Servicing Melbourne and East Gippsland, with more than 30 years of experience, CDK Building Group create high-quality new homes and renovations in both commercial and residential settings.
Brothers and co-owners, Chris and David Knowles, have a passion for building bushfire-resistant homes. Chris told us that the Black Saturday Bushfires had a significant impact on them personally and professionally.
“We started the business in the Yarra Valley after the bushfires back in 2009. We found these builds were also required throughout eastern Victoria and expanded to the Bairnsdale area in 2022,” said Chris.
“We were in Bairnsdale visiting family and saw the devastation to the community. We thought we could help, and so, we brought our business to the area,” he said.
Before Chris made the move to Gippsland, he didn’t have business contacts in the area and told us he was supported by his Dahlsens account manager who helped him to network and make the right contacts in town.
“My network down here was obviously quite narrow. I had my father-in-law and mother-in-law here, but they were the only two people I knew. Obviously our business is reliant on knowing the right trades and suppliers. I’ve got to say that Dahlsens has helped with 80 per cent of my networking. I’ve got a really good account manager, Ron Storck, who has taken me to events and introduced me to the different trades.
“If I needed a plasterer he would give me three numbers of guys in the area. If I needed a roofer, or a bricklayer, again, he would hand over three numbers. He was right onto it. He really helped me build up the company last year.”
Like Dahlsens, CDK is a family business which provides a kind of partnership that has helped to see success through the ups and downs of these recent years.
“You’re never going to trust anyone more than your brother. We’ve grown up playing in the same footy teams, the same school, we have the same group of friends—and so we’ve got quite a tight bond. The benefits are that you can lean on one another as we have done our whole lives. If anything goes wrong or gets financially tough, as it has in the last couple of years in the industry, we support each other. It’s a perk of running a family business,” says Chris.
But it’s more than a great connection that makes CDK a success—they’re also great on the tools. “We had good coaching in our apprenticeships. My brother and I worked on the same level. I did my whole apprenticeship in Bayside, Melbourne. I spent a lot of time working on crisp finishes. So we decided the best path forward for us was to keep in line with high-quality,” shares Chris.