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                                                                                                                                              By Jay Mangano

The building industry has historically been a male dominated space and while that is slowly changing, there is still a long way to go before women are equally represented.

As a Registered Builder, Jay Mangano has been building homes in Perth for over 17 years as co-owner of luxury home building company Devrite Homes of Distinction. She is no stranger to being the only woman in the room, having always worked in the more “masculine industries.” Whether it was working in plumbing supplies or shearing teams, or mining for 13 years, driving trucks, loaders and blowing things up. “I had to work to be respected as one of the only women on site.”

Jay quickly noticed that clients and contractors would try and talk to the man (any man!), rather than her. However, now that she has an established reputation and profile in the industry, she is respected in her own right.

 Jay and Her Team

As a female builder and project manager, Jay often falls to the role of peacekeeper and relationship builder. The building industry is notorious for treating contractors badly, poor communication between trades on site, and a general ‘hit and run’ attitude towards projects. Jay and her team have worked hard to push back against these trends and build strong relationships, gaining trust, ensuring communication and inclusion between the clients, the contractors and the management.

Jay believes that building homes is about more than just making a quick profit, it’s about building something that will last. In today’s construction industry there is pressure towards building cheap and building fast. As a result, homeowners are spending money fixing up houses that are only a few years old.

When houses are built to be sold, they are usually poor quality and not built to last Jay warns. This has massive impacts on every area of the system. For example, there is less demand for quality, less demand for well-constructed materials because they cost more, so there is huge wastage, impacting on the environment – along with money wasted on materials that breakdown or aren’t fit for purpose. Even product warranties are written in a way that there are loopholes so manufacturers can save money without providing a quality product in the first place.

Building Better Homes

Jay’s approach highlights the value of attract more women to the building and construction industry. “As a woman, I want to build homes, not houses, and work in a positive environment with people I trust. I want my clients to understand that I will always work in their best interest, building homes that families can live in safely and enjoy for years to come”

Quality is the most important thing when it comes to building; it protects your investment and your budget in the long term. And thanks to women like Jay, we just might see a greater focus on valuing quality, building better homes, not just houses.

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