Traditional Joinery vs PBSA Specialist Joinery
How Covid-19 has reshaped the landscape for Student Accommodation projects, and how specialist joinery providers can deliver value.
For students studying at University, surviving the stress of lifestyle changes, increased workload along with new responsibilities and relationships, can be a daunting and confusing existence. This places huge importance on providing a functional, inviting space to retreat to at the end of each day.
Our recent experience working with some of the largest PBSA (Purpose Built Student Accommodation) providers has proven what a difference high quality finishes and smart joinery design can make to achieving this in small student living spaces.
COVID-19 has been a catalyst that has changed the thinking of both developers and builders when considering the procurement of large packages including joinery.
In the past, there was the large cost incentive to standardise and commoditise the room designs, and consequently this affects the cabinets in each room. By doing this, it allowed large portions of the project to be ordered from overseas (mainly from China) and the logistics delays, increased project risk, and bland room design was offset by the cost savings that this strategy provided. Post Covid-19, this has totally changed. Here are some key drivers for developers in engaging with local suppliers for key packages:
- Future-proofing: Developers are now concerned about the future value of their assets, with more developers looking to have usage flexibility in the future, and in some case these PBSA assets are changing their usage to alternative accommodation from the outset (eg: hotels).
- Competition: As the education landscape changes for foreign students, developers have to compete more and provide a point of difference and there is a demand for quality accommodation. By smarter engagement with local joinery suppliers, a much higher level of room quality can be achieved for minimal extra cost.
- Consistency: By forming partnerships with key local suppliers, PBSA providers are able to create a level of consistency in quality across their portfolio. Small details like consistent local finishes, fixings and hardware, and cabinet designs creates a huge differentiator when compared to portfolios that are varied on every project depending on the builder and supplier.
- Local procurement: The drive to support Australian-made has never been stronger, and clients are looking more and more to see where companies are spending their money. By supporting local industry, local jobs and local communities, there is a big business benefit for providers to have a local supply chain.
Risk, risk, risk. Covid-19 has reshaped the construction game in many ways, but none as much as supply chain risk. We are seeing many builders rethink their procurement decisions based on total supply chain risk management, and large package like joinery for PBSA projects can play a huge part in the overall success of a project. Some of the key points for builders to consider include:
- Project delays: The obvious and most important factor is timeframe. When a significant package is imported from overseas, Covid-19 has shown us that not all ‘lead-time’ promises are equal. If the goods aren’t physically in the country, then there is no guarantees, and while ever a project is hinging on the arrival of a shipment or the performance of an offshore factory, then the overall project risk is escalated dramatically.
- Cost: In the past it was very attractive for builders to look offshore for cheaper suppliers, because there just wasn’t enough incentive to keep the purchases here with local manufacturers. The lead-times weren’t too bad, the product quality was okay and the savings were significant. In the main, unless a local finish was directed by the developer, it didn’t make sense not to import, purely based on cost. Covid-19 has changed all that. While ever there is a risk of an entire project being delayed because of an overseas supplier, then the attraction in saving 10-20% on a single package is instantly diminished, because of the knock-on cost implications. Many projects were impacted in the early days of Covid-19, and builders are now conscious of this more than ever and are changing their decisions to stick with local suppliers who can support their program and provide the confidence they need to deliver on time.
- Capability: When it comes to construction, there is a big difference between a good supplier and a good contractor. It is one thing to deliver the product to site. However, building sites are becoming more and more complicated, with difficult access, site restrictions, ever-changing programs and now Covid-19 regulations. The combination of being able to reliably supply the required product and have proven capability in the project and logistics management required to work in with site challenges is rare, and is what sets apart the leaders in the market from the average players.
In short, Covid-19 has put a huge focus on local supply-chain management, and there are certain players in the industry who have responded and adapted themselves to provide value to PBSA projects. Burgtec is fast evolving into a leader in the joinery space, providing competitive, attractive proposals to PBSA operators and head contractors; forging partnerships that are delivering huge value in the market.
Contact us today if you have a project to discuss – we’d love to hear from you!