Premise is a full-service consultancy that provides tailored solutions in engineering, planning, surveying, project management architecture, agricultural and environmental science. It has 200 engineers, surveyors, and town planners in 13 locations, from Townsville in far north Queensland to Melbourne.

The business has been built on strategic mergers and acquisitions, with an approach that has brought together several specialised firms across Australia, to form one cohesive consultancy. Currently, 70 percent of Premise’s business is regionally based.

Advisers connected to the region

As Premise continues to see the value of maintaining its own regional profile – it seeks that out in its business partners, too.

“We’ve worked with advisers like our bank, our law firm, our accountants, out of metro areas before, and it just hasn’t fit our business, they don’t get it. We need someone local who can understand how local businesses operate. Dealing with someone who understands regional perspectives just makes the relationship better and more successful,” says Pat Brady, Executive Director and Chairman, Premise.

Premise has been working with CommBank for nearly two years, with the main business banking relationship out of Townsville, where the Premise main office is located. Pat says this has been a gamechanger for their banking relationship.

“CommBank understands our local issues because they are in the local area. They understand what we need to do to help get resources into the town to grow our business and the local industry, or what challenges we need to be mitigating at a local level. Plus, we know our teams nationally, whether in Mackay or Dubbo, will be supported by CommBank with the same care across the board.”

“And it’s not just one way. CommBank is constantly looking at ways to value add to our relationship – ideas or insights they’ve seen or heard other clients do that we might be able to implement,” Pat says.

Thriving outside the city limits

Pat says the mergers and acquisition strategy up and down the east coast has meant the business has been able to expand its footprint, yet still retain a connection to local communities.

“We’ve always had our heart in regional Australia, with the first of our businesses opening in Orange in 1907,” Pat says.

“Now, with 13 different consultancies under the Premise banner, we still make sure that connection to our regional communities is strong.” 

Pat believes there are core differences between regional and urban locations. “Regional centres operate quite differently than metro, there are nuances and connections that you just wouldn’t see if operating out of a capital city, and we find that having a base in the regions is incredibly important as we support our local infrastructure or planning projects.”

Championing employees

Part of Premise’s difference is its shareholder strategy, which ensures that in every acquisition, the leaders of the acquired business become shareholders in Premise. Pat says this structure is crucial in retaining connectedness. 

“We aim to support staff throughout the whole acquisition process, and give those leading the business at a local level a strong say in how we operate moving forward. It also helps with succession of the local consultancies – supporting those up-and-coming engineers to be a business leader, and also have a stake in Premise at the same time.”

The bottom line

Pat adds, that at the end of the day, everyone can do the basics well, but it’s the systems and the relationships around that, that make their relationship with CommBank successful.

“We’ve found CommBank’s systems easier and better to use, and we’ve built a relationship with the team that revolves around open discussions to chat through challenges and opportunities, where everyone has input.”

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