SMF Projects is a multi-disciplined property development and construction group based in Perth, WA. Placing an emphasis on the provision of innovative property solutions, SMF strives to deliver every project to the highest degree of quality and service while maintaining its commitment to the minimisation of environmental impact.
The broad range of services offered by SMF include cost planning, design review, engineering, buildability assessments, programming, construction management, design and construct, budget and cost management, and full construction services from concept to completion. “With our clients, we tend to steer towards relationship contracting, with emphasis on a cooperative working environment,” says Founder Cam Disley. “This reduces any problems that generally arise from the often highly competitive practices within the construction industry.”
While SMF is specifically involved in the construction of architecturally designed buildings in the areas where a notable degree of innovation is required, Cam emphasises that the same principles and rules of construction are applied to all of the company’s projects, whether large or small. “A rigid and continually evolving suite of work standards and guidelines are used on each project that ensure that we continue to focus on environmentally sustainable work practices,” he says, noting that SMF’s association with skilled consultants, particularly architects, ensures that the projects the group undertakes are always viewed and designed from a sustainable viewpoint.
SMF is involved in the design and delivery of a number of new and innovative apartments and single residential developments, primarily targeting developments of no more than 25 apartments at a time. In addition to a project in West Perth, Belmont, and Cannnington, which together will deliver over 80 exciting, innovative apartments, the group is currently finalising the design and construction planning of a hotel fit-out in regional Western Australia. While generally undertaking large-scale buildings, SMF also maintains a team that focuses on architectural design for residential properties, making use of mixed materials and unconventional practices.
“We find that a lot of commercial builders lose their sense of finesse over time,” Cam says. “Working on residential projects keeps our workers’ skills up, so when they work in the commercial sector, their skill sets are a still there.”
While many of SMF’s individual members of staff have been recipients of numerous HIA and MBA awards, the company itself has chosen to focus on the further development of the knowledge and accreditations of its employees. A lot of the guys in the office are doing undergraduates and masters degrees at the moment, while they’re doing their jobs,” says Mr Disley. “The way we operate, we concentrate more on the delivery of successful projects, and we always get repeat business from our clients, which is a great reward in itself.”
As a member of the HIA, MBA, and RAIA, SMF is able to remain abreast of continuous updates to important industry information, particularly in the fields of health and safety, product knowledge, and trade updates. The associations also provide numerous networking benefits, as well as industry-wide lobbying power. SMF has also built close ties with its key suppliers, which in turn provide the company with the latest information on new products, allowing for the development of new and innovative building practices. “This assists us in keeping a competitive edge over our competitors,” Mr Disley explains. “If we can undertake works that are well designed, innovative, and interesting, yet still buildable, we’ll be able to have an advantage in a very cutthroat industry.
Cam feels that the future success of many industry suppliers, tradesmen and builders will hinge on their ability to recognise and adapt to the economy as it develops and changes. “A large generation of our industry has not experienced sustained downturns, interest rate rises, and property price collapses,” he says. “There will be a period of adjustment and affordability, with low wage and cost levels that usually accompany an overall economic downturn. We as an industry must work to ensure that we’re all on the same page, or else there will be many companies and individuals who will find themselves without meaningful work.”
Growing up on Waiheke Island, a short distance from Auckland, Cam Disley began his construction career as an apprentice carpenter on residential projects. He quickly found success overseeing the construction of high-end architectural houses ranging from 200 to 3000 square metres, and was subsequently contracted to travel to Western Australia to supervise the construction of a number of modular mining camps and facilities for companies such as Rio Tinto, BHP, and Sino Iron. Almost 2 years later, he made the decision to return to Western Australia and open SMF. Cam’s immediate goal is to see the business adopt an entirely in-house approach, and begin taking on its own developments within the next year.