Business Central December 2023

102 | BUILDING Barrow Builders Shift to the Bay pays off for Rob Barrow Builders undertakes new builds, alterations/extensions and a bit of light commercial work throughout Hawke’s Bay. T T Sue Russell Building • Cabinetry • Carpentry • Cladding • Doors • Fencing & Gates Flooring • Renovating • Roofing • Sheds • Inspections & Valuations 027 280 4886 JORDY’S PLUMBING LTD Residential • Commercial 020 4028 6986 Originally from Auckland, Rob Barrow moved to Hawke’s Bay five years ago, settling in Napier. His building company undertakes new builds, alterations/extensions and a bit of light commercial work and he currently employs five other chippies, while he also remains actively on the tools. He’s comfortably busy with work booked in until the middle of 2024, though concerned about a future slowing down in demand, as the economic reality of cost of living, cost of materials, bank interest rates takes hold. Aspirations ahead still lie in growing the business though, when conditions and opportunities allow, though Rob is acutely aware that taking on more staff means he will have to balance working on the tools with overall management of people. Asked how, after the shift away to Napier, he is feeling about the business Rob says he’s very happy with its situation. “I had a tough job in Auckland with weekends always busy with work. Here and doing what we’re doing, there’s a great lifestyle I’m enjoying.” Some new subdivisions are popping up, though, as Rob points out, Napier itself is very limited for good building land, given its terrain. A large subdivision at The Mission, is underway, which will bring more people and work into the region. Rob currently has two apprentices on board, philosophically stating that having apprentices has its ups and downs. “With the age young appentices start out at, its important to make sure they have the right attitude from the start. “One of my apprentices is in his third year and the other one and a half years into his training.” Asked to comment on the quality of the apprenticeship pathway Rob says its reasonably good though he says that real expectations towards attaining high standards is somewhat lacking in the system. “When I was doing my apprenticeship it was heavily target focused. You were always trying to hit some target. That’s not the way it is approached these days I feel.” “When I was doing my apprenticeship it was heavily target focused. You were always trying to hit some target.” Rob is also concerned about the generation coming through that present with challenges for employers, where ‘average’ is seen to be OK. “I had to let someone go recently, turning up late two or three times a week. There’s a lack of ego in the right sense of the word within some of the youth of today.” Work tends to come by word-of-mouth. The cyclone has impacted people, with severe restrictions on how people can move from one part of the region to another, as roading infrastructure failed and has not yet been completely repaired. Bridges spanning rivers have had a huge impact on mobility, as several are still unusable. “We had a job we couldn’t go back to for over a month with all the roads completely wiped out. We were all home-based for a week with no power when the cyclone hit.” Rob is also proudly a Licensed Certified Builder. He believes the organisation has a more professional quality to it. When applying to join, Certified Builders go through the business and check on clients to gain feedback as to the standard of work they experienced. “It’s as simple as this! “When I go out in public and I meet a former client I want to be able to go up and shake their hand, knowing they came away from their building experience feeling positive.”