That’s a wrap… 2023 a year in review

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As we say goodbye to the past year, let’s pause for a moment to reflect on the highs, lows, and the valuable lessons we’ve picked up along the way in 2023. In this article, we’ll share our thoughts on what we’ve learned, celebrate a few achievements, and explore what the upcoming year has in store for us.


Taking time to reflect is a big personal and professional practice for me. I find this practice so valuable as it allows me to recognise my own strengths and weaknesses, and use this to guide ongoing growth and learning. So what are some of the lessons I’ve learnt, looking back on the previous year?

1. Failures in the business are a reflection of my leadership

One of our core company values is accountability, applicable not only to my team but also to me. Taking full ownership of actions and decisions, rather than placing blame, is crucial for learning and improvement. Some areas where this has come up for me include hiring the right people, not having the right checklists and processes in place, not determining hierarchy and not having crystal clear communication.

2. Action is the key to productivity

Stop procrastinating. Stop thinking about it. Just do it. Embrace mistakes as part of the process. Just get started. Last year, this mindset proved particularly relevant in the realm of estimating. Initially, I relied too heavily on staff for estimating tasks. Realising the necessity of mastering the process myself before delegation, I committed to finding the right software and developing a comprehensive understanding of the estimation process. It seemed like such an overwhelming task, I kept putting it off, and then once I got stuck in, it just started to flow. 

3. If you’re too busy to write processes and systems, you’ll always be too busy

This was one of the key learnings I took out of the professional development course I completed last year with Protrade. So simple, and so true. Since then it’s been a big focus of mine, developing checklists, processes and systems wherever I can to streamline and eventually pass on, as much as possible. This includes hiring the right staff when the workload seems overwhelming, to help you build and determine what a system or process looks like. 

4. Trust in your team

This was perhaps one of the most satisfying lessons I learnt last year. Trust your staff. Once you’ve figured out they’re the right fit for the business, give them space, give them autonomy, give them an opportunity to grow, to make mistakes, and they will flourish. I’ve seen this happen with all of the boys on my team this year, and I couldn’t be prouder.


While reflection often involves identifying areas for improvement, it’s also about recognising strengths and celebrating successes. By celebrating our success, we can help reinforce the motivation that will carry us through to the next achievement. Looking back on the year, we also have much to celebrate.

1. Our proudest development to date

Ahara House was a personal development with one of my best mates, Chippy. Big credit goes to Remy, the Site Supervisor on the project, who put in the hard yards from start to finish and delivered an epic end result. Ahara House won the award for ‘Energy Efficiency & Environmental Sustainability’ in the 2023 MBA Newcastle Excellence in Building Awards. It was also a finalist in the GreenSmart Sustainable Home category at the 2023 HIA-CSR Hunter Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards. Excitingly, Ahara House was also selected to feature on the next season of Australia’s Best House – we can’t wait to see that come to air on 9life soon. It’s been great to have been recognised for some of the hard work that goes into designing, planning and building a project like this. 

I also love the fact we can share this project with friends, family and potential clients. Ahara House is available for short stays, and has been receiving incredible feedback from all our guests, at the time of writing it has 30+ 5 star reviews on Airbnb. Some solid achievements for this project and we are extremely proud, what an incredible year!

2. A total makeover for the Lou Projects brand

I felt disconnected from the old branding for a while, as my vision and values evolved, it felt like time for the brand identity to evolve as well. Moving away from overused terms and concepts like “eco” and “sustainable”, and instead now focusing on healthy, high quality homes, the rebrand emphasises our passion, our care, our attention to detail, our culture and our client-centric values. A big thank you to the talented Matilda Wilson Creative Studio for helping us bring this new vision to life and for the continued amazing work you have done for us.

3. Building the dream team

I feel like we’ve really found such a great team at the moment. Nothing makes me prouder than hearing our clients, contractors and suppliers tell us how much they love working with our team – and I can happily say I hear this feedback quite a lot. Even while the team continues to grow, I’m still super conscious about keeping the workplace culture the same, and our staff happy. The trades we work with are an absolute extension of this. Our trades believe in what we do, they appreciate the work they have with us, and they really enjoy working with our team. These feelings go both ways, and it just goes to show that we’re all on the right track. 

4. Building a dream home 

We completed our Lurline Street project, which kicked off in April and was handed over just before Christmas, just in time for the family to enjoy their holidays in their brand new home. Luke was the Site Supervisor, and it was great to see him really take the reins on this project. Luke did a fantastic job, taking a lot of responsibility and ownership. The clients were fantastic to work with. And the collaboration between the clients, Luke Farrugia Architect and Lou Projects was second to none. We love this type of project where we get to keep elements of the old red brick home and tie in a modern functional high performing home – the perfect blend of classic charm with modern functionality.

5. We bought our dream property

We finally found, bought and moved into our dream home. Now this might sound like a bit of a personal one, but this is particularly relevant for Lou Projects as it will be the new hub, with plans for a big shed to be built to house our very own office space, workshop and showroom. Exciting things to come! Watch this space. 


So what’s in the pipeline for the year ahead? Our main focus is still on delivering high quality products. I intend to expand our presence on the Central Coast as one of the leading builders for quality, communication and high performing homes. This will include an exciting new build in Dulwich Hill. This will be a challenging and fulfilling project – I’ve always wanted to do a CLT project, to full PassivHaus standards, and in collaboration with some fantastic architects at Alexander Symes Architect.

We’ll be growing our staff with intention and care. I’m excited to bring on a full time Project Manager in the middle of the year, and train one of the current staff members to help with estimating. This will allow the team to grow and expand in new ways, and for my attention to be more honed in on growth and acquisitions. 

Part of this growth will include the launch of a new website and brand new service – Lou Homes. This is our range of pre-designed homes, and our answer for affordable, yet sustainably designed and built ‘project homes’. So stay tuned for that! 

Finally, thank you to everyone who contributed to making 2023 a remarkable year – clients, team members, subcontractors, suppliers, and all those in between. Thank you.



This is inspired by a recent post we saw from Carland Constructions talking about what it means to be a sustainable builder. We’ve spoken about what sustainability means to us in a previous post,...

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