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Team Sunbuild were delighted to win one of the top Master Builders awards in September.

They picked up a new award, the $20- 50 million Defence building category, for the North West Mobile Force Regimental HQ within the Larrakeyah Defence Precinct in Darwin.

It was the Territory born-and-bred company’s 40th Master Builders trophy over the past three decades, a testament to the drive to deliver innovative, quality projects – on time.

Sunbuild – motto: Build With Pride – won the Defence contract against stiff competition.

Leading project manager John Gergelifi, who has overseen the building of high-rise commercial and residential towers in Dubai and Australia, was lured from Sydney to run the demanding contract.

“I’ve project managed a lot of buildings but never for Defence, so that attracted me,” he says.

John is now settled in Darwin with his wife and two children.

He says the Sunbuild team, supported by a range of subcontractors, most of them local, had to build the NORFORCE Regimental HQ to the highest Defence standards, which made the project demanding and interesting.

They started in July 2021 and finished almost exactly two years later.

“We worked through the wet seasons,” John says. “We got all our concreting work done before the rain settled in.”

The project employed about 250 workers at the peak of construction, nearly all of them Territorians.

“We had to bring in people from interstate to install a 10-tonne gantry crane because it was a highly-specialised piece of equipment and we had to bring in people who had the right specialised equipment to work with interlock pavers.

“But apart from that, all our subbies were local.”

The job entailed five separate buildings – the Regimental NORFORCE HQ, the Operational Support Squadron building, a 100 metre-long shelter for heavy vehicles, a shelter for boats and a hazardous goods storage base, plus an access road and upgrading a major road intersection.

Sunbuild’s award-winning projects include stage 2 of Zuccoli Primary School, the mental health unit at Darwin Private Hospital, the George Brown Botanic Gardens visitor centre and Bunnings at Yarrawonga.

The company, which was founded by Neil and Desley Sunners in 1993, has more than 265 projects under its belt, including the Northern Territory’s tallest building, the 33-storey Evolution in Darwin.

It also built The Avenue, Darwin’s first “urban village”.

Sunbuild is entrenched in the local community and happily supports sports and community groups, including:

• Humpty Dumpty Foundation

• Top End Gran Fondo

• Waratah Netball Club

• Movember

• Northern Territory Police Department

• Southern Districts Cricket Club

• Scouts • Mates In Construction

• AUFS Chief Minister’s Cup

• Cancer Council NT Relay for Life