For Northrop in Melbourne, the sky's the limit


27 July 2018

Northrop: Having opened in January 2016, Northrop’s Melbourne office has come a long way in a short time, expanding its knowledge and expertise to better serve local clients.

Given Melbourne’s construction industry is only slightly behind that of Sydney these days, the market represents fertile pasture in which Victorian’s Northrop office can continue to grow. Based in the CBD, it currently offers structural and civil engineering, with mechanical, electrical, hydraulics, fire, and systems and design slated for early next year.

Northrop’s Victorian Business Manager, David Farrar, says the Melbourne market is very active despite developers finding it tough due to high land prices and construction costs.

“It’s very buoyant in commercial office and mixed use projects (retail, office and residential mix),” he explains.

“Although developers are finding it difficult to get their projects financially viable due to the high land and construction costs, there are always great opportunities for client-side thinking consultants like Northrop to make a real tangible difference with their project feasibilities by reducing costs in both material use and in program time.”

Until late last year, the Victorian office’s growth had been driven organically by Melbourne Manager James Sutherland and Principal Rob Winbank, however, Northrop has embarked on an aggressive strategy to harness the local market’s opportunities by building on the talents of its high profile and well-connected senior partners.

“In October 2017, Hayden Long joined Northrop as our Melbourne Civil Manager and in November, I joined as the Victorian Business Manager,” David says.

“We are currently at 14 staff and by the end of 2018 we are looking to be 20. This aggressive growth has us looking for new premises as we have outgrown our current office.

“Our new office space will cater for our forecast growth over the next five years in which we expect to increase our staff to 60-70 and include all service-offering disciplines that Northrop offers.

David says the growth expected in the Victorian capital will remain aggressive for the next decade and be an attractive destination where engineers will want to work.

“This massive growth offers so many opportunities to current and new staff, but also to staff throughout Northrop in our other offices,” he believes.

“Our growth can only be driven by driving revenue up, so that means loads of opportunities for more principals, senior managers, project leaders, and support staff to those new projects.”

The overarching plan for the future, David says, is to grow the Melbourne office to 150 staff within 10 years and “become one of the major and dominating multi-discipline consulting engineering firms” in the city.

“Both James Sutherland and I are very supportive of having no ceilings for our staff here,” David says.

“We encourage diversity and for all our staff to fulfil their career dreams and potential with us. We see no reason at any stage of our 10-year growth period that this will never be the case.”

For the immediate future, Northrop’s Melbourne office is exploring opportunities such as structural temporary works, building services, and ESD engineering services. The view is to create a true ‘one-stop shop’ that would better service both our builder clients and developer clients with their projects.

“We see great value offering these types of services to our clients,” David explains, “as it not only gives us a real point of difference from other engineers, but it will assist our own engineers in being more rounded, knowledgeable and practicable.”

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