Building for the future

For degree of difficulty and execution, the judges awarded BFN Developments the highest mark.

Feats including the removal of 40,000 cubic metres of soil from the busy Warragul central business district and the wholesale makeover of a commercial centre in the heart of the town were lauded by the Master Builders Association at the Victorian awards night last Friday.

The Traralgon based company won the state-wide Regional Commercial Builder of the Year gong in a ceremony at Crown Palladium, following its victory in the same category at the South East Regional Building Awards, for its Newmason project in Warragul.

The mixed commercial/residential project includes private apartments, a 48-room hotel, fitness studio, 300-seat restaurant, commercial facilities and an extensive medical centre.

BFN Developments director Brett Neilson said the challenging nature of the build was looked upon favourably.

“It has a full basement car park that covers the entire site so we had to remove about 40,000 cubic metres of soil out of the CBD of Warragul without upsetting any of our neighbours or any of the community which was quite a big job,” Mr Neilson said.

“(We achieved it) with very good traffic management and we in fact recycled all the soil to use on projects in the shire, the city of Baw Baw.

“It’s the highest award I can win in our industry now so I’m pretty chuffed about it.”

Established about 25 years ago, BFN has completed works for more than 500 residences and some 50 commercial projects throughout Victoria and interstate.

The Newmason build was a landmark for both the company and the growing city of Warragul.

“It wasn’t just an order job, it’s actually one of my own developments; we own the buildings. It’s literally the whole end of a commercial block in the CBD so it was quite a big commitment from us,” Mr Neilson said.

“It changed the face of the CBD of Warragul from where it was to where it’s headed.

“We just identified that Warragul needs better offers for the community to keep them there in Warragul and not driving down the highway to spend all their dollars.”

Mr Neilson said the award was an endorsement of BFN and a win for regional construction in general.

“It’s great for our team at BFN for all their hard work, it’s a great accolade for them, but just as importantly it’s excellent for us to show that as a regional builder we’ve got what it takes to deliver large projects which is effectively great for employment in south east Victoria,” he said.