Smith Brothers Group and Specialised Solutions have each taken out leases with options to buy their portions of the 13,000 square metre Western Plant building within three years.
The firms exemplify the collaborative nature of Tonsley Innovation District, as they have already worked together on pre-fabricated modular bathrooms, pods and plant rooms for high rise apartment projects in Adelaide CBD.
Of the motivation to move to Tonsley, Smith Brothers Group Managing Director, Chris Smith, said: “We were really attracted to Tonsley by the quality of like-minded, innovative companies that are already here in the engineering, energy and technology sectors, including global engineering and technology firm Siemens Engineering, SAGE Automation, Flinders University and TAFE SA.”
Both firms have expanded their skilled workforces since moving to Tonsley on a temporary basis and have plans for further expansion now that they have committed to stay at the district.
Specialised Solutions Managing Director, Bronte Modra, is excited about the ability to partner with other businesses located at Tonsley.
“We have already seen a large number of commercial and collaborative opportunities for our business since relocating to Tonsley Innovation District and look forward to further collaboration opportunities with Smith Brothers Group and other like-minded companies in the future.”
Smith Brothers will have up to 80 full-time employees at its Tonsley site, including plumbers, electricians, IT specialists, design and building information management specialists, architects and technicians. It is one of the top four major plumbing and associated services companies in Australia and the largest employer of plumbing apprentices in SA with more than 250 employees, and over 60 apprentices and trainees.
Smith Brothers has diversified from its origins as a start-up plumbing firm and now offers a multitude of services modelling and design, electrical work, pipeline technology, facilities management, equipment hire and a Trades Express service for building and civil work.
Specialised Solutions is a manufacturing company specialising in steel-framed prefabricated modular structures. It has put on an extra 20 staff since it moved to Tonsley in late 2016, adding to the 20 staff who came with the firm when it moved from Netley, and the company anticipates further expansion in the future.
Specialised Solutions has the capacity to construct the framework of modular pods, then move them through the workshop to Smith Brothers for installation of all services including plumbing, electrical, sanitary ware and tiling.
Smith Brothers then manage and install the finished bathrooms in the building for connection. Smith Brothers recently fabricated, tested and craned a complete turnkey plant room to the twentieth floor of Urban Nest Apartments, North Terrace Adelaide and installed over 400 modular bathroom pods.
The pods that Smith Brothers will develop as prototypes include transportable service plant rooms, accommodation, bathrooms, toilet blocks, self-contained emergency triage plant, office spaces and wet laboratories.
Smith Brothers Group has developed the Modeltec Collaboration Hub at Tonsley, which fits with the district’s focus on innovation through cross industry collaboration.
Modeltec is a collaborative working space to be used by the full range of consultants required on a commercial build – architects, builders, electrical and plumbing services etc.
Specialised Solutions provides prefabricated constructions for transport, residential and commercial buildings, utilities and commercial services and project management.
Recent major projects for Specialised Solutions include a bridge for the Flinders Medical Centre car park, corporate boxes for the Adelaide 500, and the Squash SA office pod at Tonsley and the Tonsley Village Sales Centre. All were built on site at Tonsley.