Justine's the boss but gets asked to make a cuppa in the boardroom

Build in Common co-founders Justine Teggelove and Pia Turcinov
Build in Common co-founders Justine Teggelove and Pia Turcinov
Pia Turcinov and Justine Teggelove

Pia Turcinov and Justine Teggelove

Building and construction have traditionally been the domain of men. But a new online platform aimed at women who want to renovate and develop property is aiming to change that.

Build in Common co-founder Justine Teggelove decided to create an online tool kit when women began telling her they wanted more clear-cut information about building and construction.

"I thought 'where would I go to break down the jargon, make it simplified and give me all the information I need presented in a succinct way'," Ms Teggelove said. "There was nothing in Australia or overseas that does that."

Ms Teggelove is also the founder and chief executive of commercial construction company Rodine Australia, and started Build in Common this year with Perth-based tech entrepreneur Pia Turcinov.

She said though attitudes have changed, construction is still a "blokey" industry and women can feel intimidated by the idea of managing a building project, leading them to spend more money on outsourcing.

"I want women to participate in the financial benefits of doing a renovation to their property," Ms Teggelove said. "It's also addressing the invisible woman. Even though I'm the head of a company, I can still walk into a boardroom and be asked to make a cup of tea. So I know that when women are on site, they're often the last person that will be spoken to, even though they're the client."

Build in Common has a range of "tool kits" which can be bought either as an online portal or a hard copy binder. The projects include kitchens, new builds and extensions, and give information about planning, hiring tradespeople and ordering materials.

"We look at the build-cycle - so where to begin, what to do, what to ask, who does what, what to watch out for," Ms Teggelove said.

She said the toolkits can be used by men and women, and that she has had mostly younger men say they would be interested in knowing more about project management.

But she said the way men and women process and use the information is different.

"I can give women the information, but if they don't feel confident, they're not going to apply it, whereas for the blokes, if they know 10 per cent of it they're like 'oh yeah, she'll be right'."

The tool kit also aims to break down language barriers, helping those without build experience understand commonly used terms and industry jargon.

"One of the ladies said 'I had no idea that they were actually talking in millimetres' and you think that's kind of a common sense thing - but not really if you've never been exposed to the industry," Ms Teggelove said.

"When you're sitting down with your tradie and you're able to speak their language we know that the likelihood of you getting ripped off is probably going to be less as well."

Ms Teggelove said she hoped Build in Common would encourage more women to take on building projects of their own.

"We've been organising hold holds for years and we've been organising businesses and we're able to multi-task, we're brilliant a managing multiple stakeholders," she said. "We're more capable that just picking pretty pictures and picking the paint colours."

She said as more women gain more confidence in the industry, more may even be attracted to a career in construction.

"Women think differently, which is brilliant - that's actually what the industry needs," Ms Teggelove said. "If I can be at the head of a multi-million dollar commercial construction company - if a young girl is thinking about it as a possibility - by crikey you can do this."

This story Justine's the boss but gets asked to make a cuppa in the boardroom first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.