Tuesday, 31 May 2011


Hi ya! My name's Mark Sperry, I'm a builder based In Hinckley, Leicestershire.

I have been in the building trade for 27years. I started bricklaying for a local building company constructing commercial properties. During the 'Thatcher'-era, people were encouraged to go self-employed, so that's what I did and having just bought our first property, every little of extra cash really helped.

At that point I was asked by a former site foreman to sub-contract on bricklaying on extensions with him and his business partner. We had a great working relationship and enjoyed many years of keeping busy, serving lots of customers, enhancing properties, but then the recession hit in the early nineties and work dried up.
We then had to part company and I had to recommence generating my own work, doing small jobs and working occasionally on building sites. Times were tough with a constant uncertainty, but it's times like this that help you in the long-term. You become more focused on what you really want to do and either make or break, I stuck with it.

Then I was asked by my first ever employers to sub-contract on new builds and commercial developments, which was a good time, but I also started to get restless and wanted to go self-employed again to build my own path going forward and started to do extra work before I could 'go it alone' again.

10 years on, I still love what I'm doing and I haven't looked back.

As well as building homes for families and constructing better environments for people to work in, I have also built my own beautiful family with Rachel my wife and our two daughters Chloe and Betsy. To make the family unit complete, there's Dillon our handsome chocolate Labrador (Did you know that they have webbed paws?)

 Rachel and me!

 Betsy and Chloe - They'll kill me when they see this!

 Dillon, webbed paws out of shot.

This builders staple diet.

Monday, 23 May 2011

A walk in the park?

I consider myself lucky to live opposite a beautiful park and enjoy taking my dog Dillon over there most days, to walk round it's mini golf course, bowling green and tennis courts which are sat amongst well maintained and beautiful flowerbeds.
Recently one evening I was pleasantly surprised to see a young lad digging over the borders, while waiting for Dillon to catch up I watched him stand back and proudly admire the work he had achieved. Most nights I see him pottering around tending to the gardens, but I think his actual job is working on the kiosk.

As there is such a lack of apprenticeships throughout all of our industries I hope he has the determination to push himself into what he wants to do and not be another youngster who's talents aren't utilised to their fullest for his own fulfillment and contributing to society, he's clearly making a good start.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Tradition versus contemporary..

After watching the new art center and home for the art college being developed not far from my own house, I can't help but notice how little brickwork there is, especially when compared to when I was working on commercial builds, bricklaying around twenty years ago. Back then it was all brickwork/block work with the occasional bit of cladding from the tops of doors to the roof line.
I now look at this very modern development it's bright yellow render and contemporary cladding that changes colour depending upon the angle you approach the building from and it has quite a significant mass of glass at the ground floor level, more akin to a city development, than a small town.

Being a bit of a traditionalist, I initially struggled at first to except this modern concoction, but as time has gone by and the building has come together, I really enjoy looking at it and feel it will breathe some much needed life into this small town.

I genuinely look forward to seeing its completion.

I now work mostly on domestic buildings, new-builds, extensions and alterations, but this building does make me wonder how the domestic market will develop too. For example, will the traditional extension where we build it as sympathetically as possible with the original building slowly make way for a more modern look?