In business there are instances which, when considered in hindsight, you realise are defining moments.
Such instances forever impact a company for the better, or for worse. The decision Hanham & Philp Contractors made after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes is one such moment.
Keith Hanham and Basil Philp had formed the company in 1979 with a crystal clear vision: to set a new industry standard for professionalism, value, and performance. They weren’t in the commercial construction game to simply earn a quick buck – they were determined to focus on client relationships, build structures they were proud of, and look after their growing family of employees.
This emphasis on company permanence prompted Keith and Basil to implement a deliberate succession plan. They wanted to assure clients – past and present – that Hanham & Philp Contractors would always be there. So, in 2002, Jason Young and John Parish were passed the reins of the organisation.
“It didn’t feel like a transfer of ownership,” explains John. “It seemed we were stepping into a caretaker role, safeguarding the reputation of the business and making sure our dedicated colleagues could still put food on their tables.”
The earthquakes which shook Christchurch during 2010-11 presented Hanham & Philp Contractors with an unforeseen opportunity: the chance for the company to grow rapidly. They were even approached by overseas contractors, keen to joint-venture for a share of the demolish-and-rebuild programme.
“There was so much work to do, yet we could see that the rebuild flurry would only be short-term,” says Jason. “No doubt we would have grown, but at what cost? Risk working with an unknown from Texas or Timbuktu? Take on more staff, only to let them go when things went quiet?”
The ultimate decision became a defining moment for the company: John and Jason chose not to chase the short-term gains.
Instead, Hanham & Philp Contractors followed the example of the company’s founders, and looked after their existing clients.
“It was important to our whole team that we helped the people who had trusted us earlier,” John says. “We were determined to make sure any earthquake-related repairs and rebuilds were our very best work.”
It was a wise move. The company retained its top talent, stayed busy, and grew gradually.
Today, with a full-time team of 70 people, Hanham & Philp is, according to the two directors, the right size. “Small enough to be responsive, big enough to get the job done,” laughs Jason. John agrees. “We know the work we’re best suited for,” he says, “and we’re proud to showcase all our client’s projects. Simple, really.”
Simple? One defining moment. Only one Hanham & Philp Contractors.
Meet our founders, Keith Hanham & Basil Philp who started Hanham & Philp in 1979.
Our early vehicle fleet!
Jason completed his trade apprenticeship under the expert eye of Basil Philp. He honed his building expertise as Site Manager on a diverse range of subsequent projects.
In his role as co-Company Director/Owner and Construction Manager, Jason is now responsible for monitoring all the concurrent active projects and scheduling the pending jobs. His intent focus on critical delivery milestones has permeated the company’s entire site management team.
Often requested to assess preliminary designs, Jason identifies buildability issues and can offer clients practical solutions, always with a mind to reducing construction costs or providing swifter project completion.
“Commercial construction is a speciality. I’m very proud to offer our skilled team for your next project.”
When John joined Hanham & Philp Contractors as Financial Controller in 1999, he already had an abundance of industry experience. Trained in a Chartered Accounting firm, he had twelve years with Carter Holt Harvey which gave him insight into responsibility for management and production systems, health and safety procedures (influenced by the American owners in the later stages), quality assurance (including Telarc accreditation) and, of course, business finance. This was followed by a period with Holcim Cement in the finance area prior to the role at Hanham & Philp.
Now, as co-Company Director/Owner and Finance Manager, John oversees the finance and admin teams, plus the quantity surveying and estimation specialists. He particularly enjoys helping clients in the early stages of new projects, where his skill in determining the financial viability of a project is highly sought-after.
“Our team helps your team – Jason confirms how best to build your idea and I make sure the plan fits your budget.”
Interior Fitout Specialist
Health & Safety Manager
Quality Assurance Manager
How do we know we’re doing well as a company, as a family of co-workers? Because we have many employees who have been with us for 15-20 years. Take Len, for example: he’s been with Hanham & Philp Contractors since 1979! (These days, his wife asks him to not work in the rain. But that’s okay, right?).
This kind of experience and loyalty is inspiring to the younger crew joining our company. It’s important to us that they see a career with us: tradespeople, apprentices, labourers, site managers, construction managers, quantity surveyors, office administrators. Without their enthusiasm, pride, and commitment to you, our client, we would not be the company we are.
You’ll like working with them.
When we don’t have the expertise in-house we engage subcontractors, many of whom have been part of the Hanham & Philp Contractors team for many years. All are leaders in their respective specialities but we do still actively assess their quality and performance to make sure they meet our exacting standards.
One misconception at project tender time is that the lowest bid always wins. Whilst price is an important factor for negotiated contracts, we only request quotes for you from the most capable subcontractors. Part of our stringent selection process is to evaluate each subcontractor with you, to make sure engagement is based on all merits, including price.
To build a quality building, you need quality supplies, so we deliberately only purchase from reputable suppliers who have proven their product quality and reliability. You benefit from our long-term, established relationships with these organisations in the way of cost efficiencies and purchasing power.