Engaging industrial demolition contractors in Australia: 7 questions every principal contractor will ask in 2021

Industrial demolition contractors in Australia

Like most businesses over the past 18 months, industrial demolition contractors in Australia have faced their share of challenges.  

Between market uncertainty arising from COVID-19, project delays or cancellations, and the commitment to keep a workforce going, the signs that confidence is re-emerging across the country and globe are welcomed, not only by Australian industrial demolition contractors, but also by the principal contractors who engage them. 

With that in mind – and in the words of Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – it’s timely to ‘sharpen the saw’ and refocus on how best to deliver industrial demolition projects working in partnership with principal contractors. 

In any market, competition is tight, however in a post-COVID world, demolition contractors can expect even greater scrutiny from tier 1 and 2 contractors, companies operating in the resources sector, and government bodies responsible for partner selection. A high level appraisal of credentials, experience, and the approach of will be forgone in favour of the minutiae of details. As any project manager will tell you, ultimately it is the details that make the difference to achieving a successful project outcome or not. 

 ‘Sharpening the saw’ – another term for continuous improvement – is an ongoing process. Working in a business or day-to-day operations, it’s not easy to prioritise working on the business. However, a commitment to doing so means being positioned strongly to answer any questions a principal contractor will ask, including the seven we’ve listed here. 

 #1 How well have you responded to our tender? 

Operating as an industrial demolition contractor in Australia, it’s logical to approach the tender process from the perspective of your own business, but spare a thought for the principal contractor or project owner. Throughout the tender process, they’ll review multiple submissions and any that omit key details, or fail to provide adequate or accurate responses, are unlikely to be well received. Worse still, they may not be considered at all. The rush to meet submission deadlines is par for the course in the wider world of industrial demolition contractors. In Australia, it’s no different.  

 That’s why it pays to begin the relationship with any tier 1 or 2 contractor exactly as you mean to go on and deliver the project. Paying attention to the details that matter. It does get noticed and it’s the ideal way for the project owner to gain confidence in a new subcontractor, regardless of whether they’re providing demolition, decommissioning, site remediation, or excavation services.

>>> Learn more about the details of demolition projects in Australia  

#2 How do demolition contractors in Australia manage project risk? 

 Whether you’re a mining company looking to decommission a facility, or a principal contractor responsible for construction on a new government-funded project, the question of risk management will remain front and centre at all times. 

Industrial demolition contractors understand this. The nature of demolition, particularly on high risk projects involving the removal of hazardous materials, demands careful risk management at all project stages and a preparedness to manage the unexpected, which is ever present.  

Relevant accreditation and certifications, such as those required for asbestos removal in Australia, provide confidence, both in the principal and subcontractor. Equally, tight planning, careful estimation techniques, stringent protocols, mitigating technology, and strong communication are individually and together confidence-boosting for all project proponents and participants. As a demolition contractor for large scale industrial and commercial projects, we rely on all the above to drive down risk on projects. 

 >>> Learn more about high risk demolition project delivery – Read how safely the demolition of 43 buildings in the Mulwala Explosives Facility in regional New South Wales was completed, even on a site where propellant, high explosives and concentrated acids are manufactured. 

#3 Can we trust you?  

Trust rests at the heart of every working partnership, and while a principal contractor may not ask explicitly, in their own mind, they will need to answer the question, Can we trust you with our project? 

While trust itself is intangible, it is built on a foundation of the very real: financials that demonstrate commercial robustness; insurances that provide confidence; current accreditations and certifications; genuine, reliable client references earned from past projects. Together, these form part of a tender submission, and rather than being left to the last minute, building a library of inputs that need only be updated, rather than created from scratch with each tender, makes for a more manageable proposal writing process.  

The degree of confidence which a demolition contractor can answer the trust question will be in direct proportion to how solid their foundations are in the areas listed here.

#4 Who are your people? 

People do business with people they like, but a rate-limiting factor in establishing and building relationships with principal contractors or project owners is whether they’re prepared to open the door because of the pre-existing relationships they have with others. In short, it’s hard, but there are ways around this.  

In the absence of established relationships, start by doing everything else right. All those actions you’ve taken to manage risk and deliver projects safely (refer back to question #2) create the basis for excellence in demolition project delivery until opportunities arise for face-to-face contact that grows the confidence of principal contractors.  

Encouraging contact at different levels of your organisation with corresponding peers helps too. Why? Because while discussions at leadership levels are key, having people who work well with the people in a principal contractor’s team can make or break a project. These relationships count, as do the experience and personalities of people at all levels.  

Yet another important measure is to find and develop mutual project delivery partners. This is especially beneficial when it’s necessary to demonstrate transferable experience and credibility in new markets. Relationships like these come under the banner of ongoing strategic business development and are best cultivated well before a tender release. 

Direct references and testimonials help too. There’s no doubt the power of a third party recommending your services can be as impactful as – maybe even more than – any direct communication from the business itself.  

“The successful completion of the project and the healthy relationships developed with [Australian Munitions] personnel are a reflection of the positive culture throughout DEMEX.” 

Client feedback like this confirms it’s not just the way you deliver a project that matters; who delivers it is critical too. 

#5 Do your sustainability credentials stack up? 

You don’t need to look far to find greenwashing, but commercial and industrial demolition projects provide significant opportunities to demonstrate legitimate sustainability actions at all stages of project delivery. In fact, cleaning up and putting effective site remediation in place is par for the course. 

This is a good thing because appropriate disposal of waste is every bit as important as the demolition itself, and an emphasis on recycling as much as possible is not only good practice and risk management; it’s good business too. It also allows demolition contractors to support project principals meet their own sustainability targets. 

From the safe removal and disposal of asbestos in accordance with legislated standards, to use of high reach excavators allowing access to elevated areas, to materials recycling, and key stakeholder and local workforce engagement, there are many ways commercial and industrial demolition contractors can prove their eco-credentials and provide tier 1 and 2 principals with the certainty needed to work together. 

On a single project, our approach to recycling achieved outstanding results. Recycling 100 percent of the 7,161 tonnes concrete recovered and 100 percent of 520 tonnes of scrap steel. A further 990 tonnes of asbestos waste was disposed of safely at a licensed landfill using EPA licensed trucks under waste tracking documentation.

 #6 How will you enhance our project (and our profile)? 

The task of a demolition contractor is to make the principal contractor look good. Failing to acknowledge the significance of any detail is enough to prompt scrutiny. Principal contractors want to know how a commercial demolition services provider will engage with all stakeholders; including their approach to ensuring neighbours, businesses, and other stakeholders connected to their project are not affected by demolition works. In most cases, it’s not possible to do this prior to commencing a project.  

This is where documenting past project successes to demonstrate capability is key. Whether it’s for the purpose of illustrating how your organisation will create employment opportunities for disadvantaged, vulnerable, or culturally and linguistically diverse jobseekers; or outlining the environmental, social, and economic benefits of your project; integrating these considerations into each project – and documenting it – is demonstrable evidence to be referred to in future discussions with principal contractors and project owners.  

 #7 How will you manage your own profile? 

An aversion to risk on major projects is par for the course because understandably, no project owner wants to be exposed to unnecessary criticism or negative publicity.  

Taking a clear position on the use of social media and media generally is a risk management strategy in itself, and demolition contractors can protect themselves and principal contractors by establishing definitive policies and procedures that limit risk and the potential for negative exposure. While this goes against the concept that all publicity is good publicity, it’s a safer and more project friendly position for demolition contractors in Australia to adopt. 

DEMEX is an industrial demolition contractor in Australia providing commercial and industrial demolition services of complete and partial structures (internal and external), bridges, structures at height, multi-level, structures, detailed and intricate demolition, and high risk demolition requiring specialised machinery and project management. Working Australia-wide in urban, regional, and remote sites, we provide demolition services for the mining, resources, and government sectors. Our objective is to demonstrate to principal contractors and project owners we are a safe and risk free partner for major projects that require commercial and industrial demolition contractors in Australia. Contact us directly on info@demex.com.au.