• The Establish team at the presentation of their ‘Excellence in Strategy and Planning Award’ at the 2017 Westpac Auckland North Business Awards in early October. From left: Gerard McCarten, Gareth Pasfield, Liana Coleman, Paul Rodgers, Charlotte Clare, Logan Whitelaw.

Establishing a reputation in the early childhood education sector


These achievements just about say it all: In their first year of trading, 42% of all new childcare centre resource consents in Auckland were prepared by Establish; 3131 additional child licence spaces were created by Establish; a total construction value of over $51m was created through approved consents by Establish; 95% of all consents processed by Establish were non-notified.

Establish was launched in 2016 by Logan Whitelaw and Paul Rodgers as a response to demand from customers in their existing town planning consultancy who wanted complete development services for new childcare centres. In short they saw an opportunity to specialise and this is paying real dividends for them. In the simplest terms they assist their customers to develop the best childcare centres in New Zealand.
For the purpose of this article I met Logan Whitelaw for a coffee near their company base in Anzac Street, Browns Bay. Chatting with Logan you quickly understand why Establish is experiencing healthy growth and has quickly made a name for themselves in the industry. A strong business and leadership plan is at the heart of what they are doing.
Logan and Paul both come from backgrounds in town planning. Logan is the CEO and 'head coach’. He has worked in the resource management sector as a qualified planner for more than a decade, including a leadership position at Auckland Council. Paul, the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), has nine years’ experience as a planner and project manager.
Logan Whitelaw says that they have gone about ‘establishing' their business with some very sound building blocks.
"As a start-up in the competitive professional services market, we decided that our business model needed to be light and fast and able to scale quickly. To do this, we designed a business system where customers have a central point of contact within Establish and all services provided for their projects are undertaken by our team of professional sub-consultants.”
As well as Logan and Paul being very active in the business, they have five other passionate staff members employed directly by the company. They engage professional sub-consultants to provide services such as traffic, civil and acoustic engineers, planners, surveyors and landscape designers. Establish's live web-based app is also a key tool. Establish provides complete resource consents, building consents and due-diligence services for the ECE sector. They also undertake investigations and market validations for the sector.
Early success for Establish has also included winning four prestigious business awards in 2017. The ‘Excellence in Strategy and Planning’ in the Westpac Auckland North Business Awards; The ‘Most Outstanding Fledgling Business’ in The David Awards; The ‘Green Building Excellence Award’ at the NZ Property Industry Awards; The ‘Best Design Award’ at the NZ Designers Institute Awards.
“As a team we come to work every day because we want to solve the biggest problem with developing childcare centres in New Zealand,” explains Logan Whitelaw. "The process can be very complex. Architects don’t necessarily know which rules and standards apply or how to optimise sites for childcare. Real estate agents don’t know what makes a site suitable for childcare or which areas have high demand for new centres. Planners aren’t sure what other consultants should be engaged and the council officers are worried about what the neighbours might say.
“Before we set up Establish, there wasn't a business that could remove all the complexities and get childcare centre developments off to the best possible start. Our mission at Establish has been to simplify things by leading the development process, from initial discussions through to approved resource and building consents."
Logan Whitelaw is thrilled with their 2017 achievements.
“We are proud that we have become the most active consultancy in the New Zealand early childhood education sector, with new centres being approved weekly all around the country for our customers. Our vision is to be the authority for childcare centre development so that we can improve the quality of the physical learning environment for all New Zealand children.
"A key qualitative highlight from year one of trading was the benefits that we provided for our customers in terms of project efficiency and time savings. The clearest example of this is a comparison between Establish and the rest of the market relating to resource consents processed on a notified basis. In Auckland, one in four new childcare centres was processed on a notified basis. However, Establish achieved a higher success rate with only one in 20 new childcares requiring notification. This is important as the processing of a consent on a notified basis will delay the start of physical building works by at least six months.
"Our significantly lower notification rate is a result of being the recognised authority in the ECE development sector and providing the highest quality information and advice to our Customers and the Council.
"The benefits of this reduction in consenting delays can be quantified in pure financial terms. Ensuring that our customers get their businesses off to the best possible start and that more of their budget can be spent on creating quality childcare environments and less on Council consenting costs.
"Our objectives in the coming year are to take further market share, while focusing on increasing the quality of new childcare centres across all New Zealand. This will further cement Establish as the authority on childcare centre development.”

Visit: www.establish.co.nz

Issue 83 Dec 2017 / Jan 2018