RAISING THE BAR
Alpine Truss investing $4 million to up the ante on Victorian competition
ONE of Wangaratta’s major manufacturing businesses is investing $4 million to maintain its status as a leading fabricator of building trusses in the state.
Alpine Truss has this week lodged a planning application with council for a 2500sqm extension to its existing Tone Road factory costing $1.5 million, which will house new state of the art equipment worth $2.5 million.
The new computerised technology will put Alpine Truss ahead of many similar businesses in Australia as it will be the only one to have the USA-made machinery.
Competing against 86 other fabricators in Victoria and with housing demand expected to slow mid-2019, Alpine Truss managing director George Prothero said the building extension needs to happen quickly.
“If we don’t get this through, the other option will be to scale down which we’re very reluctant to do,” he said.
Alpine Truss’ client base covers all of Victoria and southern NSW with eight truck loads transporting deliveries to Melbourne every day.
“Wangaratta is a great town for us and we get really good support from the builders but it’s not big enough, so Melbourne would be our biggest market by a long shot,” Mr Prothero said.
“We need to compete with those in Melbourne and because the market is starting to slow we need to get more efficient.
“We’re willing to invest the money so we can secure the 120 jobs we’ve got.”
Growth corridors in Geelong demands a constant supply from the local manufacturer with a truck visiting a house site every day, and the western and northern suburbs are also busy.
Total dwelling approvals in Victoria in the 12 months to September 2018 were 39,499, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
However, Mr Prothero (pictured) said banks have tightened up on lending money and coupled with “astronomical” priced land in Melbourne the industry is expected to slow by mid-2019.
“We deal in all the markets from first home owner builds right up to second or third homeowners giving us a large profile in different parts of the industry, which helps us,” he said.
“Normally one will be booming and the other one won’t be and I see our markets starting to slow.
“There are definitely signs of it slowing down so we just need to get more efficient and be competitive in the market.”