Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Crothers Construction principal David Crothers said he had to expand to keep his staff employed.
Camera IconCrothers Construction principal David Crothers said he had to expand to keep his staff employed. Credit: Geraldton Guardian, Geoff Vivian

After winning school construction tenders worth more than $27 million in Broome and Yanchep, Crothers Construction principal David Crothers said Geraldton building firms had to find work in other districts to keep staff employed.

“Three years ago we opened our Perth office as we could see commercial building opportunities in the Mid West and Pilbara were dropping off,” Mr Crothers said. “Perth opportunities quickly consolidated our business.

“The alternatives are to do nothing, downsize and weather the storm, or to attack.”

He said several other firms in the region, including GBSC, Suncity Plumbing, Central Earthmoving, Verlindens Electrical, Platinum Electricians, Peak Consulting and Glass Co WA, had also opened Perth offices in a bid to enhance their businesses.

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“I congratulate them for their commitment to strive and grow their businesses, employing more people and consolidating business growth and prosperity with the associated risks,” Mr Crothers said.

“With declining construction opportunities, currently it is difficult to get professional construction people to live in the country.

“However, over the years we have had great success in training and giving employment opportunities to people from within the Mid West region.”

Mr Crothers said he had never known the local building industry to be so slow, and he did not expect things to improve quickly.

“There were only about 60 building approvals for houses in the past year, down from a peak of about 340, and commercial building has been almost non-existent,” he said.

“We are expecting local commercial construction to start picking up later next year.

“Contributing to that are the new Main Roads office complex and new buildings and renovations to the Geraldton public hospital.”

Mr Crothers said the key to business success was the culture of the business.

“To me your culture is your dedication to your staff, to employ and manage people and to deliver to the client with distinction, to deliver on time and with quality,” he said.

Crothers Construction has been contracted to start Education Department projects at Broome Senior High School in the Kimberley valued at $15,657,700 and Yanchep Primary School near Perth worth $11,522,000.

Earlier this year, the firm completed a $33 million, 100-bed aged-care facility for Juniper in Albany.

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