Family business comes of age
From a small company to one of the largest in the Australian building industry, Hutchinson Builders looks forward to the future.
Four generations of the family at the helm have taken Hutchinson Builders from a one- man operation in 1912 through almost a century of successful service to the building industry.
Widely recognised as Queensland’s oldest and largest building company, Hutchinson Builders celebrates its 95th anniversary this year.
Headquartered in Brisbane, Hutchinson Builders now has a branch office network throughout Queensland and New South Wales which is a legacy from Jack Hutchinson Sr, who guided the direction of Hutchinson Builders for many years as managing director and chairman.
In 1992, Jack shifted his focus to his role as chairman of the board, making way for his son, Scott, a Bachelor of Engineering graduate, to take over as managing director.
Scott has been responsible for expanding the business significantly since taking the reins.
“ Hutchies would not have had longevity if a family member in each generation had not had the motivation and ability to take over management of the company,” Jack says.
This happened for three generations, which was a rarity in construction contracting, he adds.
“ We are so large now, and growing, that generational leadership may not be so necessary in the future as we now have so many good young managers coming up through the ranks.”
Jack retired from active day- to- day duties as chairman in October 2001, although he still retains a prominent interest in the business.
Following Jack’s retirement, Scott was appointed chairman of the board and Greg Quinn was appointed managing director – the first non- family member to hold the position.
Greg joined Hutchinson Builders after 17 years with the Queensland and NSW Master Builders Association. He was executive director of both organisations.
“ Who has ever heard of a building business not only surviving for 95 years but prospering and being in its best ever shape at the end of the stretch?” Greg says.
“ Hutchies is stronger in almost every respect than it has been throughout its history.” In 2001, Hutchinson Builders moved to the Far North and opened an office in Cairns.
The team at first consisted of just two employees, one of them was Paul De Jong.
The Cairns team has completed projects on Lizard, Bedarra, Dunk, Heron and Horn islands.
Some recently completed local projects include the James Cook University ATFI building, Skyrail terminal upgrade and additions, Cairns International Hotel’s Day Spa and Bluewater Canal subdivision civil works and sales centre.
The Cairns team has also recently started works on the Ma: Mu Rainforest Canopy Walkway, set to become a unique Australian ecotourism attraction.
Since 2001, the Cairns team has experienced huge expansion and is now made up of 35 direct employees with Paul De Jong appointed as the team leader.
Over the years, projects undertaken by the company have included the construction of warehouses, offices, retail outlets, private schools, churches, hospitals, industrial buildings, tourist attractions and, more recently, housing.
This year saw the completion of the James Cook University Australian Tropical Forest Institute ( ATFI). Hutchinson Builders also constructed the E1 science building in 2002.
The new building was constructed working closely with James Cook University’s project manager, John Parker, and all associated consultants and contractors.
The ATFI is a new centre of excellence in sustainable tropical landscapes research and will facilitate collaboration, co- location and regional partnerships for the sustainable use, management and conservation of tropical forest landscapes.
While the company’s focus is in Queensland, Hutchinson Builders is also very active in New South Wales and has undertaken international projects in New Zealand and Canada and has just started some major projects in Japan.
Hutchinson Builders is currently pushing through the billion dollar turnover threshold and employs more than 700 staff, with projects as diverse in purpose as they are in location.
Scott Hutchinson says the thing he is most proud of during the company’s growth is that “ we are still builders and still trying to employ people for life”.
“ We are not just managers who put a team together for each job, we are a community and that will never change.”
Both now in their 40s, Scott Hutchinson and Greg Quinn are working closely together to take “ Hutchies” into its second century.