T.P. Turner is an Ipswich-based building company whose capabilities are vast – they do everything from commercial buildings to schools to water treatment plants. “The only thing we don’t touch are houses,” says Kerry Wall, Business Development Manager at the company. “We do everything else but.” And no matter what the job, T.P. Turner always brings with it the values a company can only acquire after over 50 years in the industry. Included among these values are: high standards of quality, value for money, commitment to safety, and environmental awareness. These skills and focuses are very important and highly demanded, but T.P. did not develop them overnight. In fact, the Turner family have been honing their business acumen since the 1800s.
The Turner family’s first foray into building began when Charles Turner – the great, great, great grandfather of today’s managing director Robert Turner – sailed to Australia from England in the 1850s and set up a business in Melbourne. Many years later, in 1903, his son Thomas Perry Turner moved to Queensland and got into the family business as well, eventually commencing work as a sole trader and business owner in Ipswich. During the post World War II years, industry in Ipswich boomed and the Turner business flourished. In 1957 he registered the company as T.P. Turner Pty. Ltd., and a Queensland institution was born.
Thomas’s son T.H. Turner took over as managing director in 1976 and remained in that role until he passed it on to his own son, Robert, in 2004. In all that time, T.P. Turner built and maintained a reputation for quality workmanship and fair pricing – a reputation they have held to this day. Robert Turner is extremely proud of his family’s ties to the local area and the role that T.P. Turner played in building the Queensland he sees around him.
These days, according to Kerry Wall, T.P. Turner generally has eight to ten projects ongoing at any one time, with costs ranging anywhere from 300,000 to 10 million dollars.
Finding the right solution
“Every job has its own challenges,” Wall says. At T.P. Turner, though, they are ready and willing to meet those challenges and achieve the highest standards of quality in all of the company’s undertakings.
One challenge, Wall explains, is recruiting the right staff for the right jobs. T.P. Turner tackles this problem at the core, retaining and appointing competent, talented and motivated people and empowering and recognising each employee’s unique contribution. These are some of T.P. Turner’s core strategies for success, and it shows in the quality of their staff.
T.P. Turner has a staff of 55, all of whom are highly valued. T.P. Turner does not engage in constant labour turnover. “We try and offer a permanent workplace,” Wall explains. One way in which they do that is by providing a safe work environment for all employees – and they do that by utilising tools like management commitment and employee involvement. They have an integrated Health, Safety and Environment Program, and whenever they undertake activities not covered by Safety Procedure they make sure to conduct risk assessments and produce Work Method Statements. At T.P. Turner, employees are well cared for, and well looked after.
Another challenge for T.P. Turner was the Global Financial Crisis which has affected everybody in the field. “We noticed a downturn there in terms of projects, but we kept on battling through, trying to be a bit smarter on how we approach jobs,” says Wall.
Making success part of the plan
One of the main components of T.P. Turner’s success is their multi-pronged strategy, which they take care to execute in all of their endeavours. This strategy involves delivering an award-winning level of building excellence, providing vigorous community leadership and support, as well as instilling an environment of excellence in customer service. They also strive to improve financial strength and profitability through effective and strong leadership, and seek to implement processes to improve company efficiency and effectiveness. Guided by these steadfast principles, T.P. Turner has achieved much.
Among these achievements is essentially Queensland itself, which they helped build – on time and on budget – and will continue to maintain through historical restorations. In recent years, some of their more notable projects in the territory include the Belmont Substation, the Enogerra Water Treatment Plant, and the George Alder Tennis Centre among others – all completed within their respective timelines. The George Alder Tennis centre was a 6.4 million dollar project that consisted of the demolition of the existing tennis courts and the reconstruction of new clay tennis courts. T.P. Turner was also responsible for the Ipswich Station foyer upgrade which was a complete design and build project. This project had a fair share of challenges since the train station had to remain fully operational throughout the construction but T.P. Turner was sure to complete the majority of work around the station’s peak periods of the day. The Belmont Substation was the refurbishment of an existing substation which was completed over six stages, each of which had a critical date of completion due to the scheduling of power changeovers which were programmed months in advance and thus unable to be rescheduled. Once again proving that T.P. Turner can handle the pressure when competing projects on tight deadlines.
As far as the future of the company is concerned, Wall foresees steady growth with minor expansion. Yet another one of T.P. Turner’s key business strategies is expanding their customer base and enhancing their business through opportunities that allow the company to be creative and innovative. That strategy – when combined with the all their others – is turning out to be a winning one. With T.P. Turner you can expect to see another 50 years of quality, integrity and distinction.