Business North Dec / Jan 2022

| 53 Enhancing team culture a key focus Sue Russell Taking it to the next level – Auckland home renovation and new build specialists Next Level Construct. WESTPAC AUCKLAND BUSINESS AWARDS Next Level Construct 0800 786 533 From High-end Renovations toTownhouses Design, Electrical, Security and Automation UIV Limited – Premier is proud to be associated with Next Level Construct for all your Insulation, Ventilation & Heating requirements 09 262 0921 09 570 4223 Noble Engineering Services We are specialists in the fabrication and installation of structural and architectural steelwork in and around the greater Auckland region. Proudly supporting Next Level Construct When Brendon Sowerby returned from London, the qualified builder set to and established his own company here, Next Level Construct and now, 11 years later, he leads a business that employs about 40 people, across management personnel, construction professionals to qualified carpenters and those engaged in apprenticeships. “I remember back when I started out there were a lot of really bad stories about shoddy building companies, not servicing clients well and giving the sector a bad name. I thought the best way for me to ensure this never happened was to have my own company that I could imprint my values onto,” Brendon explains. The company has been at its current size these past twelve months, on the slipstream of the building boom that has followed COVID’s arrival. Working with Brendon in management is Anne-Marie Coxhead, who brings her skills to the administration, systems and marketing realms, an Office Manager, Commercial Manager, Quantity Surveyor (QS) and a couple of Project Managers. Anne-Marie says that the culture within which Next Level Construct operates has been a key focus the past 18 months. She’s been with the company three years now and says it’s success is down to a diligent approach to scrutinise how all aspects of its operation are conducted. “It is hard to have a cohesive sense to the company when our staff may be operating over 12 or so building sites at a time. So we ensure there are important opportunities to engage with each other about the businesses current position. “ Every quarter we have a full company, formal staff meeting to discuss where we see ourselves going and setting goals to achieve that and we make time for social time together,” Anne-Marie says. Reflecting on the Covid situation businesses are having to work with, Anne-Marie says there should be a close correlation between basic good business practice and the plan to the country back up and running successfully. Unfortunately, she says the information provided by Government lacks clear practicable steps that businesses can attach some planning to. “It’s interesting how much I feel the fundamentals to good business should apply to how the Government is approaching getting us through this time. It hasn’t articulated a plan or set goals and that’s a big problem we’re facing.” When Business North spoke with Brendon and Anne Marie they were preparing for a business planning meeting, setting goals around staff retention and revenue. It’s this very systematic approach to how Next Level Construct goes about being a successful construction company that they agree is key to its ongoing success and track-record to date. Today, the vast majority of work is fixed price requiring considerable planning, given the uncertainties around supply and price that Covid has exacerbated. “We can only maintain price for a fixed period of time, so communication with our clients is key to working with these constraints,” Brendon says. Training is a big focus as well with anywhere up to eight apprentices on board, working through their learning. Next Level Construct engages a lot of Gateway students from both Lynfield College and Long Bay College. “As long as I can see they can work hard and want to become a qualified Carpenter, then I’m willing to take them on. It’s the work ethic that is really important, the rest is training and learning and we have a great depth of building knowledge for those, new to the industry, to learn with.” Anne-Marie says that by always placing the clients experience at the forefront of the building process is a core strength of the company. The capabilities of the business have been recognised by the industry being selected as a finalist in the Excellence in Customer Service Delivery at this year’s Westpac Auckland Business Awards, something both Anne Marie and Brendon agree is deserved. “We’re very much looking forward to seeing how we go at the big Gala event to be held on 9th December. Fingers crossed it will still go ahead.” Selection into this award category is especially pleasing given the hard work Next Level Construct has put in to developing an excellent client experience from first engagement to handing over the keys.