Luxury home builder PRM Constructions have been in the Melbourne construction industry for 20 years, Director Nick Stephens gives us some valuable insight on the company, as well as the industry from his perspective. PRM Constructions was founded in 1995 by Philip Macwhirter, who remained working in the business until last year. The company is now run by Nick and his co-director, Matthew Borg, having implemented a succession plan over a number of years.
Since the early days, PRM has grown from a one man operation, completing small renovations and extensions, to employing 15 full time staff and a wide array of sub-contractors. They currently complete single projects reaching up to $16 Million in value.
“PRM’s capabilities are extensive; we are commercially and domestically registered and have completed projects ranging from operating room refits and commercial structural rectifications through to high end residential projects” States Nick.
He continues, “Our main focus for the last 15 years has been the construction of architecturally designed homes, which currently forms the bulk of our work. We have working relationships with some of Melbourne’s leading architects and regularly complete works under their supervision through both the competitive tender market and through negotiated contracts.” PRM is also able to provide design and construct options through a range of designers in order to present complete turnkey packages to their clients.
“Our years of experience and time spent continually refining our systems and building practices mean that we can deliver today’s increasingly technically challenging projects in a way that exceed our client’s expectations” Explains Nick proudly.
Nick says that for PRM, the most successful method of focusing on sustainability in the construction industry, which is always concerned about the bottom line, is to show their clients how adopting sustainable building materials and practices can benefit them in the long term. “For example, by spending a little more on a sustainable design, such as passive heating and cooling, or installing solar energy systems at an early stage, they can save significant costs over the long term, whilst also benefiting the environment” Advises Nick.
The company also couples this with internal policies designed to reduce waste and environmental impact on their sites and in their office. These policies include working electronically in order to minimize plan printing and recycling unwanted materials wherever possible. “Generally, when you produce less waste, you are spending less money, so there are multiple benefits” Says Nick.
PRM now has plenty of opportunities to put these policies in affect, as they are currently underway on a number of exciting residential projects with architects and designers including B.E Architecture, Nexus Designs, Nicholas Day Architects, Tandem Studio, Branch Studio Architects and PerySmart Architects. “We also recently acquired several parcels of land and obtained planning permission for a five level, 57 apartment development in a Development Manager role and we are planning to expand this arm of the business of the over the next year.”
Nick touches on PRM’s recent success and achievements, stating “The achievement we are most proud of in the last few years, is not actually focussed on building houses, but rather on the architecture of our business and the implementation of our succession plan. The volatile and cyclical nature of the construction industry means that very few companies of PRM’s size successfully implement clear and effective succession plans, which is exactly what we have achieved over the past two years.”
Set in motion by founder Phil Macwhirter himself and now continued on by Matt and Nick, the company’s succession plan includes clear goals and milestones. It also provides performance indicators in order to ensure PRM another 20 years of success within the industry. “As I speak, we are literally building the home of one of our early client’s children. We are proud of relationships like these and plan to be around to build for a third generation” States Nick.
He continues on the topic of industry relations; “In our market, relationships with our suppliers and subcontractors are key. We present a premium product to the market and require a level of quality that can only be achieved through working together and being able to rely on your trades and suppliers to deliver (physically and figuratively) when required.”
“We also find that as a whole, our clients are much more educated in regards to construction and the type of quality they expect, than say five years ago. They often want to sit down with our trades and suppliers and run through many aspect of the project in great detail, in order to be included in the decision making process, which can sometimes mean asking for that bit of extra performance from your suppliers. You can only get that performance if you have a great working relationship.”
In terms of industry bodies, PRM acknowledges the MBAV as a great resource for builders of all sizes. The company regularly puts their staff through MBAV training programmes to continue their professional development or move them to the next level within their role.
With a bright future ahead, Nick provides some insights on industry concerns; “The big question for us and I would say most if not every builder, is when the property cycle will start to cool again. I don’t see this happening any time in the near future, however there will need to be a correction at some point which always has flow on effects on the wider industry in terms of the level of work that is around.”
Nick Stephens has been with PRM for 5 years. He started out in the industry 11 years ago and has always had an interest in construction and property development, due to his family being in some form, involved in these industries during his lifetime. He started off working in the family businesses on the Mornington Peninsula and then spent a few years with another prominent high end Melbourne builder. He worked almost every job on site while he was studying for his construction and surveying diploma, until he started running sites at around 22.
“I eventually decided to relocate permanently to Melbourne at the age of 23, which was when I joined PRM Constructions as a site manager. I eventually ended up in the office and started working on a large tender which we ultimately went on to build, 17 luxury homes in just under a year. I project managed that job which ultimately led to the offer of a partnership in PRM, joining Phil who founded the company and Matt, who has been with PRM for 16 years.” Explains Nick.
At present, the outlook for PRM is fantastic and the company is keen to make use of the strong market by continuing to grow. A recent milestone has been the complete rebrand of the company which it had been working towards for some time. This rebrand has just rolled out over all the company’s communications and sites and reflects the high end products the company builds.
Nick leaves us with a positive outlook, stating; “The current objective for PRM is to continue the level of growth that we have achieved over the past year well into the future. We will also be bringing another partner into the business, as success is all about surrounding yourself with the right people.”
If you would like to take the young Director’s advice and surround yourself with the right people, you can start virtually. PRM invites you to keep up-to-date with their current works via their Instagram @prmconstructions or get in touch with them through their website, www.prmconstructions.com.au.