In 2004 Bellfort started out in the UK, before seeking opportunity in Australia. In July 2012, Richard Bellamy, Managing Director opened an office in Perth. Bellfort has since expanded and in the last 3 years have gone from 1, to 6 permanent employees. With its turnover doubling on average year after year, they are set to turnover $4.5 Million this financial year. In terms of growth, Richard says; “We are pleased with where we came from and where we are going.”
Specialising in commercial interior design and fitout, Bellfort creates quality offices and commercial spaces. Not only is their focus on offices, they also design and construct a wide range of commercial fitouts for different sectors such as child care, government, medical, industrial as well as cafes and restaurants.
Bellfort aim to stand out from the rest, especially when it comes to customer service. How often does a director personally see projects through from beginning to end? To start the process, clients have an initial meeting with Richard as well as Jenny Bryce, Bellfort’s Design Professional. Following this, design concepts are prepared along with budget costs and preliminary timelines. This then allows the project to progress and enter the construction stage. Richard and Jenny also monitor work on site and ensure the work is being completed on time as well as within the clients’ budget. “I’m the one who hands the keys to the client at the end…” says Richard. Going a step above, Bellfort also work hard to maintain a strong personal relationship with their clients, as well as the tradesmen who they have worked with for years. “They are considered part of our team and on site workmanship is very important” states Jenny. “We not only focus on the fitout, but also ensure the design is compliant and appropriate for each client. We enjoy creating interesting spaces for clients and thinking outside the box to get the best results. None of this could happen if we didn’t have the right trades behind us.”
Having the luxury of doing the design and construction, Richard says, “…right from the initial meeting, once the client agrees on an outlined floor plan and budget, we can be on site in as little as 4 weeks.” This timeframe includes all the statutory approvals and putting everything in place. “Also, as some of the detailed design continues through the construction stage, we’re able to offer clients a fast track, turnkey solution.” Commercial clients can easily see the benefits of what Bellfort is able to offer, as having their project completed quickly means getting back to business with minimal disruption.
Bellfort isn’t just looking to complete the job for their client, but to also provide after care service. This means future projects or looking after their premises. After they complete a fitout, clients are given a manual to instruct them on how to look after the fitout for years to come. Richard says, “This is one of the features that highlights the benefits of working with us and what makes us different.”
Not only does Bellfort look out for its clients, they also care about the environment as well. Sustainability originates right from the design stage. Jenny tells us, “It’s a matter of looking at a selection of finishes and fittings that have sustainable qualities attached to them.” Even when it comes down to demolition or reviewing what the client has existing, she says “We have to be willing to consider what has the potential to be reused, upcycled and recycled.” Not only is their design professional involved, but Bellfort ensures all staff and contractors working on the project are participating as well.
All companies face tough challenges along the way and Bellfort is no exception. Richard and Jenny recall a 2000sq metre fitout in West Perth for an international client. After receiving the OK from their necessary departments, the client finally signed off on a final floor plan giving Bellfort only 4 weeks before having to start on site. In these 4 weeks, not only did Bellfort have to put together a full set of architectural drawings, but also electrical and mechanical designs involving a complex communication room. If that wasn’t enough, to add to the challenge, Richard received an email advising of a considerable budget cut. After receiving all the approvals from the council and landlord and with 3 days on site, the client had to reduce the budget by 30%. “In 5 working days, we had to demobilise from the site, renegotiate with sub-contractors and then with the client. We ensured we would still be designing and installing a quality fitout with a quality look.” recalls Richard. This project included 6 kitchen facilities, meeting rooms, audio visual equipment and a desk system designed specifically to the client’s needs. Jenny added, “The budget reduced drastically but their expectations did not.” This unnerving task was taken head-on by Bellfort and the result was overwhelmingly successful. Completed in just 10 weeks, the client was thrilled and Bellfort not only received positive feedback from the client’s management, but from their employees as well.
2015 is proving to be another successful year for Bellfort. They are looking forward to working with several clients including an aged care provider, who have purchased an older building for their main administration office which requires a lot of work. Being appointed to complete over 1000sq metres on 3 floors of office space, the project will include a base building upgrade, fitout and lift installation for disability access. Other secured projects will have Bellfort designing and building a mezzanine and an office facility within a commercial industrial building in an upscale location as well as projects for a charitable organisation, resource company, recruitment company and ongoing works for a federal government department in various locations.
Accredited with the Master Builders Association (MBA), Bellfort is also a registered builder with the Building Commission, not to mention the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Outside the industry, Bellfort also makes time to give back. With a team of 4 riding 220km over 2 days, Bellfort raised $14,000 for the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research to help find a cure for cancer. Having spent the last few months moving into their new office facility in Subiaco, Richard and Jenny state, “We are excited to now be able to showcase the quality of workmanship and creativity that we like to put into our jobs.”
With office vacancy rates in Perth being the highest in 10 years, Bellfort has begun to diversify. Working closely with property agents who are looking to lease or purchase, they are also focusing on landlords looking to make improvements to their properties to attract tenants. With transparent pricing and great communication Bellfort hopes to maintain momentum. Jenny mentions, “Our priority focus is to offer the most cost effective solutions, but to also maintain quality design, a WOW factor that doesn’t involve substantial costs.” Bellfort also receives projects from repeat clients now looking to expand, as well as referrals, some of the benefits of maintaining great relationships with clients and contractors.
Richard leaves us with a personal note, stating, “We enjoy what we do. I want to keep the business a similar size, so it doesn’t grow to a point where I can’t control it. We enjoy working as a team, where everyone has a say and provides input.” Jenny happily adds, “Bellfort isn’t based on hierarchy and everyone is able to contribute in their own way. People feel comfortable doing so and we always welcome interaction.”
“We want to create a rock solid foundation for Bellfort, to ensure we remain stable throughout the potential tougher times ahead.” – Richard Bellamy, MD, Bellfort Ltd.