Need a custom designed home on the coast, or a townhouse development in the Bayside or South-Eastern suburbs of Melbourne? Look no further than Langford Jones Homes.
For over 45 years, this family owned and operated building company has provided clients with quality, lightweight built coastal homes and townhouse developments. Joined by his two sons, and 18 full-time employees, Director Bruce Langford-Jones has worked hard to earn the reputation as one of the leading homebuilders in Phillip Island, South Gippsland, Westernport Bay, and the Mornington Peninsula.
“We believe we build quality homes at the right price,” he says. “That’s what has made us the market leader in the areas we build in. Langford Jones Homes provide the best service possible, and we work very closely with our clients. We custom design and build, allowing clients to modify to plans to ensure they get exactly what they want. A lot of the bigger builders won’t change designs. We provide a flexible design service; if clients come to us with a pencil sketch, we can design it up using the latest state-of-the-art 3-D design technology.
Langford Jones Homes has an extensive design collection featuring over 100 plans. We also build homes and townhouses that have been designed by external draftspeople or architects. In addition to these services, we co-ordinate town planning submissions on behalf of our clients.
Following a signed contract with us, we have a qualified interior designer who acts as a colours consultant that will sit with clients to discuss, present, and recommend internal and external colours, cladding and tiling styles, as well as fittings and fixtures options.”
Over the years, the company has worked hard to preserve long-term relationships with quality suppliers. Some of these relationships have been in place for over 40 years, which is a testament to the stability of the company, as well as the quality of their homes.
“ln Melbourne, the townhouse developments we build are typically brick, whereas our coastal homes are lightweight construction, which allows us to build on sloping blocks using stumps. In all of our homes we only use double-glazed windows, and we have been for 10 years. We were probably one of the first builders in Melbourne to solely use double-glazed windows. A lot of builders provide them now, but just where is needed to get over the Six Star energy requirements. We’ve been using insulation in all the walls and ceilings for about 25 years. It’s only in the last 15 years or so where builders have started using insulation now that it’s mandatory. We offer solar hot water systems, and many clients are choosing this as their preferred option now.”
As a medium-sized building company Langford Jones Homes maintains enough freedom in their staff training program to explore various facets of the industry, from the planning and design stage, through to the estimating side of the business. No one is restricted to working in one aspect of the business, and each staff member is allowed equal opportunity to learn about these different areas – including the small number of students they employ periodically. “We’ve always tried to employ young university undergraduates; we’ve got two at the moment,” says Bruce. “One student is doing his Masters at Melbourne University in Construction, and we’ve got another who’s at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology doing his Honours in Construction. Historically, they have been through our training and learned our systems, and gone on to secure excellent jobs in the industry; they’ve all done extremely well. We’ve just put on a new architect as the head of our design department, and a new sales consultant for the Mornington Peninsula region, which is a growth area for us. We’re always sending staff to training courses, mostly with the Housing Industry Association.”
The decline in graduates from trade programs is one of the main issues Langford-Jones believes will affect the future of the industry. There has been a large difference in the number of students entering apprenticeships throughout Australia within the last year, which will continue to be a major problem unless recruitment initiatives are improved. “Kids are just not taking up the trades like they used to, and in Victoria some years ago, the government closed down all the technical schools,” he says. “Governments have encouraged the kids to go to university, but not all kids are suited to a university degree. I think that’s going to be a major problem in the future – the lack of trades and the lack of tradesmen. You can see that they’re getting more and more money, and that’s going to affect affordability for young kids getting into housing in the future.”
While it is clear that apprenticeships may not be for everyone, Langford-Jones also highlights a variety of other options for young men and women who wish to pursue a career in the industry – positions that will continue to be proactive in their contribution towards the economy. “I think housing provides great opportunities to young people,” he says. “People think the housing industry is a male industry, but there’s lots of aspects to the industry and lots of opportunities for all young people – whether it’s outside in the field or in the office. People think of housing and tradesmen, but there’s a lot of opportunities in the industry. There’s estimators; interior designers; accountants that are needed. It’s a great industry, it’s a dynamic industry, it’s moving all the time, and it’s vital for the Australian economy. There’s a lot of things that revolve around housing that affect the economy and, since the mining boom, housing’s one of those few industries that’s been keeping it going.”
As a lifetime member of the Housing Industry Association of Australia (HIA) since 1975, Bruce Langford-Jones has served as both a Planning and Training Committee Chairman for the organisation, as well as its National President from 2009-2011. He has also been an avid member of Kingston Heath and Sorrento Golf Clubs. However, after working closely with his family for many years, he believes that his biggest milestone was becoming a grandfather for the first time in 2010. “We’ve got two grandchildren, so I think that’s pretty important – as far as I’m concerned, anyway,” he says.