Case Study: How JWLand hits a $150M-plus annual turnover year
The Sullivan | Northbourne Village
Canberra-based property development company JWLand has recorded more than $1B in sales since 2014. It’s a massive milestone, says joint building director Aaron Ackland, one the company intends to grow over the coming years.
“We have about $500M in construction value to be pushed out over the next three-to-four years, and that’s circa 2000 to 2500 apartments depending on how planning controls pan out,” he says.
“If we deliver what’s in our pipeline, we’ll be up there with the top builders in Australia for apartment delivery.”
That’s quite a coup considering the past two years have vastly changed the construction market due to the pandemic. JWLand is also strongly asset-backed, which offers it the financial stability to compete for “large commercial opportunities should they arise”.
Koben | Campbell 5
Systems in Place for Planned Growth
JWLand’s strategy to leverage vertical integration also helps fuel the expansion. It does that through its in-house marketing, sales, finance, and, since 2020, a construction arm.
“We’re a very young company experiencing steep growth. We’re pushing the limits with our building team, integrating systems, and how to operate more efficiently and safely. That’s why we’ve been looking to digital solutions for that,” says Aaron.
JWLand creates award-winning low-density and multi-unit residential developments in the ACT, Melbourne, and NSW. The business is branching into high-end residential buildings, NDIS housing, and retail projects by “leveraging our global networks, resources and thinking”.
JWLand has partnered with some big tier 1 and tier 2 builders in Canberra. It has also delivered projects with its newly integrated construction business, designing and building the project from conception to completion. See its projects here.
Embark | Northbourne Village
A Risk Management Approach
Aaron says JWLand saw an opportunity to improve systems to manage defects in the handover process.
“We’ve reduced the number of issues by a factor of 10 easily to when people settle with their apartments and in the 12-month warranty period after that.
“We’ve actively worked with our systems and processes to ensure the pre-settlement or nominated defects are closed out faster, and we’re only dealing with any new issues that may arise. As a result, we have managed to significantly reduce the cost during the handover phase.”
Rather than utilising a lump sum contract model with its projects, JWLand has an “open-book relationship with our stakeholders and subcontractors”, says Aaron.
“Once we develop trust during the early phase of contract negotiation, we can bring down their overall costs because we allow subcontractors and stakeholders to bear less risk. This then benefits the entire project delivery.”
The Ground | Ivanhoe East
JWLand’s drive to build trust and pay on time aligns with their mentality to operate as a relationship rather than a contractual builder.
He adds: “We are focusing on becoming safe, clean and more environmentally conscious builder. We are always looking at efficiencies to reduce costs and environmental impacts. The way we’ve built our system from corporate tier all the way down to project level has allowed us to streamline process and procedure, and ensure these key metrics are met.”
The company also actively considers perspectives from all employees within the organisation, ensuring open forum for ideas and finetuning of JWLand’s systems and development.
“It’s a changing environment, and it could take one young gun to save us millions on future projects. Younger people in the construction industry are driving innovative thoughts and technology, and we welcome that,” he says.
Greenwich | Campbell 5
Finding a Safety App that Adapts
JWLand turned to innovative technology to improve their safety procedures. The company trialled a 1Breadcrumb competitor but found the process “just so painful”, says Aaron.
“We don’t want to adapt our processes to their system; the system needs to adapt to our way of working.”
Once JWLand decided to go with 1Breadcrumb, the app seamlessly integrated into the construction management software, Procore.
Aaron says: “I was speaking to a representative from 1Breadcrumb who guided me in setting up the integration, and after 15 minutes, away we went. All the information collected through 1Breadcrumb is pushed to our documents tool in Procore. It’s perfect – no double handling, no scanning of physical files, and all their credentials and photographs are there.
Dawn | Founders Lane
“Both Procore and 1Breadcrumb are adaptive enough to cover off everything we need for our safety and quality needs.”
For now, JWLand uses 1Breadcrumb to control inductions and access control to its worksites. This means that workers can’t actually enter the site until they:
- have been inducted into our site and systems;
- signed off on relevant SWMS; and
- viewed and signed off on daily pre-starts.
“Construction, in general, is very high risk, so we use the app to set up a geo-fence to compound our larger sites. It allows us to control who enters and exits the site, and we love that from an insurance perspective. We know who’s on or off-site; if there’s a flood, fire, or collapse, we can easily call for an evacuation and account for people. If someone has a medical emergency, we scan their phone and access their details immediately.”
Saint Germain | Campbell 5
Creating a Safety Ecosystem
Aaron says 99% of his subcontractors can see the benefit and ease of 1Breadcrumb, which is available on iOS, Android, and web browsers. However, he appreciates the work around 1Breadcrumb offers for those who find new technology a ’barrier’.
“If the subcontractor doesn’t have a phone or won’t share their mobile with our system, they’re given a QR code on a card on arrival and can enter the site in a traditional sense. They then use an iPad to record their data, tick off induction, etc., and everyone moves on. There’s no hassle with passwords.”
But there is a benefit to all this that isn’t often fully understood until it’s seen first-hand. It occurs when subcontractors jump between different companies that use 1Breadcrumb, which we are beginning to witness with several large construction firms in the ACT having implemented 1Breadcrumb.
This now means that “when contractors arrive on a JWLand site, they already have the 1Breadcrumb app. They are familiar with 1Breadcrumb and understand how to check in, induct themselves, and sign off on SWMS… and all their worker competencies are in their trade wallet, waiting to be uploaded.”
Whilst this generates efficiencies and saves time, it also leads to greater engagement from everyone involved in the safety journey.
The Mark | Founders Lane
1Breadcrumb is a “very important part of JWLand’s system”, says Aaron, as the company undergoes an audit to receive federal government safety accreditation.
“The desktop review has been very positive, and we expect our on-site audit to validate that we’ve met the top tier of safety and systems-process accreditation.”
With the right technology and systems in place, JWLand is well placed to achieve its goal of becoming one of Australia’s leading builders.
Provenance | Founders Lane