We built this city

Written by: Rachel Licciardello | May 31, 2019

Hutchinson Builders may not have exactly built this city, but as one of Australia’s largest privately-owned companies, and with a growing presence in Townsville since 1987, the construction company has certainly made a lasting impact.

When it comes to building, Hutchinson Builders is one of the biggest names in Australia. It is a family business, founded in Queensland and passed down through the generations for 107 years. The company has built its success on the basis of family values of trust, reliability and long-term relationships. Today, Hutchinson Builders completes around 300 projects a year and annually turns over $2.7B.

For the past 32 years, Hutchies (as the company is known around town) has had a presence in Townsville. Hutchies Townsville office  has recently made a name for themselves through projects including the award-winning refurbishment of The Ville Resort – Casino, where Hutchies demolished sections of the existing hotel and casino, to construct the Quarterdeck, Miss Songs, hotel lobby, Palm House, Pavilion and the pool area. That two-year, $25 million project culminated in the title of Master Builders’ Project of the Year 2018. 

“That was a target project for us,” says Hutchinson Builders Team Leader Peter Lee. “It is an iconic property, and it has been worthwhile to see the Townsville community embrace it.”

Another recent  project was the $10m NRL Cowboys House Girls Campus in Pimlico. “We were keen to be involved due to our strong connection with the indigenous community and also our association with the NQ Cowboys,” says Peter. “It was a rewarding project for Hutchies, and is providing terrific benefit for the Townsville community.” 

In Townsville, Hutchinson Builders’ team of 44 includes projects managers, contract administrators and cadets, estimators/cost planners, site managers/foreman, safety and quality control personnel, carpenters, apprentices and labour.

“Last year our team was 40-strong, this year we’re aiming to grow to 46,” says Peter, “Our internal focus is to increase turnover off the back of a good book of work, as well as push into new markets like defence and remote-based island work.

“From a community perspective, we want to see Townsville grow. The only way to do that is to employ locally, or to attract people to Townsville to become part of the community. We are 100% committed to this approach rather than fly-in-fly-out scenarios.

“North Queensland is a major market for Hutchies, and we are well located to service this northern region. One of the beauties of the Hutchinson Builders model is each team needs to be self-sufficient. Basically, we run our own local business. We can reach back to our head office in Brisbane for national support, if we need; but we really are self-sufficient.”

Currently underway for Hutchies are some key flood recovery projects for Townsville, including council-owned Civic Theatre and Riverway Arts Centre which will each cost around $5m in refurbishments. “We have scheduled these works to also allow the venues’ major events to continue, like the V8s in July and school eisteddfod in September,” says Peter.  Hutchies are familiar with managing complexities such as these. This was particularly evident with The Ville Resort – Casino project whereby the casino remained entirely operational for the two years Peter’s team was on site. 

Also underway are significant flood repair works at The Cathedral School in Mundingburra, and Fairfield Central’s Stage 3 development. “Fairfield has been a challenging project,” admits Peter. “We were three weeks out from handing over to Coles, back in January, and then the floods hit and we’ve spent since February rebuilding.”

Add to the project book, construction of Lion Nathan’s cold milk storage warehouse, which is around $14m, and St Patrick’s College’s $14 million performing arts, library and learning building. “We’re excited to be part of that, it’s a challenging project given the location [at the corner of The Strand and Fryer Streets] but it will be an impressive three-level building.”

Hutchies knows the value of supporting the local community. “Just about every project that we do, we will try to incorporate support or sponsorship relevant to the project client. For example, with St Pat’s we are going to sponsor the Townsville Catholic Education Youth Arts Festival.”

Hutchinson builders also sponsors the Ronald McDonald House Annual Charity Gala, the North Queensland Cowboys, local rugby league and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services magazine Response. This month Hutchies are also sponsoring the Townsville Barbecue Battle, and after the Townsville floods they donated money and purchased t-shirts for flood recovery works.

“We’re proud to be part of the Townsville community and to date we have a really good book of work,” said Peter. “I am committed to growing our team and expanding our contribution to the community over the coming years.”

To view more featured projects visit www.hutchinsonbuilders.com.au/townsville

Success North Queensland | Connecting Cairns and Townsville