Ahead of the game

Elite Roads’ flexibility and uptake of new concepts has seen the Melbourne-based road construction firm expand exponentially within a short space of time.Born from one man’s desire to branch out on his own and take up a new challenge, Elite Roads has gone from a simple idea to a multifaceted road construction firm that has experienced strong, rapid growth since its inception.

Deon Coote, Director of the Melbourne-based business, started the company in 2012, having worked for a number of firms in the asphalt sector over the past 20 years.

“I’ve always had the drive to work for myself, especially when it comes to owning the decisions I make. The last company I worked for certainly gave me those opportunities and was growing at a rapid rate, but I thought it was time to leave and work for myself,” Mr. Coote says.

“When I started the company it was just a paving crew and myself, and we’ve seen some rapid growth between then and now. We’ve gone from eight employees to 45, and from there we have moved from asphalt into profiling and civil works, and last year we added another paving crew to our fleet.”

Elite Roads now offers asphalt, civil contracting and profiling services Victoria-wide – a far cry from its early beginnings.

“Customer engagement is really important for us because we can offer a client more than they may have initially asked for – we can fulfil the full scope of projects, from excavation right through to asphalt paving,” Mr. Coote says. “There’s a lot of synergy between our different services, which works out well for Elite Roads and the client.”

Recently receiving ISO 9001, 4801 and 14001 accreditation, as well as holding VicRoads accreditation for asphalt and civil works, has helped facilitate the company’s continual expansion.

Late 2016, Elite Roads established its first purpose-built facility in Altona – a move that Mr. Coote says has helped the company build on its success even further.

“The idea around the new premises was obviously to establish a unique facility to cater for what we needed, but it also created a more enjoyable place to work from,” he says.

The 7000-square-metre site includes wash bays, diesel station and a storage and workshop area.

The new premises also reflects Elite Roads’ attitude towards the core environmental values prevalent in its road construction operations. The site is fitted with LED lighting, the company uses collected rainwater to wash down all of its equipment and its carpark was paved using 80 per cent recycled material.

In keeping with its eco-friendly, technologically minded ethos, the company has employed a paperless documentation system over the past 12 months.

“We’re always looking to new things – we’ve taken on a paperless job control system for all of our on site documentation, which is all completed with tablets on site,” Mr. Coote says.

“We’ve got a young and enthusiastic workforce that are all tech-savvy, which has sped up the documentation process. Everything is in real-time and GPS-stamped so we can see when and where they are and what’s been done. This adoption of paperless management system is the way the future is heading.”

Mr. Coote says there are myriad flow-on effects for both Elite Roads and its clients, particularly as the company no longer needs to wait for personnel to return to the office with the appropriate documentation. They can show the clients exactly what has been done on site and when.

“Our work crews having the right knowledge is essential and it means the customer is able to rely on us to give them the right consultation,” he says. “The ability to be flexible in this industry is important.”

Mr. Coote attributes the company’s systematic growth to the relationships it has fostered in the past five years, and its importance within the context of running a construction business.

“I believe our growth comes down to a lot of relationships we’ve built within industry and we’ve created a lot of friendships along the way too. Customer service is just as important, and being able to meet customer requirements and timeframes is especially key, because they can certainly be quite short,” he says.

“Knowing the industry and being reasonable and flexible has been an important part of our success.”

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