Rawson brings reliability and respect to South African housing development

There are a rare number of housing development companies that do everything from conceptualization and building to selling the actual product. Rawson Developers and Rawson Construction are rare gems in the housing development business. The company compartmentalizes all aspects of housing construction and development making it a one-stop shop in the residential housing development industry in South Africa.

Company background

Rawson Developers was established 16 years ago by Bill Rawson and Paul Henry, who were later joined by Carl Nortje. Starting with smaller projects, the company has now completed over 3,000 homes with all projects being profitable.

The company is two-fold, with Rawson Property Group being the umbrella of Rawson Construction and Rawson Developers, which operate as one company in housing development construction and sales.

Rawson Developers has a track record of quality service in the property development industry and understands every aspect of developing property from conceptualization in the feasibility phase through construction, completion and marketing.

Rawson Construction works in partnership with Rawson Developers.  They offer a full-range of construction services from design to completion.  They also offer full financial services including project management and obtaining finances for the project.

Paul Henry, Managing Director of Rawson Developers and Rawson Construction, says, “We have our own quality service with everything in-house.  We do our own sales, source land ourselves and offer financial expertise.  This keeps the cost down and allows us to be profitable.”

Henry notes that Rawson’s beginnings started with selling developments for other developers when they realized they could create and sell housing units themselves, providing them a higher profit margin.

To date the company has built over 3,000 homes in more than 80 developments in the Western Cape of South Africa.

Running a company that is 100 per cent in-house is hard work but the benefits outweigh the potential challenges, according to Henry. He says, “It’s a whole new dimension for development and construction but it lets us have profit from development, construction and sales, giving us more control.”

Though the company does everything themselves, they hire subcontractors that work with Rawson for issues like plumbing and electrical at any given time.  Their permanent staff is a small team of about 20 people but in total, they have about 200 employees including subcontractors.

Recent developments  

The company has worked on a lot of noteworthy projects including residential units throughout the Western Cape of South Africa.  Locations include Kirstenhof, Tokai, Durbanville, Parow, Rondebosch, Claremont, Mowbray, Maitland, Athlone, Brackenfell, West Beach, Parklands, Plumstead and Strand.

Their past projects include refurbishing and gutting old buildings to become luxury apartments and creating new ones from scratch. Currently they are working on a Sports Club in the Rondebosch area. This development will include a cricket oval surrounded by a residential development
Henry noted this as the first of its kind. “There have been cricket ovals done with office suites, but we are the first developers to put residential housing around the oval,” he says.

The development will boast a proposed 35 townhouses and 40 sectional units and should take about three years to complete.
Also in Rondebosch, Rawson Construction and Developers have commissioned a seven story residential unit that will consist of 166 apartments of different spaces including one, two and three bedrooms, with another 150 apartments in the pipeline.

The company has just finished additional units in Rondebosch including River’s Edge which was launched in 2010 and by August was already 80 per cent sold out, which proves Rawson’s quality development of modern spaces.

Henry says all of the units are reasonably priced, making them highly competitive in the housing marketplace. “Our houses are all in the medium price bracket.  We ensure that the product will sell and if the owner wants to on-sell, they can make a profit as well.”

“We are very concerned about the high unemployment within our industry and are happy to do developments with low profit margins so as to ensure that the labour force has food on the table,” Henry adds.

Unique selling points

Rawson has a very good reputation in the industry not only with residents and buyers, but also with banks.  They have a Grade A rating with banks, proving their reliability. “In all our years we’ve had and maintained this reputation as it is important to have good standing with the banks.  We are highly respected by them,” Henry explains.

The company has also been nominated by the Independent Superbrand Council of South Africa as a “Superbrand” which is an honor catapulting the company as a leading brand in the South African landscape.

A close-knit connection

Rawson started small with a close-knit team of people and hopes to hand down the business to future generations of family members. “We already have the next generation of developers, accountants and quantity surveyors.  They are all ready to take over when the older generation retires.  Many are our children that we hope to hand down the company too,” Henry remarks.

The staff includes a dedicated team of specialists in fields such as building, project management, quantity surveying, accounting, client liason, buying, sales and finance. Many of their employees have been with the company since its inception and it’s important to Rawson to support and nurture their long-standing employees.

The company sells itself with its solid track record and reliable history of achievement and excellent housing units that are extremely sellable. They understand how important it is to finish projects in a timely, consistent manner.  “I think that we will continue to be a name to be reckoned with in terms of quality, within budget and on-time developments,” says Henry.

Through Rawson’s history they have proved themselves to be a leading developer and builder of housing units in the Western Cape.  From their reliable, well-time finished units to their innovative new projects, it’s no wonder that Rawson has been named a “Superbrand” and has Grade A standing with banks. With their consistent reputation of excellence, Rawson is sure to stay a strong housing developer in the South African landscape for generations to come.