BUILDING: Rawson Finds New Work
Recent Western Cape Business News
Rawson Developers and Homebuilders, now celebrating its 15th anniversary, has over the last year expanded its horizons and increased its ability to find new work by making its full team (particularly its construction team) available to other developers. Independent developers are now offered everything from a simple building contract to a complete turn-key service which involves Rawsons in “everything”: finding the site, carrying out feasibility studies, designing, construction and selling the units.
The offer to build for other developers, says Paul Henry, Director of Rawson Developers and Homebuilders, has aroused great interest and has been widely welcomed. The team, he said, now has two projects of this type on the go and several more in the pipeline.
“Independent developers are often grateful to have us on board because, with our 15 years’ experience, they appreciate that we understand the importance of completing on time and on budget. In addition, we are able to help them revise and correct their specifications and programmes, often in the process saving them money. We help them select their materials, products and sub-contracting services and they are grateful that we know how to work hand-in-hand with professionals, some of whom have been our colleagues for many years.”
Very few construction companies, added Henry, can provide this type of ‘extra’ service.
“All too often contractors see their role simply as being to squeeze as much profit out of the tender as possible, particularly by ramming through claim after claim.”
When Henry and his partner in the Rawson Group, Bill Rawson, set up Rawson Developers and Homebuilders in 1993, Henry made the forthright statement that it can take 20 or more years to establish a really good reputation in the property development sector - “but we intend to do it in five”.
“At the time, it has to be admitted, there was considerable scepticism about the qualifications an estate agency (even so big a group as Rawson Properties) could bring to the building sector. The two sets of skills, it was said, were widely different: to manage a building project called for specialist technical and other training which, it was alleged, the average estate agent did not have,” says Henry.
History, however, had shown that the two sets of skills are compensatory.
“In fact, the knowledge of what will sell at what price in what area is perhaps the first and foremost expertise that a residential developer should have – and Rawson Developers have almost never gone wrong in this respect. If we decide to go ahead with a project, it almost always sells out fast.”
Rawson Developers can now look back on over 60 different developments. These have resulted in more than 2,500 residential units being brought to the market, a total of 13,000m2 of residential space on over 60ha of land, a major contribution to the Cape’s housing needs.
Henry also hinted that it is quite possible that his division’s Home Maintenance Services could in the not too distant future be franchised across South Africa. The logic behind this, he said, is that for many the use of untrained and unreliable bakkie builders and sub-contractors is no longer an option - they have been so disappointed so often that, said Henry, there is now a dire need for a better managed professional home maintenance force capable of working to good standards.
“As on the straight construction side,” he said, “the reaction to the announcement that we are now prepared to do this has evoked widespread interest and it has been interesting to note that time and again clients have expressed their huge relief in finding that, for the first time in many years, the work is being done to a satisfactory standard, even if they have had to pay slightly higher for the service.”
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