by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Housing : November 2008
reinforcing and pre-cast concrete external cladding panels.’ He’s very confident about the application of those techniques and processes to housing construction. ‘We should be able to turn up on-site, pour some piers, and three days later stand the panels up.We’ve got our own 80-tonne crawler crane.Once you’ve built with pre-cast panels you’ll never build with block again – it’stoo slow. ‘The roof should then be able to go on straight away, the windows and plumbing should be able to go in. ‘Within two to three weeks you should have a locked-up house – ready for internal fit-out. It’s got to save a lot of money.’ Brad’sviewis that, essentially,there’s not a lot of difference between construction of a house and an office block. ‘Wedon’t want to be the house builder so much as the supplier of the main component products, and we want to be very cost-effective and good at that. We’dsupply and erect the pre-cast cladding because generally builders don’t like doing that.’ Brad hasn’t set his sights on any particular segmentof the housingmarket. ‘Look, with pre-cast it’svery open.’ Early on BMWebbalso operated in the Northern Territory andWestern Australia but is nowpulling back to concentrate on Queensland – basically in the top end. BMWebbretains ownership of most of the industrial property it builds and then leases it on to major industrial groups such as BlueScope and Toll. It nowowns and operates its own industrial estate,WebbDrive, on a 700-acre site at Bohle, adjacent to Townsville airport. A striking example of the potential and versatility of the group’sbuilding approach is that it rebuilt and refurbished the Catholic cathedral in Townsville.That was an 18-month project and a ‘very difficult job’. ‘It had a 51-degree pitched roof, timber work obviously.We had to put all new battens on and put the roof back on in 10-foot galvanised sheets. ‘We had to patch all the brickwork and had to be very careful with that, especiallymaking sure we got the mortar strength right.After that we did the car parks as well.’ None of this work had to be subcontracted out, Brad says. ‘I’vegot a lot of people working direct for me – painters, concreters, carpenters, boilermakers, plumbers, electricians, everything. ‘I do allmy own steel fabrication, about two-and-a-half to three thousand tonnes of steel a year for ourselves. We blast and paint that in our own shop. We do all our own rigging.’ Brad is very confident of the suitability of the group’s construction techniques to housing. ‘Anything I build will be steel-framed with pre-cast panels. In our industrial building the only timber used is in Left: BM Webb’s own industrial estate, Webb Drive. Above: A residential project by the BM Webb Group. HOUSING NOVEMBER 2008 Community commitments Townsville developer Brad Webb has a very strong commitment to the community, especially through making considerable BM Webb resources and facilities available to the Foodbank organisation, the Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the Townsville Hospital Foundation. ‘In business everyone asks you for money,’ Brad says, ‘Boy Scouts and Cubs, local football teams, everyone. You put $500 here and $1000 there and basically you achieve nothing. So I decided to put a lot of money into one or two things and do it properly. ‘When Foodbank came to TownsvilleI offered to put up a buildingand lease it to them for $1 a year. I’mnow the chairman, run the administration and service the cars. It’snot my job to deal directly with people in need because I’d be no good at it.We supply food to other charities – like a wholesaler – and save thema fortune.Gave almost $1m back to the poor this year.’ BMWebb also hosts and materially supports a Red Cross Blood Bank at itsWebb Drive estate. internal doors and the plywood behind rails in toilets for the disabled. Otherwise it’sall aluminium, steel or concrete.’ Brad remains sole proprietor of theBM Webb Group, butwhen you ask himfor his formal title he just laughs and says, ‘Mate, I don’t even have a business card!’ He probably doesn’t need one. H 39