When a nineteen-year-old Luke Berry arrived in Sydney with just a bag of clothes and a firm mattress under his arm, he had no idea that, one day, he would become the Director for a business as unique and successful as Thirdi Group.
Established over 10 years ago by Berry and his business partners, Ron Dadd and Robert Huxley, Thirdi Group (pronounced ‘Third Eye’) is now one of Australia’s leading property development and investment firms with an enviable track record in successfully delivering large-scale residential projects in Sydney and Newcastle. With a current development pipeline exceeding $600 million, Thirdi Group’s experience and drive to deliver beautiful homes and investment properties are key reasons for their ongoing success. “It’s been a busy 10 years” says Berry
“We’ve got a vision – and we call it our 20/20 vision. By the year 2020 Thirdi Group wants to be recognised as one of the industry’s leading residential developers that is capable of delivering around 500 properties per year, and be recognised for ‘innovative brilliance’ in the way that we create, market and deliver our properties using the latest technologies available.”
Thirdi Group offers its joint venture partners a full range of development management services, starting from the acquisition, project management, sales and marketing right through to settlement. These services are utilised to great effect across their own developments however they are also available to to external developers wanting to take advantage of their established and proven systems for delivery of projects.
One of Thirdi Group’s unique services that is allowing them to be recognised for ‘innovative brilliance’ is their ARTi platform (Which stands for ‘Augmented Reality Thirdi’) they have developed in house for their industry. “Our clients can now download our the ARTi app from the Apple or Android store for free and experience our developments in both Augmented and Virtual reality.
“We have everything from virtual tours inside our yet to be built developments and virtual balconies showing drone footage of potential views from their living rooms. We offer purchasers the ability to view our developments in Augmented Reality where the building literally grows out of the pages of our marketing booklets or advertising material, showing our buildings in an interactive 3D format that purchasers can zoom in and out of showing where its located on google maps.”
It’s investments like this that are helping Thirdi Group being recognised with the ARTi platform being nominated as a finalist for innovation by both the Property Council of Australia and the Australian Business Awards, so it’s a massive step in the right direction.
Along with technology, ‘sustainable’ development has also become a target for Thirdi Group, as it allows them to create and expand, while still maintaining coalescence within their working environment. Their project management team is “constantly reviewing new products and materials” that will have a positive contribution towards this goal, and their adaptive reuse program. targeting existing buildings that can be repurposed back into a new building will help Thirdi Group promote sustainability within the industry.
A great example of this is the group’s current $100million project called ‘ICONIC Waterloo’ located in Sydney, “Instead of knocking down and rebuilding that building, we’re actually keeping the entire heritage façades and all the internal infrastructure that can be then incorporated into our new builds,” says Berry. “That’s helping us be more sustainable. We believe going forward, it’s our responsibility to ensure that the buildings we create, are delivered in the most economic and sustainable way possible that has the smallest environmental impact we can manage.”
Along with the commitment to sustainability, the company’s project management team helps manage the wide range of services Thirdi Group offers to their clients, “varying from boutique to large-scale mixed-use residential developments, land solutions, house-and-land packages, luxury townhouses and warehouse conversions.” The team is supported by “a number of industry recognised managers that have helped deliver some of Australia’s largest residential and commercial projects,”. The team includes expert construction managers, site superintendents, planners and administrative teams – some of which are fluent in Mandarin in Japanese to better assist their international business partners work in Australia. In addition to these existing project management associates, Thirdi Group also openly welcomes anyone who may be interested in working for or with their company.
“We’re constantly reviewing our resources and we have a fantastic approach to HR. If you’re interested in working in our industry – regardless if you’re an intern looking for your first opportunity, an experienced project manager looking to join a progressive residential developer – We’d love the hear from you,” says Berry. “Right now, we’re reviewing the delivery side of the business, so there’s opportunities for a client relationship manager to join us to help with the significant number of settlements we’ve got over the next 6 to 12 months. We are also looking at recruiting in ARTi – the technology side of the business. There’s opportunities for a person that’s got a development background in tech in unity or building online apps and so forth. So, that would be the two opportunities right now. But we’ve always got an open door policy and love the fact that people are interested in working with us.”
Thirdi Group is “very passionate” when it comes to recognising and celebrating their staff. Peer evaluation is encouraged through an internal bonus portal that gives employees the authority to directly reward their team members for a job well done. This combined with the group annual bonus structure creates a unity in the team and helps the business achieve its goals.
Suppliers and clients also see a high level of reward in working with Thirdi Group; their preferred supplier system enables them to work with the same quality suppliers across all of their projects, rewarding them for economy to scale.
Active referral systems and project management updates are also programs that the company offers to their valued clients. “Every client that buys a project through Thirdi Group becomes part of a project management update,” says Berry. “They get a direct link to the business, as their property sometimes takes 12 to 24 months to build and we want them to be part of the process of taking our developments from a raw block of land to a finished product. We believe transparency in our industry isn’t as good as it could be, so we’ve created a portal and communication plan with all our clients so that we can keep them up-to-date as their home or investment property gets delivered – and that includes email updates with video updates showing the latest work from site, pictures, and some commentary on what our delivery team is going through to build their unit or their house. As you can imagine, people aren’t often aware of what goes into doing what we do, and it’s a great insight. It’s a great relationship builder for them to be part of that.”
Berry sees “a number of factors” that need to be monitored within the industry to avoid any negative effect on its prosperity. One of the major issues that Berry has seen so far for this year, particularly in the Sydney market, has been the partial funding of projects by international developers, or local ‘first time, part time’ developers who are unfamiliar with the processes of Australia’s development industry. However, where this may result in a downfall for some, experienced companies like Thirdi Group are able to reap the benefits.
“A lot of these guys have come over here, and they’ve got their project to a point where they’re seeking funding from a senior lender to build them. I believe that, because they don’t have the track record or local funding or building relationships – there’s going to be a number that find it difficult to secure their funding to begin construction. That’s going to be an interesting change in our industry and one that’s going to create some fantastic opportunities for business like mine that are ready for new projects.
Berry’s journey towards success with Thirdi Group is one that he remains thankful for, considering himself “one of the luckiest men alive” to be able to share his story. “I get to go into a job that I love and work with people that I respect,” he says. “I often pinch myself, because the fact is 10 years ago I was driving a tractor and had no idea what I should be doing with my life. The scale that we’ve been able to grow up to over the last 10 years is amazing and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to meet Bob and Ron as the three of us form a formidable team to do what we do.”
The future is a bright one at Thirdi Group and with a little innovative brilliance, hard work and good luck, Berry would like to think “anything is possible”.