“When I run over the day’s work, I want to feel that I’ve done the best work possible.”
Meet Mark Fitzgerald, builder, boss and family man. Self-confessed tunnel-visioned perfectionist.
“I lie awake at night working out construction problems in my head. I’ve always been driven to do a job better than how I was taught to do it or shown by someone else. I suppose I’m a perfectionist. I just want everything to be right. I won’t rest until I’m happy with the construction.
“If the building regs say the minimum size of timber or thickness for something, I’ll probably want to use something bigger, better or stronger. I could increase my profit margins by doing the minimum but that’s not how I operate.”
In fact, he may well be the only builder I’ve met who says he refunds customers if materials cost less than he originally quoted and was paid for. Which isn’t often these days, he says, given the spiralling cost of materials. Still, it’s a refreshing approach.
With his passion for quality in everything he does and his open, likeable manner, it’s not difficult to see why he’s always in demand. Customer recommendations are plentiful, and he and the team are often invited back to people’s homes for barbeques and gatherings to mark the end of a project.
When you see Mark with his team together, it’s obvious that they’re his second family – not in the literal sense (although one of them is his uncle) but in the sense that they’re a close-knit bunch with a strong bond who work together in sync. His right-hand man, Neil, has worked with him for 17 years and they have an easy affinity. I suggest they are more like brothers, and Mark jokes that despite just a 10-year age gap it’s more like father and son because of all the advice he gives Neil.
“The whole crew have been with me for years and we look after each other. We know each other well and it just works. I think we enjoy coming to work because we get along and all love what we do.”
Mark started out learning how to lay patios and bricklaying over 25 years ago, so you could say he learned from the ground up. He rapidly developed his skills in all aspects of construction and confesses to being one of those annoying people who only need to see something done once to grasp it. He’s been running his own successful business, MJF Builders Ltd, for 17 years, loves his job can’t imagine doing anything else.
When he’s not building for other people, he’s usually working on his own home which he has been extending and perfecting for the last year or two. His other passion is his family, and he has two young daughters who keep him on his toes.
“I go to work, I do the best job I can, and I look after my family,” he says. “When I’m at work I’m the boss; when I’m at home not so much,” he laughs.
Mark’s other projects designed by Carl include: