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At home with Owner & Managing Director Neil McLennan

As Englehart embarks on an exciting new chapter under new ownership, there is a renewed focus on custom, premium quality, architecturally designed homes. Taking the helm in mid-2023, Neil McLennan has a clear vision, together with a new board of directors, for a customer-focussed business that exceeds expectations for quality, service, and design.

Neil’s strategic direction is pioneering an exciting new era for Englehart, steering the business towards new heights, and building on the sustained 43-year legacy. We invite you to meet the man behind the new era as he shares his home and his approach to the transformation of Englehart.

 

What made you decide that Englehart was the next step for you?

Having built a career in constructing high-end apartments, I could see that the market was facing immense challenges in the post-COVID world, and it was time for a change.

I was familiar with Englehart’s reputation as a premium-quality builder, and when the opportunity was presented, it piqued my interest immediately. The dedication of the staff was impressive, and when I gained a deeper understanding of the business and the quality of homes it delivered, I knew this was an opportunity I wanted to be part of.

 

What was it about the Englehart brand that resonated with you and aligned with your personal values and goals?

The longevity of the brand and the quality of the homes delivered stood out to me.

Throughout my due diligence process, I had the opportunity to visit numerous sites, and I observed how well-run they were. In my experience, a great outcome for a client begins with a well-run site, so Englehart’s expertise really shone through.

I met with staff members at this time, and with many having worked at Englehart for over two decades, it was clear that the company prioritises its people and is committed to providing a supportive and positive working environment. This is very important to me – a team’s dedication says so much about the business.

What do you see as the most unique attributes of Englehart?

The quality of the homes delivered and the level of customisation available to our clients sets Englehart apart. We take the time to understand each client and the needs of each family, tailoring the design of their new home to ensure that it reflects their individual tastes, showcases a modern design aesthetic, and provides practical elements for everyday life.

The quality delivered through Englehart’s 43-year history is truly a cut above the rest. The craftsmanship delivered by our talented team is second to none, and our rigorous quality control processes ensure that we hand over homes finished to a premium level of quality.

Further, the longevity of the staff says a lot about the brand, morale, and culture. Some have been with the business for two decades, which speaks to the kind of company it is.

What is your vision for Englehart?

My vision for Englehart is to honour the brand’s 43-year legacy while growing the business in the modern, contemporary space. We’re focused on continuing to design and construct beautiful custom classic homes whilst expanding our capability in custom modern architecture, whilst also focusing on Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD).

We are also expanding the key suburbs we work in across Stonnington and Boroondara towards Bayside and the Mornington Peninsula.

We’re looking at new ways to utilise technology to elevate the design and buying experience, ensuring it’s more tailored to our custom home offering. We are not a volume builder, and we want every interaction with us to reflect that. I’m confident we have the talent and the team to achieve this vision.

Can you talk about how your own architecturally designed home reflects your passion for design and quality?

As a builder, being given the opportunity to work alongside talented architects and builders to design and construct my own home was the ultimate experience. Our home was designed in collaboration with Neil Architecture. We had a shared vision to keep the integrity of the ‘80s design while upgrading the finishes to reflect a more modern style. I think it’s more adventurous than most clients would have been – continuing to innovate and push the boundaries is something I strongly believe in. I was very hands-on during construction –the site manager, labourer, and project manager! I loved it.

How has your background working with high-end architecture shaped the way that you look at design?

I’ve been privileged to work alongside great architects and interior designers who continually innovate with new ideas, styles, and materials. As a builder, you need to do some commercial checks at times to ensure that the design of each home is buildable, serviceable, and maintainable without compromising the design’s integrity. It’s a delicate balance, ticking all the boxes while pioneering new approaches and my background in working alongside such skilled design professionals has enabled me to understand this deeply.

Neil's home, May House

“I’ve been privileged to work alongside great architects and interior designers who continually innovate with new ideas, styles, and materials.”

 

NEIL MCLENNAN

Managing Director & Owner

What upcoming trends or shifts in the building industry do you anticipate, and how will Englehart adapt to stay ahead of the curve?

We’re always looking at new trends in offsite procurement and how we can create more opportunities in this space. People are becoming more environmentally conscious, so we strive to improve our commitment to sustainability and environmentally smart home initiatives.

Technology is the most significant variable we are dealing with. We’re learning how AI might impact our industry – construction will always be hands-on, but processes and systems could be digitised and controlled via AI to streamline the business.

We’re doubling down on our commitment to a premium design offering. This new phase of Englehart will bring our design team to the forefront of the business, with dedicated teams in place to guide and support each client through their design journey.

 

How would you describe your leadership style?

I enjoy facilitating open discussions with the team on all levels. Everyone’s input and perspectives are valued and contribute to my decision-making. For leadership, I lean on my industry network and other professionals. I am constantly learning from my peers by talking it out and reflecting on their experiences and views. I like to think I’m approachable and open to doing things differently – with so many of the team having worked here for such a long time, their understanding of the business and how things are done is unrivalled.

Englehart has received scores of awards over the years. In your view, why has Englehart continued to receive so many awards?

It’s an honour to continue to be awarded for the homes we deliver. It proves that we can adapt to market trends, are experts in designing and constructing premium homes, and can build to a level of quality that sees us continue to be recognised.

Neil with General Manager, Robbie Lamont

“We’re focussed on continuing to design and construct beautiful custom classic homes whilst expanding our capability in custom modern architecture.”

 

NEIL MCLENNAN

Managing Director & Owner