WHEN Harry Xydas and Barry Osboine established DORIC Constructions in 1989, they had plans to build a $30 million construction company.
Now, with DORIC Group just having celebrated its 21st anniversary last weekend, the Subiaco-based construction and engineering firm has grown to more than 300 staff and has a turnover of more than $400 million.
Since its 1989 inception, DORIC Constructions has been responsible for myriad landmark commercial construction projects in Perth, from its early days of delivering the Kaleeya Hospital and the International Room at Burswood Resort and Casino, to 2010’s flagship metropolitan office project Westralia Plaza.
And if it’s a shopping centre in Western Australia, there’s a good chance it was built by DORIC, with the firm delivering Cockburn Gateway Shopping City, Ellenbrook Shopping Centre, Lakeside Joondalup Shopping City, and Rockingham City Shopping Centre, among others, in recent years.
The firm has also been recognised widely by its peers for its commitment to quality construction, with 41 Master Builders Association category awards, and three overall awards, including top accolades in 1997 for the FAL headquarters, in 2006 for Bluescope Steel’s distribution centre, and this year for the Curtin University Recreation Centre.
DORIC chief executive Peter Iancov said the company’s success had been built on the back of lasting relationships with key clients thanks to a strategy of controlled growth.
That’s not to say that growth has not been rapid, however, with DORIC experiencing 30 per cent compound growth since its inception.
“We’d rather our culture remained as a boutique contractor, rather than run it as a business keen to grow just for the sake of it,” Mr Iancov told WA Business News.
“From the beginning we picked the right people, the right clients, and the right projects; we never really looked to overextend ourselves, we never looked to do more than we could.
“We select projects that are complex and where we can add value and then do very well, that’s more important to us than quantity and size.”
From the early days, Mr Iancov said, DORIC placed a high priority on building lasting relationships with key clients.
By 2001 DORIC was undertaking jobs from $25 million to $75 million, and had built on its relationship with Burswood Resort and Casino to become one of its first ports of call for construction work.
Along with the International Room, DORIC was responsible for the redevelopment and expansion of the Burswood Convention Centre, the Holiday Inn at Burswood, and a number of expansions to the casino, including the high-roller Pearl Room.
“Over the years we have focused on delivering more work and larger projects for the same clients,” Mr Iancov said.
“You’ll see a lot of public sector projects in DORIC’s history and then you’re going to see clients like Colonial First State, ING, Curtin University, ECU and Burswood.
“You will also see key new clients like Woodside, Karara Mining, Water Corporation and Department of Defence.
“Our strategy was from the beginning to do the right thing with our key clients, or selected projects, and that wouldn’t allow you to expand, or stretch too far.
“You’ll find situations with DORIC in its history, even with established clients, where we didn’t take up work because we wanted to make sure that whatever we take it was done properly, rather than just take it and worry about it later.”
In 2005, DORIC diversified its operations by acquiring South Perth-based JAXON Construction. JAXON’s commercial construction activities were transferred to DORIC Constructions, and JAXON has remained as the group’s residential construction arm.
The latest change in the DORIC Group has been the company’s intention to tip its hat into the lucrative resources and oil and gas infrastructure construction ring.
The company is currently building the $75 million Karara minesite village and has advanced in $57 million of works at Woodside Petroleum’s Pluto liquefied natural gas project.
“Focusing simply on commercial construction at some point in time you will end up being impacted by economic cycles,” Mr Iancov said.
“We started as a commercial builder, moved into what I would call ‘tech-buildings’ – underwater observatory, hospitals, universities, laboratories – and now we have diversified into resources and infrastructure facilities.
“We’ve just done the first few steps, we’re doing our best to deliver excellence and enter those markets properly, and that will create a stronger DORIC, there is no question about that.”