Cooke & Dowsett: The Future and Strength in Plumbing
Chadd Cooke and Scott Dowsett shared similar interests, similar upbringings, and up into their early business days, similar apprenticeships. Their fathers began a company named Cooke & Dowsett in 1970 Scott left the family business in 1992 to start his own business and Chadd stayed within the family business up until July 2007 when he left and went across to Scott to form again the name Cooke & Dowsett in 2008 of which was the company name their fathers started in the early 70s,” said Chadd Cooke, Director of Cooke & Dowsett. “I guess you could call this evolution.”
Evolution would be the ideal word to describe this transition because since the restructure Cooke & Dowsett has completed numerous prestigious and innovative projects both on the East and West Coast of Australia.
With works being completed on projects in every state, Cooke & Dowsett is the only recognized national plumbing organization currently in the marketplace. Most recently, the company was awarded the recognition of “Commercial Plumber of the Year 2013/2014” at the Association of Hydraulics Services Consultants.
“It’s recognition from our peers that we are doing something right out there amongst the industry,” commented Cooke.
When it comes to its workforce, Cooke & Dowsett takes a unique approach to ensuring its employees are well cared for.
“The company is built on trust,” said Cooke. “There are a lot of employees that started with us back in 1992 that are still with us today. Our first ever apprentice is now one of our Senior Estimators within the business. These are now the type of employees that we entrust to carry our culture into other states and help us manage our business nationally.”
Cooke & Dowsett is also partnered with NUDJ Plumbing – an Indigenous Apprentices Program where aboriginal youth learn and gain plumbing trade qualifications. Dedicated to enriching the lives of aboriginal people through plumbing apprenticeship programs, apprentices can expect to find employment with NUDJ and the provision of labor hire through Cooke & Dowsett.
“NUDJ plumbing is very close to both [Scott and Chadd] hearts and they are both very passionate about it. It’s about giving something back to indigenous Australia,” said Cooke. “NUDJ is a non-for-profit company that takes indigenous kids, both male and female, from the outback and brings them to Melbourne and trains them over a four year period and then after this four year period they have the opportunity if they wish to return home and continue their employment with NUDJ as a fully qualified plumber.”
“Cooke & Dowsett were recently award by BRW Momentum Best Mid Market Leader for training the first ever Indigenous Female Plumber in Australia who is still currently working for NUDJ,” added Cooke.
A Diverse Portfolio
Thinking laterally, Cooke & Dowsett aims to deliver cost effective plumbing solutions to meet clients’ needs. Currently, Cooke & Dowsett is working on three major projects: The Bendigo Hospital, New Monash Children’s Hospital, and the Post Entry Quarantine Facility.
Bendigo Hospital is the largest project Cooke & Dowsett has ever undertaken and will result in the state of Victoria’s largest regional hospital – a world class, state-of-the-art facility providing high quality health care for the greater Bendigo community.
“We would like to think after four years of hard work we delivered a successful project for not only our client but the community of Bendigo,” said Cooke.
The New Monash Children’s Hospital project is one of the biggest capital infrastructure projects underway to date for Monash Health. The hospital is one of only two tertiary pediatric facilities for Victorian children and their families as well as being the only location in Victoria which provides fetal surgery, thalassemia and pediatric care electro-physiology.
The completed hospital will include more beds and services including 96 in-patient acute beds, 10 pediatric intensive care beds, 3 operating theaters, outpatient consulting rooms and allied health therapy spaces.
“The New Monash Children’s Hospital is great to be involved in.” said Cooke. “It’s another high profile project for Cooke & Dowsett and great to give something to the kids when it’s completed.”
Cooke & Dowsett also additionally completed the New Box Hill Hospital Redevelopment project – a $447.5 million project – turning it into a contemporary and technologically advanced health care facility for those living in the eastern region of Melbourne.
“Not limited to the projects above but all our projects we undertake we would like to think give us some recognition within the industry of being a quality company with great service and one that can deliver on time and on budget,” summarized Cooke.
Cooke & Dowsett is always looking for opportunities that enable growth.
“If [opportunities] present themselves and we are at the forefront, then we will take them,” said Cooke.
Looking towards the new year, Cooke & Dowsett feels confident about their position in the industry.
“I think the company heading into 2015 is in a strong position considering the market is quiet and margins are at an all time low,” said Cooke. “We just need to stay focused on what we do best and push through the tough times and hopefully come out the other end unscathed.”