Chasecrown Homes has worked hard for more than 20 years to “provide an opportunity for South Australians to live and work in a better urban environment” by taking total ownership of each project from start to finish, in order to guarantee timely planning and completion. “We’re a multidisciplinary practice serving the property sector, but we also do our own developments,” says Director Louis Kanellos. “Generally, in the building industry you’ll have an architect and a builder; two different organisations, two different philosophies, two different brands, sometimes fighting to get one position. But, the important thing is that you’re never going to get consistent philosophies when you’re dealing with two separate organisations. We take that out of the equation – Total project ownership equals better quality.”
Chasecrown provides its clients with key management services like “architecture and interiors, construction, project management and development,” according to Kanellos’ belief that “true design integrity can only come from a unified process;” this is a reality that he has seen through his past experiences in the architectural field, and hopes to solidify in his work through Chasecrown Homes. “At Chasecrown, the focus of the business is providing a design-construct service which is seamless,” he says. “Design and construction work as one; that to me is really the only way to ever get close to true design integrity. So, the process is really important, and that’s what we focus on. There’s continuing dialogue between the architectural team and the building team to make the total design package better every time we do something; that’s the way we look at our integrity.”
In addition to their commitment to integrity, Chasecrown Homes has also placed an emphasis on sustainability within each of their projects. A material analysis has been done to ensure that they are using the most environmentally-friendly materials possible and, more recently, they have also built a new sustainable display home; its goal is to demonstrate the possibilities of delivering a build that is not only efficient and practical in its delivery, but sustainable as well. With an 8 Star energy rating, it contains internal cooling and cross-ventilation systems, along with links between the indoors and outdoors to optimise energy use. “80 percent of humanity live in cities; as humans, we’re directly affected physically and psychologically by the built environment.”
Providing their services as a “one-stop shop” to clients has helped grow relationships with them, as it ensures that the process is “as simple as possible;” it also allows for building time frames to be reduced, because Chasecrown Homes has “complete control” over the entire process – most importantly, its quality. “They know that when we’re finished these projects, they are Chasecrown projects, totally,” says Kanellos. “We get a better level of quality. We get buy in from the people that work with us, and the staff understand that these are solely Chasecrown projects.
Service is probably one of the most important things you can provide the client; but, ultimately, with that you need value for money and quality; they’re the three important things, and that’s our focus”
Chasecrown Homes places a high value on its staff and partners, and they are always looking for “talented people with the right attitude” to aid in the prosperity of the company and its projects. Kanellos is actively involved with employment agencies in Adelaide to find potential candidates that are open to flexibility within the workplace. “I tend to be a bit more proactive and look for the right people,” he says. “I find them, I bring them on board and create opportunities for them. In business for 25 years, I found that to be the best approach. Generally, if you need someone urgently, you’ll always find the wrong person.”
A similar approach towards immediate staff is used to select suppliers and subcontractors. “Suppliers and subcontractors are very important in this process,” says Kanellos. “As a builder, obviously we provide the management service. Subcontractors, trades, and suppliers – in terms of material – supply the materials and labour. So, we go out of our way again. We try and create mutually beneficial relationships with our suppliers and trade. They do the right thing by us, and we do the right thing by them.”
Currently, the building industry is operating under what generally Kanellos refers to as a “two-speed economy,” similar to that of the mining boom. The focus has now shifted towards the building sector, with top-speed production levels in Melbourne and Sydney; however, the upcoming issues there are much different than those seen in other areas of the continent. “Being in South Australia, we’ve got a completely different set of concerns regarding the building industry,” he says. “In Melbourne and Sydney, what everyone’s talking about is affordability; that’s everyone’s major concern, and the media have picked up on that. Media tend to be Sydney and Melbourne-centric, so that’s all we hear about.
In South Australia, I think the biggest concern we have is confidence. We have a confidence problem here and it affects all of our industries; that, for me, is key – and that confidence comes out of business. The economic conditions in South Australia at the moment are not great. Some of the country’s going through a boom, but South Australia certainly isn’t. We’ve got the highest unemployment rate in the country. Economically, we’re at the bottom of the league table. The economics of the state are very concerning and that very directly feeds into confidence.”
Despite this lack of confidence for businesses in the surrounding area, Chasecrown Homes continues to expand its possibilities. In recent years, they have been able to branch out into larger, medium to high-density construction projects, with two in progress at this time; this has added an “extra dimension” to the company that Kanellos is very excited about. In addition to this physical expansion, Chasecrown Homes has also added virtual reality technology to their business, creating one of Australia’s first virtual display homes. Clients are welcome to visit the studio, access this technology, and see the creative process of this progressive display home from start to finish.
“We’re very much an innovator,” he says. “The quality of the product is amazing, and everyone we’ve shown has been blown away by it. So, pushing innovation is something that, personally, I take seriously – particularly in the building sector. So, that’s really exciting. I love to innovate, I love the company to innovate, and we’re really looking to pursue this virtual technology much further. I think traditional display homes in the residential sector will come to an end within the next decade.”