Putting quality ahead
A little over 30 years ago, Tom Fitzgerald founded T & N Fitzgerald, a company providing specialised services to the construction industry including civil engineering and concrete construction services. When they first started out they worked principally in Victoria, and most of their work was in the bridge construction industry as a specialised subcontractor. Today, Fitzgerald Constructions undertakes numerous bridgeworks and civil concrete construction works as both a principal contractor and a subcontractor to several multinational contractors.
Tom began his career as a carpenter and later became a site foreman for several different construction companies before he started his own. Later, Tom changed the name of his company to Fitzgerald Constructions Australia. This change in name was a very small alteration in comparison to future endeavours.
Building on the foundation
As Fitzgerald Constructions grew in size and reputation, Tom saw the need for expansion. “Mr. Fitzgerald recognised the requirement to introduce new skills, management, and experience to enable the company to further achieve success and recognition in the construction industry and to position it, to seize upon future opportunities,” says Bruce McCraken, one of the Managing Directors at Fitzgerald Constructions. It was at this time that Tom enlisted the expertise and knowledge of Mr. Romeo D’Amato and Mr. Bruce McCraken as equity partners in 1999.
“Both of us were known within the industry as being responsible for the development, improvement in professionalism, integrity and growth of companies we had been associated with,” says McCraken. “We brought to the already well positioned Fitzgerald a wealth of experience and knowledge with the prime objective of structuring the company and one that, not only is known for its engineering excellence, competitiveness and professionalism – but also one that is the choice of our clients.”
With their skills, Fitzgerald Constructions was able to expand to a whole new level, and work as a principal contractor in a wide range of markets.
Tom still remains within Fitzgerald Constructions as the site director and he monitors all site activities. However, the introduction of this new management structure has allowed Fitzgerald Constructions to grow their company to that of one which is both well-known and trusted by name. “This enhanced company structure offered the industry a fresh approach to a wide variety of services and with their combined resources, has the further ability to undertake major construction so that this relatively young company can also become a genuine competitor to the larger construction companies operating in the industry,” says Bruce.
The expanded management team did just that. Fitzgerald Constructions grew to be a highly sought after construction company in the industry. In recent years, the company has introduced an Integrated Management System (IMS) that they implement for every project. Their IMS assists them in “doing it right the first time” and ensuring the quality of their projects is an enduring reflection of their commitment to excellence. Their IMS also ensures that every member of their team return home each day in the same health as when they arrived to work. Their ability to hand over a completed project from end to end, has also given them a reputation as a company that is extremely efficient at what they do. “Clients have sought a company in the market that is able to undertake civil works such as bridge construction, wharf demolition & construction, as well as general concrete construction projects,” Bruce says. They are also looking for a single Principle Contractor “with the added ability to undertake such works with a direct labour force and resources rather than through numerous strings of subcontractors.” This means that when clients come to Fitzgerald Constructions they know that the costs involved are more tightly controlled and that all the work is being run by a single operator. This means that Fitzgerald Constructions has much better client interfacing capabilities and pricing than many of its competitors. Contrary to other large construction companies Fitzgerald Constructions does not enlist the help of many different subcontractors. With a focus on personal relations, they try to keep their network relatively small. “Fitzgerald obtains a large percentage of its work on the basis of controlling our destiny. This is achieved by undertaking the majority of contract works with our labour and plant,” says Bruce. Unlike their competitors, Fitzgerald Constructions take on jobs with their own equipment, and their own direct staff and employees. They recognise the constant challenge of finding skilled labour and dedicated employees. For this reason, they have implemented an assessment based rewards program for their senior level staff members.
Recognising success Over the past 12 years Fitzgerald Constructions has become one of the leading specialised engineering and construction companies in Victoria. They take great pride in providing their clients with quality work that are within their budgets, and doing it all on time.
“We are not turnover driven,” says Bruce. “We take on new projects only when we have the personnel to manage and implement projects. We have in the past refused to commence new projects because our management structure has been fully committed.” It is a matter of quality over quantity for Fitzgerald Constructions and this is no secret to their customers. Clients are able to put their trust in Fitzgerald Constructions, says Bruce. “We pride ourselves on obtaining work through repeat business. This has been the strength of the company and it has been achieved by operating in an open and honest manner, being prepared to offer freely alternate solutions to difficult problems and by completing works on time,” says Bruce.
Fitzgerald Constructions has completed many multi-million dollar projects. Their clients include a range of reputable blue chip parties, who appreciate their innovation and ability to keep their promises when completing projects. These clients chose Fitzgerald Constructions for a reason. They appreciate their quality in addition to their promise. Fitzgerald Constructions ensures that their clients will be pleased with an innovative and quality solution for their project, both within their timeframes and budgets. A few of these projects include the Federation Square, the Waterfront City Development for the ING Bank, construction of twin bridges over the Murray River at Albury for the Abi Group, and construction of the Yarra River pedestrian bridge as part of the new Melbourne convention centre for Brookfield Multiplex. “With these projects and others that have been successfully completed, Fitzgerald has and will continue to achieve significant advancement in its engineering expertise and will continue to strive for excellence in this field,” says Bruce.
The new Convention Centre Yarra Bridge, which was contracted by the Victoria state government, has become a new landmark bridge for the city of Melbourne. The bridge provides an important pedestrian and cycle link from the convention centre and its associated hotel, retail, commercial, and residential developments to the docklands in the north and to the north bank of the Yarra River. Visually, the bridge is a striking contemporary design that is able to minimise the visual impact upon the river with its clear glass balustrades, while still emphasising the area with its elegant steel structural arches.
With all the success they have had it is wonderful to see the ways in which Fitzgerald Constructions has given back to their community. In addition to donating to many respected charity organisations and participating in charity drives, they are also creating assets for the use of the community. Fitzgerald Constructions also helps students who have aspirations on becoming engineers. They offer their staff to different educational institutions to give lectures about their current works, industry issues, and career management. This type of input is vital for two reasons. Firstly, it provides information from a ground level that they might not otherwise be exposed to, and secondly it can create interest in the skilled labour industry that Fitzgerald represents. For students and educators that are interested in hands on experience they arrange site visits so that graduates can witness real life projects. This allows them to better appreciate and view the possibilities of their future career path.
Continuing growth and expansion
Fitzgerald Constructions has no plan to slow down anytime soon. “Fitzgerald has and will continue to achieve significant advancement in its engineering expertise and will continue to strive for excellence in this field,” says Bruce. They have definite plans for growth and expansion into adjacent and complementary markets. Additionally, they will continue to foster and develop strategic alliances and partnerships within the industry. Fitzgerald Constructions understands and embraces the idea that slow and steady wins the race. While they have every intention of growing their company, they are in no rush. According to Bruce, they want to “continue to develop new clients, growing in a steady and controlled manner.” At no point in their operations will they compromise their quality or integrity for the sake of getting a contract. It is this philosophy that has made Fitzgerald Constructions such a well respected and trusted name within the industry.