J&J Interiors offer quality cabinetry and beautiful custom joinery

Business World Australia - November 2012

J&J Interiors was founded by John, David and Jacqui McGilvray about 21 years ago.  The company started off small, doing just residential work before progressing into commercial projects and now multi-unit developments.  In 2009, they applied the experience they had garnered from working with other building companies to some building and development work themselves.

“ That’s where McGilvray Projects was born from,” David recalls. “We’ve been going strong ever since.”

J&J Interiors has been delivering high quality projects within the Canberra community for decades, and have become widely-recognised as the benchmark for internal fit outs within the area.  The vital experience the Directors earned within the building industry at J&J has allowed McGilvray Projects to produce developments built to exceptional standards right from the word go.

Efficiency and Quality

Today, the McGilvray’s do all of their work locally in Canberra, where they were born and bred.  McGilvray Projects has done some work for other developers, as well as themselves, and they have two developments currently underway.  The first is a unique industrial development in Hume, which includes the fit out of McGilvray Projects new display office.  The second is a 17-townhouse development in “picturesque” Warramanga.

With J&J Interiors, they also have some significant projects on the go.  Currently, they are working with a builder in Canberra to do the drywalls, ceilings, partitions, fire doors and carpentry on 340 apartments.

What sets both companies apart, David says, is their commitment to efficiency and quality. “We actively look at sorting out problems before they happen to keep jobs running smoothly, and to keep the quality of the work we’re doing high,” he says. “It’s a lot cheaper and easier to do it right the first time, rather than running around and fixing problems after the fact.”

“ We try to set up our systems properly right from the start,” he adds. “Right from the day we price it, right to the completion of the job.”

For McGilvray Projects specifically, David says they are able to achieve a higher quality due to the experience they have amassed over 21 years of working with other builders. They have observed what they have done right and wrong, and have applied those lessons to their own product.

“ I’m very focused in my building works to provide clients with a good product,” he says. “I think there are quite a few projects across Canberra, and probably Australia, where the quality has slipped a bit in favour of developers making money.” McGilvray Projects, on the other hand, is focused on the quality – not just the dollar. “ The philosophy of our business for the last 20odd years has been not to worry about the money too much; it’s been to worry about the quality. If you produce a quality product, your financial returns will come.”

“ If you’re a good builder and you produce quality, people are going to want your product, they’re going to pay for your product, and you’ll be successful.”

Over the years, the McGilvray philosophy has proven correct. J&J Interiors has been involved in a lot of tendering processes, David says, and when they win work it’s rarely because they are the cheapest company out there.

“ It’s about the service that we provide for the builders,” he explains. “We get involved with all the other trades to make sure the job runs smoothly, there are no hiccups, and the quality right through the whole project is what they require.”

Their high standard of service has earned J&J Interiors the loyalty of their customers. In a five-year period, for instance, they essentially only worked for one active builder.

Stability and Knowledge

With J&J Interiors, David, John and Jacqui put together a hard working team that are like-minded and focused on giving clients high quality service to ensure projects run on time and on budget. One of their managers has all been with the company for over 10 years, as have several of their foremen.

“ We’ve kept a solid crew of people for a long period of time, and they’re really good at what they do,” David says. “We don’t have to keep training new people every time we go to a job. By having that stability and knowledge across our management team, we’ve been able to produce good quality for builders.”

From a subcontracting and suppliers perspective, McGilvray Projects once again benefits from the work the Directors have already put in with J&J Interiors. They only work with contractors who are like-minded in their passion for excellence and quality. With their 20-plus years of building experience, they have been able to form many strong relationships with Canberra’s wellknown and respected builders and service providers.

“ Our philosophy with anyone that works with us is treat them right and pay them on time,” David says. “Having good relationships makes the job run smoother and better, and that’s our philosophy for both J&J Interiors and McGilvray Projects.”

That shared philosophy has resulted in projects being consistently delivered on time and on budget, with exceptional results and positive feedback – some of that feedback being in the form of award recognition. In 2012, J&J Interiors was recognised by the MBA Excellence in Building Awards as the Sub Contractor of the Year. Their ANU Biology project also won dual accolades for its best use of materials in a commercial project, and interior finish in a commercial project

Good Sites, Good Builds

Currently, J&J Interiors employs roughly 70 people, and David says he’s comfortable with that number. “It’s a good business, it’s an entrenched business in Canberra, and so it’s obviously going to keep on going,” he says. “But with the size of the projects that happen in Canberra, we feel that’s a good a size.”

Even if they’re not growing, however, they are still evolving. Only 12 months ago they opened a joinery shop, which operates independently but in conjunction with their core business. That shop allows them to better control the quality of their work, and cut the time they have to spend on site – which keeps the pricing down for clients.

ForMcGilvray Projects, the company’s full focus is on delivering products that are of really high quality. To do that, the Directors need to be in control of every project, which they could not do if they had too many. “Our goal is to target some really good sites, and do a really good build for the clients,” David says. “We’ll take it on a project by project basis, finding good sites and making happy clients.”