Toga’s Fabrizio Perilli on steering the residential market back into the future  

TOGA Development & Construction chief executive officer Fabrizio Perilli

Quality and supply are the biggest issues facing the residential market at the moment according to TOGA Development & Construction chief executive officer Fabrizio Perilli.

On the former, Perilli believes there’s merit in most of NSW Building Commissioner David Chandler’s plans to overhaul the building and construction industry.

“But the devil is in the detail.

“Hopefully we get an opportunity to sit down and engage with [David Chandler’s] ideas and provide our own thoughts, and bring some practicality to them as well.”

Chandler’s focus on a rating schedule or tool is a positive move. “It will reward the high quality players.

“In terms of consumer confidence, it will provide more transparency to the system.”

He’s also supportive of external specialists, such as engineers, coming on site to review the work – “provided it can be done in a timely fashion.”

It’s also a good idea, he told The Fifth Estate following the Property Council of Australia’s NSW Residential Outlook 2020 event last week, to look at how owners’ corporations and developers work together post completion, and the “role of responsibility.”

Action on quality control

Perilli says his company’s ability to provide an end-to-end building service sets it apart from others looking to prove their credentials on quality.

“Inadequate work becomes the operator’s problem down the line.”

Ten or 20 years ago it was more common to find businesses that did it all – design, development, construction, supply chain and procurement, and finance.

But now Toga’s comprehensive skillset “tends to be a point of difference”.

“Because we’re an owner, builder, a developer and an operator, we are able to bring that mindset all the way through.”

For example, there’s an awareness of how inadequate work becomes the operator’s problem down the line.

As a fully integrated company, it’s also able to bring its construction knowledge to the table early in the piece. This ensures the final signed off plans are not only well designed but “buildable as well”.

The company is also engaging its engineers and architects for peer reviews more often, keeping its customers informed all the way through and ensure there’s a proper handover.

“We also stay engaged with them well after the completion of the project, for many years to come.”

Sustainability is no longer optional

Perilli says developers can no longer ignore sustainability in their projects.

He says owner occupiers are the most interested in sustainable developments. “They will be living there from day one, so there’s definitely more interest from there.”

But he also expects investors to “get there eventually”.

“It makes their investments more rentable and attractive to potential tenants in the future.”

Thermal performance and upcycling the company’s specialities

The company has a holistic sustainability policy that’s in the process of being updated, but Perilli says a sustainable lens is cast over every project.

Although many of the company’s peers are focused on renewable energy, a priority for the business is thermal performance, especially through the design of the façade.

Thermal focus is on green roofs and (potentially) facades

The company wants to future proof its developments with infrastructure such as green roofs and (potentially) facades, solar and batteries, and recycled water.

Perilli also says that the company is well known for its heritage and adaptive reuse work, with many of its hotels retaining a heritage element.

Materials are another sustainability priority for the company. For example, the commercial building in its new mixed-use Surry Hills development will be cross laminated timber (CLT). The 12,000sq m Surry Hill Village will have retail, commercial and residential, with one, two and three-bedroom apartments on offer.

He says the size and central location of the site is “a great opportunity to make a difference to the area”.

The redevelopment will include a park and lanes that will attract visitors, and other public spaces to serve as a “true meeting place” for its primary catchment. The original heritage shopping centre façade will also be retained.

Another major mixed use project in the pipeline is in Penrith, where the company will build 800 apartments across four buildings close to the railway station.

It’s another decent sized site, according to Perilli, so there will be room for extensive public space to become “a quality development that’s a gateway into Penrith.”

Mixed use is the way of the future

Perilli says mixed use is the way most development should evolve.

By having multiple asset classes in one spot, that location can cater to people at different stages of their life.

He also says building flexibility into a development is important.

“You want it as flexible as possible as customer demands evolve.”

Most of the company’s business is in the greater Sydney area, with Melbourne a possibility down the track.

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