Hutchinson Builders is a fifth generation family business and Australia’s largest privately owned construction company. Celebrating 105 years in business this July, the local office has found a new home, planting their roots in the heart of Coolangatta’s CBD.
The national brand has been on the local scene for over 45 years and has lived out the past 16 years in their previously beloved office in Tweed Heads since the early 2000s.
Paul Hart and Levi Corby head up the operation and last month celebrated the completion of their brand new Gold Coast office, located at 100 Griffith St, Coolangatta.
Levi has been with the company for over 12 years and said relocating to Coolangatta has been a long journey, with previous plans to move to Chinderah hindered by the GFC. Ultimately the decision was made to ride out the industry slow down from their established Tweed Heads base.
“We started looking again for a suitable space to move in early 2015, but with close to 100 staff members to house including more than 50 office and administration staff, finding the right location was challenging,” said Levi. “We wanted somewhere accessible, social and somewhere that was part of growth.”
With more than two thirds of the office being keen surfers, the lure of the iconic coastline combined with the foreseeable growth around Coolangatta and its close relationship to Northern Rivers – which has been an important part of their business for so many years – swayed them to the Griffith Street site.
They are one of the biggest businesses to now call Coolangatta home. The Gold Coast/Tweed office – or the Cooly office as it now known – is in the Top 15 largest builders in Queensland, turning over $200 million a year.
Despite this, Levi says they don’t consider themselves a big builder. “We keep our feet firmly planted on the ground, and we behave like small builders in order to stay connected to our cliental and subcontractor base. We have a family first philosophy which is a culture we work hard to preserve, and we pay on time – which is why subcontractors and workforces are loyal to us.”
“As Team Leaders we have full autonomy in the way we run the business to ensure that the business offers a service that complements the local area. We are individual and connected to our local community and build our brand through our people,” he said.
Part strategic move, part reward for their staff enduring the industrial space for so many years, he admits the ritual of lunch time surf checks is helping staff transition to their new home. “We’ve got the board rack out the back and it’s not frowned upon when someone walks through the reception with a board under their arm,” said Levi. “It doesn’t matter whether you come to work soaking wet from the beach, or dressed in a suit – work life balance is very important to us.”
As a major player moving into the Southern Gold Coast, Levi sees promising times ahead. “With the support of businesses like ours, along with the local councillor in Gail O’Neill, Coolangatta is just going to blossom over the next 10 years.”
“We’ve seen more signs of life on the coast than we’ve seen in the last five or six years. No-one knows what’s on the other side of 2018, but the current market is very promising.”
“There’s still a lot of growth and opportunity on the Gold Coast as it’s changing from a tourism strip to a proper city, especially in Coolangatta, which is ultimately why we are here and why we see more permanent residents shifting over time.”
The company have 20 – 25 projects live at any one time which can range from a shopfront replacement in Griffith Street to a $60 – $70 million high rise, and there is no limit to their reach geographically, however the Gold Coast team focus on securing projects locally from Surfers Paradise down to Byron Bay.