Andrew, Design Builders was around for a while when you came on board as CEO. What are you bringing to an already successful company?
I first dealt with Design Builders when I was working for a builder’s merchants 12 years ago, and I had a love and respect for what Design Builders were doing. So, I was already a fan, if you like, when I joined.
I like to think I bring a real end-to-end perspective to Design Builders. I’ve been in the construction industry my whole career in New Zealand and overseas. I’ve been involved in every aspect from taking raw materials, trees and rocks, and turning them into timber and concrete. I’ve stood in timber mills and quarries.
In my time, I’ve worked on the manufacturing and production side, for building suppliers, and now I’m on the building side of the game.
Also, it might seem a little bit clichéd, but I think I bring a fresh energy into the Design Builders group. I’m bringing in some drive behind Design Builders’ vision for their product.
How do you see Design Builders position in the market?
We’re making architecturally designed homes more accessible to New Zealanders. I want that to come across to the market, because it’s just such a cool opportunity for people to get their own unique home.
It’s easy for people to think of a unique home as out of reach. “I’m just going to go with this group home builder because that’s within my budget.” Or “I can’t go to an architect because it’s expensive.” Whereas we’re a one-stop shop. We have it all under one umbrella – custom-design and build.
Who is a ‘typical’ Design Builders client?
Well, they are definitely people who want something different. They want something unique. They don’t have an unlimited budget, and they want to get very good value. I think they’re discerning, and know what they want, they need us to bring it to life. They’re not usually people who are thinking about resale because they’re building that family home or their retirement home – a significant home. And I must say that’s a little bit humbling in a way, because we’ve been selected to build something for them that’s very important.
What are you most proud of in your tenure so far?
I’m just super-proud of our business partners, and all the people in the business, for being so resilient. Getting stuck in, making decisions and navigating through with a view to being strong and ‘getting to the finals.’ I don’t know if you’ve read Richie McCaw’s book, but he talks about 2007, when New Zealand got kicked out of the rugby world cup. It came back to the fact that, to clinch the game, you need to be able to realise what you’re dealing with. That’s what stuck out to me in the book: What’s our goal? How do we win from here? How do we get to the finals? I love that. I’m also proud of achieving the milestone of having full North Island coverage – we’re now here for clients throughout the North Island. We’ve also increased the capability of Designers Builders Services.
Designers Builders Services is responsible for architectural design and all the vital behind-the-scenes support.
Yes, we’ve invested in that business and we’ve put some new people in. I feel like we’re really growing our services business capability, which aligns with the idea of being a true national player. I’m really proud of how we’ve set up and positioned our services business for the future.
What keeps you awake at night?
I’ll answer that question a bit differently. I’m a believer that your creative brain is in a state of processing most of the night. So, I really like to plant things in my mind the day before, or whatever I’m dealing with, these will come up. I feel like sometimes that’s when solutions and ideas that your brain might be working on, in the background, come out. And they can be your best ideas.
Design Builders is eyeing the South Island – can you tell us about that, and what kind of timeframe are you thinking?
We’ve always had plans to go to the South Island. I’ve always had a pretty structured approach to growth. So we’re going to start marketing ourselves to the South Island in the last quarter of this year. From October, we’ll be asking for expressions of interest from people who want to be a part of the Design Builders business in the South Island. It’s an opportunity for people to be a part of the Design Builders business, but also provide clients the opportunity to own a design and built home.
I’m looking forward to it – it’s a little bit like going overseas! But yeah, pretty excited about what’s happening next.
If you would like to know more about Design Builders contact the team today. Or if you’re in the building industry, with an excellent reputation and a hunger to be a successful business owner, contact Andrew to explore a partnership opportunity with Design Builders.