Abigroup and the road ahead
23 March 2011
Abigroup is one of Australia’s leading and most diverse national contractors and over the years there has been a set of core drivers carrying Abigroup forward. Managing Director David Jurd shares with us what he views as the foundations of the company’s success.
“What hasn’t changed over the years is Abigroup’s hands-on approach to contracting,” said Managing Director David Jurd from the company’s new headquarters in Chatswood, on Sydney’s North Shore.
“From the early days Abigroup has owned, operated and maintained its own fleet of construction plant and this has really defined the Abigroup difference. We employ our own blue collar workforce and when faced with a challenge, our project teams embrace the opportunity to develop innovative solutions - a recognised characteristic of Abigroup and a source of pride for our workforce. We adopt a first principles approach to building and engineering construction.”
This model has driven the company’s move into increasingly diverse services and operations.
“While building the Albury Wodonga Hume Freeway, it became clear that the risks – in terms of cost, availability, safety and quality – of buying and transporting concrete bridge beams from Melbourne were high and beyond our control,” said David.
“So we built a pre-cast yard to manufacture our own beams and maintain control over quality and delivery. We’ve since established a permanent facility in northern NSW to supply not only our own projects, but those of external clients.”
“Our clients’ recognition of our ability to get in and get the job done in this way has also supported our move into diverse operational areas. After delivering projects in a range of areas, we decided to form specialised teams dedicated to specific areas and in 2006 established Abigroup Telco & Energy, in 2007 we established Abigroup Mining Services, Abigroup Water in 2008 and just this year Abigroup Rail became our most recent specialist national business.”
The strategy has proven successful, with the company now boasting an order book approaching $5 billion – its largest ever. The challenge now is to continue this successful growth.
“We are always looking forward and never take success for granted,” said David. “In 2009 we developed our sustainability strategy, which identifies key areas for us to focus on in order to remain a profitable and sustainable business well into the future.
“One of the main priorities for us is people and this has seen new programs introduced including our behavioural safety program, graduate development and indigenous schemes and the establishment of women@abigroup – a forum that focuses on increasing the diversity, and therefore strength, of our workforce.”
Project highlights of 2010 for Abigroup included the early completion of the second Gateway Bridge as part of the $2.12 billion Gateway Upgrade Project in Brisbane; being named Managing Contractor for the $1.2 billion Queensland Children’s Hospital; commencing work on the $759 million Peninsula Link project in Victoria and securing the Hunter Expressway – Kurri Kurri to Branxton.
Abigroup enters 2011 with a record order book in excess of $5 billion, a workforce of over 3500 and a raft of work in specialised areas including rail and energy.