Introducing John Evans, our Cost Manager.

By June 2021, building costs in Victoria were rising faster than at any time in the previous 20 years.

This was alarming for everyone, and our primary concern at Lowe Design & Build was how to take the right action to balance the competing pressures from our clients and our subcontractors and suppliers. The daily price hikes and supply challenges were relentless, and we needed reinforcements! And this is where John came in.

With a Diploma of Management, a Bachelor’s degree in Computing and Mathematics, a Certificate IV in Building and Construction and an impressive career track record across SME’s, national and international businesses, John joined us in the new position of Cost Manager in August 2021.

But what actually is a Cost Manager? In our case, John’s job is to carefully analyse our overheads, systems, supply agreements and subcontractor pricing to ensure we are paying fair market rates, but not more. Lowe Design & Build has always valued loyalty, consistency and reliability in its business relationships and takes care not to damage its long-standing relationships, and so John had to be sure to take this into account. It’s a detailed and demanding job, but John’s focused work has been highly effective.

So what has he done?
It has been a multi-faceted strategy. John researched the drivers behind the price increases so that he knew if they were genuine or just opportunistic. This meant he knew the facts about raw material pricing and availability and so understood when price increases were fair and when they were not. When they were just not fair and reasonable, he was given authority to give alternative suppliers and subcontractors a chance and this has resulted in some new mutually beneficial business relationships. And he improved our estimating and cost-reporting systems with lots of small adjustments and some extra training.

John’s work has contributed significantly to Lowe Design & Build’s ability to successfully weather the pricing and supply storm that has battered the industry over the last 3 years. Our forward work outlook is strong, our clients know that we have worked hard to make sure they are treated fairly and our supply and subcontractor relationships and options have never been better.

But although John is intensely focused on “making sure pricing and costs are fair”, he does know how to wind down. He’s a keen chess player, and there’s nothing he likes more than enjoying his garden and bush surroundings at home with his wife in Emerald. And of course, playing his part in the CFA, where he is an active member.

So although you may not see John a lot it’s good to know that he is doing his bit every day to ensure we all have ongoing work and that there is the right amount of pie for everyone!