The current incarnation of Georgiou Group is predominantly a result of a three-way merger deal in 1996. Just under 20 years prior to this, a company began life under the name Direct Drainage in 1977. The firm grew steadily over the next decade and a half, and started a precast company called Geocrate in 1993, before acquiring a firm called Roadpave a year later. This business growth culminated in the official formation of Georgiou Group in 1996, under the stewardship of newly-appointed CEO John Georgiou. 21 years later, Georgiou remains at the helm and has guided the company into its position as a leading national, civil and building construction company in Australia.
‘Your partner in construction’
Involved in various civil and building projects from conceptualisation and design, construction and on to handover, Georgiou Group’s entire ethos is built around knowing its client.
“Most of our work comes from very large institutions or governments and so the process of conceptualisation to hand over of the job really starts with knowing the client,” explains Georgiou.
“Some of our clients have worked with us for as long as the business has existed so we know them well, and know what their issues and pressure points are. Each job is different, so for us knowing the client helps us to begin to begin the process and helps us identify what the concerns could be.”
Over the years, the company has built its reputation among leading businesses and government institutions as a dependable presence in the construction industry. This standing in the sector has allowed Georgiou Group to take on a consistent stream of projects in areas such as earthworks, roads, bridges, water infrastructure, precast work, building construction and land development.
Georgiou’s work is primarily focused in the Western Australia region, with its headquarters situated in Perth, however it has regional offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne which confirms the company’s presence on a national scale.
Georgiou Group continues to employ a wide focus with regards to the types of designs and tenders it takes on, which necessitates a versatile approach. The company may simultaneously be working on a residential development along with a civil bridge project, jobs which essentially require very different skillsets. So how does Georgiou Group maintain and deliver consistently high-class results across a broad range of projects?
The answer lies in the company’s business units. Every year the company runs a business planning process which identifies new business units and reinforces existing units, setting strategic goals year-on-year for each area of business. Each business unit has a different focus and the units are also organised into relative regions.
Employees are subsequently compartmentalised into different business units, which define what type of work they do.
“I’m a big believer in passion for the job. Engineers love to build things, but the team that builds a bridge or tunnel is very different to a team that builds a residential building or commercial building,” notes the CEO..
“Part of the reason we’ve broken down into business units is putting people who are passionate about that particular job into that area. It’s a combination of what you’re passionate about and where your skills are at.”
This restructuring into business units occurred a few years ago, after the company juggled civil and building work within the mining industry, and sought to develop a more logical way of working across two areas.
Consequently, specialised business units were formed which attempt to connect employees with their passions in order to deliver outstanding practical results across separate spheres of work.
“We are all emotional creatures. That’s why we structured the business around specialising people,” says Georgiou.
However, the recent slow-down in the mining sector has limited the amount of work available to the company, resulting in a temporary shift away from mining related construction. But Georgiou Group has just recently begun to receive a few more enquires, which suggests that work within the industry will pick up again over the next 12 months.
Georgiou Group’s current portfolio extends across a host of projects which are under construction or have recently been completed, predominantly in the WA region. Notable developments include the Aubin Grove train station and the Scarborough Beach Redevelopment.
Aubin Grove train station
A few years ago, the government of WA approached Georgiou Group and tasked them with the difficult job of constructing the Aubin Grove train station in South Perth. Located in the median of the busy Kwinana Freeway, the project brought with it a number of unique challenges.
“We have built the train station in the rail line right in the middle of the freeway, which is between multiple sets of lanes,” says Georgiou.
“In addition, we have had to build around a live rail track with electric lines, and on top of that we have had to keep it all running, so trains and cars have been running all day through construction.”
Georgiou began working on the project in mid-2015, with the AUS$105 million development set to fully open in April 2017. Construction work centres around a multi-modal station, a car park of approximately 2,000 bays, six bus feeder services, bicycle facilities and various other passenger amenities.
The project also includes a road upgrade in the shape of widening the Russell Road Bridge to cater for increased traffic which will arrive with the new station.
However, the firm encountered an issue with the project at an early stage, when it received the design for the train station from the architects. It was agreed that the development would follow a modular architectural design, but the initial shapes proved too difficult to modulise, particularly as live traffic would have to be negotiated during construction.
After a re-consultation with the architects a new design was submitted, which allowed for significant chunks of the construction to be pre-fabricated and inserted onto the site during quiet periods of the day.
“By working with the architects, they got what they wanted in terms of aesthetics, at the same time as creating something which is easy to build and hence safer and cheaper for the government,” says Georgiou.
The Aubin Grove train station will support the growing communities in Perth’s southern suburbs when it opens later this year, with over 3,900 daily boardings expected at the new railway connection.
Scarborough Beach Redevelopment
Georgiou Group is also in the process of redesigning the iconic Scarborough beach front in Northern Perth, in a project worth around $50 million.
Similar to the Aubin Grove train station, the renovation of the beach at Scarborough involved a few hurdles which the company has had to overcome. The planning process was particularly lengthy, with Georgiou Group taking a very active stance in this stage of the development.
“Our involvement at this point centred on questions we posed and answered such as what is the best way to do the work, what sort of methodology will be followed and what materials will be used,” explains Georgiou.
Furthermore, as there was existing infrastructure already in place at the beach front, along with people living in and around the area, Georgiou Group had to prove its credentials for this challenging type of work. In this case, the client knew the company was able to handle the work well as it had worked with Georgiou Group on a previous job.
The redevelopment at Scarborough is expected to continue through until early 2018, with demolition, service and drainage installation work being followed by pavement construction, soft and hard landscaping works and carpark reconfiguration in the area.
New building work in the area also covers the construction of a new surf club and a skate park, along with a number of other buildings and facilities.
“Eventually, there are going to be multi-storey apartment buildings surrounding the Scarborough beach front area. Therefore, our planning has to cater for this increased density over the coming years.”
Consequently, as Georgiou Group looks to deliver outstanding results at its Aubin Grove train station and Scarborough beach redevelopment projects, the company continues to support the exponential growth of Perth’s Southern and Northern suburbs.
East coast expansion
With these successful projects in mind, Georgiou Group’s strategy looking to the future focuses on consolidating the firm’s position in WA, but also building its business on the East coast.
Citing Queensland’s relative economic buoyancy compared to WA’s sustained reliance on the mining industry, Georgiou outlines his company’s short-term goals.
“Our strategy is to further grow our brand and our capability in Queensland and NSW. Our focus is to ensure that growth continues, but we’ve planned that with a lot of capabilities here in WA and so our focus is to continue growing over the course of the year.
“Georgiou is a big brand with various departments, and the opportunities are there with various upcoming infrastructure related projects. Now our opportunity is to get qualified and hopefully win some tenders for these exciting projects.”