My property journey started when I graduated in 1990 as a Civil Engineer from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Drawn by attractive working opportunities overseas, I started as a Site and Design Engineer. In 3 years, I was running the branch office.
Working with others on the technical team laid a good foundation for resolving issues together. It has also sharpened my technical and people handling skills. How would you handle a tradesman with whom you have a 20 year gap in experience? With a lot of humility and tact. He may have to work with you because of your position but to be truly effective at the worksite, you would also have to earn his respect.
In 1995, my client offered me the role as a Project Manager handling their larger projects. A high level of management skills were required as you would have had to handle clients, government officials and frequently, a team that is located in all parts of the world. One of the clients I have had the pleasure to work with was Carrefour, the French retail giant. They had the most extensive chain of hypermarket stores in Asia then. We were able to deliver their new stores on time through the efforts of a team of people with diverse backgrounds and culture. It was a personal achievement that under such stress on delivery, we were still able to maintain a positive work attitude.
In 2000, I started a company offering Property Development and Project Management services. I would work with my clients from the initial proposal for the land purchase through to the design phase. Getting the necessary permits, implementing the construction works and finally delivering the final product, fit for occupation. The idea was to provide a ‘One-Stop’ agency where the intent of the development is formulated with the client. My team would then handle the entire process of implementation and delivery.
Having assumed part of the role of a Property Developer, my considerations have expanded from just technical requirements to the needs of the business of developing properties. Our creed was ‘High quality delivered, On Time, On Cost’.
I have completed a diverse portfolio of properties ranging from single dwellings and terrace houses to high-rise apartments. I have been involved in developing stand-alone factories to industrial parks, from shops to shopping malls. To date, I have completed in excess of 2,500 units of landed properties. In 2015/2016, I delivered a twin 36-storey tower project comprising of 668 units of serviced apartments and 4 20-storey towers which has a total of 998 apartments. The largest project I’ve been involved in is an 8-storey shopping mall with a hotel block and a serviced apartment tower. The project cost was in excess of $200 million.
Though the pressure to perform is high for these projects, I have kept a conducive working environment for my group members. I believe that as a team, we are able to achieve much more than the sum of our individual efforts.
Today, I have returned to a robust property market here in Melbourne. With my long and diverse experience in conceptualizing and delivering projects, I aim to make the experience of being part of one of our ‘collectives’ to be both instructional, collaborative and fruitful.