The Tomkins family entered the construction business in Queensland three generations ago in 1951, when Ted Tomkins established the E.D. Tomkins building company. Over the last six decades the family owned and managed enterprise has grown and thrived and is currently one of the most respected builders in Queensland with a reputation for successfully completing the most complex and demanding projects.
Mike Tomkins, owner and director of Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders Pty Ltd did his apprenticeship as a carpenter in the family business. Today he runs an award winning building company which has executed a number of large and high profile projects across a diverse range of sectors including commercial, industrial and residential.
Although the company has grown rapidly in size and scope handles single projects up to a value of $60 million, it is still very much a family business, with Mike’s son Brendan working as a project manager, his daughter Rachel as a marketing manager, and father Vince also involved with the business as warehouse manager.
Speaking about the growth of the business, Mike Tomkins says, “Originally we were residential / semi-commercial builders. We did different types of projects over the years until about 18 years ago. At that time we got out of residential and into commercial. Ever since then we have grown the business in the commercial sector.
“We have become accredited by the Queensland government and have also been empanelled as a Category “A” contractor by the Brisbane Airport Corporation. We currently operate out of Brisbane and work all along the East Coast of Australia.”
Currently the organisation takes up projects in the residential, commercial, industrial and institutional areas and caters to customers ranging from hotels and resorts to the health and education sectors.
Capability to Complete Large and Complex Projects
In mid-2014 Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders was selected to design and construct 100 apartments over eight storeys above three basement levels for the Radius Apartments project. The building assignment is extremely challenging, with the construction site located alongside the Queensland Transport Rail Corridor.
The project, which is targeted to be completed in 74 weeks from the date of commencement was awarded to Tomkins as the organisation has a well-deserved reputation for taking up and successfully completing challenging building jobs.
Another prestigious assignment executed by Tomkins has been the DHL Express Logistics design and construct project which was the result of full tender process and is a testament to the excellent relationship the company enjoys with the Brisbane Airport Corporation.
The scope of work involved partial demolition of an adjacent building occupied by DHL and the construction of the new DHL Express Gateway & Service Centre, comprising of 3,500 square metres of warehouse and 780 square metres of offices. The work also entailed 2,650 square metres of heavy duty external paving, stand-alone power generation systems and state of the art services and management systems.
At the time of the completion of the project, Brisbane Airport Corporation’s representative issued a testimonial to Tomkins stating, “I would like to take this opportunity to express mine and BAC’s appreciation for a successful outcome to the DHL Gateway facility project.
“From the outset, I believe both parties invested heavily in the relationship between the two organisations, with a collaborative and positive working relationship between the BAC project team and the entire Tomkins onsite crew.
“The experience with Tomkins has been one of responsiveness in resolving our issues and delivering a building to BAC’s high standards and tight timeframes in what was a very difficult project.”
In fact, Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders considers its relationship with its clients as one of its most important priorities. It has also used this philosophy to great success with its suppliers and sub-contractors. Holcim has had Tomkins as a customer for several decades and a number of sub-contractors have enjoyed rapid growth because of the work allotted to them by Tomkins.
Mike Tomkins has established a practice of personally mentoring several sub-contractors and meets with them once a month to provide advice and share his experience gained in the construction industry over a period exceeding 30 years. This has resulted in Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders enjoying the support of reliable and trustworthy sub-contractors and at the same time, enabling the sub-contractors to become large businesses in their own right.
Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders has also been awarded the contract to build 34 luxury boutique riverfront apartments at Newport, Hamilton Reach by the Singapore-listed Frasers Property (then Australand).
The apartments will go up over five levels in two and three bedroom configurations with one level of basement parking, and features a spacious air-conditioned lobby with secure lift access and a private swimming pool and central tropical garden.
Tomkins has won a number of awards in recognition of the excellent quality of its work.
In 2015 it won in the category of Best Education Facility over $5 million (Brisbane) for its work at the Australian Catholic University Building. In the current year it has also won the Best Retail Facility (Sunshine Coast) Award for the work carried out at the Beerwah Shopping Village, and best Commercial Facility under $5 million (Central Queensland) Award for the Transit Systems Gladstone project.
In 2014 the company was awarded in the Best Sport & Community Facility up to $5 million (Gold Coast) category for the work it did at the Ahamadiyya Muslim Association Community Centre. It also received the Civil Contractor of the Year (Central Queensland) Award for the job executed at the Carinya Drive Stabilisation project.
Strong Commitment to Customers
Tomkins has seen rapid growth in the number of projects that it is involved in and in the value of these projects. Interestingly, business expansion took place from 2008 onwards, when the rest of the building industry experienced a slow-down. The foundations for this growth had been laid by the company in the earlier years by building a base of highly satisfied customers.
The company has been giving equal focus to private work and to institutional customers. In the last few years it has won a number of high-value jobs amongst which a $20 million project for the Australian Catholic University is a notable example.
It executed the complete assignment in a record 11 months and earned high praise from the customer in the process. The Associate Vice-Chancellor Brisbane, Professor Jim Nyland, made specific mention of the accommodating nature of the team from Tomkins and specified in a written testimonial that they were easy to work with and very competent.
In its effort to provide a full range of services to its clients, the company launched Tomkins Special Projects, which specialises in smaller jobs of up to $5 million. This division handles small construction refurbishments, restaurants and other low value work. But Tomkins gets large volumes of business from jobs in the $15 million to $40 million range.
In this manner, Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders ensures that it caters to the complete requirements of its clients. Above all, Mike Tomkins ensures that all dealings are handled with integrity and the highest level of ethics. To implement these principles, he is at the forefront of business operations and plays an active role in each and every project.
Special emphasis is laid on training staff, with the objective of keeping them up to date with the latest technologies and developments in the building industry. Development opportunities are provided to existing employees and Tomkins also offers a range of cadetships and apprenticeships across its business to new entrants.
All these steps have led to putting Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders in a position to provide clients with the highest level of workmanship in the jobs that it undertakes. In the process the company has built up strong relationships with all key industry stakeholders. As a result of all these factors, Tomkins receives large volumes of repeat business from past clients.
Building is a Relationship, Not Just a Contract
Turnover has steadily increased over the years, and is expected to touch $100 million in the current year. Tomkins has steadily built up its capabilities and is currently in a position to complete projects ranging in scope and value up to $60 million.
But despite rapid growth, Tomkins has remained true to its roots and places great value on the deep bonds that it has established and nurtured over the years with its customers.
Mike Tomkins summarises his philosophy, “The brand in the market is around our last name. Most people who know me know that I will handshake them at the end of the day and deliver what I promised. It is a little bit old fashioned and old school, the way that we do business, but it works.
“It doesn’t matter whether it is a small job or a large job or an institutional client or a private client, we pay equal attention to all of them. We get our repeat business in this way and this is the reason why our business has been so successful. It is not about today, it is about the relationship with the client.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders
WHAT: They design and construct a wide variety of dynamic commercial, industrial and residential projects including special heritage ventures to each client’s unique specifications.
WHERE: Banyo QLD 4014
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