FORTITUDE FRAMES – A customer-centred approach changes the game
Located in Tocumwal, near the New South Wales-Victorian border, Fortitude Frames is a manufacturer and supplier of pre-fabricated steel wall frames and trusses. Using the ENDUROFRAME® building system, they specialise in providing a light gauge steel framing system that has been designed with the builder in mind.
Throughout their 30+ year history, Fortitude Frames has earned a solid reputation in the steel framing industry, and was selected to be the first ENDUROFRAME® licensee in the world.
Owner and founder, Dennis Sutton, started his career as an apprentice to a timber home builder, and went on to run his own residential building business. After coming to the conclusion that “steel framing was the way of the future” and the best way to give his customers the longevity and termite-proof frames that they were looking for, Mr Sutton started fabricating steel house frames using TRUECORE® steel.
At the same time, a shortage of carpenters in the Tocumwal community, led Wayne Duff, of Stoneway Constructions, to look for ways to reduce the time needed onsite for trades. And he says that he found it in using framing made from TRUECORE® steel: “With prefabricated steel framing made from TRUECORE® steel, I only need to get hold of a carpenter for maybe four days instead of two weeks” said Mr Duff citing one of the residential projects they have completed together. This benefit, along with a growing demand for steel framing, converted Stoneway Constructions to building 100% of projects using steel frames.
Four years on, Mr Duff finds that being a 100% steel frame builder is key to Stoneway’s success, and says that about 50% of clients seek them out for this reason alone: “You’re local, I’ve heard you do a good job, and you use steel frames. These are the three main reasons given for why we’ve been selected for a project”, says Mr Duff. He also believes that the main reason why his clients are requesting homes made from steel frames is because the frames are 100% termite proof.
Fortitude Frames and Stoneway Constructions believe that the partnership between them is unique, and based upon a willingness to listen and learn. The team at Fortitude Frames actively encourage feedback from their clients about how to improve their system to make their builds easier: “Fortitude has actually developed a ‘Stoneway Preferred Method’ - they’ve tailor-made their system to work with what we need. And that’s huge.” says Wayne.
The impact of this partnership is evident in their local community, “Since Dennis has been in town, and I’ve been pushing steel frames, we’re seeing a lot more steel-framed builds in Tocumwal. The education process that we’ve put everyone through, they know that there is something good about it. So if they don’t use me, they’ll usually go to another steel frame builder” says Mr Duff.
Making frames using TRUECORE® steel has also had a big impact on business for Fortitude Frames: “the branding and the distinctive difference between TRUECORE® steel and imported coil, is giving our business credibility in the marketplace and the confidence to attract new customers” says Mr Sutton.
To learn more about Fortitude Frames, and services offered please visit their website.
The content of this case study is based on statements made by the sources listed above and is a reflection of their views and experience. TRUECORE® is a trade mark of BlueScope Steel Limited.© 2018 BlueScope Steel Limited ABN 16 000 011 058. All rights reserved.