60 Years of Sarah Constructions: Family Values with a Forward Thinking Business Approach

Sarah 60 Year Celebration Event Venue

By Adrian Esplin, CEO

60 years ago, Harry, Don & Neil Sarah founded H.F. Sarah & Sons – a construction business built on family values. The strong family values continue to be paramount within Sarah Constructions today. The Sarah family built their vision to mobilise a construction business that prioritises people, relationships and trust. Today, that business is an award-winning commercial builder of over 200 staff delivering our four core values:

People first
Collaboration drives success
We honour our word 

As Sarah Constructions CEO, I am incredibly proud to lead our business and people to celebrate as a team, our 60th year of operation. Now is a time to reflect on the extraordinary achievements of the past and utilise this experience as the foundation for another 60 years of success for Sarah Constructions.

60 years of growth and accomplishments

From Hardys Wines, which was our first project back in 1961, to the $90m Minda development in 2016 and now delivering the SA Schools PPP ($240m) and Whyalla High School ($100m), our approach has facilitated Sarah Constructions on-going growth. Our strong vision and being true to our values continue to shape our business for success. This is an attractive proposition for customers, in an industry that is highly cost driven.

“There has always been a mythology that building companies are brutal juggernauts that get things done primarily with a cost focus. The difference with Sarah is not only the extreme manner of professionalism and expertise but also the value-add they bring.”
Dorothy Nycz, Chief Operating Officer ECH

Smart business with family values underpin future success

The business began with family and these values continue to support success well into the future. Tim and James Sarah took over the Directorship in the mid 1990s as third generation family owners and shifted the business approach from mobilisation to growth and maturation. For them, hiring the right people with the specific skills and experience, was critical for the business’ evolution and success.

“Adrian’s appointment has really seen the company evolve. He brought his Tier 1 industry knowledge and applied it in a sensible logical manner to the projects Sarah delivers.”
Andrew Phillips, Director at Swanbury Penglase

Sarah Family at 60 Year Celebration

Nurturing talent in the construction industry

It is a shared goal of the senior management team, to see our business as an incubator for talent. Our ambition is for Sarah to be the number one place to work in commercial construction. Sarah is a proud industry stakeholder. The management team is committed to developing construction professionals, through our Graduate, Future Leaders, Site Supervisors and Immersion Programs.

Our workplace is not a transactional environment. The Sarah values are not just about how we treat each other, they extend to our partners, subcontractors, consultants and customers; that’s why they choose us. The people we collaborate with feel respected, considered and valued, which is ultimately how we all want to feel.

“When I was made an associate around 25 years ago, a Sarah Project Manager, wrote me a letter congratulating me on my appointment. This always stuck in my mind, about the importance of relationships & acknowledging people who work in our industry. It spoke to me about the values the company instils in their staff.”
Andrew Phillips, Director at Swanbury Penglase

Innovation in construction

The construction industry for the most part is still conservative, however at Sarah we take a progressive and proactive approach. We consider the customer’s needs and experience, and are continually undertaking Research & Development to improve construction techniques – like 3D printing and 3D modelling, for example. The bespoke 3D printing of parts can avoid lengthy procurement delays, whereas 3D modelling improves quality and compliance while reducing errors and therefore cost. Other innovations include researching the use of robotics to allow us to mechanise repetitive, low-level tasks, which improves safety, reduces costs and enables us to redirect savings into improving and developing the skills of our people.

Sarah has also expanded our capabilities in modular construction to transform delivery options for our clients. This involves constructing building components remotely, from a warehouse and then assembling onsite. Our business approach enables flexibility in our service solutions, to bring our team’s expertise to projects of all sizes. We collaborate with specialists and consultants, and prioritise bringing expertise in-house where we can, to meet the needs of our clients.

“The Sarah team was integral in the early design process, which is very different from a traditional Design & Construct organisation. They focus on what’s best for the project as well as every contributor, hitting the elements that are important to the client right through to what’s important to the individual consultants on the team.”
Dorothy Nycz, Chief Operating Officer ECH

Adrian Esplin with Sarah Family at 60 ear Celebration

Forward Thinking Business Approach

There is a growing need for today’s construction industry to be environmentally aware. Every time we build, we consider how to minimise our impact by lowering our carbon footprint and implementing environmentally friendly design. Committed to leading in this area, we aim to educate our clients and the wider industry on ways to minimise environmental impact.

As I look forward to the future, I am excited by Sarah’s agile and dynamic offering. We’re responding to economic conditions and market demands, harnessing the power of technology as well as our people, to step outside the conservative delivery model.

“It’s hard to drive around metropolitan Adelaide and not see the iconic Sarah brand either on work sites or vehicles. This points to the incredible growth and success of Sarah in 2021 – a year of great celebration for this wonderful South Australian business with a typical South Australian story – one built on foundations of hard work and sustained professional relationships.”
Daniel Gannon, SA Executive Director, Property Council of Australia

As Sarah celebrates its 60th year of operations, there’s a lot to be proud of as we look back on our achievements as a business and the many opportunities to be excited about as we look to the future.

Sarah 60th Celebration Event - Feb 2021
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