Construction entrepreneur thinks outside the box

Construction entrepreneur thinks outside the box

On the back of projects ranging from office fit-outs to schools to nightclubs, Chapcon Design & Construct is growing at a swift pace as revenue doubles each year.

Founded by carpenter Nick Chapman in 2011, the group's portfolio of projects has been buoyed by word-of-mouth and strengthened by its track record and willingness to take on unconventional builds.

This translates to more than 50 projects since Chapcon's inception covering residential, commercial, industrial, retail and hospitality constructions.

"What we do is exciting, interesting and pretty engaging. We are long-term focused with everything we do," says Chapman.

"The margins do get a bit tighter as we're growing obviously, and it's a little bit like a sliding scale depending on the project; whilst our turnover is increasing quite rapidly, our profits remain solid," he says.

The 29-year-old entrepreneur emphasises the importance of fostering relationships and approaching work with the right attitude.

"We're taking on some pretty left-of-field projects which is probably a bit of a compliment to the company," he says.

A prime example is the $2.2 million entertainment hub XCARGO in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, which opened last year and required creative thinking and some versatile designs to bring to fruition.

"There wasn't much like that on the market. Not too many people do those types of projects," says Chapman.

"We had budget constraints which were pretty extreme and we ended up having to engineer and build each container from scratch in order to achieve the design and performance requirements.

"It was quite involved and very unconventional as far as building techniques are concerned."

Chapcon has more creative design-and-construct projects in the pipeline and Chapman is enthusiastic about one commercial conversion in particular, but he keeps his cards close to his chest about the next steps for the company.

He is optimistic about a commercial property market he believes is thriving at the moment, whilst the company's work with government departments may serve as a buffer in the event of a downcycle.

A new start for a renowned name in residential property

The group is currently focused on the Queensland market, but Chapman sees no limitations to interstate expansion. A company he acquired in late-2016, Newstart Homes, already has a presence in New South Wales.

Chapman scooped up embattled Newstart's IP when it went into receivership and construction mogul Bob Day went bankrupt. His approach was cautious, taking the business off the market for a year before a formal relaunch in late-2017.

"Newstart's growth is going to be massive in the next little bit. That's a volume machine I bought, and now that we've got a display home opening on the north side of Brisbane and a good sales team we are predicting some steady sales," he says.

"We have freshened up some of the designs as well as our spec and pricing so we're a lot more competitive with the broader market.

He hopes to capture a lot of first home buyers with the company, but the group has a wide range of designs catering from that segment through to acreage-style homes with more extravagant designs.

"Newstart caters for each sector of the residential market," he says.

This article was written in partnership with Chapcon Design & Construct and Newstart Homes

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