Founded in 2009 by Managing Director Sergio Lucia, a respected and experienced builder, Perth Builders’ focus on quality and the efficient completion of works has resulted in the company’s growing reputation as one of Perth’s leading providers of commercial and residential construction and heritage restoration services. Originally a builder and CEO of his family’s construction firm in Italy, Sergio has gained extensive experience in a wide range of projects from working alongside his father and brother on residential and commercial construction and restorations, both in the public and private sectors. After spending more than 12 years with the family firm, Sergio migrated to Australia in 1996, joining the construction industry and establishing Australian Citizenship. In the six years since Perth Builders’ establishment, Mr Lucia has built up a strong management team, and the business has begun to benefit from the vast experience, in-depth knowledge, and high work ethics of its staff.
Despite the company’s relative youth, the varied experience Perth Builders’ managers has contributed to the delivery of a wide range of construction and building projects, and has strengthened the overall service offering that the company provides to its clients. Capitalising on the company’s extensive background in residential and commercial construction and their specialization in heritage conservation and re adaptation works, Perth Builders is able to provide a unique combination of knowledge and services. “The unique blend of services between traditional residential and commercial construction together with the specialization in heritage and restorations has provided an opportunity for Perth Builders to operate within an environment that is particularly appealing to government and local councils as commercial clients,” says Sergio, “as well as residential customers and developers in the traditionally affluent inner city suburban areas, boasting heritage buildings as well as high density residential development precincts.” Well-versed in the blending of heritage and restoration services with traditional building experience in residential and commercial environments, as well as the execution of complex and specialized structural and architectural works and the continuous implementation of modern buildings techniques and products, Perth Builders’ dynamic ability to diversify amongst an array of building services has been appealing as a total service offering to a wide range of clients.
Sergio points to the development of innovative new water and energy conservation methods as one of the greatest challenges for the industry moving forward. “For developers, this means creating sustainable communities that balance resource efficient design and quality of life for residents,” he says. “At Perth Builders we embrace and promote this clear message for a sustainable future and we work towards creating synergies with state government development agencies, designers and other industry professionals that promote and support similar views and actively and collectively contribute to deliver new sustainable designs that are also affordable.” While such efforts stand as one of its primary points of focus, Perth Builders is active in a variety of other areas as well. A deep knowledge of heritage conservation enables the business to deliver restoration and readaptation works for historical buildings, creating new homes from buildings that have remained unused for many years. As well, such projects are usually achieved at a significantly lower carbon footprint than the construction of new buildings would require, through the retention of original fabrics and the reuse and recycling of original materials. “It’s at the heart of every heritage project,” says Mr Lucia, “and the challenge of preserving cultural identity while implementing cutting-edge initiatives to deliver a sustainable outcome is, in essence, what we are most passionate about.”
Perth Builders was recently awarded the contract to build LandCorp’s exciting “Generation Y demonstration housing” project in White Gum Valley, Fremantle. While only a small, 3-unit apartment, the project is set to create a new benchmark for affordable high sustainability multi-residential dwellings on a small parcel of land. The company has also been awarded contract for construction of Knutsford Stage 2 project, which includes the construction of 36 sustainable and adaptable single houses, townhouses, and apartments, designed by Michael Patroni of Space Agency, a local multiaward-winning architect. Demonstrating design excellence in medium density infill development, Knutsford Stage 2 is part of an urban renewal initiative that encompasses Fremantle’s former industrial area of more than ten hectares. The overall project will be delivered over a ten to fifteen year period, and will ultimately be home to more than 1000 residents in approximately 500 new dwellings.
In recent years, Perth Builders has received a number of recognitions from a variety of industry groups, including a finalist ranking for the 2012 State Architectural Awards alongside Griffiths Architects for the restoration of the Gatekeeper’s Lodge at King’s Park, and the 2014 WA Building Design Award in the Heritage Buildings / Adaptive Reuse category with Concept Building Design for the restoration and adaptation of the Star of the Sea Church in Cottesloe, WA. This year, the readaptation of a period building on King’s Street in the Perth CBD has received a commendation in the Small Projects Architecture category of the 2015 WA Architectural Awards, and has been shortlisted for the Mondoluce Lighting Awards. The architect of the project was Tobias Busch also from Space Agency.
It is a common understanding that the building and construction industry in Western Australia, and particularly in Perth, operates within a series of professional networks. “The quickest way to establish good networks are through industry-related associations, and the people that you deal with on a regular basis, in our case clients, sub-contractors and suppliers,” Sergio explains, adding that industry associations are also important resources for up-to-date information with respect to changing legislation, industrial relations, market trends and new products or technologies. Close ties with clients, subcontractors and suppliers are born from the delivery of quality products at fair prices, in a timely manner. “It takes effort by both parties to develop trust and confidence in each other, so that the delivery of a product or service becomes seamless and as trouble-free as possible,” says Mr Lucia. “The higher the levels of trust, the lower the perceived risk, which reflects not only in pricing but also the time spent on managing the delivery of that product.”
Sergio feels that the required provision of Home Indemnity Insurance (HII) for most residential building works presents a serious constraint to industry growth, pointing out that the requirement appears confusing when applied to investment or development projects such as group housing and multi-unit properties in addition to individual homes. “Even for the mums and dads who have to bear the cost of the HII, which adds approx. 1% onto the build price, it will only protect them up to a $100,000 limit,” he says. “If smaller builders can only grow at very controlled rates, more projects are awarded to larger, possibly less competitive builders who run the risk of taking on too much work.” Mr Lucia adds that with Perth’s projected rise in population to 3.5 million by 2050, tens of thousands houses must be built every year in order to meet demand. “This means that all government departments will have to streamline their services to achieve this target, or the restricted supply will continue to force up house prices.”
Sergio Lucia’s journey began 17 years ago, when he migrated to Australia from Italy, coming from 3 generations of builders. “It has taken 12 years of hard work to set up Perth Builders,” he says. “Creating the company in 2009 was a real milestone; I’m very proud of the achievement and success that the company and our team have experience since inception.” The company’s recognition as a highly professional and experienced operator has been its primary target, and Sergio views the awarding of larger and more prestigious contracts over the last year as confirmation that Perth Builders’ efforts and commitments have brought about the ideal outcome. In the coming year, Perth Builders is launching two additional brands; Perth Heritage Builders and Perth Residential Homes, in order to ensure a more specialized service to the commercial, residential and heritage restoration sectors.