Construction Experience

I was on a building site by age four. I am in blue and my sister is in red. We are having a site meeting, obviously. The site. Old Bar Road, Taree.Web_oldbarRdconstruction.jpg
This photo gives new meaning to the term 'doing housework'. My sister was standing on our front stairs. I will hasten to add the only purpose the house was serving at that time was for HSC study and for piano practice.WebBelmontHusvork.jpg
The following is de-construction. I removed by hand the enamel someone had had painted this car with. At this time I was working for my father helping him fix cars.Webmycar.jpg
I finshed My architecture degree and my sister started working for Ove Arup in Sydney. Then my sister and I had a crazy idea. Let's build a house. I was the "owner builder". Had a sign to prove it. The results of this effort are in the project section under Own House. The site Pennant Hills.Web_buildinghills.jpg

I have in my hand an implement to remove nails. I am passing it to my sister. My sister has just bent another nail. Well! They were twisty nails into well seasoned hardwood joists! The problem was the nail would travel well throught the plywood but when it hit the change in density it would want to bend, a bit light a ray of light when it changes from air to water bends. My brother and I are measuring for the next floor sheet. I was about to use the tape measure beside my foot to mark the sheet and the power saw (to the right) to cut it. Beside my foot is my hammer. I still own this hammer. My site footware is not ideal.

My construction experience is varied and basically responds to my father's projects.

My Father is a mechanic but not being one to refuse challenges, my parents first house was one they moved. All the time we lived at Taree from age 3 to 7 I remember construction. (Also a snake, a large spider and a lopped VW Combi van). When we moved to Tuncurry I remember sleeping in a hallway with exposed timber frames (and the bush rats). At Forster I remember helping stand up frames on at least three houses. I remember helping pull building materials up a steep driveway for a renovation we did there.

But things really strated taking off when we moved to Belmont. Proffesionals helped us move a house. I remember helping with the frames for the extension there and painting the back wall in the afternoon sun while Pat Cash played some tennis final.

Then my father moved the house. We built the extensions to that while I was completing architecture. I graduated at this time to be allowed to use the power saw. We core filled by hand the fire rated wall. I remember singing wth my brother and sister Paul Anka's "lonely boy" 200mm block work 30 odd linear metres at 2.8m high. We decided after this to use Y-tong (its like Hebel). New on the market. Wonder block!

We did as a team everything except the brick work. I remember we were helping move bricks for the bricklayer when the news came through we were at war with Saddam in the Gulf.

Over the next years I helped off and on build 300m2 or so of commercial space. Mostly being on one end of a screed for the concrete pours for the slabs and bolting off steel purlins. My Father discovered the beauty of purlins. Then we did the roofing. You hold the drill straight and control the speed not too fast not too slow. And never over drive. We then some years later took up all the roof sheet and put in white backed insulation blanket. I remember hanging in space leaning out to tie off the mesh using a screwdriver. We in groups of three lifted back the sheets, laid the mesh, laid the insulation and if we were lucky we found teh same holes. And we did to make too many splits. We learnt not to walk on the ridges of a sheet. Ever.

We built on weekends and holidays the house at Pennant Hills. Up at 5.30. At work on site by 8am. We worked till sundown and back to Newcastle. Took a while to build that house. We did all ourselves except we employed people to do the brickwork, the roof sheet and gutter, the plumbing, the plasterboarding, tiling, the kitchen, and we helped our uncle and cousin do the electrical. He taught us how to strip a wire and how to design a circuit.

Most recently. I helped my sister do some cladding of a house she is renovating. I helped my brother pour his concrete slabs. Lot of fun that. The concrete pump jammed. I had to help the guys load the barrows to wheel it in.