Life spent in building very rewarding
Morrinsville builder Graeme Farrell has notched up 30 plus years in the building industry, concentrating mainly on new homes, house renovations, smaller jobs as well as regular maintenance.
Situated in the heart of Waikato, Graeme extends his services over his home-town, Cambridge, Huntly as well as some projects in Waihi, where he had a beach house.
“I always wanted to be a builder and got into the trade soon as I left school and by the time I was 19 years old I was out on my own,” Graeme explains. Though he’s tucked a few years building into his life Graeme’s proud of the fact that everyday he’s on the tools. He runs a small team – two qualiﬁed chippies and trialling an apprentice. “There’s always been four of us, it means that we can respond to smaller jobs while carrying on with a major project.”
Graeme says 2017 was very good, with a couple of really large projects, with one of these valued at over $1 million.
When Business North spoke with Graeme he and the team had just completed adding a second storey on a home in Waihi Beach.
Very much of the belief that it is best to stick with what you do well and to secure long-lasting professional relationships that extend over many years, Graeme has just farewelled his architect.
“It’s suited me to just have the one architect but now he has decided to go farming so I am looking to engage another local one ideally.”
When asked for his assessment of the state of the home building sector, Graeme says the impact group housing companies have had on small owner-operated entities such as his has been marked.
“Fifteen or so years ago we used to dabble in spec work but these days, when a subdivision is opened up, the majority of sections are bought by group housing companies.
“This is why I’ve tended to stay away from that type of build to just concentrating on one-off higherend architecturally designed homes.”
Having been in the industry so long a high percentage of Graeme’s work these days is repeat business, so he tends to take on building second and subsequent homes.
To balance the big projects that can extend over several months, Graeme also offers his building skills on smaller renovation and extension-type work as well as a maintenance programme.
Looking to the future Graeme intends to keep working on the tools for as long as he enjoys it. Half a day a week however is devoted to dealing with the necessary administration and assisting him with this is Lauren who he says is worth her weight in gold.
“She is extremely competent and keeps me focused on the compliance-side of the business.”
Graeme says the building industry is a good one for keen young students to consider getting involved with.
“Gaining a qualiﬁcation in a trade can enable you to work across multiple sectors within the construction industry and to be your own boss, if you have the right attitude and are prepared to work hard,” he says.
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