Our Values

20+ Years With Sarah

20 Years With Sarah

Sarah Constructions has been an enduring part of the South Australian construction industry since 1961, when HF Sarah and Sons was founded by Harry Sarah. Today, more than 60 years later, the business is run by Harry’s grandsons, cousins James and Tim Sarah, who proudly employ more than 200 South Australians, working with hundreds of local subcontractors and suppliers.

James Sarah firmly believes that Sarah’s longevity and success is due to the quality and commitment of its people.

“Exceptional projects are delivered by exceptional people, and excellence is not possible without the finest people working together for our clients and each other. One of our core values is ‘People First’ and Sarah has always invested heavily in giving our staff reasons to stay with us – providing them with opportunities to learn and grow and balance work with their personal life.

“I am proud that we have several people who have been a part of the Sarah ‘family’ for more than 20 years, 25 years, and a few for more than 30 years. I feel this is a testament to the company’s values and the respect we show each other.”

Each year, Sarah hosts a lunch attended by current and former staff members who have achieved more than 20 years employment with the Group. At this year’s function in March, we asked two employees, Brian Watson and Terry Jarvis to reflect on their careers at Sarah, and the future of the state’s construction industry.

A lifetime of highlights

Now retired Site Supervisor Brian Watson joined Sarah four years after leaving school and starting a carpentry trade.

“My employer at the time wound down his business and my older brother was working at Sarah, and he was enjoying it, so I applied for a position there in 1971.  My first project was constructing a caravan park at Brownhill Creek, and before I retired in 2019 my final project was a multimillion-dollar upgrade to Adelaide University.

“But my favourite projects were delivered at Adelaide Oval and AAMI Stadium.  As a keen Crows supporter, it was great to watch the team train, and know that the projects we were delivering would contribute to sport in South Australia.”

Terry Jarvis started his career at Sarah in 1994 after emigrating from the UK 38 years ago.  A shopfitter by trade, today Terry is still working as a Site Supervisor and recently celebrated 28 years with the Group.

“When I started, James and Tim Sarah were also starting their careers, and I could see that their leadership would result in longevity for the business and diversity of projects and opportunities. I have had the opportunity to be involved in many high-profile projects, but I think my highlight was an aged care facility in Burnside. “This project won a national award – and I felt like we had won the FA Cup of Building!

“Today, I feel proud to drive past any Sarah project, regardless of whether I worked on that site or not. We deliver as one team, and all feel like an important part of the business.”

– Terry Jarvis, Sarah Constructions Site Supervisor
Sarah Constructions staff celebrate over 20 years with the company

Reflecting on a changing industry

At 72, and after a career spanning an incredible 48 years at Sarah, Brian Watson has seen significant changes to the construction industry in South Australia.

“From the very start, Sarah always had a reputation for delivering unique buildings, which were spectacular for the times they were built in. Now industry has changed and there are lots of incredible buildings, but the ways they are designed and constructed is very different. It is the Sarah way to always be looking to do things better, smarter, and safer.

“The company has been successful because it has evolved and diversified to meet the changes in the industry and to see expertise develop and grow across the company has been a real highlight of my career. The advice I would give to the younger generation starting out in the industry is to embrace new innovations and new materials, and always look for better ways to do things. Sarah has always employed smart people, and there is always something to learn and someone to learn from.”

– Brian Watson, retired Sarah Constructions Site Supervisor


Terry Jarvis reflects on how much safer the industry is today: “For me, the biggest change I have seen is safety accountability.

“Sarah has always championed safety, but today’s requirements for documentation and compliance have made everyone accountable. Now we recognise that leadership involves many different types of safety, and we can answer so many more questions.

“The pandemic was a tough time for the industry, and there were lots of physical, mental, and emotional challenges.  Sarah went to extraordinary lengths to make sure we were protected and provided us with all the support we needed to get our jobs safely and manage our well-being.”

Sarah Constructions staff celebrating over 20 years with the company

Why Sarah?

This commitment to genuine care and support is another reason Brian has spent nearly all his career at Sarah.

“If you go and work with Sarah, you will work for a large, professional company that still has family values at its core. Sarah puts the safety of its people and its clients first, and I never needed to worry about not going home one day.

“When I was first married, my wife was sick, and Sarah made sure we were ok and that we took the time we needed as a family to recover. And again, towards the later part of my career I became unwell, and Sarah looked after me and supported me to keep working as long as I wanted. My brother and I both worked for Sarah, and there are many instances of family members working together; it’s just the type of workplace you want your family to experience.”

So, what advice would Terry give young construction professionals choosing an employer?

“I think Sarah’s success has been due to recognising the strengths of people and having good leaders across all aspects of the business. If you want to learn and develop your career, Sarah’s leaders will provide the opportunities.

“I would advise people to keep their ears open; be a sponge and soak up all the experience and information the business and its people have to offer. I’ve been fortunate to mentor many young people, and I get a kick out of seeing them go onto bigger and better projects and positions in the company.

“I’m 65 this year and I still have a desire to put on my boots, come to work and do my job well. I drive a car with the Sarah logo and wear a Sarah hat and uniform. It’s an iconic name, and I’m proud to represent the business and the Sarah family.”

– Terry Jarvis, Sarah Constructions Site Supervisor

Sarah Constructions - 20 Years with us
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