Aaron & Ben Tass of Tass Construction Group

Getting to Know … Aaron & Ben Tass of Tass Construction Group

Builders with a difference, brothers Aaron and Ben Tass, specialise in custom new builds and high-end renovations. After years of studying and working independently, Aaron and Ben decided to combine their complementary skillsets and passion, to form their own business, Tass Construction Group. We talked with the brothers about how they work, their passion for building and got some great advice on how to manage one of the most expensive and important purchases of your life.

 

Tell us a little about yourselves

Aaron:  I am a Co-Director of Tass Construction Group, a residential construction company that keeps me busy during daylight hours, before heading home to do a night shift with my three beautiful daughters – who are all under three years old! I like to be efficient and productive in everything that I do and like most people, tackle the continual juggling act between work, family, friends and health to the best of my ability!

I am interested in health and business and try to invest as much spare time as possible into improving my knowledge. On weekends I like to head down the South Coast and unwind, relaxing with family and friends.

Ben: I am the other Co-Director of Tass Construction Group and Aaron’s younger brother. We work hard but I also do my best to keep a good balance and enjoy socialising and catching up with friends. I play soccer and I also try and squeeze in a surf whenever I can.

I am interested in design, innovation and all things building. I love putting the tool belt on whenever I get the opportunity and believe that the  ‘quality is in the detail’!

 

What did you do prior to starting your own business?

Aaron: I studied engineering at university and went on to complete my Masters in Engineering Management. I pursued a structural/civil engineer path for a couple of years before moving into development/project management and then business management. My experience during these years, was in both private and public sectors ranging from small residential works up to multi-storey, mixed-use developments and large industrial subdivisions.

My passion has always been in the construction space and I’ve wanted to run my own business for as long as I can remember. I decided to take the plunge with Ben and we started working together from our parent’s kitchen table!

Ben: I started a carpentry apprenticeship straight out of school and then gained my certificate IV in building and construction as soon as I was eligible. I really enjoyed carpentry and building and because of that did pretty well through TAFE. I was lucky to learn and be mentored by a highly experienced and quality builder and was given the opportunity to manage sites at an early age, which helped me to obtain my builder’s licence quite quickly.

I also had the desire to start my own business at the same time as Aaron. We had completely different skillsets that complimented each other, so it felt that forming Tass Construction Group was the next logical step.

 

What services do you offer at Tass Construction Group?

We are residential builders and our specialities are custom new builds and high-end renovations. We also offer turnkey packages, where we manage the entire construction process – from design inception, right through to the handing over of the keys at the completion of work. We offer a guaranteed build time, extended warranties and fixed price contracts.

 

What approach do you take at Tass Construction Group that makes building a new home or renovations go more smoothly?

A smooth building process is our bread and butter and is at the core of what we provide – effective planning, implementation and management is the key. Our slogan is ‘Experience The Journey’ with the customer experience at the forefront of our operation. Building shouldn’t be inconvenient or stressful – it should be fun, exciting and enjoyable! We are extremely organised and have invested heavily in implementing systems that are geared toward ensuring a seamless building process.

We spend a lot of time with our clients developing the scope and providing extremely detailed information prior to turning any soil on site, to ensure everything is 100% clear and that we are on the same page. Each site has a dedicated team including a full-time foreman, site supervisor & project manager that ensures nothing is missed. We follow the critical path daily, constantly monitoring and managing the process. We also utilise real-time, cloud-based, project management software that our clients have access to – ensuring a continuous open line of communication and absolute transparency. Our clients have the ability to view project schedules, budgets, daily foreman reports, pictures, selections etc. so can be across every single detail.

Unlike other builders, who sub-contract out important works, our own carpenters and employees undertake the majority of works, which allows us to control the project with less risk and keep the quality high. For specialist trades such as electricians and plumbers, we use the same people on all our projects as opposed to tendering out for the cheapest price, so they are essentially part of our team, know the quality we expect and are highly reliable.

 

What has been the most exciting construction project so far in your career?

Aaron:  I have worked on and been involved in a number of different projects over my career ranging from small renovation works , multi-storey mixed used high-rises, to large industrial subdivisions. However, working on your own projects are far more exciting! For me, the most exciting project was when we were asked to fix up and finish off a new home, that the previous builders had half-built over three years, going over budget and schedule by two years! We were engaged to essentially save the day and whilst there were a number of challenges to overcome both on and offsite, it was extremely gratifying to deliver the finished product to a deserving family who had been through hell and emotional turmoil – seeing the relief and happiness in their faces was a so rewarding for us.

Ben: There are two that stand out for me – the very first renovation we did as Tass Construction Group, for obvious reasons and also the first development we did for ourselves. We acquired the site, designed and built the homes and even styled them before selling. Being involved in all aspects was great, especially having the freedom to design what we wanted and to create a home with that ‘wow’ factor, was an incredible feeling. It was high risk, fast-paced and I loved it.

 

What three pieces of advice can you offer people before they embark on a home build or renovation?

  1. Do your research and ask around. Speak to family and friends who have built before because they will give you honest opinions and insights you won’t get anywhere else, which is invaluable. In this digital age, there is endless information (and inspiration) available at your fingertips so take advantage of it!
  2. Work out what you are willing and are able to invest, in order to determine what your budget is. From here you can account for holding costs on the property, rent during construction and contingencies. This should be your starting point to ensure it aligns with the scope and design as it progresses.
  3. Determine what you would value the most from a new home or renovation and literally write a priority list for your build. When you engage a builder they will be able to assist with cost allocation that you can then compare against your priorities in order to finalise and mould a scope that matches your budget and in accordance with your priorities.

 

What should people look for when approaching builders (good and bad)?

Good builders will:

  • Understand that the physical building of your home is only 50% of the service and who value the other 50% ‘behind the scenes’ aspect
  • Have QA both onsite and offsite and have systems in place, that include the home owner, to ensure they are provided with detail, transparency and contactability
  • Have online portals to view daily progress reports and the live schedule
  • Provide guarantees on construction timeframes

Be wary:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it will be. With such a large investment, cheap is not where you want to be focusing! Steer clear of any cheap quotes or under-quoted provisional allowances because it will only cause headaches down the track
  • If there are no reviews, testimonials or references to contact there is usually a reason
  • Lack of documentation – your tender proposal should be thick! At least 20 pages as a minimum and should clearly outline what is included and what isn’t
  • No prepared team of contractors – if the builder isn’t using the same preferred team of subcontractors this usually means they will tender out to the cheapest bidder which can result in schedule delays and poor workmanship

 

What do you look for in a client?

The builder/client (and architect if involved) relationship is best when approached as a team collaboration with trust and mutual respect. Building is a two-way street, especially with regards to communication so it is important that we believe we will work well and mesh with a prospective client and that our values and intended outcomes of the project are aligned. We are quality builders who offer an exceptional service and experience to our clients so we look to work with people who value that offering.

 

Favourite places in the inner west?

Aaron: I like Marrickville Pork Roll and Vic on the Park because the kids can run amuck in the play area.

Ben: That’s easy… the Grifter Brewery in Marrickville! Followed closely by watching the footy at Henson Park.

 

What has inspired you recently?

Aaron: During COVID we had a few speed humps to overcome and I was inspired by our team. They were incredibly positive, supportive and proactive – a reminder of how lucky we are to work with them on a day-to-day basis.

Ben: I’m always inspired by modern architecture and the designs and builds that I come across on Instagram.

 

For more information visit the Tass Construction Group website.

 

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