A happy life building at the Mount

A happy life building at the Mount
JLM Builders concentrates on residential projects - both renovations and new builds.

John Mills and his team at JLM Builders based in Tauranga enjoyed a very busy 2017 and it looks like this year is set up to be another full-on one. After some years overseas John returned to his home province and worked for another building company before stepping out on his own in 2004.
Today most building projects are based at The Mount. “I have six employees, a mix of qualified and apprentices and we usually work in two teams,” says John.
When Business North caught up with John a large renovation on Ocean Beach Road had just been completed and an extension and renovation project on Valley Road along with a reclad on Marine Parade was keeping the teams busy.
A new home completed a couple of years ago still stands out in John’s mind. The home in Tay Street, Mt Maunganui sits on a relatively small 350sqm site.
Designed by JMac Architecture, the three bedroom home has had a lot of thought invested in its design to make the most of the section and its outlook.
Two bedrooms are on entry level serviced by a joint bathroom while the master bedroom is on the first floor. An open-plan kitchen lounge space opens up on to a small deck which looks straight at the Mount.
“The home has a massive amount of steel to support the decking. With walls clad in copper sheeting and James Hardie Axon panelling it looks really stunning.”
John says there’s plenty of work ahead and he intends to continue to concentrate on residential work.
“We’re really good at new homes and renovations and we’ve evolved great building systems to ensure the projects run as smoothly as possible.”
Looking ahead John would like to grow the number of teams he employs with each team having a dedicated project manager. He is also keen to see more emphasis placed on the building trades for those at school contemplating a career.
“There might be a stigma still at school level, where those less academically inclined are encouraged to do the trades but in terms of the skills you need to be a successful builder the opposite is the truth.
“To run your own building company, you have to have not only all the skills to build but also the ability to employ and manage staff, take care of all the compliance work while actively sourcing future work.”

A happy life building at the Mount
Designed by JMac Architecture, this stunning three-bedroom Mt Maunganui home was a stand-out project for JLM Builders.

John thinks the apprenticeship framework these days is very apprentice focused, unlike in his day where it was a case of reading a few books outside of work hours.
“These days they really get involved and every new skill learnt has to be ticked off by me as well as their tutor, which is a responsibility I take seriously.”
John’s weeks are busy. In any given week he will be assigning work to the team, spending necessary time in the office, making site visits and meeting new clients.
Investment in Co-Construct, a cloud-based building management system which gives 24/7 access to clients regarding the progress of their build along with a direct way to communicate with John, has been a real success.
“It means our clients can access update information, view building milestones, ask and respond to questions, provide comments and receive photos, so they remain really connected to their build.”
And while work occupies John’s focus, the father of two also enjoys coaching 10th grade soccer, hunting and fishing.
“I am happy with where the company is positioned. “If you’re passionate about building then, despite all the responsibilities, it is a good life.”
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