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Newest Townsville Branch member

The Institute’s newest Townsville Branch Member, LEAD consultants, provides an insight into their experiences, learnings, and projects.

Regional Manager Helen Motti sat down for our “Two minutes with…” interview.

How did you get involved in the Townsville development industry?

I commenced my career in the Townsville Development Industry working on the Stockland Townsville Redevelopment Project as a Building Cadet for Laing O’Rourke. I always had a keen interest in pursuing a career in the Construction Industry and saw this as a great opportunity. I believe initially working for a contractor greatly assisted my development as a Client-side Project Manager, as it provided me with invaluable onsite experience and knowledge.

Why did you decide to become a member of UDIA Qld Townsville Branch?

I decided to become a member of UDIA QLD Townsville Branch, as I believe it is a great platform to meet and build relationships with likeminded Construction Industry professionals.

Tell us about the latest trends in the Townsville development industry. 

It is great to see the introduction of local content as a tender requirement for both public and private construction projects in Townsville. I think it is no secret that Townsville in the last decade has seen some issues with the availability of jobs and new construction projects commencing since the GFC. More recently the issues have arisen due to the downturn in the resource sector, which heavily impacted on the city’s unemployment rates and housing demand. Additionally, lack of sustained public and private capital projects influenced the downturn of the Townsville development industry during this period. Townsville’s $78 billion capital expenditure programs were largely completed by the end of 2014. The programs included several major infrastructure and building projects, such as the Flinders Street Mall Redevelopment, new Cruise Ship Terminal and Port Extension, Jezzine Barracks and Kissing Point redevelopment and expansion of the Townsville General Hospital. These extensive programs of works demonstrated investors’ confidence in the development of the regional city. In saying this, there are signs that there are some very positive signs of an upturn in the Townsville Development Industry. A number of recent construction project announcements, such as the new North Queensland Cowboys Stadium, Waterfront Development Scheme and Upgrade of Townsville Airport Terminal, provides confidence in the region. These construction projects are a step forward in the right direction, by increasing economic activity, creating local jobs and improving individuals’ ability to afford property.

Where do you see the property development industry going for the next 10 years? 

Based on the number of recent project announcements, I see the market improving, which will provide benefits for all members in the Townsville Development Industry. As an upcoming company, we are excited to tackle some of the previous issues, push forward with new processes and explore innovative opportunities for growth. A downturn can be an upturn for a smart company!

Career highlight so far?

My career highlight so far would have to be the successful delivery of a major fire services program of works for one of Queensland’s leading aged care providers. The project involved the retrospective fire services upgrade of 52 aged care facilities throughout Queensland to achieve compliance with the introduction of new legislation. The facilities were aged between recent builds completed prior to 2006, through to buildings in excess of 40 years old. The retrospective application of these standards to older buildings raised many technical issues associated with the service locations, access, construction, safety, and asbestos management. The facilities were operational throughout the works with residents in occupation 24/7 (in their homes). The safety of residents (and their visitors), the conduct of the construction and service teams, and the communication and coordination with the site operational teams was an absolute imperative.

What advice would you give to young professionals starting in the industry in your region?

I always encourage young professionals who are starting out in the Development Industry to ask questions and make time to network. There is no such thing as a dumb question and asking questions demonstrates an individual’s willingness to learn. Lastly, I always emphasise the importance of networking, as building and maintaining strong relationships is paramount to success.