Summer 2022

Engaging interviews, behind-the-scenes insights, news, trends and topical features that celebrate places that evolve our landscape, and the people who bring them to life - welcome to Made by FDC.

02 Website Second Image3

In 1839, after a long voyage from Prussia, the Paech family arrived in South Australia and, together with 52 other families, helped to establish the village of Hahndorf. They settled a few minutes out of town and for five generations their property existed as a subsistence farm. Until Grant and Carol Paech inherited it.

They set off to diversify crops, planting their first batch of strawberries – produce that quickly became the talk of the town. Within two years, they were selling strawberry jam and the iconic Beerenberg brand was born.

Read On Here

Giving visitors a taste of the country 

The Beerenberg brand certainly lives up to its motto of ‘sharing a taste of country life with the world’. Today its products can be found in many Australian stores and homes, on commercial flights, in hotels and beyond.

But for the family, their brand is also about the experience – to pick your fill of strawberries in the sun and eat them knowing they were plucked fresh by you.

The farm has been open to visitors for years, but the innovative family felt they could provide an even better experience.

“You have to keep evolving and innovating to keep up with the times and food trends,” said Sally Paech, Beerenberg’s Marketing Director. “You need to keep moving and that’s why we decided to add this whole new element to our business, putting in a whole new visitor centre.”

And though the project was a new page in the Paech’s rich history, it had to respect the past. The current barn, with its iconic pitched roofs that housed the farm’s retail space was built by Grant Paech in the 1980’s. The family was determined to keep the structure, honouring its place in Beerenberg history and deep connection to the late Grant.

“It was built as a packaging centre and later we put a little shop in. It just wouldn’t have been right to knock it down and start over,” said Sally.

Preservation matters

The vision for the new visitor centre was ambitious. The Paechs wanted to retain the shed and construct a building within the building. The shell of the barn would remain, and inside would be a fresh new visitor centre kitted with a retail space, café, presentational commercial kitchen, corporate function space and an in-house ice creamery.

And as Beerenberg is open seven days a week with approximately 200,000 visitors a year, the farm gates had to stay open to these guests during construction. The project would span over the height of strawberry season, and the slower winter. So it was vital they remained operational to make the most of peak periods and still provide products in the low.

The project needed a team that could work in a live environment – and respect the brand’s vibrant history.

At FDC, we understand the impact construction can have on visitor experience. So our SA team coordinated with farm management to ensure Beerenberg Farm could stay operational during the build. And as a family business that sees the past as empowering, our SA team worked closely with the Paechs to create a design and solution that would celebrate the family’s heritage.

Giving a 1980’s barn a new life

Our SA team worked with JBG Architects, Moto Projects, BCA Engineers and CPR to create an enriched farm experience for Beerenberg’s visitors that paid homage to past generations of Paechs.

But updating a shed from the 1980’s comes with a few challenges. FDC SA and the Beerenberg team developed the project in two stages – first relocating the farm shop and building the new retail area, shop front and bathroom, then demolishing the old retail space and constructing the remaining areas.

Before any new construction could begin, our team had to address issues within the existing structure including rusted beams, old supports, leaks and safely removing lead paint and asbestos.

Once safe and stable, new structures could be erected within the barn. We retained warmth and homeliness by using raw materials, timber, stone and corian solid surfaces and a grand bluestone fireplace.

The team also dug up old materials embedded in the original concrete floors before they releveled and refinished it. The result is a unique concrete surface that wears its years like a badge of pride, stencilled with patterns that mimic farmhouse kitchen tiles.

“The integration between old farmhouse finishes compared to new just looks great,” said FDC project manager, Gene Zalunardo.

Grant’s dreams came true

At Beerenberg’s core is a family that cares about the land – and providing a memorable experience for visitors. Though Grant’s barn has a few new additions, it still houses his vision for Beerenberg.

“Dad would be blown away, he’d always wanted a café,” said Sally. “He used to write all these ideas in manilla folders. Mum recently found one about Beerenberg tea rooms. I know for a fact he’d love it.”

Today the barn offers coffee, lunch, homemade ice cream, cooking demonstrations and a slice of Beerenberg history to visitors after a day of berry picking. FDC’s SA team was proud to make this a reality and loved working closely alongside the family every step of the way.

“I really enjoyed working with the FDC team. Though there were all sorts of challenges, they made it happen,” said Sally. “They were amazing, I commend them for the job they did.”

Beerenberg’s new visitor experience is now open – sharing the Paech family story with new generations. With doors wide open and rolling fields of sweet strawberries, the Paechs welcome everyone to come and enjoy a taste of the country.

Photography by Trim Photography

Close Article
00 Contents Image

Looking out to the Brindabella Ranges sits a modern, supportive and sustainable home for senior Australians – setting in motion a new era in retirement living and aged care.

LDK Seniors’ Living stands for love, decency and kindness – three things everyone deserves. Its founder Paul Browne started his journey over 20 years ago, after witnessing the stark difference between retirement villages and the institutionalised environment of a nursing home.

He wanted to create meaningful change for the lives of senior Australians, by developing vibrant and warm retirement villages that provide the same level of care as a nursing home, and that are underpinned by LDK’s core values of love, decency and kindness. Homes with the right level of care, no matter what residents’ needs are.

Read On Here

“At the moment a lot of aged care homes are very cold and hospital like – they don’t feel like a home. It was really important to LDK to change this by creating vibrant retirement villages that provide care at all levels, something completely new to the industry,” explained FDC project manager Elise Klarenbeek.

Through Greenway Views LDK has created something unique, where residents are a part of a sustainable and caring community.


Transforming the retirement living and aged care sector

LDK‘s homes offer seniors privacy, a close-knit community and a sense of vibrancy. LDK’s One Move Promise® means residents will never have to move again once they call LDK home and couples stay together for life. At Greenway Views, LDK wanted to create a warm and cheerful home where seniors can access all the support they need, if or whenever they need, in the comfort of their very own home.

The former Department of Social Services building was going to be the home of LDK’s vision. In partnership with Cromwell Property Group (CPG), they wanted to create an engaged community with beautiful communal spaces for residents to enjoy including a theatre, restaurant, café and sports bar, with 210 private, spacious apartments across three fit-for-purpose buildings, offering all levels of care with 24-hour support.



Building a new standard for seniors

Originally constructed in the 1980’s as a government office complex, the site was to undergo rapid change – its orderly office cubicles were to be transformed into an inviting home for hundreds of senior Australians.

To fulfill its new role, compliance upgrades were required to be certified as aged care compliant ensuring all residents are able to move around the village easily and safely.

The multi-stage build had a tight delivery schedule, allowing residents and staff to occupy spaces as they were completed.

LDK and CPG needed an experienced team who understood its vision and could deliver quality within short timeframes.

FDC has worked closely with CPG on a number of projects, so the property group knew first-hand that our team would go above and beyond to stay true to LDK’s vision – and deliver quality work on time.



From government offices to contemporary, warm charm

When FDC project manager Elise Klarenbeek arrived at the site she was met with white-walled cubical offices and original office furniture. Alongside Gray Puksand Architects and Northrop Consulting Engineering, the FDC team were excited to breathe new life into the old building.

The team stripped the inside of the building to its barebones and fast-tracked the project with pre-fabricated components for bathrooms and balconies.

Greenway View’s warm and modern apartments boast classic wainscoting, timber floors and plush carpeted bedrooms. Each has its own balcony or courtyard facing one of the many lovely views the property has to offer, from its pristine gardens out to the local area including the beautiful Brindabellas.

The entire building marries luxe finishes with soft neutrals and pops of effervescing colour. The movie theatre is the picture of old Hollywood glam with lush red curtains and detailed wall panelling. Residents can visit and enjoy everyday, the stunning on-site bar housed with a piano and large billiard table, or they can enjoy a touch of pampering at the barber or salon, complete with marble benches and LED beauty mirrors.



An Australian first for sustainability

At FDC we’re committed to contributing to a more sustainable construction industry and planet. At Greenway Views, this meant retaining as much of the site’s structure as possible.

“People usually just knock a building down and start over again to achieve a Green Star building,” said Elise. “But they don’t think about all the damage and waste demolition produces.”

Elise and her team retained the structure and façade of the building, and recycled 97% of the waste the project produced. Plus, all existing furniture from the old building was donated to local charities and businesses. The team’s diligence resulted in 3,775 cubic metres of project waste diverted from landfill – that’s about ten Olympic sized swimming pools’ worth.

Throughout the building, LED lights reduce light energy consumption by 50%, while Casambi Bluetooth controls – used for the first time in an Australia retirement facility – cut this even further. These wireless solutions reduce electricity usage by adjusting intensity based on the time of day.

Greenway Views is one of the first aged care villages to utilise solar specifically to subside resident electrical costs. Boasting a 700kW solar array that offsets over 20% of the building’s power consumption saving money for residents and LDK.

Greenway Views certainly lives up to its namesake with a 4-star Green Star rating – making it the only retirement village in Australia to achieve such a rating.



An award-winning home for senior Australians

In 2021 the property was awarded Best Sustainable Development for an existing building at the Property Council of Australia’s Innovation and Excellence Awards and ACT Development of the Year at the Innovation and Excellence Awards. In 2020, it won the Development of the Year for Retirement, Aged Care and Senior Living at the Urban Developer Awards.

“I loved going back into the building once it was occupied and seeing the space used as intended. It was a really nice feeling,” said Elise.

Today, residents enjoy watching kangaroos on the hills of the Brindabellas, dinner with friends and more whilst having access to all the support they need. And they all agree, there really is no place like home, at Greenway Views.


Photography by Kasey Funnell Photography

Close Article
MIC Website

At FDC, our people are family. Their health and happiness always come first. That’s why we’re continuing to encourage important conversations about mental health and creating a network of support for everyone on-site, at the office and beyond.

Research has found that young workers in construction are twice as likely to take their own lives than the rest of the Australian community[1]. In 2008, MATES in Construction created a community-based solution to help tackle the issue. Through its programs, MATES educates, empowers, and connects the workforce by creating on-site networks of mates to support one another.

The good news is it’s working. In the first 5 years of its operation in Queensland, there was an 8% decrease in suicides in the construction industry. That’s countless families that still have their loved ones by their side.

Read On Here

Today we are proud tier one partners of MATES. As leaders in construction, we believe it’s our responsibility to contribute to a meaningful solution to an industry-wide issue. We want to make sure that our people have the skills, resources, and support to manage their mental health. So, we’ve partnered with MATES to help facilitate important conversations and maintain a supportive and open environment at FDC.


The root of the issue

Construction workers often lack mental health awareness – likely because they find it difficult to discuss their feelings at work.[2]

This combined with societal issues (like socioeconomic positioning) and personal problems can have profound effects on mental health.

“Sadly, it gets to a point where workers who have mental health problems are thinking about taking their lives because they can’t see another way out,” says Chris Lockwood from MATES.


The MATES network 

An industry problem needs an industry-led solution – that’s why MATES empowers the workforce to tackle this issue with their own hands. The organisation has created a network of mates on every site they’ve visited, educating, connecting, and supporting everyone along the way.

To Neal Smith (FDC HSEQ Manager, QLD) mental health training and awareness is even more important than the standard first aid courses.

“All the guys and girls on site and in the office are first aid trained, so they can put a band aid on someone, or they know what to do in the event of an emergency – this is still first aid, it’s just for emotions and the mind, which are often overlooked,” said Neal.

So in 2019 he organised a general awareness training session through MATES for our Queensland team. Another round of training is currently being organised to maintain these skills, and also offer those that weren’t able to participate and can see the benefits, a chance to get on board.

“It was emotional and confronting but the overarching feeling is just how rewarding it was – there were 22 people in the room and about 10 of them put their hand up for further training. And I think that speaks volumes,” said Neal.

And support doesn’t end there. MATES trained a number of FDC site workers to become Connectors – internal staff who can confidentially support anyone at any time on site and connect them to the experts.

Today, FDC has rolled out the MATES programs across New South Wales and Queensland, and commencing activities in South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT and has a total of 52 active and trained Connectors.

“We put scaffolding up so people can do their job safely. We run mental health programs for the same reason. You just can’t put a price on the positive knock-on effects,” said Neal.

“Thanks to the training, I have the confidence to ask someone who doesn’t seem well if they’re OK – or if they’re having suicidal thoughts.”

“Unlike standard first aid, its easy to see when someone has a physical injury and you can treat with the skills from your course, but when someone has something going on with their mental state the symptoms are not always visible. This training provides skills to assist in identifying when someone is NOT ok, which has happened numerous times since our team has undertaken this training.”

FDC’s network of mates is backed by a team of case managers and the 24/7 MATES helpline, supporting workers who need access to ongoing help. And MATES’ programs give our teams important mental health tools to use at work and in their personal lives.



Community made personal

And to us, the importance of health and safety goes beyond our offices and work sites.

“The MATES partnership is important because if we can extend a support branch to every single person in the FDC family, then we’re doing the right thing,” says Andrew Smith, FDC’s National HSEQ Manager.

We understand that mental health is an issue with many layers, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. That’s why we’re always extending our programs. Recently we began a monthly initiative to invite speakers such as Ben Higgs from The Rise Foundation and guests from RUOK to regularly bring awareness to mental health.

“It’s not just about a mental health awareness month, or day. We are making sure everyone is aware, educated and supported always. It’s an ongoing journey,” says Andrew.

With MATES by our side, we hope to continually raise awareness about mental health, connect our teams and give them the best available help and support.


If you are struggling with your mental health and in need of support, you can reach out to MIC on their 24/7 helpline by calling 1300 642 111.



[1] MATES in Construction, The Problem, 21/03/22

[2] MATES in Construction, The Problem, 21/03/22

Close Article