13/06/2013 - 14:11

BG&E builds on decades of expertise

13/06/2013 - 14:11


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BG&E builds on decades of expertise

Engineering consultancy BG&E sees itself on the cusp of standing alongside the large practices in Australia.

One of the guests at BG&E's recent 40-year celebration summarised its history as one of 'bloody good engineering', and the firm's performance over that time provides plenty of evidence to support that simple message.

That's particularly the case recently, with the company having undertaken significant growth in revenue, staff, and community work during the past three years.

Created under the name of Bruechle, Gilchrist and Evans in the 1970s, BG&E has worked on projects ranging from 80-storey buildings in Dubai to the $2 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth.

Starting out in a small office on St Georges Terrace, the firm more latterly relocated to a warehouse on Murray Street, keeping the building's graffiti largely intact.

The recent period of rapid growth has resulted in a near quadrupling of revenue and increased staff from 148 to 215.

"Without our staff we have no business, so we ensure we put a lot of time and effort into looking after our staff and making sure that they are happy in the work they are doing and in their work environment," BG&E director Peter de Bruin said.

BG&E has said it takes great care to bring new staff into its office culture, partnering junior staff with senior engineers to ensure they are trained the 'BG&E' way.

Mr Bruin said the results of this care and effort were shown in the business's low staff turnover, with some staff having worked the entirety of a 35 to 40-year career with BG&E.

He added that the firm had only full-time employees, something that distinguished BG&E from some of its competitors who hire on a contract basis, letting staff go after project completion.

"We don't do that, people come down and they stay here, they have a career with BG&E," Mr de Bruin said.

BG&E has also extended its efforts to charitable projects, with five staff travelling to Tanzania to construct bridges in March this year.

Three bridges were constructed, employing local people and training them in a variety of skills while linking farming communities to markets and services.

In social work closer to home, BG&E has also been a regular donor of funds and expertise to the Indigenous Australian Engineering Summer School.

In response to the challenges of rapid growth, BG&E has implemented a number of technological and organisational initiatives.

Among these was the introduction of management software BST Global, to enable managers to deal with information concerning a project in real time and enable them to make decisions more rapidly.

BG&E has also increased the speed of its data network and introduced a data back-up system.

The firm has implemented organisational changes in increasing the management structure to 20 business managers from the previous handful of employees.

Mr de Bruin said BG&E made a conscious effort as part of its growth strategy to stay specialised in the field of civil and structural engineering rather than diversifying.

"We sell ourselves as being specialists in our field so we concentrate only on civil and structural engineering, because in our view if we did the other services as well there is always the danger it would water down our expertise and shift our focus from what we do," he said.

Though Mr de Bruin said the company was always looking to grow, the management team was aware the growth of the past few years had been phenomenal and would be hard to maintain.

The priority for BG&E was to protect the firm's culture, he said, and that growth would only take place in a measured and sustainable manner where the firm's culture would be protected.

Over its 40-year history, BG&E has increased both the range and scope of its projects.

Some of the firm's work includes the Leach Highway Bridge over Albany Highway and multi-storey buildings Central Park and Exchange Plaza.

The firm also designed Australia's first incrementally launched bridge over the Tonkin Highway in 1989.

BG&E's largest project to date is the $2 billion Fiona Stanley Hospital, for which the firm undertook the civil and structural engineering.

Mr de Bruin described the project as a major milestone in the history of BG&E and that the firm was extremely proud of its involvement.


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