Introducing our new General Manager

Chris Kelly

Where are you from originally?
I grew up in Concord and moved to the Northern Beaches when I married my wife Suzie, 24 years ago.

Who was the most influential person in your life when you were growing up?
Definitely my father. He left school when he was in year 10 to work in bookkeeping then went on to become Managing Director for Johnson & Johnson. He has worked hard all his life, been married for over 50 years, and raised a family of 5 children.

How did you find your way into the building industry?
My grandfather was a carpenter, so growing up we always had a hammer in our hand. I started in a Building Cadetship with a small company that was very hands on and attended university at UTS studying Building Construction Management Degree.

Did you find a mentor along the way who guided you professionally?
We didn’t have mentors back in that day, however, I have always looked around me to those I admired.

Who do you look up to and admire most – professionally and personally?
Roger Federer has always stood out to me – very humble yet the greatest tennis player of all time.

Could you list a couple of career highlights?
Being fortunate to lead talented teams who won the Master Builders Award for Excellence in Construction for Best Residential & Mixed-use Developments 2014, 2015, and 2019 is a real highlight. The most fulfilling is seeing people who have started as Leading Hands, Cadets or Site Engineers hang around and develop into Foreman, Site Managers, Commercial Managers and Project Managers.


Do you have a favourite failure? One that in turn set you up for success.
As a cadet in the mid-90s, I worked on a CBD project where everything went wrong – delays, cost blowouts, disputes, union action, latent conditions, heritage surprises. I learnt the importance of sticking something out, working hard to turn problems into solutions, working with people to achieve shared goals. We got there the hard way but the next job I put all that energy into planning and never looked back.

In what area or time frame of your extensive construction career did you experience the most growth?
In my 20s I was a sponge learning and working hard to add value to the projects I was part of. I became a Project Manager when I was 30 on an $18M project in the city and within 8 years was running $350M projects. This taught me so much more about planning, the importance of strong teams and working with stakeholders towards shared goals.

What is a piece of advice you would tell your 21year old self?
Surf more……? Probably to be yourself and embrace challenges.

How has the industry changed for the better in the past 10 years?
When computers first came to sites the major downside was that supervisors spent too much time in the site shed and software programmes were in early development. Now we can run the site off an iPad out on the formwork deck with better communication flow, access to correct information and access to current designs.

The digital transformation is a significant difference where project data such as safety, quality and program becomes real time, and transparency is created in the project performance.

When you feel overwhelmed or lose focus, what’s your strategy?
Take a step back and look at the issue from a different perspective – talking it through with others in the team or a trusted friend.

How did you meet Amen and Khalil?
I met Amen and Khalil on a building site 14 years ago. They stood out as people with integrity who gave their word and stuck to it and worked incredibly hard making sure they delivered results. Since then we’ve always kept in touch sharing ideas as Binah continued to grow.

What excited you about the General Manager role at Binah?
Binah has always stood out as an exceptional company with a strong foundation of successful projects delivered by talented people using best practice systems with a depth of industry experience. In joining Binah as General Manager, I’m excited to build off this foundation and lead Binah in its next growth journey.


Where do you think the opportunity for growth will be in the next 10 years?
Sydney is a vibrant city, a growing city and post COVID a place where the world will be migrating to live. This gives endless opportunities of growth – in particular sectors such as mixed-use and residential developments, hotels, and office buildings.

What would you love to achieve in the next year?
As covid pushed many projects back, I want to assist our clients getting their projects off the ground, and with the help of Binah management team continue to develop people as industry professionals.

What is the key to keeping our standards high and consistently delivering a quality product?
The goal of any building project is the end-user, and we must have that in mind. Building a strong team of Certifiers, Designers, Builder, Subcontractors and Suppliers is key to delivering quality outcomes.

Growing partnerships into lifelong partnerships is at the core of all Binah operations. Can you share some benefits of establishing lifelong business relationships?
Lifelong partnerships allow the opportunity to develop shared goals that ensure that we leverage each other’s expertise and work to make the optimum decisions for the benefit of the project – both short and long term. A project never finishes when we hand over the keys, this is just the beginning…

In joining as General Manager, I’m excited to build off

this foundation and lead Binah in its next growth journey.”