Michael Fahey

Here to build that home you dreamed of.

Being the boss doesn’t mean you can’t be mates too.

I must have started in 99′. No, it was 98’… I finished school in 97′ then came to Sydney and started a job… I can’t even remember who it was with? His name was Brandon? I think it was Brandon’s Home Maintenance Service?

Virtue Projects’co-founder Michael Fahey didn’t really land on his feet when he started his career in building, making the daunting journey from Forster to Sydney only to return home soon after.

I wasn’t learning anything, so I went back to Forster and started an apprenticeship with Mick Schumann (CORR Building). He was building some high quality homes for residential clients, so this was when I really began to learn my trade and how to be a decent carpenter.

It was on CORR Building’s jobs, under the tutelage of Mick and Mick’s brother Ronnie that Michael had the opportunity to build up his skills and learn from tradesmen with a wealth of knowledge and experience. But the good fortune to work with such tradesmen not only resulted in Michael becoming a great carpenter in his own right, it also created friendships that have since stretched far beyond the silt-fence of the job site.

Ronnie is still one of my best mates today, and still such a great builder… Mick was always managing the bigger picture stuff like: quoting jobs, arranging sites and making sure that everything went as planned… while Ronnie definitely helped me develop my experience with the hammer in my hand, since building up Virtue Projects from a small crew of 3, I have definitely understood the pressures of being responsible like Mick was back then.

Focusing mostly on residential work in Forster during this time of apprenticeship, once his apprenticeship was completed Michael ended up moving back to Sydney, working for a new building company, and doing his Builder’s Licence at Randwick TAFE by night. Today he is the co-owner of a growing business that has a large crew of carpenters ready to build the homes that people in Sydney have been dreaming of…

The journey from apprentice, to carpenter, to residential builder was relatively simple for Michael, as it is much the same for others in the industry. After a stint focusing more on larger commercial jobs for big developers such as Hutchies in Bondi Junction and other developers across Sydney, the focus today is very much on working closely with the best architects in Sydney on renovations, second-storey additions and new builds that inspire.

The bigger commercial stuff has been good to us, but the team has really been craving some more creative developments that excite them… we are still keeping the door open on commercial projects, but we are super amped that the team is focused and keen to make some beautiful homes for clients.

Michael and Virtue Building co-founder Dave Klees sharing an after work ale or two…

Over time, many of the foremen who originally worked for DL Constructions ended up branching out to other companies and this is where the growth of Virtue Projects got its second wind: because both Dave and Michael had such good working relationships with these guys onsite (and because their work was of a high standard), many of these original contacts are now working for the clients that are helping them grow even more so today.

We are really happy with our decision to focus on this short term labour hire option as we don’t have the stress of managing whole builds, which is so different to what other builders we know have to go through.

Dave and I focused on growing our great team of chippies over these past few years, and for me, it is great to have a team of blokes who are as much mates as co-workers. It makes the job site such a better place to be.

Virtue Projects has a portfolio of projects built up over many years. To create such a portfolio of work while working as a team of friends and peers is the icing on the cake for Michael.

It is a business of course, but the feeling within the company is one of a bunch of mates building things together and enjoying it all, rather than workers struggling and hating life.

One of the secrets to our success so far is that not only are our guys good at their jobs, they are also likable people who are easy to get along with too; our clients actually like having our guys on their job sites and that is a big deal for us.

We are really stoked with our guys and we are so happy to have them on this journey with us too.

It’s quite rare to have real mateship between employer and employee, but Virtue Projects might be exceptional in this respect. But given Michael’s career of working with employers who were also his friends, is it any wonder that this is how Virtues Projects operates?