Focus on quality not quantity
Since making the decision to return to building, having lectured up-and-coming construction students for several years, Mark Kitchin has grown his Palmerston North building business up to a team of twenty.
It’s a size he’s comfortable with and it means he can maintain a focus on quality rather than quantity of work taken on.
“I’ve always been keen to employ apprentices and see them on their building career pathway “With a lecturing background I’ve found that keeping them on for 8000 hours brings about positive outcomes for them in terms of pride in their work and setting them up to continue well,” says Mark.
Taking on a project manager has rationalised the company’s structure, freeing Mark to oversee and involve himself in engaging with architects, clients, pricing and ensuring the quality of work the company has built its reputation on is maintained.
This year, success has also come about in the form of a silver award in the Resene New Home Up To $450,000 category in the Manawatu/Whanganui region Master Builders House of the Year competition.
The three bedroom home at Foxton Beach boasts a combination of James Hardie linear and stria vertical cladding. “I think the Omega windows we used went well with the products. Inside, the Methven taps and the Quick Step flooring are great features”, said Mark.
Judges noted how well the house was designed, with flexibility to accommodate visitors and a lovely ensuite attached to the master bedroom.
Lighting has been put to good use with recessed ceilings in the living spaces highlighted.
When asked what lay ahead in terms of projects in 2019, Mark says he and the team are looking forward to a completely ‘different build’ to any house they have ever constructed, starting in the new year.
Some ideas include doing away with down lights, instead using glass portions in the roof and Canterbury Prickle cladding with the guttering at the foundation of the house.
“It’s a very complex build and will take a lot of man hours to actually complete.”
Amak has also been undertaking builds on hillsides requiring substantial earth-works to be completed before the foundations can be constructed. “It’s like we have had to go backwards to go forwards, given the terrain.”
Mark describes Palmerston North and surrounds as a boom area in terms of growth in housing. His company also takes on commercial work throughout the region.
When Business Central caught up with Mark he had two projects on his books – a 2000sqm build in Levin and a 700sqm one in Palmerston North.
“I find it important for apprentices to do most of their time on residential but still swing into commercial projects to gain those experiences,” says Mark.
He describes the key factor in the company’s success since establishing in 2013 as down to its good old-fashioned family values.
“We’re very much a team who work in closely on projects and take equal pride in seeing a job well done and in providing great service to our clients,” says Mark.
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