A gleaming, inviting swimming pool surrounded by luxuriant vegetation and deck chairs is a wonderful showcase providing an oasis of retreat, fun and memories. But imagine coming out to your pool one day and noticing the appearance of a few cracks or even a section starting to subside and literally fall apart. The reason that these problems are few and far between is that once you employ a pool builder to create your backyard dream, they subcontract out the engineering design to someone like Wirrawonga Consulting, to make certain that it is structurally sound.
Stuart Rooke, Wirrawonga's managing director says, "When you decide to install a new pool, our contribution is pretty much behind the scenes. That's the point. You probably have no understanding of the things that can go wrong in the long term. A swimming pool is a very heavy engineering construction. Like the structural engineers who design high rise buildings, dams and freeways, we make sure it stays where it is supposed to be."
Outdoor engineering services
Wirrawonga specialises in the engineering of in-ground reinforced concrete swimming pools and fibre reinforced plastic swimming pools. But they also provide structural engineering services for all sorts of outdoor construction projects including:
Retaining walls in sprayed concrete, blockwork and timber
Suspended and on ground concrete slabs
In ground concrete water tanks
Site protection works
Residential structural engineering in timber, steel and concrete
Outdoor structures and hard landscaping works
Prior to joining Wirrawonga, Stuart owned and ran a variety of small businesses that provided diverse services such as specialised telecommunications and even designing and manufacturing electric motors for model rail enthusiasts around the world. In fact, he is not a structural engineer himself. But when he was invited to join Wirrawonga some years ago as General Manager, he quickly saw the potential and now owns and runs the business with about 15 staff. He comments, "The challenges of running different small businesses vary of course, but there are some things that are fundamental to running a business of any size."
Stuart first approached Saward Dawson about a year before he seriously started the buying process. Having subscribed to our e-newsletters and attended the occasional seminar over a couple of years, he contacted us when buying Wirrawonga first became a possibility. "I didn't really know where to start. All I really knew was that I needed some good advice. Our partnership has been one of an excellent working relationship and friendship too."
The purchasing process
When it was decided that Stuart would purchase the business from the previous owner, we helped structure the terms of the acquisition to meet the needs of both parties. We set up an appropriate structure to operate the business in a tax effective manner to enable future growth. Since the purchase we have continued to support Stuart in business and tax planning on a regular basis and helped with year-end compliance obligations.
More recently, we have assisted in transitioning Wirrawonga to a new cloud accounting package. This involved identifying the business’ software needs and their experience with their old accounting package in order to find a good fit. As part of the exercise, we ran a staff training session to equip them with the necessary skills to hit the ground running when the new accounting package went live. The new cloud accounting package ensures that Wirrawonga Consulting is taking advantage of the convenience and benefits of recent software advances so that the business can continue to grow.
The important things in life
Jason, one of our young accountants also visits Wirrawonga for a few hours each month to do reconciliations and other month end requirements. " Jason really saves me so much time. Two hours for him saves me ten hours. This way, I can do so much more outside the business." Stuart is heavily involved in Sports Chaplaincy Australia and is the chaplain at the North Ringwood football club. Married with a teenage son, his time is precious. "This way, the business supports me to follow my passions and get involved in the community."
Buying an existing business presents great opportunities and of course many risks. Stuart recognised Wirrawonga's potential but also realised that help and good advice was required to make the most of its potential. "We have been very successful", says Stuart. "We have terrific people who know their profession and Saward Dawson are definitely a trusted advisor. Our future is bright."
Now whilst you might not deal direct with Wirrawonga when purchasing a new pool, ask your pool company who is doing the engineering specifications. There is every chance that Wirrawonga will be involved. Visit their website at www.wirrawonga.com.au to see some of the stunning backyard projects.