Master Builders Award- Subcontractor of the Year 2017

Small team gets big break, nails it- Regson takes out top award

EYE FOR DETAIL: Les McMillan of Regson Fabrication at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital with the 2017 Commercial Trade Contractor of the Year award from Master Builders Sunshine Coast.



What you cannot see that makes the difference. And that’s what made Sunshine Coast metal workers Regson Fabrication stand out from the crowd at Friday’s 2017 Master Builders Sunshine Coast awards.


What began in 1992 as a family business fixing rusty trailers, boats and motor cycle mufflers, has grown to become a shining example of collaboration and workmanship for their role in building the $1.8bn Sunshine Coast University Hospital.


As a result Regson has taken out the 2017 Master Builders Sunshine Coast Commercial Trade Contractor of the Year award.


The thought, planning and attention to detail on the massive project has been exceptional. It underlines the passion and enthusiasm of business owners Les and Nicky McMillan, together with family and staff in a team of seven.


By utilising local tradies and product where they can, the family has shown they can match it with big companies and imports from overseas suppliers.


“Winning the commercial sub-contractor of the year award is about 25 years of dedication and passion to an industry that we love,’’ Les said.
“From humble beginnings fixing rusty trailers and mufflers Regson has evolved over the years to establish itself as a quality manufacturer, capable of delivering large projects for multinational companies and local government departments.
“Our company is still considered small but bigger is not always better.
“At the heart of the operation we have a dedicated team of loyal, talented employees and specialist sub-contractors that ensure we can deliver on our promises.”


Overseeing the entire operation, Les is often referred to as Laser Eye Les.
A boilermaker by trade, he demands the attention to detail of a jeweller.

If the metalwork needs to be hand-filed then it will be.


Included in the tradework award has been the internal and external metal work on Car Park 2, plus the bollards and services protection.


They also did the internal metalwork on Car Park 1 and installed the link bridges to the main hospital.


The installation of public art displayed in the main hospital building garden was left to Regson. This involved using the latest scanning equipment and CAD programs to provide accurate shop drawings for manufacture and installation.


Specialist coating protection of the public art made the project unique and added another layer of complexity.


There was a variety of miscellaneous metalwork needed throughout the 19ha site.


The steel fabrication on the car park was done with seven people from the Kunda Park site.
Inside the main hospital there were 3700 posts and window heads that needed supports to hang the facades on. That required 15,000 brackets and 21,0000 handdrilled holes in the brackets.


The ingenuity and innovation not only keeps them in business but ended up with a better result and cost-effective outcome.


“Absolutely, where possible we use local or Australian product,’’ Les said. “In the end we want our work to be defect-free. That’s what we hang our hat on. There is so much to a job like this … the challenges, issues to resolve, the changes in design during the project.
“You can walk up to 18km in a day on the site.
“You need to be at the top of your game, constantly.
“In this industry, if you can put it on a ship and bring it in they generally do. The trouble is there can be defects and non-conforming product.
“The carpark facade is not square, the whole design is on an angle.
“We came up with a better outcome, one that was manufactured at Kunda Park and galvanised at Narangba.
“It’s about the co-ordination. By using a local group, if there is an issue they are right there.
“Every panel has been hand-filed to smooth out any imperfections
“It’s the same with the bollards. We could have imported them but we could only get it single powdercoated. Instead, we went with our own design of black steel, hot metal spray, powder prime and powder coated.
“Subject to maintenance, they will be here as long as the concrete.’’


To ensure proper installation of the metalIT’S work, Regson developed their own grout pumping machine – something that proved a safety initiative as well as time saving.


SCUH is a green-rated building and Regson’s commitment to the environment, quality and safety helped Lendlease achieve their goals.


All steel manufactured at the Kunda Park factory has been provided by solar energy.


On any 38-hour working week they do not draw energy from the grid and are continually evolving in all areas of business, which has needed a big cultural change in recent years.


“Car parks can be easy,’’ Les said, “It’s a matter of taking the time to set it out.
“It depends on other trades that are presenting the work to you.
“You need to take the time to teach the tradespeople properly, maintain workplace integrity as well as health and safety.
“The corrections … some of it down to a millimetre on an $1.8 billion project.’’


The passion and pride in what you do can be reflected in your life. And Les McMillan is a living example of that.
As he said: “There’s only so much I can do: I’m not a jeweller, I’m a boilermaker.’’



Photos & Article by Erle Levey (Sunshine Coast Daily)