Office facelifts shape success
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Construction company SHAPE Australia has ridden the surge in office building revamps, resulting in two awards and its highest revenue in five years.
Shape general manager Damian La Rosa says the 35 projects the business completed last year, which included work for Westpac, Mirvac, and Elizabeth Quay’s new oyster bar, helped it return its best figures since 2013.
The national organisation specialises in fitout and refurbishment works, with a team of 300, including 27 full-time staff based in Perth.
Shape launched its WA operations 21 years ago, and Mr La Rosa said 2017-18 was likely its busiest year yet.
“From a turnover point of view it was our biggest financial year in the past five years,” Mr La Rosa told Business News.
“It’s a great time to invest in refurbishment – commercial rates aren’t going to get any lower and construction costs are at an all-time low… so it’s a good strategy for investors.
“And we’ve been part of that; we’re one of the larger fitout and refurbishment businesses in Perth.
“A lot of groups can build things but it’s how you get from A to B – people can lose sight of that in the grind of the construction process. We’re client-focused and quality driven, having repeat business is a sign of that.”
Mr La Rosa said more than 80 per cent of Shape’s 2017-18 project pipeline consisted of work in the commercial space.
Beyond financial results, Shape has been rewarded within the sector, recently winning two accolades at the 2018 Master Builders Excellence in Construction Awards.
Work on Westpac’s new digs at Brookfield Place Tower 2, comprising 6,700 square metres across levels three, four and five earned Shape the ‘best building fitout’ prize in the $20 million to $50 million category at the Master Builders awards.
Work on Westpac’s new office also resulted in an award win. Photo: Joel Barbitta
Interior design company Geyer delivered the Westpac fitout, with project management undertaken by integrated property and infrastructure consultancy APP.
Mr La Rosa said the job included the installation of interconnecting stairs in between all three floors, as well as high-end finishes featuring bespoke joinery, recycled jarrah, and French stone milled specifically for Westpac.
Shape was also honoured at the Master Builders awards with best building fitout in the $1.5 million to $5 million category for town planning firm Element’s new headquarters at 191 St Georges Terrace.
The business was honoured for its work on Element’s fitout. Photo: Attila Csaszar
Other recent projects include the $40 million facelift of mixed-use complex William Square in Northbridge, Mirvac’s Allendale Square revamp on St Georges Terrace, accountancy Grant Thornton’s fitout at Central Park, fitout works for Curtin University and at the Elizabeth Quay oyster bar.
Upcoming projects include the recently awarded fitout contract for the Department of Finance in Joondalup.
“We felt activity slow lately, maybe because we were just so busy last year; in our game if it rains, it pours,” Mr La Rosa said.
“We’re starting to look at what offices will look like in 10 years. The working lifestyle is changing.
“Already there’s more shared space and flexible working, it changes the office dynamic. So will we need the amount of real estate we initially did in the professional sector?”
Shape recently completed a $40m refurbishment of William Square. Photo: Supplied