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Winning two of HIA’s most prestigious awards, JW Constructions had to solve an abundance of complications to produce a residential masterpiece on the Noosa riverfront.
When Jason Warren, managing director of JW Constructions, took on a complete build of a high-end riverfront home in Noosa Heads, he expected a decent amount of challenges involved. However, the 21-month project pushed him to the limit.
The first difficulty was that the clients were based in the Philippines, followed by a move to Singapore.
‘They managed to move to Sydney midway through the build, but due to border closures, they still didn’t get to see the build in-situ,’ says Jason, who touched base through email and a WhatsApp page by posting photos and documents regularly. ‘We only saw them twice during the build.’
This stunning riverfront home embraces the Sunshine Coast lifestyle through indoor-outdoor living. With board-formed concrete accented throughout, it features a warm wood-grained appearance. Its elegant swimming pool is a centrepiece as swimmers are visible from all ground floor and basement rooms.
In April, JW Constructions won the 2022 HIA–CSR Australian Home of the Year award, topped off by the 2022 HIA Australian Custom Built Home.
According to HIA judges, the attention to detail is outstanding. ‘This was a good demonstration of workmanship and building construction methods to get required finishes. Flawless.’
‘We were so excited when it was announced,’ says Jason, who says his lynchpin is his wife and business partner, Carrie. The couple launched JW Constructions in 2004. While he looks after the project management, estimating and contracts administration, she looks after the accountancy and bookkeeping side.
‘It’s a reward for all the hard work we both put in,’ says Carrie. ‘That involves long hours and working on weekends, but we want to deliver a good product. The end result makes it all worthwhile. At the awards night, we had a chance to catch up with colleagues. We enjoyed seeing all the builds and were constantly amazed by the quality of building work being produced by our peers. We have a great industry; we’re lucky to be part of it.’
The winning build is just a few minutes’ walk from vibrant Hastings Street and Noosa Beach’s legendary surf breaks. While the nearly 50-year-old Jason may have a laconic, laid-back manner, he’s an extremely driven individual.
‘I might get one surf during working hours in a year if I’m lucky,’ he admits. ‘I arrived at the Sunshine Coast knowing that if you want to excel and be at the top end of the game, you have to treat it like you would if you’re working in the city.’
Jason works six days a week – ‘All my estimating is done on the weekend’ – and his average day takes around 12 hours. These exhausting hours – onsite and in the office – may take a toll, but there are plenty of rewards. One of his highlights is seeing the joy his work brings to clients.
When Jason took on his role of project managing the Noosa Heads house, he worked closely with the renowned Shaun Lockyer Architects and Conlon Group landscape architects. A restrained palette of concrete, stone and timber brought solidity and warmth to this five-bedroom home.
‘The main challenge was bringing the architect’s brief and design to life,’ says Jason, who started as an apprentice carpenter, then moved up the ranks, completing a construction management degree at the Queensland University of Technology in 1999. ‘Our challenge was not to find an easy way around any solution but to think it through and overcome any issues thrown at us to achieve the best possible outcome. Our goal is to deliver the best product we possibly can.
The first major challenge was the basement excavation which was a metre-and-a-half below the water table of the river. ‘You’re on a tight site for piling and de-watering, using commercial-style building techniques. This makes the build more interesting and challenging.
The process of waterproofing the basement took on extra consideration, particularly when building the swimming pool into the basement wall. ‘We had to cut out a glass window in the basement wall around the water table level and make sure this wouldn’t leak,’ says Jason.
‘Overall, the board-formed concrete was the major feature of the whole house. One wall had 18 different sides to it. Some ranged from 200 millimetres long, many on angles with openings cut into them. With that particular wall, two blokes worked for five weeks to form and steel it up.’
Taking on two or three houses at a time, JW Constructions has a close-knit team. This comprises three site forepersons plus a team of carpenters, labourers, subcontractors and suppliers.
After working in the industry for more than 30 years, Jason never gets tired of a client’s thrill when the build is completed. ‘You know this is their dream, their vision. We’re the fortunate ones who get to bring it to life for them. It’s so rewarding when they fulfil their dreams and move into their new home.’
Jason Warren, managing director of JW Constructions, gives some tips to HIA members who are keen to enter an upcoming HIA award.
‘If you think you’ve got a product that you’re proud of, have a go. You never know what you’ll achieve. Also, stick with it. We’ve been doing this for 18 years, so I keep persevering. We try to improve on what we’re doing day in, day out. It’s the little things that count. Everything you do, do it the best you can, and you’ll continue to learn and improve.’
A restrained palette of concrete, stone and timber brought solidity and warmth to the home
Builder: JW Constructions
Architect: Lockyer Architects
Landscape architect: Conlon Group
Location: Noosa Heads, Qld