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Doric disappearance solved

FOR much of 2003 there would be the occasional question – whatever became of Doric?

Through 2002 the company had been flying high with the Burswood hotel refurbishment.

It even had several starring turns before the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry regarding Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union disruptions on that job.

The last real public appearance of Doric, however, came amidst the controversy of a crane falling over at the Mindarie High School job.

Soon after that the rumours started circling that the middle-tiered builder was struggling and was unable to find work.

How then was it able to secure the Australian Institute of Building award for the best construction company in the $50 million to $100 million bracket or the Master Builders Association’s award for best regional builder?

Doric property-construction executive Keith Somers said the company had not really gone away – it had just been doing different things.

"The Western Australian Government said they weren’t going to be letting any more contracts for a while and that reduced the margins in the tendering business," he said.

"We decided that wasn’t a market we wanted to play in."

Mr Somers said with the margins gone in the tendering market Doric had concentrated on regional projects and those that it created for its clients.

"We did stage two of the Gateway Showroom complex in Osborne Park. That’s an example of a job we created for a client," he said.

"The owners wanted to expand it. We knew of a tenant that wanted to be in the centre but didn’t need the exposure – State Swim – and were happy to go into the complex’s undercroft car park.

"That created a value that the owners didn’t see."

The company also suggested improvements to the configuration of the showrooms. It is currently involved with stage three of the Gateway project.

In 2003 Doric also built the Busselton Underwater Observatory and upgraded the Esperance Boulevard Shopping Centre.

It also finished off stage one of Bouvard Island, a project it bought when Menzies Court took over the troubled Port Bouvard project in the late 1990s.

Doric now has about $150 million worth of work on the go including the construction of the three-and-a-half-star hotel at Burswood Resort Casino, the City of Stirling’s council offices, the RSL Menora retirement village and the Ellenbrook shopping centre.

Mr Somers said Doric had enjoyed 20 per cent compound growth over the past 10 years.

He said a lot of that was due to the fact that the owners were careful about the type of business it took on.

The company has no immediate interest in stepping up to the top building tier that is dominated by the likes of Multiplex and Leightons.

"Once we get over the $50 million mark we’re very precise in our project selection," Mr Somers said.

"One of the key questions we ask is how does it fit in our risk profile and how we’re travelling at the moment?

"We don’t take on a job unless we can give it our best shot."

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