Episode 46 - Kribashini and Rebeka from BuildHer Collective

April 09, 2021
Episode 46 - Kribashini and Rebeka from BuildHer Collective

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Build had developed production. Hello, I'm Aaron, and welcome to another episode of build hat. On this week's episode of Build Hatch, I had the opportunity to sit down with Rebecca and capacity from buildher Collective, these ladies are doing wonderful things in the construction and property space for women. And I don't even need to say that they are promoting women in the industry. Because through buildher Collective, they're certainly leading the charge by building incredible projects, and even better spaces. This is a really nice genuine chat. We've covered a lot of ground talking about clients, architects, and even the property developers responsibility in the project. Like I said, we covered a lot of ground. And this week was just a really nice honest and open conversation about all people involved in construction and property development in general. So let's get into it.

Kribashini and Rebecca from buildher collective Welcome to Build Hatch,

Kribashini thank you for having us.

Rebecca We're super excited to be here,

this will be a good one. So this is a bit of a combined collaborative joint effort, more of a personal sit down and conversation. So I'm really looking forward to it. Now, as always, we always like to start with our guests background and take it all the way back. Before we do that, tell us a bit about buildher collective.

Rebecca So we sort of have clients and a whole range of different camps and what most commonly we seem to work with people who are either just bought their first home, and they've been saving and living in it for about five or six years and building up their capital to be ready to renovate. Or they're buying something with a view to renovate. And then of course, we have women and families who are in all the different other camps. But I suppose, because Rebecca and I come from a commercial background, we've got experience in both sides of project management and construction management, we could see the problems that people having, we wanted to put together a really clear course that we know from experience can actually really help you overcome these issues. And it's really just for our understanding of the process and the way the industry kind of works.

Yeah, there's certainly a lot involved, particularly in construction. And it's always good to particularly speak with women in construction, such as you guys. So your background is in construction management, isn't it?

Kribashini Yeah, so mine. So I was construction management, I went from Quantity Surveyor, which is the numbers to build, to project management to on client side, and then to being a builder, which is where I met professionals, general manager of a building company. And now and that was a commercial building company. We left there and started residentially building. And now I'm a registered builder. So kind of seen that process and I come at things really from not from a builders point of view. But from that kind of owner builder how to make it work. Let's get to the finish line kind of building perspective, whereas Krasny comes at it from the other perspective, because she's been project managing and kind of guiding the client.

So it's a good mix, like Yeah, Clemente Charla, where Rebecca you have like the numbers background from from the ground level with quantifying. And then yourself cabestany, where you're looking after the the management side of it.

Rebecca Yeah, so I, I've sort of worked on both sides of the coin as well, but more largely in the client side. And so I've sort of done the hard yards through the construction side, working your way up through contract admin and into project management. And then I decided to sort of jump back to client side, because for me, it's, it's probably the most fulfilling, you get to see the project from inception right through to completion, you get to work with a client all the way through. And in that last role that I sort of had, I was the client as well as the project manager. So very similar to people who are developing their own properties, or building working on their homes because they're invested in the overall output. But they also need to be able to pull a whole lot of people together at the right time to pull it off. Like to really get your project up and running. And I suppose if they miss a really crucial step at the beginning, they're already on the wrong pathway. And so we're really trying to help people put the right foot forward I suppose and pick the right pathway that meets their budget and meets their expectations and meets how they want to work with a builder and I think that's where people go wrong, right? That very first step.

Yeah. Like always on Build Hatch. We always like to take it back to the beginning. So whereabouts did you guys grow up?

Kribashini Way more fun?

Well, so I'm South African. And I'm also a kiwi and I'm also Indian. So South African Indian. I know right? Very, very complicated and they're married to an Irishman Irishman.

Rebecca Yeah, we moved to New Zealand when I was little. I basically grew up kiwi. And then about 10 years ago, I decided to move overseas so I lived in Japan for couple years and then move to Australia.

And what about you, Rebecca?

Rebecca Nothing particularly exciting. I guess, really I grew up with my parents have a carpet store like that jig is carpets go down there. But I grew up working on the floor and understanding what it was like to run a business. And I guess the you've got a big sign behind you, hustle. The Hustle that it is to continually keep quoting and doing jobs and working for people and understanding how much it means to them just to change one aspect of their home, let alone building. So I guess that work ethic and that kind of work through has always been the framework behind what we do and actually built her was created when Krasny and I were on a holiday in Italy and probably had too much wine. But we did go shopping, shopping.

Kribashini But it was created because we were both saying, you know complaint. We're not complaining, but we were sharing the challenges that people were having. And I guess that's where you come at things and help builders because you understand those challenges. We knew the challenges that women were having building because they were continually kind of coming to us and saying we've got this problem, this problem, this problem. And you can see the full picture. I guess from your point of view, you look at things and go builder, I can understand how that management, don't you?

Yeah, look it, it was the best thing that I ever did, becoming a lawyer because I got to understand a different way of thinking, if I could pick a profession, like if you had a family lawyer, right, they have a really tough gig, the stuff they see and hear and are involved in. Now they're trained to think in a particular way, right? So they have in a nutshell, they have, they have so much energy towards the other person, right? So that that lawyer is trained to think through the detail and just remove the emotion, I just removed the emotions. So some projects, I'll be involved as an expert witness, where I'm an independent party. So I'll go to site, if I'm on the builder side, or I'm on the client side, it doesn't matter. But I mean, I'm independent, right? And then so where this has morphed into now is, is where I collaborate with a lot of lawyers, as well as expert witness work. I do a lot of in house work. And then through the podcast, I've just had multiple requests regularly to say, look, are you interested in coming and helping us we need help. And so cuz like construction law and is similar to a construction project. It's fairly niche, but there's so many different moving parts. So you can't sort of put a certain role on on a certain project, like there's so many different pieces to the puzzle. At the end of the day, there's still no answer that that fixes everything. It's just having the right attitude and adapting and being respectful. And I'm trying to understand people as much as possible.

Rebecca I like that you've got that framework behind you that you're not just you've been a builder, you've been a client, you understand those sides. And you can come at it from a perspective where you actually understand a lot more than people might anticipate. And then by being able to kind of jump up the line and do some of that work with the builders, you skip that process. Ideally, you're saving them that we don't know which ones are going to end up in court or, or be messy, but you can get a fair sense at some point. And so by being able to jump in at that point, and sort of mitigate those losses, from the beginning, means that everyone's getting a much better outcome. And they don't have to go through that really stressful draining journey. And it's a journey that so many people hear about, and what puts them off building.

When you've done a lot of projects, you know, there's always a bad egg somewhere. Yeah, there's always that one project that is gonna go wrong in some way that and you just can't predict where it's going to go wrong. You can do everything right or along the way. And it can still get away from you. And we often talk about that with our members as well as that, you just need to be ready for that. You know, one of the reasons that we were able to help those women who are coming to us is that we could take a step back and look at the whole process and say, Well, this is actually where it went wrong. And this is how you could have resolved that issue. And that comes from having done lots of projects and being through lots of different experiences like you would be able to bring to the table as well, by seeing a whole lot of different issues arise and working through the resolution of a lot of different issues, then you're bringing all that knowledge and experience to the next person, which I think is fantastic.

Yeah, look, thank you. I'm extremely passionate about working with people behind the scenes. That's what I love behind the scenes. And that's that's what this podcast sort of morphed into was. So nowadays, I mean, it's 2020 so we have Instagram and Facebook and all the other social media channels people get to see How their projects going and the development and the different stages. But not so long ago, you would really only see the completed project in an MBA award or an HIA award. But nowadays, everyone's exposed to so much information. So it can be information overload, really. So I just sort of set out to try and find out the real stories, what what goes on in a project, what goes on with a particular builder, why they got into their respective industries. And one thing that I want to go back to, particularly with you, Rebecca with quantifying and working as a quantity surveyor, because often you'll find, if I can pick up on construction management, the first role is often as a contract administrator. Yeah, and that's such an important part of the project. But it's has this stigma, like, that's kind of the first job that you you'll go into the edge. Yeah, isn't it? It's so true, isn't it? But yeah,

Rebecca I guess Quantity Surveying is basically working out what everything costs. And going through it, I guess the good thing about that was that I got to work on so many different projects and got a really great understanding for design cost, and how things got put together. Because as someone who's qualified, yeah, they've taught you stuff at uni, but you need to start seeing how things actually go together and what that looks like on the site. And what little annotations on the drawings can have massive budget effects. And running that through I mean, we had an issue with some windows and it was just like, we're building a seven star, they'd built her a project, seven star energy rated project, and one of the little annotations on the the windows and what they evaluate was meant that you could only use one specific glass and there was a $34,000 cost saving by going back and forth to the to the to the consultants a few times. Now, how would you know to do that, unless someone's come at you, because that's a client. That's really for the client to do, the architect doesn't like they're not invested in that. That's just what it was. And so being being able to work through these things and understand the full story of the project and implications. And I guess that's what we both really like, and why are different perspective on pretty much everything really handy.

A lot of people who come to us they want to know, roughly, if what they're thinking to do matches their budget, and often it doesn't, but no one will tell them that. And so that's something that we'll look at, and we go well, within what we're seeing, we think these are the ranges. And it's pretty hard to give someone a number because they don't understand how much variation and how many different things feed into that number. So we try and educate a bit on that. They also want to know like, is it the right idea or not before they engage any professionals because it because every dollar counts when you've been saving up for years, and then you don't know how to spend that wisely. And so it's really kind of a bit scary to start off. And I suppose the other big thing that they really have trouble with is like how long will it take? And do they can they live in it when they when they're doing it? So answers to those sorts of questions are sort of the first building blocks of how to even plan your project. And I like to say it's project management by design, and you plan your project, you design the execution of your project. Yeah,

I like that. That's that's a really good analogy. Okay, so I have a feeling I know the answer to this question. But what is a typical design brief? Or what would a typical brief look like people approaching and reaching out to to you guys at buildher? Collective.

Rebecca So when people come to us, generally, they've got some questions. So we do like a free 20 minute consult. And we'll give them a broad understanding of where we think there are some people and whether we think we can help them whether they'd be a good fit some people. And this is kind of harsh, but some people aren't meant to build some people, it's going to be a really stressful process, they're going to take that family on that journey for two or three years. And it's not going to feel really nice, those people should just buy a house that's finished and save themselves, the time and the energy. But identifying that from the beginning is really tricky. Because it's going to take time, you know, it's probably 15 hours a week, five to 15 hours a week for a period of time. Do you have that is the outcome or is what you're trying to achieve worth it to you. So we have this kind of pretty in depth actually 20 minute session with someone and then I guess for us, it's about education. So you need to know a whole heap of stuff to be able to choose your pathway and understand and no one is educating you. And so a lot of people say well, why didn't the builder told me that? It's not actually his job. When the architect tell me it's not really his job either. It was no one's job? Well, it is because it's your project and you're invested in the outcome in a way that's different. So we have a course, which helps people that through that, and then we do kind of these Q and A's or these sessions where people can bring where they're at and get that feedback straight away. Like, these are my plans, I want someone to look over it. Or this is what I'm thinking to find an architect, who would you recommend or this is the type of style because of course, there's different levels of trades and design professionals and people at each different level. And depending on what you're after, you're looking at a different level. And even understanding the fact that you can hire an architect for 20 grand to do your project, you can also hire one for 200 grand to do the exact same project, and they'll give a different thing. But what is it that's different? If you can't see it? You're just getting quotes?

Yeah, yeah, look, it's the good old horses for courses. Like, there's different shoes, different boots for different settings, like it's the same sort of thing. And it's different people for different projects. And there's different designers and architects, and there's so many different aspects and variables, exactly. That to each individual project. So what happens if I really want my project to go ahead? And and, and I'm not suitable, can I sort of say, Look? Do you guys know someone? Or do you have some people as part of your group that can say, Look, I know such and such, they'll be able to help you get this?

Rebecca referrals, referrals is a big one, do you want to cover this?

Well, we often try not to refer actually, because we want to be independent, and part of being independent, getting a fresh view. And what we teach is actually how to assess a quote, and how to assess apples for apples and how to do a tender analysis really. So we try not to give referrals, but in within our members community, they do refer each other. So if there if someone is not a good fit for the course, and for the programme, we can let them know that there are builders who will, for example, do a turnkey project for them. And these are some names, but we don't really refer people.

So how long does the course go for? Or do you have a couple of courses,

Rebecca we have a few different courses. Yeah, we've got a few little ones like a kitchen and a bathroom. And then we have our flagship course, which is the bill backer builder programme. And that's kind of delivered over 10 weeks, but it's a lifetime membership. So the reason we did that was actually kind of strategic, we, we don't want to push people down a funnel, and say you have to learn everything in this 10 weeks. Because as women we know, life happens, babies happen, you know, jobs get lost, and often the renovation journey is is a long one. So we have sort of a lifetime membership for our members so that they're supported that whole way through, and people will start and then they'll forget about it for a few months and or they'll take a break from it, and they'll come back. And so it's nice that we can be there through that whole journey with them. And they have that, you know, they have that support network of the other builders and developers to ask questions and get recommendations and say, Oh, I love this tile, where was it from? Or should I go blue? Or should I go green. And, you know, it's just bouncing ideas off people that are also interested in renovating a building or doing it themselves and have that tangible, practical advice that they can share, and maybe

have different in terms of the different ways you learn. And I mean, I, I'm gonna guess that you would start at the beginning and go through, whereas I like to jump around where I want to like, the information I like, yeah, and it's okay for people to kind of do what they want, or some people don't want to do that, they kind of have an understanding of that. And they'll want to come along to the q&a, and just use us as a sounding board. And we've got a, we've got a trade discount list as well. So we we allow people to buy it builders, right. So there are accounts that it started up with accounts that I'd set up as a builder to do jobs. And I'm like, oh, we'll just go here and use, you know, use this account. And you can get a discount rate. And now we've got suppliers all over the place. And we've got a great buying group actually. So they can then go kind of get their quotes and get that builders rate. So if they want to put it in or substitute something, they understand what those costs are. Some of our builders like to finish a project, some of them like to work with the builder in varied lended ways. And others just want to, you know, turnkey, where they go Okay, here you go. I'm going to attend to these professionally and understand what I'm buying from the builder and the process to run through that and they won't get involved in that same level.

We've been working on our book for like the last year which we forget, we forget to tell people about and so this book is really sticking out a little bit and giving some insights into that process but providing a lot of inspiration along the way. And if you like if people are thinking about it, because we know they think about it for years before Well, they're ready to take that first step. And often people put a barrier, right? So I'm thinking about, I'm not thinking about my renovation until I have X amount of dollars, or I am thinking about it, but I'm not going to hire a builder or talk to anyone about it until I have X amount of dollars, or we have the right house. And actually, that's not a great way to think about it. Because I think that being in our community and being involved and seeing what people are doing, before you're starting, is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself, because you just absorb and learn so much more by doing that. But this book is also really interesting in a way of breaking down breaking down some of those processes and really sort of helping you get your head around what's ahead of you.

Oh, like that. So what's the book title?

Rebecca Yes, it field her A Practical Guide to building we've only just it's been sent to the print house today is a lovely coffee table book. So it's, I guess it's not super heavy and kind of self published and like read through all these texts. It's like these are, why we're doing things. And there's a lot of tips in there and information about what you can I guess, how to guide that process for your home without making it super tricky or challenging?

Yeah, look, I love that. Because as we keep saying, and it's the theme of this, this podcast, if you can at least mitigate that risk and know 80% 90%. If you're very, very lucky, of how to manage a project, all the way down to dealing and liaising with the builder and the trades, it will save a lot of hassle and heartache.

Rebecca Yeah, I agree understanding, you know, simple things like the Australian standards, what standard is actually acceptable can be a saving grace on your relationship as with the builder, as well as understanding what's because people have these kind of factory, they have this car finished type thought because when we look at the photos, they're all airbrushed in stage to a inch of their life. And that's not building building is imperfect. And so we see a lot of relationships, I guess, fall down at the very end, like what they would get from a car showroom where you're getting this kind of material line, and you're rolling out the same product each time. Well, every house is different. And you're getting a unique set of materials, which kind of cobbled together in a unique way with always different trades and different client and architect everyone coming together. Like we're both big fans of education and growth and business groups and things like that, because there's no one to keep you accountable or to give you guidance when things you know, often it's just a niggling feeling. And, and you feel like it's gonna go wrong, and it can go wrong. But if you can get a solution to it at that point, everything can be a lot better. And it can be even just running over the financials and saying there's any holes here? How should this look? How much should I be spending here? You know, what are the different? What are the different packages that are being released that I can use to manage my sites and my trades, like all of this information, you don't get it from anywhere unless you go seek it.

I call it strategizing. And how many people are there out there that talk about I mean, when I was building a long time ago, I would go see my accountant and lawyer. I still didn't feel like it was a customise specific strategy for my business. So seeing an accountant, I mean, they say, like gonna make money, increase your turnover? Well, it's not just increasing turnover, because with that comes a whole heap of other problems, supervision and expense and things like that. Sweet Spot. Yeah, that's right. And then you go see a lawyer, well, then anytime you go see a lawyer usually is acquiring a site or you're in trouble in our industry. So whereas a lot of the problems that we experienced day to day and construction land is a strategy. It's not like a hard and fast rule that you can read in a on a YouTube channel or hear about on a podcast, there's no manual for it. It's about strategizing and saying, Look, I have these problems, or I have this client problems or I'm struggling with this site of lost money, how can I get it back on track? It's a very customised and specific strategy that that I think the industry needs.

Rebecca We do that with the developing profit. So we've got a group of women that are all renovating and developing for profit. And we've got like that we've got the structure of the course to teach them how to do that. But each month we go in and we speak to someone who is actually developing for profit and they all got to sweetspot they've got all got an edge in a way they play the game and we speak to them and kind of draw that out. And then we look at you know, sometimes we look at the feasibility, the numbers of how that's working, because we can all learn from how someone else is doing it. And by seeing across so many different pathways, but no one wants to share that information and for one person to go out and say, Okay, I'm going to speak to you, and then I'm going to spend my time speaking to this person, then I'm going to try and work out what they're doing. It would be too much so by kind of centralising that we can all learn, and then we all share amongst ourselves. And I guess really have that kind of the strategy, the input and shared learnings and confidence for someone to say, I will actually, you know, you might not have considered the civil work that's going to be required in there. So it looks good, but allowed this much, you know, and I guess that that's super important.

Yeah, it's, it's also about sharing knowledge. So little things like saying, Well, I just did a project in the area. And the big thing was tree removal and off street car parking, or looking at a feasibility and saying, actually haven't allowed, like your square metre, right is totally off the charts, have you actually verified with any builders or sanity checked with anyone? So it's about, I suppose that in some way, looking at the strategy and saying, Well, we're looking at over everything.

So you're able to steer them and oversee their, their project.

Rebecca Yeah. And there's different experts in there. So you've got people doing their first project, and they're doing their family home. And then you've got other people that are managing eight to 10, you know, townhouse developments, on the books and how they tie in their businesses. And the financials and how to make it work. We've got people in there that are lots of wives of builders, and architects, and my wife or builders are amazing for these type of things. Because you've got the skill to be able to get, you know, a good, a well, costed product. And then you've got that person to be able to spend the time doing that, that book work and that strategy, and that research that goes in, you know, selling a house is a really emotional thing. So there's a whole process around branding that doing the socials being able to sell it and kind of having that value at the highest level.

I think also, like, we want to put out good homes, right. So we want a good product out there. And I think that's the key differences. We don't think developing is a dirty word or being a developer is a dirty word we made our own word develop. Her is about creating a great space and a home that someone wants to live in, that actually speaks to their values and speaks the way that we need a home to work and flow. And it makes people happy to be in those homes. And I think that's what it's it's also about it's that difference, it's that being having a point of difference having a value drive, being engaged in it. And I think that it's all kind of, for me, it's all kind of coming together into the one big melting pot.

Yeah, like I was having this conversation the other week about this. And I had the guys on a couple of weeks ago from urban and COVID in Sydney. And these guys work right from day one. So it may be a case of the client acquires a site all the way through to handing over the keys. And we were having a bit of a running joke because their clients, sometimes the second or third project, they have learnt the first project they've learned of what not to do, even if that includes never manage a project. Because as you mentioned, there's so many pieces of the puzzle that go into building, it's impossible to be a guru at it. I mean, how often do you hear trades that are a builder, even who may be recommended for one project. And then you get the story from the next project to say, I don't know what you were thinking with that guy like, he didn't do a good job,

Rebecca then you bring different people together as well. And I guess this background comes in who's a good fit for me like professionally and I, we have really different personality, and the person who works well for me is not necessarily going to work well, for Crobat. Nice, I'm going oh, you're my mate, I've had a great experience with this builder, they'll take over and do your job for you. And they're like, I can't work with her. And she's like, this guy's not listening to me, because they don't speak the same language. And they haven't been primed from the beginning. So how to go about it?

Well, and then the people, the clients themselves don't understand the nuances of the different models, and why in one, your architect might do a certain amount of work for you. And then the other, you're having to pick up a lot of the pieces. So they think, you know, everything comes down to frustration, when you don't know you're supposed to do something. And then you have to do it, people get frustrated. And builders get frustrated on the same coin, because it's not their job to educate their client. But they are having to do that because there's actually no way you can go, that really spells it out for everyone. And there's no way that you can go that says you do this and then you do this. And then you do this because it's so complicated. And that's really what we tried to solve with buildher Collective is really based on our understanding and our experiences really pull it together and say, Well, if you do this, you go that way. And if you do this, you go that way. And most commonly we hear that a client has hired an architect, for example, without understanding that that architect is giving them a full set of documentation, which means they have to go out to tender but they don't know how to do that. And so we understand that that would be really scary. And they're really frustrating time if you don't know what you're doing,

or they've got a set budget, and it escapes from them, because they don't understand what's inside the budget, what's outside the budget, the architect said, I can do it for this amount, but they're not understanding that all those fees. And charges are on top of that. And the architect doesn't necessarily sometimes they do but doesn't necessarily have a direct link with a builder who's checking what they're asking for. And every time they ask for something, it adds more money to the budget, but they're not understanding that they need to readjust what their budget is along the way. So it's very complex. I would also like to frame kind of where you come from and why we were talking about it. And kind of having that conversation of like we were talking about from the builders point of view how how that went, can you kind of go into a little bit of your I know, You've been a builder, you're a building lawyer, you consult for people, you consult on the builders side and the client side, so you bring kind of mash that together as well. Yeah, look,

as you said, it's, it's extremely complicated. And you're often dealing with emotions and personalities. So on one side of the fence, you may have a challenging site or a complicated design. So that's sort of one aspect that you can control the site, as I mentioned, you can control that the funds, you have certain limited control on that. What you don't have control on in many circumstances is the people behind the personalities. We talked about it before, you can have a really good builder, a really good tradesman on a particular site. And they don't perform on another site. So it's just a constantly revolving door, it never, ever gets perfect. And that frustrates me. Because when I was building, you're always trying to perfect things you never get there. Some things are your fault, some things are not your fault. And when you try and put it into the big plot, and give it a stir, sometimes it just doesn't come out, right. And so it's extremely challenging. That's where it comes down to relationships, it comes down to fundamentals, and people trying to do the right thing. Now, you can have all that all it takes is one client, and they're hell bent on a certain project falling under a certain budget, that creates tension. So you can have the design, right? The people, right, but all of a sudden you've thrown in this budget constraint, and they're stretched to the limits, and you're suddenly through no fault of your own, growing that and increasing the costs. That creates tension and creates a lot of problems, then you might have a builder or tradesmen on the other side who they have cashflow concerns, or they have family issues, all these sorts of different things completely external to the project, but throw them into the pot. It just creates tension. And that leads to another thing. So it's a challenge.

Rebecca And I guess from the kind of perspective of everyone, you're in there at the one of the most stressful points of time and he's building, you're managing large amounts of money, there's a lot of emotional weight on these money and getting the outcome and what that means for your family. And then you've got this relationship with someone that often you've chosen because they've delivered the cheapest price. And you haven't necessarily vetted them for do I want to kind of work with this person for one year, two years, three years, same as the architect, right. And so I've seen a project they like I'm going to engage them because I think they can do the right job, or I've looked at the quotes that have come in, and I've decided you're going to do it, but you don't have certainty over that outcome from the onset. So that relationship needs to work together to deliver the project from everyone's perspective, but not everyone's capable of doing that not everyone deals with stress. And where I am now might be different to in a year's time. You know, like, certainly for anyone who signed a contract in January of this year, and this is years kind of COVID year, the impact of COVID on all those relationships financially, how you get people on site, what the the turnaround times and lead times of materials are everything has been affected. And that's not predictable when you're signing.

One of the things that we included in our programme is a fortnightly q&a. And we did that for the reason of we realised that issues crop up and building in that building doesn't it's not neat, you can't just package it into a nice little, you know, 10 week course and then say, Here's everything you need to know go and do it. Things come up that you don't know how to deal with and because there's personalities and there's emotions, and there's big budgets. You need to be able to know how to workshop those. And so we do this q&a with our members every two weeks, and they can come along and ask any question and we'll do our best to answer it. And a few concepts that always come up is probably this idea of bringing you baggage to a disagreement. And we try and talk to our members about understanding that you can't bring every little thing when there's an issue that's arisen. arisen on site, you can't bring the baggage of every other little thing that's cropped up to this one debate, you need to be able to look at something in isolation and look at it for the facts, and also take the emotion out of it thing to do, isn't it so hard because they pay sometimes they bring their baggage that had nothing to do with this builder. It can be you know, we've been going through this process with our architect for 10 years. And now we finally got to the point, and now there's an issue that's arisen on site. And it's not actually that anyone's fault. It's just happened. And so how do you work through that. And one of the other ones that came to mind when you were talking was contingency planning. So we do a lot of work with our members to talk to them about contingency planning and understanding how to plan, how to budget for contingency and what types of things do crop up in construction that you should be aware of that can cost extra money so that those tensions can be reduced if you're aware that they may happen.

So how do you do that? Do you like apply a contingency percentage to the overall project?

Rebecca Yeah, so we have some spreadsheets that we share with people and they have some contingency budget allowances or pretenders. But we also talk about how you can look at the risks on your site. And you can allocate a contingency for a particular risk. So if you know you've got bad soil, you can allocate a little bit extra, if you know, you're going to make some extra changes, or there might be an issue with materials, you can actually contingency plan for that. And there is a I know there's a theory and there's calculations that run behind that. But for for a basic renovation, you can mostly identify when you have all the information in front of you how much your contingency should lie as you're going through the process. It's really interesting that those issues come up from both sides. And on the builder side, whether you're hiring a builder or whether you're managing trades directly, you just need to know a little bit more about what could pop up?

Yeah, look, as part of what I do for builders is I'll do a lot of in house work where I'll be running like a attend a workshop. Okay, so for that particular larger project, I call it safe $4 million project. There's a lot of challenges that are part of that project, not just feasibility and financially, but also on site. So what I found through through my work is, sometimes when a builder puts in a tender for a particular project, the first time that their team of employees or subbies, enter that site is on day one. Or it might be one particular trade might be 90 days down the track. So it makes sense to avoid all these unforeseen, I mean, you can't avoid all of them. But just to try and mitigate the risk is to have a bit of a workshop, you know, I like what you're doing, you're talking about a q&a session. So we'll run a workshop, bit like this environment, what good old whiteboard and identify the risks of the project, it could be a highly aggravated neighbour, that's gonna make the process entirely complicated the whole way through. That if you don't control that, or at least mitigate it by knowing how do you deal with that neighbour, what a what a his or her rights in this process. By knowing that process, and knowing where you sit, you're able to say, well, these are his rights, he can stand there all He likes, He can say, Well, I'm not going to react to that. So that's one aspect, you might have a challenging site with asbestos material that's been picked up in the geotech. Report, there's certain challenges that go along with that. And then it could be as simple as having an experience forming in the room by saying, look, there's a fair bit of structural steel in this one, or this is there's some suspended concrete floors, we're going to need this or we're not going to be able to have everyone on site during this process. So that all of a sudden starts to mitigate the risk and basically put more control in your pocket. Now, there's an opportunity to combine that and have not just the builder in that tender workshop, but also the client as well. So there's, it's about having those early conversations, I think it's the key message.

Rebecca I think that's fantastic. But to be able to get left on their own a lot, right? And so they there are some of their learnings. And everyone's learnings are slightly different and their experience is different. So if you take a builder that's been building, they could have been building for 20 years, but they might have just been doing extensions or, or new builds with no underground basements and then you give them an underground basement. Who do they go to for extra support and programming so they'll do their research and they understand that the principles behind it but you learn something every time you build. So by coming in there and doing a workshop with them and being available to kind of workshop. Okay, well, these are our programming things. We know we're going to have a wet basement so we get water in here. We know it's going to be tricky to structure because of this or we're going to have some road management issues or we've seen some Rock on a different side, you're able to kind of help them from their side, but also on the perspective that no one can know everything, you know, everything is going to be slightly different. But by being able to bring a client in at some point, probably not, if that's the situation, at that point, I haven't done these before. But by bringing them on board at some point, and having a good conversation about this is the way it's going to work. You've also set them up with some level of understanding, because always it comes down to trust as well, right? So the client needs to trust that the builders able to deliver and go along the process, and sometimes builders, allow too much access for a client. And so that means the client will come on board, and they'll walk through the site and go, Oh, is that meant to be like that? It's not meant to be like that. And the builders hearing, criticism, criticism, criticism? And they're like, yeah, that is what it's meant to be like that this space isn't finished. And when it's finished, it'll look right. But there's a process to get there. So sometimes the systems that are set up from the beginning, need to be better controlled. Do you help builders set those systems up to work with their clients as well?

Yeah, look, absolutely. So you mentioned then communication. And one of the issues I sort of find myself working through with builders is they don't apply a unique perspective to managing that particular client, they don't look at it, what that person does, they don't gauge enough detail on what rubs that client up the wrong way. What ticks the boxes with that client? What does he or she like? So you kind of have to apply a broad spectrum to each just like you do with each project, you also have to do the same thing with a client. So for example, I have one particular builder that I worked with, where they had a client, who if I could put it lightly was a control freak, right. So this client was wanting daily video shots of this particular project, as well as photos, which photos I can understand, but going around and filming different things. And then speaking to that client, every single day, sometimes three or four times a day, that's taking that builder off that job block his level of focus and detail now rest up the Food Channel, not down where it should be, basically, in that particular case, I just said, Look, this communication needs to stop, it's too much, we need to pull it back, we'll have one weekly in person site meeting. And that's it. The odd emails and phone calls for clarifying things, no problems, right. But the actual detailed analysis of what's going on feeding that back up to the client, it was affecting the builders concentration and level of detail. So we I just said, Look, you need to push back, tell it how it is to say, Look, I can't manage this project, and build this project to the detail that you want me to, if I'm constantly worried about you breathing over my shoulder all the time, let's go back to once a week on site meetings during about the phone and email on site meetings. So that just straightaway took the tension off the builder. I don't know how the client liked it. But by all reports, that project went so much better after that, then how it was which was full of tension, frustration, it was too much too much.

Rebecca You can kind of go in for any builder and troubleshoot specific problems and help them sort of navigate away through it and sort of mediate a solution.

Yes. So I collaborate with a lot of lawyers, right. And we talk about this all the time, from our perspective. disputes arise out of frustration, but usually a dispute that formed into a contractual dispute or a financial dispute. That result is an outcome of something going back to some particular vendor or incident. That's usually the case. So from the clients perspective, they're trying to reduce their damage, it becomes financial dispute. So they'll then say, well, look, we have building defects, which is a common way of quantifying the damage that they have suffered. And then a builder on the other side is not getting paid.

Rebecca I think it's such a fantastic service to to offer builders, particularly builders coming up in the trade. And the reason I wanted to touch back on that point is it's so valuable because a lot of times the bigger bigger, bigger commercial builders they have project managers and construction managers who have seen a lot of worked on a lot of different projects and often they will have a pre tender session and they will have basically a risk management session where they pull in everyone who's relevant and they'll go through and they go right have we allowed enough of Have we thought about this? Have we done this and fit to you to be able to offer that service to builders who don't have that level of resourcing in their companies, or they're young builders who are coming up the chain, or they're small companies, it would be a fantastic benefit to them. And I think one of the things that, I think, which I think could be controversial, but I'm gonna say it anyway, I just think that the residential construction industry has so much to learn from the commercial construction industry in terms of how to do things better, how to manage projects better, how to be a little bit more risk adverse, how to protect themselves a little bit better, and, and if the two industries could actually get together and share those skills, I think it'd be better for everyone's clients included buyers, tradies, small Builders, New builders, newly registered builders, I think that there's so much to learn from everyone. And, you know, in bigger projects, it does happen a lot. It's just not really filtering down, I think, yeah, look,

I actually don't think it's controversial at all. And actually, I agree with you, because the the issue you see, with, say, a difference between a commercial site and a residential site, you may have a formwork Carpenter, for example, on a commercial site, he's very good at certain things, putting together columns, slabs, things like that. But he might struggle to do residential construction and the challenges that exist on that. And then vice versa, you have builders, I mean, some of the builders I've seen who to make a step from residential up to commercial, it's another ballgame, you have to increase your standards, you have to have extra quality management controls, environmental management controls. So putting together these policies and procedures, managing your site with day to day challenges, we've gone through 2020 With with COVID. And that's presented a challenge on its own those challenges with site registers and things like that, that go by the wayside on some residential site. They are paramount on commercial sites, from the ground up, literally, there are so many extra challenges that exist from making that step.

Rebecca And I agree with you, because I was working on commercial and then we started, we started build right now I'm learning a lot more about residential, you know, and little things like oh, and a commercial building, we need to have this, this and this, and we're big, no, no, and the residential, we don't need to have that. And so even for me, it's like, Okay, I've got to relearn this. And it's not that you don't know, it's just, they're different,

or different on all aspects, because there's this expectation that buildings true, but like residential building is really tricky for people. And it's tricky, because they take the commercial expectations, and they take expectations from the real world, like, you know, I've arranged this person to come meet me on site at seven o'clock in the morning, they're going to turn up and I didn't have to find them 15 times to make sure they were going to be there. And they apply it to domestic and they're like, Oh, the guy didn't turn up. And I'm like, yep, well, that's gonna happen, or they came and they looked at the site, and then they didn't submit a quote, and I'm like, Yeah, because they were really busy. And for them, the time that they're spending on the tools is split with the paperwork. And a lot of the people who are on the tools, the paperwork isn't the skill set that they are best at, or they enjoy the most. So they don't do it, or they'll and no one's checking, or the compliance levels are pretty low. And most of the builders domestically or a lot of them have come from that, that old, you know, I was a carpenter, and I can build a house. So I'm gonna move up that line. So those things that we're expecting commercially, are very different. Whereas in in commercial framework, we've got people that are trained, and they've got university level, they're good at the paperwork, they understand how to get it done, it's a lot quicker for them to do a lot of the stuff than maybe it is someone who it's not innately a skill that they're very good at. So you've got to kind of understand that perspective around it when you then start to look at building and engaging someone, what am I hiring? And what can I backfill to make this process easier as a client, if money is that outcome, and you've got a fixed constraint, and you want to manage, you know, you can step in and help guide these things. So those weekly meetings that you were talking about that you're saying builder put in place, we're actually teaching the same thing. We're saying client put these in place with your builder, because you can keep them on track? Because often the constraints that we're finding from the builder is the client is there going oh, the builder asked me to have the toilet on site tomorrow. So I've got to drop everything go find a toilet and ideal world here. Everything selected ahead of time, but we know that doesn't actually happen. So by having these weekly meetings, we can frame okay, what's coming up ahead? What do I need to get organised? What framework and time and programming are you doing? And then everyone's accountable at the one meeting and you're covering off so many more conversation? Asians, then those Sunday night emails and everyone knows we all read into emails differently, correct. And we speak to people differently on emails, and we do. And so then that frustration is coming out in the emails, whereas it's a meeting, it's a lot nicer.

I think a great example of that we're running a development with, we're bringing six other women through, like an internship into building and construction. And one of the conversations came through one of our members to say, we were getting a fence quote, and she said she had emailed him and she'd spoken to on the phone. But he hadn't returned her email, it was about two weeks, I think. She said, Well, he must not want the job. And we will like, well, actually, no, he's probably just really busy on the tools, because he's on the tools nine to five, or, you know, seven to four. And he hasn't had a chance to respond to the email yet, so don't discount him too soon. And so there's this fine balance, understanding the way that the industry works, so you can get the best out of it, and accepting certain things, but also knowing when to ask for something, and how long is appropriate to wait.

Yeah, look, I really like what you were just talking about, and having that understanding of that day to day relationship of, of what that builder or trade is doing and being accepting that that particular trade hasn't put the quote in or hasn't gotten back and, and understanding that the day in the life of a trade because it it's extremely hard. I said on Instagram all the time where particular apprentices come on as a mature age apprentice, they don't like the Monday to Friday, boring office job. They love this tradie life. And so they're they're enjoying it working out in the in the weather. So they're on the tools, it's a physical job. So getting home at night, and putting together a quote, is not always their number one priority in life. And it's hard. It's a hard thing to fathom, isn't it? Like, I

Rebecca know, if I was on the tools all day, I don't want to come home. And then like in front the computer, I've got a quote

that I guess that's kind of the understanding, understanding also the framework and how often you've got to call someone and having that system in place. If I spoke to like my concrete or and I say, Okay, well, okay, I'm gonna book you in for two weeks time. On the second, if I just leave it till the second. Yeah, it may or may not be, I actually don't know where the date is. But if I just leave it till then and wait for him to turn up, that's not going to happen. That's right. Isn't remember, there's no so that there's no system and framework and there's no accountability. So as a client, you might be one off job, but he's never gonna see or hear from you again. So where's his real incentive to, to kind of level up for you,

and I think also been like working on a construction site is so foreign to so many people, particularly women, they just don't get the insight into that. And and unfortunately, a lot of women are left to do a lot of the Organising when it comes to renovating or building in your own home. And so that's partly what we wanted to overcome. It's given them those insights into how that industry works. And I think people forget to that trades work six days a week, you know, there's really only one day off and then to waste time for family and life. And a lot of us are in our nine to five Monday to Friday jobs. And so we think that there's time for things. So I think understanding is the first step to reducing the amount of frustration that's going to happen. There is a reason to bring out a contract at the end of the project. It's happened months ago, or it's been a steady roll of a lot of things.

That's right. Yeah, look, I think it's a wonderful thing you guys are doing. And I think anything that's inspiring women to get into building construction and create a little community and a group, I think it's really inspiring and an excellent, so well done. I think it's a really good thing for the industry. So it's really exciting to see what you guys are doing in future and I really appreciate you guys coming on to Build Hatch. Well, that was another Build Hatch episode with Rebecca and capacity from buildher Collective. What an inspiring group of women. And I certainly encourage you to check out their socials, because these guys are an absolute powerhouse, doing incredible and exciting things in the construction space. Like I said that absolutely leading the charge. As usual, please check out our Instagram page and other socials, where you'll be able to learn more about a guest and some of the features of the projects that we talked about. Have a great week and you hear me again on the airwaves next week. Thanks for listening to another episode of Build Hatch. You have experienced our bills have developed production