Interview with Mr Bernard Seah (Managing Director)

A One-stop Renovation Service

With an emphasis on quality and workmanship, Great Art Design & Build Pte Ltd is now known in the industry for its ability to provide a one-stop renovation service to the residential, commercial and industrial industry. It’s extensive project portfolio include projects for residences, offices, shops, hospitals, polytechnics, schools, childcare centers, educational centers, restaurants and pubs among others. While their notable clients include Thomson Medical Centre and KK Hospital.

“We believe that the customer is always right. Some of our clients have been with us since the beginning, we have done renovations for some of them for the third and fourth time,” shared Mr Bernard Seah, The Managing Director for Great Art Design & Build Pte Ltd.

The firm’s wide range of services include planning and design, floor finishing, wall finishing, ceiling, custom-made furniture, systems work stations, gate, window and grilles, doors, M&E works and maintenance and repair works. Complementing this, the firm also imports and exports their furniture which is custom-made in their 3,000 square feet carpentry workshop below their office at 3029A Ubi Road 3. While the firm’s materials are imported from suppliers in Malaysia, Indonesia, China and India.

“One memorable project we did was the Dental Clinic, which we managed to complete on-time and I’m proud of the workmanship,” revealed Bernard.

The hardworking entrepreneur and the proud father-of-three is key to the firm’s success. Able to manage his work and family life, he personally trains his workers, some who have been with him for 15 years. He also ensures that he supervises and oversees all his projects.

“It’s difficult to get the younger generation interested in this trade. I believe hands-on experience is important, I even get my designers to go on-site to see the situation for themselves,” shared the entrepreneur as to what challenges the industry is facing today.

We believe that the customer is always right. Some of our clients have been with us since the beginning, we have done renovations for some of them for the third and fourth time,

From Carpenter to Entrepreneur

A veteran of the carpentry trade, Bernard’s former company shifted overseas during the economic crisis in the 1980’s. The spurred the promising entrepreneur to start his own company. “I was used to working as a one-man show, I was a salesman, a site project manager and a site coordinator in my old company,” shared Bernard who brought in his old contacts into the new business.

He established Great Art Woodwork in 1986, with his first office in Punggol. “During the economic crisis not many suppliers want to give new companies credit so I needed to have cash on hand all the time,” said Bernard, recalling the challenges he faced during the early days of the company.

Experiencing success, the business entered into a new chapter of its growth in 1990. Moving to Defu lane and re-naming itself to Great Art Industries, the company became a BCA Registered Contractor as well as a HDB Registered Contractor. In 2009, the company re-named itself to Great Art Design & Build as it gained private limited status.

Future Directions

“I believe that trust is very important in this trade as well as reliability. We used to advertise in magazines but now everything is through word-of-mouth,”

shared by Bernard who believes in strengthening the firm’s position in Singapore by taking care of his business, staff and clients.

The hardworking entrepreneur and his staff wants to ensure that they continually maintain and improve their relationships with both long time clients and new clients. Constantly thinking of his clients, in the long run, the entrepreneur also plans to diversify into other services related to general works.