Businesses in various industries are greatly influenced by continually developing technological advancements. This is true for the construction and development sector, especially as the previous year came with plenty of challenges for all. Businesses that survived from the year prior, owed to their grit, resilience, and willingness to embrace the new and refine the old.
Top-Notch Construction started as a small renovation company in 2009, built by the duo of Engr. Ruben Quintal Jr. and his business partner and wife Donnabel Mercurio Villorea Quintal. What inspired the massive growth of this company as one of the leading names in high-end residential construction today is built on the foundation of quality assurance and innovation.
The Start of Humble Beginnings
Mr. and Mrs. Quintal’s success is owed to their efficiency in working as partners. While Mrs. Quintal started with marketing, sales, drafting, and other clerical works, she eventually shifted to managing the finance and accounting side of the business. On the other side of the project, Engr. Ruben looked toward investing in efforts that would emphasize better planning and scheduling of his projects. This allowed him to diligently commit to multiple projects while paying close attention to quality control.
Engr. Quintal notes that “Our vision is to be a company that delivers products and services of the highest quality, and ‘top-notch’ is a word that best describes this goal for the business.” With this goal in mind, the duo has made pitstops in their company’s forward trajectory to invest in sister companies to help them develop their workflow.
After converting their single enterprise of Top-Notch Construction to a fully-fledged corporation in 2015, they built Top-Most Hardware Corporation in 2016, Top-Works Builders in 2018, and Prefab Homes Philippines Corporation in 2019. These were strategic business decisions to optimize their capacity as a company to improve aspects like supplier acquisition and client development.
The Evolving Process of Collaboration
In any collaborative project, teamwork plays a crucial role in its success. After all, every well-oiled machine needs different parts working their best, and the same is true for thriving businesses. This is why construction and design firms require more than just one niche specialist to get the job done. To name a few of the core employees of Top-Notch, Ar. Loren and Ar. Rap have been two of the longest partners Engr. Quintal has had in developing Top-Notch Construction’s growth.
Just recently, Ar. Rapunzel spearheaded the development of the Tagaytay Project (42M), a 3-storey Condotel Building with a floor area of 1200 sq. m., a lot size of 800.00 sq.m., featuring six to one studio units. Guests have the liberty of choosing between two and three bedroom units, lavishly decorated with jacuzzis. It’s a mountain of a project that’s far from modest. However, the magnitude of the project isn’t anything to be belittled. Ar. Rapunzel notes that “especially in big projects, one must be detail-oriented because one mishap may cause trouble to other collaborators. Consultation and constant discussions are needed to ensure that every part of the project will the other parts.”
Collaboration with clients is always an essential process in construction projects, whether the output is for commercial or residential use. “In my case I always value each suggestion of our clients, their needs & wants, discuss possible ideas in developing the plans & designs. Afterward, the first step in the process is developing the schematic design where we present preliminary designs and plans with the approximate cost of the project.” Ar. Rapunzel adds. “As the designer, one must consider their suggestions to make sure that the project push thru without problems, open communication, and patience is always the key. If a problem arises, always talk thru it to easily find solutions to resolve it.”
“As the designer, one must consider their suggestions to make sure that the project push thru without problems, open communication and patience is always the key.
For Ar. Loren, a lot of the process comes from meeting clients halfway. Ar. Loren notes that “We have to step into the client’s perspective. Adapt and propose how to make it better. That’s the proper way of dealing with clients. Depending on the lifestyle of the client and the budget, I usually meet the clients halfway while fitting it within the budget”
Ar. Loren adds to this approach by learning how to listen to the clients, to know their story, personality, and preferences. “At the end when the clients are satisfied with the result and thankful for all the team’s effort, that’s the most fulfilling moment for us.” Says Ar. Loren.
The Importance of Refining Workflows
Besides Top-Notch Construction’s customer-centric approach in their service, one of their key foundations to success is a streamlined workflow. Many businesses have incorporated digital tools to improve their service, from logistics providers to local restaurants. These are all necessary additions to encourage better service quality. This is a feature that Top-Notch Construction excels at.
“Many of our operations are now online, from attendance checking to project checking. These are all necessary to improve the quality of our service.” Engr. Ruben adds, “Nowadays, everything is streamlined online, which is why we invested an IT team to set up tools requisition, budget procurement, site inspection systems, and other IT solutions.” His commitment to improving the foundations of his company’s workflow is this dedication to welcome technology as an integral part of making his best people be their best.
Engr. Ruben’s decisions in improving the company are grounded in his knowledge of the basics. “One of the advantages of being a construction and design company is our deep knowledge on construction, from the materials down to the implementation of various processes. We get to balance the aesthetics and costing of projects to fit,” says Engr. Ruben. After all, technology can only do so much to enhance a company’s workflow. This is why he doesn’t discount the value of human resources in guiding his team. Besides IT solutions, he also employs a dedicated quality control civil engineer, especially for structural works, to check every nook and cranny of a site.
The Value of Investing in Good People
At the core of every company is its people, and the same can be said with Top-Notch Construction’s team. Engr. Quintal notes that “The most important part in project management is having a good team. This is why we really filter our backbone employees, and even incentivize them through profit sharing and increasing their stakes in the company.”
Engr. Quintal realized that many young professionals put a focus on learning different trades in the industry without investing in innovation. He says that ”Our architects in the Phillippines, once they get the training they need, they opt for greener pastures. This prevents them from refining what they’ve learned or building roots with their employers.” This is why he reinforces the need to build a workplace that invests in retaining good people.
“At the end when the clients are satisfied with the result and thankful for all the team’s effort, that’s the most fulfilling moment for us.”
He sets up robust infrastructures that develop good project managers. This helps them to get the
experience they need while receiving the compensation they deserve as part of a bigger team. Ar. Loren reiterates this by saying that “It is the team’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the occupants and workers. That is what a team is, and that is what we are in Top-Notch; we build as a team.”
The Benefit of Welcoming Innovation
It can be difficult to project your growth as a professional, even more so with a company. Besides measuring your own skills and limitations, it’s also necessary to pay attention to industry trends and changes with the times.
Nevertheless, the drive to learn is a timeless and healthy habit to have. Ar. Loren likens this to her experience in the industry as a working professional. She states that “For me, education doesn't end in school. One must continually learn to stay at the forefront of materials, systems, and technology. Think out the box, make designs for others to enjoy.
“One of the advantages of being a construction and design company is our deep knowledge on construction, from the materials down to the implementation of various processes. We get to balance the aesthetics and costing of projects to fit.”
Top-Notch construction has come a long way from running operations directly from Engr. Ruben’s humble home. Since then, the company has built several offices across the country in Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan, and Metro Manila to accommodate different local clients.
As much as the company developed over the years, expansion wasn’t the primary goal of Engr. Quintal. Instead, he focused on improving aspects of his business to be more competitive. Engr. Ruben notes that “What I can attribute to the success is that we are honest people, we deal fairly with our clients, that’s why they keep coming back to us.” His commitment to customer-centric service, quality workmanship, and top-of-theline materials build the foundation of his company’s success, which goes to show that paying attention to detail, refining processes, and embracing innovation are values every professional should develop to face the challenges of the future. D+C