Bowens - The Builders Choice


As with each bulletin article I prepare for, the initial problem is to find a subject that is relevant and can tie-in with our business, our industry. This month Jeff Harvey has stolen my thunder with an excellent article around the use of timber. Choosing the right materials for the job, while also considering the impact on the environment, brings timber right to the forefront in our current and future built environment. Please read what Jeff has to say!

In refocusing to a different ‘theme’, I decided to pick-up on the concept of ‘reliability’ – of products generally, and people in particular. Bowens’ ability to source products the builder needs, and then deliver ‘on time and in full’, has been our message, our actions, for many years.

Our reliability in performing each level of this ‘chain’ of supply has been tested with the unprecedented lift in construction that ensued following the start of the Covid pandemic.

John Bowen wrote recently about this admitting his frustration that:

“We are not fulfilling our responsibilities … as we are unable to consistently deliver (what is needed) on the day it is required.”

This admission centres around a difficult situation right throughout the building industry – bringing much frustration to producers, merchants, builders and the final customer/homeowner.

Great, and long-term relationships, depend in the end though on being reliable over the whole journey – through thick and thin (as they say). Reliability is very much about trust and the ability to communicate with the customer (with each other) whether the news is good or bad. I know our Bowens people feel it personally when any of our customers are let down, as they also feel so good when all expectations are met.

When I think of the sort of person we want at Bowens I always come back to ‘character’, which I’ve referred to many times. Having employees with sound character, and management providing the guidelines for ethical behaviour, will provide reliability and consistency of purpose.

Bowens, Croydon 2020

I believe with all our ‘dealings’ involving business, community (and friends), there is a common search for relationships that are reliable and trustworthy. Relationships are built on trust which leads to reliability.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve spoken to each of our branch managers and my conversations confirm to me the quality of character and reliability that our company is blessed with. Our branch managers also have a great person as their leader in Ron Peet, who epitomises all the values this company stands for. So I am very happy that we have reliable people who will always be customer driven.

I do want to concentrate now on the reliability of the product that Bowens has grown up with – ‘timber’. Jeff’s article covers much on the facts about timber being environmentally the best building product. (Well done Jeff!)

From the day Bowen & Pomeroy Pty Ltd started in 1894, timber has been the building product the company has been known for. Today we cover a huge variety of other products with the intention of being a ‘one-stop shop’ for builders – helping Victorians/Australians build successfully is our end game – yet timber is still our most desired product.

The construction industry has always relied on timber for a vast array of uses – particularly in housing with so many unique designs builders and renovators have on offer.

“One of the main reasons builders and craftsmen have always used timber is its reliability, proven performance, and as the world now focuses more and more on today, its positive environmental performance and benefits.”

With our structural timbers that frame Australia’s houses, there have been constant advances in improving reliability and performance benefits. Today all structural timber is effectively engineered. The MGP scantling used throughout Australia to frame floors, walls and roofs is all individually tested in the mill for specific strength and stiffness characteristics.  The wood products industry is also currently undertaking a major R&D program to review the current softwood plantation wood properties to confirm their performance.

Today we also have a vast array of new engineered wood products (EWP’s) specifically manufactured to provide enhanced performance and reliability. EWP’s such as particleboard, plywood, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), glued laminated timber (GLT), or cross laminated timber (CLT), are all common structural materials, locally manufactured or imported and used by builders throughout Australia with knowledge and confidence.

LVL provides a great example of the improved performance and reliability of EWP’s, in that the strength and stiffness of the product pretty much increases threefold, due to the veneering/manufacturing process, compared to the parent wood it is produced from. Also beneficially, a much-improved recovery is achieved in milling from the parent log, meaning more structural product from the one tree.

The beauty of timber products also is that we can continue to rely on them, as wood from sustainably managed sources is The Ultimate Renewable.  The timber we use, we can grow back in our own forests and plantations – as Jeff’s later article explains the timber frame for an averaged size house grows back in less than a minute in Australia’s softwood plantations – amazing and reliable!

So, whether the focus is Bowens tremendous staff, or the products we sell, reliability will always be one of our key values. Whilst we are all being tested at present in this Covid madness, everyone at Bowens will continue to enthusiastically and professionally service your needs and Covid or no Covid, Bowens will always be ‘Helping Australians Build’.

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