Partners mix of skills a perfect match
Proving that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, Christchurch construction company Protec Projects Ltd was established in 2015, when Ben Collis joined forces with Will Giles, complementing each other’s specialised skill sets.
Trade qualified, Will’s background was very much ‘on the tools’ working on residential projects before moving into construction project management post quake Christchurch – which is when he met Ben establishing a friendship, working relationship and a new business.
Originally hailing from the south of London, Ben obtained a bachelors degree in construction management before developing managerial skills in project delivery on large scale residential builds in the South East of England, before making the leap to the antipodes Recognising opportunities for good builders in Christchurch’s buoyant construction market Ben and Will made the call to establish their business, initially focusing on the commercial sector.
“When Will and I first started off we had a staff of two which rose to 15 within 3 months,” says Ben.
“We were taking on carpentry packages for large main contractors and topped out at 30 carpenters. More recently we’ve moved away from a labour supply and made the decision to return to our residential roots.”
With a solid team of 12 skilled carpenters and carpentry apprentices on board, Protec’s focus is on large-scale residential renovations along with a wide range of new builds, including single and multi-unit dwellings.
While the steer is more to residential work, Ben says their hand is still in commercial carpentry packages for tier 1 & 2 main contractors along with seismic strengthening of commercial properties, and large-scale office fit-outs.
The company’s strength lies in the passion for construction and the respective skill sets of its owners.
“Will is more the ‘hands on side’ of things and has a very keen eye for the detail, sequencing and building methodology. He’s the operations manager and runs the basic day-to-day side of things – whereas my skills are more on the managerial side of things.
“I look after the pre-construction stage, getting the jobs off the ground before handing over to Will. I’ll then be the QS throughout the project – running the project commercially and financially.”
With five to six builds running in parallel and at different stages, Will is kept busy travelling from site-to-site, meeting with clients, keeping people informed, agreeing programmes, organising subcontractors and arranging materials.
Will says that Ben’s commercial background ensures the purse strings are kept running back in the office. The benefit of the complementary skills sets was clearly shown in the recently completed Armagh Street multi-unit development.
Consisting of six adjoining two level units, each with a footprint of 70sqm and a total floor space of 140sqm, the development commenced late December 2016 and efficiently completed in September the following year.
Contemporary in design and aimed for young professionals working in the inner city, the external cladding was a mix of cedar at the lower level and plaster in the upper section.
“Ben’s background of volume building has helped in the sequencing and efficient construction of the units, reducing the build time and minimising the running costs of the project,” says Will.
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