{{ propApi.closeIcon }}
Our industry
Our industry $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Economic research & forecasting Economics Housing outlook Tailored market research Economic reports & data Inspiring Australia's building professionals Business & digital Products & innovation Projects HOUSING Online The only place to get your industry news Media releases Member alerts Submissions See all
Business support
Business support $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Become an apprentice host Hire an apprentice Why host a HIA apprentice? Apprentice partner program Builder & manufacturer program Industry insurance Construction legal expenses insurance Construction works insurance Home warranty insurance Tradies & tool insurance Planning & safety solutions Building & planning services How can safety solutions help you? Independent site inspections Solutions for your business Contracts Online HIA Tradepass HIA SafeScan Advertise jobs Trusted support & guidance Contracts & compliance support Professional services Industrial relations Member savings Toyota vehicles Fuel savings Handy pay See all
Resources & advice
Resources & advice $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Building it right Building codes Australian standards Getting it right on site See all Building materials & products Concrete, bricks & walls Getting products approved Use the right products for the job See all Managing your business Dealing with contracts Handling disputes Managing your employees See all Managing your safety Falls from heights Safety rules Working with silica See all Building your business Growing your business Maintaining your business See all Other subjects COVID-19 Getting approval to build Sustainable homes See all
Careers & learning
Careers & learning $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
A rewarding career Become an apprentice Apprenticeships on offer Frequently asked questions Study with us Find a course to suit you Qualification courses Learning on demand A job in the industry Get your builder's licence Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Find jobs
HIA community
HIA community $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Join HIA Sign me up How do I become a member? What's in it for me? Mates rates Get involved Become an award judge Join a committee Partner with us Our initiatives GreenSmart Kitchen, bathroom and design hub Get to know us Our members Our people Our partners Support for you Charitable Foundation Mental health program
Awards & events
Awards & events $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Awards program People & Business Awards GreenSmart Australian Housing Awards Awards winners Regional Award winners Australian Housing Award winners 2023 Australian Home of the Year Enter online Industry events Events in the next month Economic outlook National Conference Events calendar
HIA products
HIA products $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Shop @ HIA Digital Australian Standards Contracts Online Shipping & delivery Purchasing T&Cs See all Products Purchase NCC 2022 Building codes & standards Economic reports Hard copy contracts Guides & manuals
About Contact Newsroom
$vuetify.icons.faMapMarker Set my location Use the field below to update your location
Change location
{{propApi.text}} {{region}} Change location
{{propApi.successMessage}} {{region}} Change location

$vuetify.icons.faPhone1300 650 620

Embracing change

Embracing change

{{ tag.label }} {{ tag.label }} $vuetify.icons.faTimes
The residential housing industry – and the world itself – has changed, expanded and adapted since Suzanne Burke was awarded the 2013 HIA Australian Business Partner of the Year award. Discover her proficiency for process and her ability to adapt.

Kerryn Ramsey

Content Writer

A decade ago, the world was adjusting to new technology and ways of communicating. Terms such as selfies, bitcoin and cloud computing were current buzz words. 2013 was also a memorable year for Australian women. Quentin Bryce was the country’s Governor-General, Julia Gillard was Prime Minister and Ita Buttrose was Australian of the Year. 

It was also the year that Suzanne Burke, General Manager of Amerex Renovations in Perth, won the HIA Australian Business Partner of the Year (now known as Small Business Management) award. 

The Amerex Renovations dream team, Suzanne and Steve Burke, at Uluru in 2019

Q: What are the most useful skills you’ve used to build and manage Amerex Renovations?

My undergraduate degree was in Business with a major in Information Systems, focusing on systems and the importance of business processes. At Amerex, this has translated into a practical and analytical approach. Where possible we find ways to systemise our processes. Success is not an event; it’s a process. If the process is followed, success is repeatable.

Rather than set and forget, we perform an annual stocktake where every employee takes stock of the business and their roles. We then create a roadmap for business improvement across the year.

It’s this drive and commitment to continuous business improvement that has enabled us to adapt to market changes, pivot when necessary and keep relevant in a challenging industry.

Q: What are some worthwhile courses/skills on offer for HIA members who are expanding their business?

You must embrace software and technology to enable your business to systemise as much as possible. As a minimum, you need to know how to use project management software and transition your technology infrastructure away from desktop software.

Moving towards cloud computing minimises the risk of hacking and catastrophic data loss. Other skills, such as social media and website management, bookkeeping and human resource management, can be outsourced to experts.

Suzanne with Steve winning HIA's business partner award and HIA WA Professional Small Builder/Renovator of the Year in 2013
The couple with their children Lily and George at their book launch of π˜•π˜’π˜ͺ𝘭 𝘠𝘰𝘢𝘳 π˜™π˜¦π˜―π˜°π˜·π˜’π˜΅π˜ͺ𝘰𝘯 𝘞π˜ͺ𝘡𝘩𝘰𝘢𝘡 𝘎𝘦𝘡𝘡π˜ͺ𝘯𝘨 𝘚𝘀𝘳𝘦𝘸𝘦π˜₯

Q: How do you stay on top of technology and internet trends?

My mantra in life is that the only constant is change. You must keep changing and adapting or get left behind. For me, keeping up with change is enjoyable. Within Amerex, a transition to cloud computing reduced paper usage in the office by 90 per cent. With all data and software in the cloud when COVID hit, we were already prepared and set up for remote working.

On a personal level, over the years I’ve gained skills in search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, content writing and website management. Everything I learn, I apply to Amerex. I also transfer knowledge to others in the business to make sure skills transfer takes place. That way, when individuals upskill, both the business and the individual benefit. 

Currently, I’m exploring and learning about AI and finding ways to use AI technology to save time and be more productive in the workplace. Alongside this, I’m creating a new small business, providing SEO services and content to help small business owners. I’m looking for ways to incorporate AI education for small business owners into this new venture too. 

Q: Apart from winning HIA’s Business Partner of the Year award, have you won other HIA awards in the 

Amerex Renovations has been awarded the HIA WA Professional Small Builder/Renovator of the Year five times over the years and has been a finalist in every year we have entered since 2009. We see this as industry endorsement for our commitment to continuous business improvement and the professional approach and high-quality standards we always strive for.

Q: You’ve co-written the book, Nail Your Renovation Without Getting Screwed, with your husband and Amerex Managing Director Steve Burke. What inspired you to take this on?

After writing many articles for the Amerex blog, I realised there was enough content to form the basis of a book. I did some research and discovered there were not many books in the renovation area. They didn’t talk much about planning; they’re more about handyman projects and how-to stuff. With a gap in the market, we took time putting together the book. 
Suzanne co-wrote the book with her husband Steve Burke
Celebrating the book launch with family and friends

Q: You’ve been involved with many HIA events, including HIA Building Women. Why do you think these events are important for our members?

Industry events are a great opportunity to chat to people working in the same industry. It’s normal to talk to trades and suppliers regularly, but we wouldn’t chat to many other builders. Sharing challenges, successes and ideas benefits everyone and lifts the sector as a whole. I always come away from an event with a great takeaway. Whether it is a new contact, an idea, a better understanding of the economy, or by taking home an award, it’s all worthwhile.  

Q: Are there any tips to help give women more confidence and determination when working in the residential building industry?

Women are told to be a lot of things and are a lot of things in life. We are told we should back ourselves more, be more confident, negotiate better, support each other, strike a balance between work and home. So, rather than providing some tips for other women in the industry, I have a tip for the male leaders in the industry. The change starts with you. An effective CEO needs to proactively address the gender imbalance in the industry. 

Q: You and Steve have so many projects on the go. Do you find time to have a good work/life balance?

The great thing is we both love what we do so it helps if you like going to work each day. Finding balance is important though and we do our best (well, we try) to keep our fitness levels up and stay healthy. We also take time out every day for off-the-grid time, whether it’s walking the dog or doing a downward dog. 

First published on 26 May 2023

You might also like:

Better living Inspiration Mental health Wellbeing
Redefining life
Beyond Blue speaker and ex corporate athlete Peta Sitcheff has gone from being burnt-out to firing on all cylinders.
Feb 24
5 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Wellbeing Inspiration Mental health Better living
Feel better, or be better
When work stress started to turn into something more sinister, silence and denial nearly cost Tim Lacey everything. Today, he’s passionate about helping other men to speak up and get help when needed.
Feb 24
6 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Wellbeing Inspiration Mental health Better living
In the shadow of the Impossible Man
For Beyond Blue ambassador Craig Killian, a lifetime of trying to conform to unrealistic male standards eventually resulted in a mental health crisis. He chats to Housing about living with the β€˜Impossible Man’ and learning how to ...
Feb 24
4 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
President's report
TAS President's report
After completing my first year as Tasmanian President, it is time to reflect on the achievements and issues of the past 12 months and align ourselves with the opportunities and challenges for the year ahead.
Feb 24
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
President's report
NQ President's report
Happy New Year, welcome back from the team at HIA.
Feb 24
3 mins
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Risk management Scaffolding Business systems Design
Eliminating risks
It’s essential for businesses and employees to prioritise health and safety at work. The good news is there are many ways to improve safety onsite. Meet two successful companies, SSS Roof Scaffolding and Cosentino, who explain how...
Jan 24
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Kitchens Design Awards Projects
Alfresco and aquarium combo
Western Australia’s Carmen Hansberry is no novice when it comes to interior design. This Senior Creative Designer and business founder showcased her residential talents, winning the HIA 2023 Western Australian Residential Interior...
Jan 24
3 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards President's report
QLD President's report
Celebrating the HIA-CSR QLD Housing Awards is a great time to reflect on our industry’s successes in 2023 and the positives ahead in 2024.
Dec 23
2 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Awards Inspiration Residential
From tiny acorns
This extension project in inner Melbourne proves that good things really do come in small packages.
Dec 23
4 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
President's report National Construction Code (NCC) Supply chain
ACT & Southern NSW President's report
As the building industry grapples with supply chain constraints, rising interest rates, and governmental housing initiatives falling short, addressing land costs is the key to sustainable growth.
Dec 23
1 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) Building Code of Australia (BCA) Compliance National Construction Code (NCC)
Innovation in housing
A performance-based building code provides greater flexibility and enables innovation in how and with what we build. But are the benefits being fully realised? Is flexibility and certainty achievable?
Dec 23
6 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight
Environment Sustainability Walls
Choose Siniat for sustainability, quality and durability
Renowned for its pioneering work in the field of sustainability, Siniat supplies an array of quality wall and ceiling solutions to the residential sector.
Dec 23
4 min
Read full article $vuetify.icons.faArrowRight