In focus: leading women in construction

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Entrepreneurship meets innovation

Mel Williams, Founder and Director, EazBuild

Founder and director of pre-build and pre-development processes and architectural design service, EazBuild, Mel Williams has an industry-wide reputation for making things happen.

Her can-do attitude and commitment to innovation have seen her successfully realise countless projects from single and multi storey dwellings to custom-designed homes to multi unit developments.

“No two jobs are ever the same. It is the dynamic nature of the building industry that makes it so great to be a part of,” says Mel.

The EazBuild difference

EazBuild helps clients successfully manage all aspects of pre-build and pre-development processes, design as well as building regulations. This includes town and farm planning, thermal performance reporting, heritage reporting and bush re management, to deliver state-of-the-art homes and developments across Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.

A consistent ability to stay on top of design trends has seen EazBuild recognised with four HIA industry awards in partnership with DTM Constructions.

Mel credits her business success to her straight-forward approach and honest nature.

“The building industry is founded on strong working relationships, which is what I prioritise every day,” she says.

The future

For Mel, the future of the building industry remains bright, with the voice of women in the industry only growing stronger.

“Women are gaining greater in uence not only in the business sector, but also as decision makers on home builds. EazBuild’s marketing strategy is very tailored towards meeting the needs of these signi cant female in uencers.”


A star

Melanie Fasham, Managing Director Fasham Pty Ltd

Formerly the (first female) President of the Master Builder’s Association of Victoria, Melanie Fasham has paved the way for women entering and forging careers in the building industry in Australia.

“This is a great industry, with plenty of opportunities,” says Melanie. “Look beyond jobs on the tools, and there are so many roles to be filled. I would love to see more women attracted to the building industry because there is so much to be gained on both sides – particularly given the key role of women in purchasing decisions.”

Melanie’s story

A qualified chemical engineer, Melanie entered the building industry when her father, Trevor Fasham started to think about retiring from the family business. Today, Melanie works as Managing Director of Fasham Pty Ltd alongside her sister, Emma Fasham.

Known for its stunning design, Fasham prides itself on building distinctive and sought-after homes that make the most of each block’s unique orientation and position.

Melanie’s technical skills as a qualified builder combined with her penchant for numbers spurred her career progression in the business. She worked her way up from an initial role as estimator, responsible for ordering and rewriting the purchasing system, to managing sales estimating and costing for the entire company.

“I love being part of this sector and delivering exceptional design and value for our Fasham customers,” she says.


An eye for opportunity

Shelly Wu, General Manager WestUrban Group

Strong business acumen and astute networking abilities have seen Shelly Wu, General Manager at WestUrban Group, achieve rapid professional success.

Her keen eye for a lucrative business opportunity was sparked as she witnessed the Melbourne property market boom.

“It was clear to me that there is just so much potential in the local building industry,” explains Shelly.

“Melbourne welcomes thousands of skilled business migrants every year. All of these individuals need to nd a home, whether they ultimately decide to buy or rent, the influx of such strong demand equates to an increased opportunity for the building sector.”

Shelly’s credentials

With more than a decade’s experience as a CPA and global management accountant, Shelly’s international perspective and analytics background ensured she was well placed to handle her first role in the building industry as a project administrator before progressing into management and business development.

Her focus on ensuring the systems, procedures and people within the company work well together underscores both her personal success in the building industry and the ongoing success of Westurban.

“At Westurban we believe it’s important to work closely with each of our stakeholders in order to grow together,” says Shelly.

“Our success is achieved through the combined efforts of our team, clients, suppliers and the expanding industry opportunity.”


A jack of all trades

Julie Carrol, Co-owner, J & J Carroll

As co-owner of Albury/Wodonga based new home building, J & J Carroll, there are very few facets of the business that do not require Julie Carroll’s regular attention and action.

From contract administration to leasing, accounting, lodging plans with the council and even colour selections for a build, Julie is self-motivated and highly organised. She credits her building industry success to her curious and adaptable nature, as well as her willingness to learn.

“Working in a small business no two days are ever the same,” says Julie. “This is particularly true of the building industry. As industry practices, standards and procedures evolve there is always something new to learn and implement. At J & J Carroll we view changes in our industry not as a burden, but as an opportunity to innovate.”

Industry recognition

J & J Carroll’s ability to stay abreast of industry developments while continuing to provide exemplary customer service has been acknowledged by numerous industry awards, including the 2007 HIA Business Partner Network, Partner of the Year for Victoria.

The future

Julie believes the future for women in the building industry looks bright, particularly as greater support systems and resources continue to become available.

“There are increasing numbers of women choosing to enter the building industry,” says Julie. “Resources, courses and support mechanisms are rapidly improving as more women discover their place in the sector. The industry itself may still be largely male dominated, yet my own experience continues to be defined by an inclusive and supportive working environment.”


A reputation for exceptional quality

Chris Ikin, Registered Builder

Positive word-of–mouth coupled with a reputation for excellent workmanship have helped propel the career of Traralgon-based builder, Chris Ikin.

A registered builder specialising in small to medium renovations, Chris entered the industry via an apprenticeship at the age of 16.

“The enjoyment I experienced working with my hands at technical school made it clear this was the path I wanted to follow,” recalls Chris. Today, she is proud of her status as one of Traralgon’s only female builders, happily sharing her experiences with younger women looking at going down a non-traditional career path.

“As a builder, no two days are ever the same. The job requires such a broad skillset, from plastering to tiling, building, painting, fencing and supervising.”

Chris’ success

With more than three decades of industry experience, Chris credits her success to astute problem solving abilities and a willingness to listen and learn.

Her dedication to the trade and experimental disposition are proving invaluable on her latest project – the start-to- finish build of her first new home, an architecturally designed house with a six star energy rating.

The future

“You are never too old to learn! The building industry is constantly evolving with advancements in technology, tools and products improving both efficiency and craftsmanship,” says Chris.

“I think the future of the building industry is looking good. The housing sector may uctuate, but it never stops. I have been fortunate so far to never be out of work.”


A step in a new direction

Lara Worthington, Marketing Manager, Dahlsens

For brand and communications specialist, Lara Worthington, the building industry has proven to be an open-minded workplace rich in opportunity.

“The people I encounter in my day-to-day role take incredible pride in their work. Whether it’s builders, suppliers or my colleagues across the Dahlsens network, I see a passionate group of people working for the best result and enjoying the process along the way. ” says Lara.

Lara’s story

Motivated to enter the building industry by the prospect of developing marketing and customer relationships in a B2B environment, Lara quickly discovered she was in uncharted territory.

“Communications specialists in the building industry are rare, male or female!  Our industry is progressing at a pace we haven’t seen before, and it is exciting to be a part of.” explains Lara.

Marketing Manager at Dahlsens, Lara develops and facilitates the marketing and communications strategy for trade stores and manufacturing plants Dahlsens-wide.

“It is a competitive market, but one that we are winning by recognising the needs of each of our customers and going the extra mile to deliver,” she says.

“From a building supplier perspective, we are working hard to develop our service and brand to truly stand out and give value to our customers.”