Expanding Horizons

CTFD Group has helped key transport businesses like Vawdrey Trailers and Palm Trans each set up facilities in the M7 Business Hub, an increasingly vital location for freight movements in Sydney.

It was around 2006, while completing due diligence on a Toll Holdings project that CTFD CEO David Cameron learned that leading trailer builders Mick and Paul Vawdrey were considering an expansion into Western Sydney.

They had secured a site, under option, off the plan targeting the Gateway to the expanding M7 Business Hub in Eastern Creek.

CTFD, a boutique development business that offers site development, construction and design solutions, was engaged to consult. At that point earthworks and roads had not commenced on the property.

For all intents and purposes, it remained an open space. This is important to remember as they would need it.

Initial discussions with Mick Vawdrey proved helpful in allowing David to better understand the ambitions for the site.

Part of CTFD’s role was to assist the executive team at Vawdrey Trailers roll out the right facility to meet the growing needs of the business long into the future.

Aerial view of the proposed Vawdrey site in Eastern Creek.

While assessing the options it became immediately evident that a draft workshop and service centre facility would fit perfectly on the site that had been secured in advance.

However, Mick Vawdrey, according to David, realised, upon the completion of the first design drafts that there was inadequate room for the required hardstand and swept paths for the manoeuvring and parking of large trailers.

Once it was determined that they would need more space and Mick agreed, David wasted no time in informing Mick and Paul that more land was going to be required.

David then set about trying to negotiate the vacant adjoining allotment, This would in theory, solve the dilemma of accommodating a hardstand for the trailer park-up area.

In David’s line of work early intervention is crucial to understanding the requirements of the client even during the embryonic stages when a brief is first being put together.

“In this case there wasn’t much time. We were all on the same page as to what needed to happen,” he says. “It all proceeded from there.”

At the time, CTFD was already involved in rolling out the Bridgestone Truck Centre at the M7 Business Hub. Having a clear understanding of what was taking place within the estate itself was a major advantage for David.

“Although it was early days it was clear that Vawdrey Trailers were going to need the extra 5,000sqm of space to increase their hardstand footprint,” he recalls.

“Following some negotiations and introductions of Mick and Paul to the adjoining optioned site’s proposed owner, Mick then went into direct negotiations to seal a deal which gained them the increase in land size Vawdrey Trailers required.”

An extension to the adjoining allotment now afforded the new workshop and service centre breathing room. Moreover, they could be sure that future growth of the business, moving forward, would not be impeded by any unforeseen space restrictions.

With the new allotment factored into the planning and draft layouts the team were then able to take into account the bigger picture requirements to meet their business model, which was to essentially replicate the Vawdrey home base in Dandenong, only on a smaller scale.

For this to happen David and his team made several trips to Melbourne to better understand what he calls the ‘Vawdrey way.’

“We like to get the brief right from day one,” he says. “This saves last minute changes and or costly mistakes that aren’t useful to either party. So we took the time to travel from Sydney to Dandenong to meet with the Vawdrey Team.”

Part of these visits involved inspecting the workshop, so that CTFD had a thorough understanding of how operations worked to ensure they got the concept right from day one. Key team members of the Vawdrey Group were soon engaged for input into the draft layouts and design.

Vawdrey Trailers assigned to the project some senior managers whose job it was, having been privy to the internal processes of the company, to help realise the logistics in accordance to the ideas outlined by Mick and Paul according to David.

“We quickly understood that this wasn’t Mick Vawdrey’s first rodeo and after a couple of visits to the Vawdrey Dandenong location and in depth meetings we finalised the brief and moved into full final design and specification mode,” he recalls.

“Together we built a Vawdrey wish list of what was expected of us and the customer expectations of the proposed location. It’s important to note the client requests must be understood as they know their business best. So you take on whatever it is they have to say and all of that positive energy becomes part of the building process.”

The new facility, as it came to materialise, would encompass a 2000sqm multi-door access workshop to cater for all the high volume of trailer repairs Vawdrey completes. Floor pits were carefully planned to meet client expectations.

A floor crush system, for the realignment of damaged trailers, was managed in-house by CTFD Group in conjunction with Vawdrey and the project engineers. It was designed along similar specifications to those used by global chassis alignment specialist Josam.

The facility also included a commercial sized washbay, large paint booth and first-rate amenities along with level one corporate office and board room and a reception and sales on ground floor.

“David and the Team at CTFD group were great to work with,” says Paul. “He assisted us in various areas both in the lead up to the project and through delivery.”

Located nearby in the M7 Business Hub, expert freight handler Palm Trans set up shop backing onto the Coles Supercentre, the biggest freight facility in the state for the national supermarket brand.

CTFD Group were engaged by Darren and Julie Palmer owners and directors of Palm Trans to find a new Sydney location for their business.
Darren and Julie Palmer had been introduced to David through a mutual acquaintance at a truck and trailer show.

“We took Dave out to our Melbourne facility to review our Melbourne operation,” recalls Darren.

“Dave then went to task to locate us the right site for our new Sydney facility. This was located next to the Coles Supercentre in Roberts Road at Eastern Creek with easy access to the M7 Hub and Motorway. The early intervention to get Palm Trans the right site in the M7 Hub was critical to us having a key freight facility for the future Sydney operations.”

Taking the reins on the design process of the new Palm Trans location following project meetings to better understand its operational requirements, CTFD compiled the planning and engineering details prior to construction including the Development Approval application process and subsequent statuary approvals to ensure it was a shovel ready project for delivery.

Aside from location, the other primary consideration pertinent to the build was B-double access.

The 6,500sqm site was conceived also as a storage site, with a purpose-built area for crossdocking, to accommodate growing truck movements between Melbourne, where Palm Trans maintains a 20,000sqm facility, Sydney and the 17,000 sqm location it has in Brisbane.

“CTFD handled all the planning and approval process along with the architectural and engineering for the base building prior to construction and delivery,” says Darren.

Street level view of the Palm Trans facility in Eastern Creek.