Gary has been in Project Management since 98, where he started managing projects for Fairbrother. He then proceeded to start his own business last year, called Direct Construction Services which specialises in Estimating and Cost Consultancy, Project Management and Pre-Purchase Property Inspections.
Give us a brief summary of your background – you were born in South Africa, when did you move to Australia?
We moved to Australia in 1991 from Port Elizabeth in South Africa and lived in Melbourne until 1998. We came to Tasmania on a holiday in 1998 and were so impressed we moved here a few months later.
Tell us a little bit about your career path, how did you move into Project Management?
I obtained my diploma in Quantity Surveying in 1987 and worked in a Quantity Surveying office until immigrating to Australia in 1991. I worked in the Plumbing/Civil Drainage industry in Melbourne until 1998 and then in the domestic/commercial/facilities maintenance industry in Tasmania until 2016. In September 2016 I started my own construction consultancy business called Direct Construction Services.
Moving into Project Management was sort of an automatic process when I joined Fairbrother in 1998 due to the way builders in Tasmania structure their business in that estimators tend to price the projects and proceed to manage them as well through to completion. This is different to mainland Australia where these tend to be separate career paths.
You have your own business www.dcstas.com.au explain to us what Direct Construction Services do
Direct Construction Services was set up with 3 different areas of the construction industry in mind which were:
- Estimating and Cost Consultancy
- Project Management
- Pre-Purchase Property Inspections
What do you feel is the value of a good Project Manager (PM)?
The value of a good project manager is having the ability and knowledge to deal with a large amount of varied issues that occur on projects on a daily basis. One would also need to be able to communicate effectively with all people involved in a project including site staff, office staff, consultants and clients.
What would you say is the most important skill of a PM and why?
The most important skill a PM should have is knowledge of the industry they are working in. Without this issues can’t be solved effectively and immediately and managing the project suffers.
How do you keep up your skills in Project Management?
I find the most effective way to keep up project management skills is to try and vary the type of work I’m involved in and the companies I consult to, as there are always new methods and ideas that one can learn from.
What are your favourite aspects of being a PM?
Favourite aspect of being a PM is dealing with everyone involved in a project and having a successful outcome at the end of it, with a happy client who becomes a return client or brings in new business.
Describe one of your most challenging projects… Why was it challenging and how did you pull the project through it?
My most challenging project was the first project I estimated and managed when I joined Fairbrother in 1998, which was the construction of the Faculty of Arts and Aboriginal Centre at the University of Tasmania in Newnham. It was a $7 million contract and was my first taste of a building contract after working in the plumbing industry most of my career. The architectural details were unique, numerous and challenging, and a lot of time went into working out details and making sure they worked. The project was a success due to the knowledge and enthusiasm of all tradesmen and subcontractors on site, right through from labourers, carpenters and site foremen.
What projects have you managed and what different styles have you used?
Some of the more interesting projects I have been involved in would be as follows:
- City Link Burnley Tunnel project in Melbourne
- Faculty of Arts project at The University of Tasmania
- Restoration works at heritage sites around Tasmania such as Woolmers, Brickendon, Killymoon and Lake House
- State-wide Property Services Manager for OneCare
What are the main changes you have seen in the building industry over the last 10 years?
The main (positive) changes I have seen in the construction industry in the last 10 years would be:
- The ability for young tradesmen to step up and take on more responsible roles within companies or start their own company, and be successful at it as well.
- Legislative changes in Tasmania to Housing Indemnity Insurance and the introduction of Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act
- The large choice of products, finishes and innovative ideas available for projects nowadays.
He brings a wealth of experience to Tasbuilt and has managed several large scale projects in Tasmania, so has an in depth grasp of the building sector and current legislation.
Gary lives in Launceston with his wife Lisel and two children.
Call in to Tasbuilt Homes for a tour of our display homes, and say hello to Gary.