BEHIND THE BIZ // Award-Winning Rofebuild Custom Builders
We Chat To Billy Rofe About How Keeping It Local Is Key To Their Business Success.
Inspiring Stories, kindly brought to you by BDCU Alliance Bank. You Belong Here.
Rofebuild have been quite the Highlands business success story, thanks to some eye-catching and head-turning properties they’ve designed and constructed. A family run business with everyone involved, Rofebuild live and breathe local, working with local suppliers, tradies and the team at BDCU Alliance Bank in Bowral.
“For us, working with locals, is all about trust and building strong relationships,” Billy Rofe says.
“It’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to build so many amazing projects since we started the business seven years ago.”
We chatted to Billy about what it’s like running a construction company in the Highlands and what’s next on the horizon for this award-winning business (yep – they’ve got a swag of awards from the Master Builders Association. Very impressive!).
1 // How did Rofebuild start?
My brother, Shane and father, Toby started the company in 2013. Dad was a builder way back when but let his builder’s licence lapse when he was on the land out at Jugiong (which is where Shane and I were born) because he was farming and fencing.
When we moved to the Southern Highlands in the year 2000, Dad was the Farm Manager at Milton Park initially and then ran a steel and fencing business in Mittagong for about nine years. Shane and I grew up and went into building. Shane finished his apprenticeship first and asked Dad if he was keen to start a construction company. Dad was ready for a change by then so jumped on board. I joined Shane and Dad in the business in 2017 once I finished my apprenticeship and became fully qualified.
2 // What’s it like working with your Dad and brother?
It works out well. We usually work on two or three projects at a time. Shane will run one site and I’ll run another, and Dad will float between the worksites. When I’ve had enough of him, I send him over to Shane, and vice versa. Just kidding. Sort of.
Mum’s involved too. She runs the bookkeeping side of things, with Kylie at BDCU looking after our business finances. Kylie’s really engaged in the success of the business and it’s nice to work with a local we know and trust, a real person rather than a faceless voice on the end of a phone.
3 // You’ve gained an awesome reputation in a short space of time. Why do you think that is?
We can do lots of different things. Our skills are really diverse. Dad taught us from a young age how to do everything from welding to concreting to laying bricks and more. Having a diverse range of skills has allowed us to work on quality builds that require a lot of detail. Because we know how to do a lot of those things, it’s easier to run a project and co-ordinate specialist trades.
We also love being on the tools, working with the teams on site and getting the job done. Being on site a lot is essential to quality control. I’m working on a build in Sutton Forest at the moment and the client said one of the reasons they went with Rofebuild was because we are always on site – they saw that as a huge plus.
We have a team of eight of us now, all with the same focus on quality and attention to detail. That team will be split across two or three projects with local tradies coming in to help us when we need them.
4 // You and Shane have built your own houses too, recently. How did that go?
Really well. We both bought a block of land each a couple of years ago. I bought land in Bundanoon and Shane bought a block in the Retford Park Estate. We both worked with a draftsman – Stephen Giddings from Studio G in Bowral - to design our own homes and really enjoyed the process.
Shane’s house is traditional on the outside but has a strong industrial feel inside. My house was a modern take on the traditional farmhouse with a pavilion / barn style look, open plan living, high ceilings and modern décor. My partner, Jess has a great eye for colours and styling, so she helped turn that project into the success it was.
Jess and I have just bought some land at Exeter. We’ve built a barn to live in while we plan, design and build a new house there.
5 // Let’s talk about working with locals. Why is that so important to you guys?
It’s all about trust and building strong relationships. Every trade we use is local, unless a client wants to bring in an out of area tradie they’ve worked with before. We use the same subbies because they know how we work and how the next trade coming onto the job works, so they’re respectful about the way they leave their job. It just makes it smoother for everyone.
We enjoy working with Larry at Gubbins Pulbrook. He’s one of our main suppliers, gearing us up with everything from frames to cladding to different timbers – pretty much everything. They’re our main supplier because they’re local and reliable.
And the team at BDCU Alliance Bank in Bowral are part of our local team too. I mentioned Kylie earlier, but we moved across to BDCU a few years ago after dealing with another bank where we had three different Bank Managers in a short space of time and weren’t getting the customer service we needed to run our business and finances effectively. We made the change and couldn’t be happier with BDCU. I can ring Kylie or Erin at any time and ask them questions about figures, where the business is at and any factors we need to look at to expand the business, and know they’ll help us get to that point, or have the detail we need.
6 // So what’s next for you guys?
After being involved in the design side of building our own homes, Shane and I are keen to bring that offering into Rofebuild. After the hype and interest we got around my place in Bundanoon, we are now working with another client in Bundanoon we’ve done the design work for and will now build. We really want to get involved in more projects from the design phase and take it from there.
7 // What do you enjoy about running a business in the Highlands?
The fact the Highlands is a sought after area to live is working pretty well for us at the moment!
We’re definitely busy working on high quality projects for people moving into the area or locals who have decided it’s time to get around to that reno or make the move themselves and build their own dream home.
People in the Highlands put a lot of effort into creating a really nice place for themselves to call home. We like being a part of that.
Rofebuild is a family run business specialising in all forms of custom building, from small renovations to new homes, ranging from heritage restoration and traditional building styles to contemporary homes. Get in touch with the guys here!
This article was proudly brought to you by the team at BDCU Alliance Bank. For further info on what BDCU do and how they do it so well, get in touch with Kylie, BDCU's Local Business Manager on 0427 030 884 and if you're thinking of refinancing or getting a loan, call Erin - BDCU's Local Lending Specialist on 0447 112 437.
Together, BDCU Alliance Bank and The Fold Southern Highlands are working together to share the inspiring stories of locals doing amazing things. Keep an eye out for more wonderful stories in our Inspiring Stories series. We're excited to partner with our local BDCU Alliance Bank to continue to deliver useful and inspiring information on The Fold.
We strongly believe in the businesses and all the information we share with you on The Fold and we're so happy to be sharing the amazing stories and adventures of our local people and businesses. We want to say a BIG thank you to our sponsors and to you, for supporting our sponsors, who help make The Fold possible.