something that has inspired your career?
I grew up in a developing country and I believe the built environment shapes our experiences of the world around us. In a rapidly developing concrete jungle-esque city like Kuala Lumpur, it's hard not to become accustomed to expecting a certain quality when it comes to buildings and developments, especially as we see so many erected everyday. This is what inspires me to deliver world class iconic developments and quality spaces for people to call home.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
At the moment it would be finding the right development sites. Australia has long been the favoured destination of many offshore developers and the competition in acquiring development sites is heightening. Trying to acquire a development that fits into the company's ideals is difficult, but very satisfying once done.
What is the highlight of your job?
There are many aspects to property development. The highlight of my job would be the opportunity to acquire the knowledge of all aspects to property development – from design, planning regulations, finance to marketing, sales and construction. And to add to the previous question, managing all of these is a day-to-day challenge.
Apart from those by ICD Property, what do you think are the three best projects in the world at the moment?
One57 in New York
The Shard in London
Cayan Tower in Dubai
Where do you think the property development industry will be five years from now?
I foresee further urbanisation and an increase in vertical living with the expected population growth in Australia for the next five years. I anticipate that the planning regulations to mature further to support this as well, despite the recent restrictions placed on apartment buildings within the Melbourne CBD.
What is the most pressing policy issue facing your industry?
It would be the newly gazetted interim planning controls for Melbourne CBD and Southbank by the Victorian Government. These controls would mean that property developers will now be mandated to make special case to the minister of their project’s importance if it goes outside the interim planning rules.
What or whom have you learned the most from?
I have learned the most from the people around me that I have worked with (within ICD Property and externally). Michael Mai (Managing Director of ICD Property) especially has been a great mentor, boss, and friend. Working at ICD Property has exposed me to talent of the highest calibre, and has driven me to acquire an expectation of no less than the best.
What is a website or blog that you visit often?
What are three books that have either influenced you professionally or personally?
How To Win Friends and Influence People
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Who Moved My Cheese?