Peter Leotta, managing director of GJ Gardner Homes Tweed Heads. Mireille Merlet-Shaw
Peter Leotta, managing director of GJ Gardner Homes Tweed Heads. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Picking up GJ Gardner pieces

THERE may be light at the end of the tunnel for some homeowners left with part-completed homes after the collapse of the company behind the Ballina franchise of GJ Gardner homes in September.

The Tweed Heads franchise of GJ Gardner will finish three unfinished homes in the Northern Rivers.

GJ Gardner Homes Tweed Heads owner Peter Leotta said he would be focusing on getting people into their new homes as soon as possible.

"It's been a terrible situation but we are now focused on the clients," he said.

"The houses that were under construction down here went straight through to the Homeowners Warranty Scheme.

"We had to tender for the homes and picked up three out of the five that had been under construction at the time of the collapse.

"We operate under a very different structure to the former Ballina office and the owners we are working with now are very impressed with the speed of progress."

Mr Leotta's franchise will also take over the Ballina region permanently and will operate out of the Tweed Heads office for now.

"We have come into a crisis situation in the area but we are here for the long haul," he said.

"We're concentrating on rebuilding the brand in the area and generating more work."

Mr Leotta admitted that the NSW building industry was in the middle of an extremely challenging time.

"With the support of the parent company we met with the local Northern Rivers suppliers and trades that were willing to work with us toward completing the homes.

"We have also been working with local councils and they have been fantastic," he said.

"At the end of the day the houses will get built, the tradies will get paid and the client will be happy.

Mr Leotta's business is one of the top GJ Gardner offices in the state with a majority market share of houses built in this area. It has been a member of the GJ Gardner Group for 2 1/2 years

"We have succeeded in the current climate is because we are diverse, customer focused and flexible.

"We cover everything from architectural builds to entry-level homes to custom designs to homes on sloping sites and rural properties.

"You can come in with a design you have sketched on the back of a napkin and we can work from there."

Mr Leotta has been in the building business for 15 years and is heavily involved in the Master Builders Association (MBA)

In 2010 the company won the Gold Coast house of the year up to $750,000 award and went on to win the state for that category. Mr Leotta picked up the rising star award that year. In 2009 his company won the high-rise up to $15m category.



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