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Maree & Luke’s story

Maree May, Treasury Accountant, 22 years of service
Luke May (son), Quality Administrator, 5 years of service


Roles & purpose

MM: My role has changed a lot over 22 years. I look at our accounts department now and I’ve pretty much done all of these roles at some stage. Now I’m like a ‘go to person’; my role supports our project teams with the Jobpac system, covering Accounts Receivable, and end of month processes.

I also inherited the job of looking after our fleet of utes years ago and this connects me to my country upbringing when my father owned utes all his life! I get a lot of respect and autonomy and I like the predictability of the finance calendar and cycles.

LM: I’m a Quality Administrator. We run the quality on a project, try to get a defect-free handover and hold meetings with subbies to get them on the right track. I was originally going to be a physio but I took a part time role with our Safety team while I was in uni and a few years later I was offered a full time role in the Quality team. I like dealing with all the different people on sites and the variety of projects.

When I took the quality role, I already understood our systems but had to learn more about how a building works. I manage Onsite our Quality Management App and the inputs of this have helped me understand all the checks and the sequences of building.

Luke (left) with teammate Andrew Swan managing quality through Buildcorp’s Onsite app


LM: I work alongside Mark Brown – he has been in the industry for 33 years and has taught me a lot. He taught me the ropes and how to be yourself at work. When an issue comes up, I know to ask “how could you have foreseen that?” and “what could we have predicted?”. We look at drawings to understand what will and won’t work. Mark notices a lot and I get to pick his brain to understand more complex trades like structure and services.

MM: I’m really glad he has the support of Browny – we can always tell when he’s been spending a lot of time with him!

MM: Merilyn Thurtell (Buildcorp, 1990-2018) who has now passed away was a constant for me and my mentor. Everything she knew she taught me. Things that she did as part of her role she gradually passed on to me as my responsibility, and now I’m passing some of those things on to others. We were all just talking about Merilyn today, debating the payment calendar. We could hear her saying “get on with it”. She was very black and white.

Through the years I also work closely with friends Mark (Tonkin) and Paula (Freese). Mark was the person who suggested Luke might want a part time job at Buildcorp.

Family connection

MM: Buildcorp is a wonderful family environment, I’m a great advert for that. My brother in law and niece and daughter all worked here at some point.

Luke was 2 when I started working at Buildcorp. I started part time and went full time when he was in grade 1. Buildcorp has been good to me for all of the life stages I’ve been through. I remember dropping Luke off to day care on my first day at Buildcorp and thinking ‘I owe this boy so much’.

There were a few bright tutors here at Buildcorp, so back in the day, I brought my other two children in to be tutored in maths and other things!

Daniel Kukec Photography.

LM: It’s very family orientated here, everyone is connected. I like it when Tony (Sukkar) visits site. He knows everyone’s name and gets into the detail to pick up on a lot of things, which is cool. After a box gutter issue on a past project, now for every project that has a box gutter, he always asks us about that detail. So, we make sure the guys are always checking these things.

I can see him understand how to influence everyone depending their role. Managers need to understand people, the detail and bigger picture.

Home & tradition

MM: Our house is like a museum. It may be small, but it’s got history. Robert’s (Mr. May) family have owned it since 1900. We moved in in 1988 and raised 3 children here. We dedicate each wall and space to a theme so we can hang photos and display memorabilia.

MM: Around the dinner table is where we catch up and talk – we try and eat dinner together every day. It’s very important. We always ask each other “What’s a good thing that happened today?”

LM: Especially now that we both work for Buildcorp. We often end up talking for 10 minutes about it.

Growth & change

MM: There have been many changes, but some things stayed the same. Buildcorp have always put on a great Christmas Party and Tony and Jo (Sukkar) always make a point of thanking our partners and families. Our State of the Nation events twice a year are an important tradition – they bring everyone together and celebrate staff service. I’ve must have been to 44 of them in my 22 years!

L-R: Former CFO Mark Tonkin, Maree and MD Tony Sukkar AM

LM: I watched the online State of the Nation this year on site- everyone gets a lot from it. Without that there would be a lot of backend things you don’t understand.

MM: One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is more women coming into construction. When I first came there were only a couple of girls and none were on site. Back then we also didn’t have departments like quality, safety and IT.

The Buildcorp logo has changed and we’ve had multiple fit-outs at the Mallett Street Head Office. I’ve sat in 14 different places in the building! We went from cubicles to open plan office. Banking has also had big changes; we used to feed cheques through a machine and work offline. Now it’s all EFT and electronic. Buildcorp has kept up as the world changed. Our consistent leadership has helped us adapt to changes and they chose the right people. Buildcorp has always been pretty good at that.

LM: I managed the quality on some smaller interiors jobs this year and it was good step for me to run a project by myself. My first job in safety was Urbanest ‘DS1’ and my first project in quality was ‘DS2’ (Darling Square student accommodation towers) – both were a huge effort in safety and quality.

We’re constantly updating Onsite and I have a big role to play in that. I Iook at other apps and learn how others do quality. I always try to bring fresh ideas and Dave’s (Dave O’Toole Buildcorp HSEQ Manager) is good; he always tells you to express your opinion and to tell him what you think is right.

The future’s looking bright for Quality. The NSW Building Commissioner has passed legislation so that they can come to site and stop a job for defects – this puts a lot more importance on our role which is exciting.

Pride & ownership

MM: I can see Luke’s happy to go to work – as soon as the alarm’s off, he jumps in the shower and off he goes. I was at a function and a Project Manager told me what a great kid he is. He said he knows how to talk to the people and that he was going to go a long way. Those nice comments make you proud.

LM: When I see a project we’ve done, I tell my girlfriend- I built that!

MM: We feel a lot of ownership of our projects – I stand one inch off the TV if there’s a building we had something to do with – or record it and show Luke.

At end of day we’re builders and everyone here has an important role to play.

Thank you to Maree, Luke and Robert for being part of the Buildcorp family for 22 years.

Professional photography by Daniel Kukec Photography.