Sam El Rihani, Managing Director of Decode Group, shares insights into design, construction, and development with a difference.
“What can we do to assist you in achieving your dream?” If you’re applying for a job with Decode Group, it’s a question you’ll hear when you sit down with management for an interview. It’s also indicative of the attitude the Sydney-based construction company takes into all of its projects. That philosophy, combined with expertise in all aspects of the construction business, is why clients return to Decode time and again, Managing Director Sam El Rihani told VENTURE.
“We deliver as promised because our teams are led by experienced management who live and breathe construction,” he said. “Most of our project managers are structural and civil engineers who focus on every detail on-site to create a high-quality end product. Our teams work collaboratively, taking time to celebrate each other’s achievements, using every opportunity to better our process. The Decode advantage lies in the flexibility and synergy that the integration of design, construct, and development all under one roof achieves. When each area of the property lifecycle is integrated, communication happens organically.”
The fruits of that total team effort can be seen in developments such as Burwood Grand in Sydney’s inner-west. It’s a masterpiece of modern design in three multi-level residential buildings. The 11-, 24-, and 19-storey towers contain 500 apartments, 16 retail spaces, four levels of basement parking, and the 4,000-square-metre home of the Burwood Council. What El Rihani describes as Decode’s flagship project is conveniently located near Burwood station, Westfield, the library, local park, gyms, and a multitude of restaurants.
A smaller scale but no less exemplary project is the ongoing NewLife Pyrmont, soon to be a collection of 11 unique and luxurious high-end terrace houses. Located behind the heritage-listed Terminus Hotel on Harris Street, the result of a partnership between Decode and TWT Property Group will reflect “the magical merging of art, inspiration, and architecture to create luxury living amongst some of Sydney’s oldest heritage buildings,” El Rihani said. The terraces will feature a series of sculptures by international contemporary artist Maria Fernanda Cardoso made from a rare yellow gold sandstone harvested from the site.
Decode is both the builder and developer of Pinnacle Miranda, slated to be 128 contemporary apartments with a multi-level basement car park located in the Sutherland Shire. “Pinnacle’s architectural design is inspired by the community, with every detail carefully crafted with the aim of bringing communities and families together,” El Rihani said. “From rooftop entertainment areas and carefully landscaped gardens to children’s playgrounds and green parklands, Pinnacle is all about connection. Featuring a unique, central public walkway between Pinnacle Street and University Lane, which will ultimately connect with a cycleway adjacent to the rail-line, this development offers residents and the local community of Miranda facilitated access to public transport and infrastructure.”
Pinnacle is a finalist in the 2019 Urban Taskforce Development Awards, which will be held July 24. Decode also ranked first in construction on the 2018 AFR Fast 100 list and fourth overall across all sectors with a three-year average year-on-year growth rate of 146.7 per cent and a total revenue of $139.85 million for the 2018 financial year. What’s the secret formula behind that success?
“Our capability is driven by integrity, reliability, teamwork, and uncompromised quality, in every step of the process, which is why we are able to deliver consistently for our partners and clients,” El Rihani said. “Construction was the founding division of Decode, and while our company has expanded into engineering, development, excellence in construction lies at the very heart of what we do. A passion for construction alongside our mission to be a team of passionate, highly-driven, empathetic, and innovative leaders differentiates our product and service delivery to the end user in this rapidly developing marketplace.
“Our work spans the whole property sector, both residential and commercial, covering the full spectrum of the property lifecycle from engineering consulting to construction and development. Our difference is that we provide our clients with service and expertise for all of their property requirements. Our capability for delivering projects within budget and on time establishes repeat partnerships with our clients.
“Our in-house ‘small businesses’ in stable formwork, Codex quality and structural and civil engineering and our established relationships with subcontractors ensure a ‘de-risked’ delivery process. This makes us one of the few construction companies with this capability and sets us apart in terms of the benefits we offer the client and end user.”
With rapid population growth, Australia and Sydney in particular pose a challenge for developers. Sydney will soon hit 6 million residents from all walks of life, and they all need somewhere to live and work. Decode is more than happy to take up the mantle. Its team of 109 employees have constructed over 2,100 units, with a further 1,200 under construction.
“We view challenges as a positive opportunity for our growth. NSW is particularly characterised by strong infrastructure and a commercial construction pipeline as well as an underlying demand for housing,” El Rihani said. “Decode’s strategy is to diversify our offerings in the commercial and industrial sectors, including aged-care, retail, health, and government infrastructure given the expertise and knowledge of our people.
“Australia’s positive economic outlook and low interest and unemployment rates are likely to encourage the residential housing market. APRA have also removed previous restrictions on investor and interest-only loans. Australia’s long-term population growth, in Sydney particularly, means that it is regarded as an extremely attractive place in which to live. This, combined with government investment in infrastructure means that this prime residential market will remain sound. Our focus is to continue to expand our residential property market share and broadening our commercial scope and capabilities.”
Much like the city it calls home, Decode has risen from humble beginnings to grow at a blistering pace and step confidently into the future. It is a testament to the value of building a team of exceptional individuals, each of whom is committed to creating an exceptional company with uncompromised delivery.