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FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE To a company the size of Crown International, is the cost of working on projects 10,000 miles away a consideration? It may have been in years gone by, but, as Stacey points out, it isn’t much of an issue in 2016. “That’s the beauty of ‘now’ as opposed to the 1990s, as we

have a very well-connected global society so even the time differences with Australia aren’t an issue as we have email and the cloud and the ability to electronically push informa- tion around, whether they are drawings, designs, pictures, thoughts, whatever. The process is hugely speeded up com- pared to 15-20 years ago. You don’t need to meet face-to-face – the cost of doing so would likely become prohibitive if you had to do that all the time. That’s the biggest enabler for us. “The other key enabler for us, particularly with Australia and

Australasia in general, is that we have a shared heritage, and a common way of working. The UK and Australia work and think along very similar lines, it’s a good place to do business and it’s very easy to navigate. We may look at standards and the way things need to be built slightly differently but in the overall context of those design standards you are pretty much work- ing in the same ballpark of understanding. That makes life a lot easier than it might be otherwise. If we were working in a cul- ture that was fundamentally different,” he says diplomatically, “then it would mean we’d have to give serious thought to how we would resource and manage that and that’s clearly not an issue for us in an English-speaking country and especially not in Australia. To be fair that’s also the case in the US and most of Europe – we understand how they work and they understand how we work but that’s not always the case.”

ROOTS AND CULTURE It’s hard to underestimate the importance of shared business principles but just as crucial to the success of an international project, as Stacey agrees, is understanding and appreciat- ing cultural differences. “The marketplace is a very

 Crown Mast, installed in Central Europe

a very similar approach to health and safety as we do in the UK but perhaps with a bit more common sense. In Australia they seem to have toned down some of the health and safety excesses that we have in the UK.” The other aspect at play is the culture of doing business. How

do people approach doing business? What’s the way that busi- ness is done in that country? “In Australia and New Zealand it’s exactly the same as we

complex thing. You have the technical aspect: what do you need in terms of certification and badges and so on and in terms of the details you need to pro- vide and the processes that you have to go through for sign-off for a piece of steel infrastructure to go onto the roadside or rail- side. Then you have the aspect of the local approach to health and safety – the UK’s health and safety standards are some of the most rigorous in the world, but you can find yourself in a culture where those standards are nothing like you are used to and consist of ‘are you wearing the right shoes?’ Australia has


“One problem is the cost of maintaining the equipment that is put onto the infrastructure – those costs are rocketing and causing problems for the travelling public due to closed motorways but also in terms of worker safety”

do it in the UK. It’s founded in the principles of our shared her- itage, it’s not as though you are encountering practices that you are concerned about from an ethical point of view. It’s very well-grounded in common sense, honesty, and in doing things right in a mutual way that benefits the people that are going to get something from this. It’s very refreshing.” In terms of an Australian

clientbase, and with particu- lar reference to agencies and authorities, Crown International have worked with an impressive selection to date. “We’ve worked with VicRoads

before and because of the sign- off process required because

of the structures we were putting up the Department of Jus- tice were involved too. A number of the organisations that have contributed to Connected Australia will have had some involvement in our work here at some point along the way as


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