Grocon

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Grocon Pty Limited
Trading name Grocon
Type Private
Industry Construction
Founded Melbourne, Australia (1948)
Founders Luigi Grollo
Headquarters Melbourne, Australia
Area served Australia, New York, United Arab Emirates
Key people

Daniel Grollo (Executive Chairman)

Carolyn Viney (Chief Executive Officer)
Services Property development, construction and funds management
Revenue A$486 million (FY2012)[1]
Owners Daniel and Bruno Grollo and family
Website www.grocon.com

Grocon Pty Ltd, or more commonly Grocon, is Australia's largest privately owned development, construction and funds management company.[2] With its head office located in Melbourne, Victoria, the company also has offices in Sydney, Brisbane, New York City, and Dubai. Over the past twenty years, Grocon has delivered four of Australia's five tallest buildings.[3] Three generations of the Grollo family have been involved in managing the company. Grocon has an extensive history of industrial disputes in Australia, particularly with the CFMEU including on-going litigation.

History[edit]

Grocon grew from a small family concreting business established in Victoria, by Luigi Grollo after he emigrated from Treviso in Italy in 1938. A one-man operation, Luigi Grollo set up his own business in 1948 and completed small concreting projects, such as paving, shopping centre car parks, sewerage infrastructure and swimming pools.[4] His sons Rino and Bruno Grollo joined the business at the age of 15. The business expanded rapidly in the 1950s by continuing with concreting of municipal swimming pools and petrol stations in Melbourne. In the years following, the Grollo Group would transition from the building of local community assets throughout the 1960s to constructing landmark developments.[5]

In the 1970s, Grocon moved into concrete construction, such as shopping centres and high-rise buildings and started developing the projects themselves. It was also during the 1970s that Luigi Grollo handed the company over to his two sons and the business continued to rapidly expand.[4] In 1975, Grocon moved to Darwin for 18 months after winning a large contract for rebuilding after Cyclone Tracy. This contract involved the construction of 400 houses for the government.[6] Following this, the Grollo Group went on to develop buildings and operate businesses in a wide cross-section of industries, including commercial, residential, industrial, education, retail, sporting and tourism.[7]

In the 1980s, many developments owned by the Grollo family were sold.[8] This included the selling of such assets as The Hyatt, Shell Corner, 200 Queen Street and a suite of shopping centres. At this stage, the Grollo family only retained one major development – the Rialto Towers.[9]

In 2000, the construction business was split between a construction-centric business owned by Bruno and Daniel Grollo and a property development operation owned by Rino Grollo. As part of this shift, Rino Grollo secured Equiset and the Grollo Group (including its family properties). [10] In 1999, Bruno’s oldest son, Daniel, assumed control of Grocon as chief executive officer.[11] Daniel Grollo has since been appointed chairman of the Green Building Council of Australia.[12] and the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Council.[13]

In March 2012 the construction business was split again into a construction business, owned by Daniel Grollo, which is the current Grocon, and a property development business owned by his older siblings Adam and Leeanna.[14] Grocon now has operations in Australia, Asia, the Middle East and North America.[15] In 2014, Grocon achieved another milestone, being named as the “preferred developer” for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Village on the Gold Coast, Queensland.[16]

On 24 February 2014, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Viney succeeded Daniel Grollo as Chief Executive Officer of Grocon. Daniel assumed the role of Executive Chairman whilst retaining full oversight and ownership of the business.[17]

UBS Grocon Real Estate[edit]

In December 2013, Grocon launched a five-year, $10 billion joint venture with Swiss investment bank UBS.[18] The joint venture has created UBS Grocon Real Estate, a full-service real estate and asset management platform which has first right of refusal for Grocon's A$2 billion development pipeline. [19] The venture is chaired by John A. Fraser, Chairman and CEO Global Asset Management at UBS AG[20] and Daniel Grollo will act as a Non-Executive Director.

Awards and accolades[edit]

As a company, Grocon has been the recipient of numerous awards. In 2010, Grocon was named the Forest Stewardship Council Developer of the Year.[21] and Grocon was also the National Master Builders Association Builder of the Year in 2011.[22] Grocon received two The National Association of Women in Construction awards in 2013 for both outstanding and young achievement.[23] In 2011, Grocon was the recipient of the ANZBRW Excellence in Community Practices prize.[24] In the realm of safety, Grocon won the 2008 Safe Work Australia Best workplace health and safety management system award[25] and received the WorkSafe Victoria OHS Management System of the Year prize.

Community initiatives[edit]

Grocon is involved in a number of community initiatives. In the aftermath of the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, Grocon was involved in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts in affected areas including Kinglake.[26] Moreover, Grocon has a community employment programme run in conjunction with the Brotherhood of St Laurence.[27] Grocon is also involved with The Salvation Army,[28] supports Kids Under Cover[29] and collaborated with Mission Australia on the Camperdown Common Ground Project in Sydney.[30] Grocon also funded ten annual scholarships at Thornbury High School.[31] Grocon's Executive Chairman, Daniel Grollo is Chair of the Green Building Council of Australia, a peak industry association in the sustainability field.

Industrial disputes[edit]

Since 2002, Grocon has been involved in conflict the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU)[32] over the CFMEU's rights at Grocon developments including occupational health and safety management, union access and the wearing of union badges.[citation needed] This culminated in the CFMEU's picketing of at least one entrance to the Emporium development which resulted in an impassable physical barrier, preventing access to the site through that entrance for Grocon workers.[33][34] Grocon subsequently launched a A$10.5 million compensation claim in the Supreme Court of Victoria for the blockade. It is also seeking contempt orders against the union for allegedly breaching two Supreme Court injunctions that ordered an end to the blockade. Justice Cavanough held that free access to the site for Grocon workers was prevented by the CFMEU as access could only be obtained through 'elaborate' police assistance.[33] The Fair Work Building and Construction (the relevant regulatory body) has subsequently also launched legal proceedings against the CFMEU.[35]

Swanston Street wall incident[edit]

On 28 March 2013, during 'freak' wind gusts of up to 102 kilometres per hour (63 mph),[36] a brick wall on the boundary of a Grocon development collapsed killing three people. The wall's safety, the role of the billboards Grocon had attached to the structure[37][38][39] and the self-supporting nature of the structure designed by the previous owner were initially questioned as possible causes. The billboard extended one metre above the wall and was suggested to have acted as a sail.[40][41] There was early speculation as to the role of the advertising hoarding and whether a permit had been granted[37] or whether a permit was needed.[41] There were also questions surrounding the role of tree roots in destabilising the wall.[41] An unidentified spokesperson for the Victorian Government asked unions not to block productivity over the case.[42] WorkSafe Victoria filed criminal charges against Grocon and Aussie Signs who were employed by Grocon to construct the billboard. Police acting in the case have stated that Grocon representatives have refused to give evidence, and the company has yet to release an engineering report the court has asked for access to, saying it "was not relevant".[43]

In November 2014 Grocon was fined $250,000 in the Magistrates Court by Magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg after it pled guilty to a "single workplace safety charge"[44] "... relating to the risk posed by the wall, rather than causing it to fall down.".[45]

Sabotage[edit]

Grocon experienced two fires[46] on separate Victorian construction sites, and various other acts of suspected sabotage[47] in June 2014.

Completed projects[edit]

Eureka Tower, Southbank, Melbourne.

Grocon has built four of Australia's five tallest buildings in Melbourne, Sydney and South-east Queensland.[48] Since, Grocon has increased operations broad in India and the United Arab Emirates.

Melbourne[edit]

In Melbourne, Grocon's completed developments include:

New South Wales[edit]

In New South Wales, Grocon has developed:

Queensland[edit]

Grocon has been involved in three Queensland building projects:

Northern Territory[edit]

In Darwin, Grocon is best known for what are locally known as 'Grollo houses'; ground level and split level homes recognisable by the small protrusion on the roof which held the water heater.[69] These houses were built in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy as an effective means of providing housing for Darwin's population.[citation needed] Leo Hammond architect of Melbourne designed them.

International[edit]

Internationally, Grocon's developments include:

Ongoing projects[edit]

Etihad Towers development in Abu Dhabi.

Grocon has a A$2 billion development pipeline in Australia and abroad.

Australia[edit]

Grocon's current projects in Australia include:

International[edit]

Internationally, Grocon is currently involved in developing:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]