There’s an advantage that Perth’s most successful project home builders have that helps them achieve their outstanding success and that’s the engineering company they use.
Prompt Engineering is the company of choice for award winning project builders such as the Summit Homes Group, Scott Park Group, Blueprint Homes, Plunkett Homes, Aveling Homes and Danmar Homes.
It’s the creation of WA engineering pioneer Michael Young who has been in the business more than 40 years, and previously established and grew a 150 employees consultancy firm before selling it.
He says it was important to him that an engineering consultancy firm was about more than just making money. Our mission is to deliver value to our customers and the communities we care for as well as inspire our staff to innovate and grow.
“When employing people, you’ve got to provide good processes and a good place to work – and you look at this place and it’s innovative and beautiful,” he explains.
“Here, we really focus on mentoring, encouragement, empowerment and learning, as well as on the work.
“We do a lot of housing work which may be considered as low end engineering and boring.
“It’s true the work can be mundane and repetitive but it’s the same wherever you go. What makes it fun is the knowledge behind it, so I’m encouraging the people who work here to learn more – don’t look at it as a workplace but as a place of learning.”
Prompt has been operating 11 years and in its current location in Wangara for about five years. It’s a spacious, edgy office hidden in an ordinary-looking warehouse, and which contains its own creche and orchard.
Prompt works across all aspects of engineering; residential, commercial and geotechnical. It designs approximately 6000 projects a year. With just under 40 employees it holds an admirable 25 percent of the residential project builder market.
And it’s here Prompt Engineering is making some of its biggest impressions according to the company’s dynamic CEO Wilson Hui.
He says it’s important that Prompt change the perception that residential engineering is the lower end of the profession. On the contrary, he says residential engineers are not only innovative in design but must also have a thorough understanding of a wide range of building materials and products.
He says the company is unique because of its immersive approach to its projects and tailor-made customer services which sets it aside from others.
And it’s working; one of the state’s biggest project home builder estimated last year, Prompt saved the Group more than $500,000 through improved efficiencies.
Wilson says understanding the clients’ workflow is essential.
“What other companies do is focusing on the engineering which is great, but to make ourselves different and unique we strive to understand our clients’ business.
“We want to work with all departments within our clients’ business, from sales to construction. We share knowledge by working with people with different perspectives. We identify any shortfalls together and use our skills to support our clients to achieve a better result.
“We might spend a day a week during projects in the clients’ office or onsite, talking to everyone – the supervisors and tradesmen not just management.
“We find lot of double handling in the residential market between builders, fabricator and engineers that you don’t find as much with commercial jobs.
“In the commercial space, companies tender for a project, so they know the price and have their fabricators and engineers on board, so they know how they can work collectively beforehand.
“In the residential space, projects start with engineering and fabricators only involved at the later stage when quotation request has been made by the builders for supply of materials; there’s little matching or thinking about how things can work well together.
“Our aim is to help the builder and liaise on their behalf to reduce double handling and reduce costs. The traditional processes may still works in certain type of projects but as the construction technology is evolving every day, it is important for us to be the bridge between suppliers, fabricators and builders and be a “trusted agent” for all parties to deliver success to every project.
“It’s important for our clients to understand our service isn’t a copy and paste one; we’re a professional service. Sure, there will be some repeat procedures but at the same time it’s about design and innovation.”
In addition, the company has an annual research and development budget which it uses to collaborate with universities to target issues facing by the industry, like its stainless steel and galvanized steel corrosion study with partners CSIRO and BlueScope Steel.
“Australian Standards only allowed stainless steel to be used in severe marine environment for roof tie down material but it’s an expensive product and that created affordability issues. We worked with BlueScope Steel to look at products that are readily available and test innovative alternatives with CSIRO,” Wilson says.
“If we can provide a proven performance-based solution, we can meet the codes using alternatives to materials in the National Construction Codes.”
“We are currently partnering with Central Queensland University on a research in double brick construction which is unique to our WA housing market. This is another exciting project that we will share with our clients soon.”
Prompt has projects in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and recently declined an acquisition from a national firm, saying it intends servicing Australia ‘our way’ for some time to come.