Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing helps small businesses realise their potential. In the case of Hotondo Homes Southcoast, that meant helping it become one of the fastest-growing residential building franchises in the country.

Good businesses are founded on good relationships. Ask Adam Sturt, Director of Hotondo Homes Southcoast in Nowra, and he will tell you that the growth of his business rests on his relationships with his suppliers, his staff and the Hotondo Homes head office.

It’s a four-way link, with Adam himself making up the fourth link, that he says forms the foundation of his highly successful franchise business in the Shoalhaven area of New South Wales.

The franchise that Adam runs is almost unrecognisable from the business he bought four years ago, which was building approximately eight homes a year. Under Adam’s management, the franchise built 60 homes in the coastal area between Kiama and Sussex last year alone – and this year is looking to build between 80 and 100.

The stunning turn-around in the business’ fortunes hasn’t gone unnoticed, with Hotondo Homes Southcoast picking up a swag of awards in the last two years, including winning the National Professional Builder of the Year and the NSW Builder of the year at the Hotondo Homes Annual Conference and an HIA/CSR Housing Award for building specialised homes for the mobility impaired. Most impressively, the business won the 2018 Champion Trade Services award at the national Australian Small Business Awards.

Along the way, Adam and his close-knit team of 10 staff have turned Hotondo Homes Southcoast into the most successful franchise in the 80-strong Hotondo Homes network.

“We get our designs from Hotondo Homes, but clients can bring in their own designs,” Adam says. “We do everything from standard cottages to multi-million dollar houses on the beach with every single inclusion you can think of. We’re very versatile – there’s nothing we’ll say ‘no’ to.”

The success of Hotondo Homes Southcoast
is founded on its supplier relationships

Of the relationships Adam maintains with his suppliers, he counts the one with Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing as one of his most important. Reinforcing steel is used in the concrete slabs of all new home builds and Adam says help is always just a phone call away if he needs it. He cites his close cooperation with his contacts at Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing’s Wollongong’s office as central to his dealings with the company.

Help from Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing  
is “only a phone call away”

“The biggest thing I’ve found with Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing is nothing’s ever too hard – they just get the job done,” Adam says.

“You’ll always have issues at building sites. You might get one house out of 80 a year that’s perfect. When we run into issues, I just call my contacts directly. The Liberty OneSteel people have actually become friends of mine – they’re part of our crew, which is what you’d love to say about every single one of your suppliers.”

Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing services approximately
25,000 new home builds per annum

Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing services approximately 25,000 new home builds per annum and has a 40 per cent share of the residential home market. Hotondo Homes negotiates terms with suppliers like Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing on a national basis, helping keep Adam’s franchise competitive, but it’s the support at the local level that he really values.

Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing’s Terry Little says Adam maintains high standards, so the business always aims to respond to his needs as quickly as possible.

“Adam’s come a long way in the time he has owned his business,” Terry says. “We’ve watched him grow and we’ve grown with him. His business now has a large footprint in the Shoalhaven and we understand the ripple effect that a problem or challenge can have, so we’re always keen to help out as much as we can.”

In addition to forging strong relationships, it’s clear that hard work and straight-up business nous have helped consolidate his Adam’s success.

“I’m a big believer in doing the right thing by people,” he says. “What people see is what they get with me – and that comes down through my staff, too.

That commitment extends to the local community, with the Nowra office active in providing school grants, sponsorships and other support to individuals and foundations in the area. And it encompasses efforts to promote sustainable building practices, including minimising the amount of excess building material going into landfill and recycling that material where possible.

“A lot of construction material ends up as waste and goes to landfill. Our plan is to start our own recycling hub so we can recycle the steel, plastics, timber, cardboard and all our brick and rubble and actually reuse it back on our other job sites,” Adam says.

Adam is also passionate about encouraging home builders to consider the energy efficiency of their home by adding solar photovoltaic panels, high-level insulation and solar hot water.

“The home has to work for you as a family for the long-term,” he says.

As for what the future holds, Adam has his sights set on expanding the number of ‘fees’ (the number of new jobs) he acquires in a single year. Having broken through the 100 fee mark last financial year, only the second Hotondo Homes franchise ever to have done so, Adam is keen to get to 125 fees next financial year.

“We’re the biggest builder in the Shoalhaven at the moment,” he says. “I’m doing pretty well now, but it’d be great to be doing even better.”