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Jun 18, 2019

Industry Update - McNab Construction



Image: McNab Construction

Industry update: McNab Construction

Listen to the update below where Michael McNab covers his take on the McNab story and how they have come to be where they are today.


In this episode, Shaun speaks with Michael McNab; founding Managing Director of McNab Construction and discusses the history and story of the business and unpacks the unique McNab culture and approach to success in the SE Queensland construction industry.

Topics covered:

  • Overview of McNab Construction
  • The McNab Story – from beginnings to running a company with a $290 million turnover
  • The McNab culture, and how it is instilled in both employees and customers
  • Work ethic and what attracts and retains the best employees


85% of your business is repeat, which is remarkable in construction. Why do you think customers continue to choose to partner with you?

It’s really about our people, there’s some simple ethos’ when you work with McNab, I expect you to be solutions focused, I expect you to make a buck but I expect you to put your customers first and foremost. Our industry can be very adversarial, and we get there as well, but the important piece is that the customer is the focus and it’s not about the building its about what the customer really wants and sometimes that’s hard to divorce from. We have a great customer cohort and with 27 live projects at the moment I would say I know 25 of those people and they are good people. Something else that’s important to me is the profile of that customer, how they operate, their ethics.


How do you approach culture at McNab?

When I first started, I had no idea what culture meant and the power of it. Then you work out that you’ve got a way of doing things, now one of my main roles is to make sure culture is instilled throughout all levels of the business. There is a process for new starters within the first 4 – 8 weeks it’s a very formal induction process that lasts 3 or 4 days. I’ll sit down for a couple of hours with every new staff member and talk about the stories of McNab, the stuff ups the great victories and try and get that culture through as a story. And when people get it, they’re just on turbos, they really get on board.


How do you define the culture?

Response-able – I really want you to own up to everything that you are. We spend a lot of time on leadership training, good bad and ugly really trying to understand yourself. When you are response-able, you are not performing up to everything you are able on a day, I want you to just own it. Let everyone else know. More importantly when you’re doing a really good job, you are response-able for your outcomes, be prepared to pat yourself on the back and really own what you do. We have a value of care we’ve got a value of safety and growth and you need to be response-able for all of those things. You need to be the best you can be. Really own who you are, which is challenging for all of us.


What attracts and retains people to McNab in your opinion?

It’s a bit cliché but we like to have fun at McNab. We hold you accountable too, if we look back on our stats this year, there has been quite a few people leaving the business, but we’ve pushed that. We won’t accept mediocre, and sometimes it’s not the person in questions fault, they just don’t fit to the way we operate. When you end up in McNab, we spend a lot of time in interviews, by market standards we are probably a bit tough to get on board with, but it’s really important to us that we understand you clearly, and that you fit into the McNab way. You are autonomous but we hold you very accountable, I expect you to be very good at your job and I expect you to perform. I don’t want you working 100 hours a week, work life is maybe cliché too, but I want you to have fun and come to work. I want you to be passionate about working at McNab, and I think if people see that it rubs off on them and it makes them want to work with us.




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