Is Fix It Up shop fitting the future of construction?




 

Burrito Bar, Fix It Up, shop fitting, shop fitter
Fix It Up shop fitting completed Burrito Bar.

When I first got in touch with Fix It Up shop fitting, I checked out their website, and my attention was immediately grabbed; they do ‘upholstery!’ That is not the only thing that’s listed, everything from joinery, to stainless fabrication and sign writing. I assumed they were talking about using subcontractors, the same as every other builder and shop fitter. But upholstery, on the other hand, is one thing I can see going hand in hand with joinery and shop fitting.

Upholstery, Fix It Up, shop fitting, shop fitter
Fix It Up shop fitting do upholstery, in-house?

So, I got in touch thinking I would have a chat over the phone and get to ask a few questions about the upholstery. I was thinking a shop fitter doing upholstery would make a great story. Instead of a phone call, Rou invited me for my very own private tour of their workshop. Now, how could I say no to an offer like that?

Before I meet with Rou, I was running early, so I grabbed a coffee at a little café around the corner and reviewed his website again. Their website definitely states they do the shop fitting, upholstery, joinery, stainless fabrication and sign writing in-house. I am still thinking they sub-contract out most of the work, just the same as all builders, right?

Do Fix It Up shop fitting really do everything in-house?

Once sitting with Rou, we started off chatting about some of their current projects. Then he mentioned that they do everything in-house, of course, I questioned what he meant by everything.

“Yes, we do everything in-house, we don’t use sub-contractors expect for plumbers and electricians’’. My immediate thought, “Holy shit, this could be the next generation of business, this could very well be the future of construction.” Here is a is a guy in his 20’s telling me they do everything “in-house.

Just think about that for a minute, they do joinery, they do upholstery, they do all metal fabrication, and they do sign writing; all in-house.

Think about the training that goes into all their staff; they are training their staff to be tradesmen. I mean, old school tradesmen. Real tradesmen, tradesmen that aren’t niched down specialists in a portion of a trade.

Now, I know to a lot of us that have been around the industry for a while are thinking “this is a recipe for disaster, there are too many moving parts, too many things to keep on top of.” From what I saw and experienced, Rou and Hossein (Rou’s father) and the Fix It Up team could very well be the ones to redefine what it currently means to operate a construction company. By this I mean, they now control just about all the variables. They are no longer held by third party subcontractors organisation skills.

Long lead items, like custom-made furniture and stainless steel cooking equipment, now become a thing of the past. Not only do they remove most of the long lead items, all the pre-determining that goes with the long lead items suddenly disappear.

Fix It Up is built on solid foundations

Fix It Up, Burrito Bar, shop fitting, shop fitter
Fix It Up’s recently completed Burrito Bar dining room.

How Fix It Up shop fitting got to this point is all on the back of Hossein’s diversity as a tradesman. Starting out as a one-man maintenance company, Hossein was working as the maintenance man for different food outlets. That is when Rou teamed up with Hossein, Rou took to cold calling hundreds of food outlets asking if Fix It Up could build for them. Rou took the time to get his hands dirty, putting in the hard work. Rou has taken the business from one-off projects to being the preferred contractor to some of Australia’s more recognisable food franchises.

As Rou’s background is in psychology, he has brought with him a fresh view of shop fitting. And it’s with this fresh view that’s been built on Hossein’s craftsmanship which is taking Fix It Up from strength to strength. As Fix It Up shop fitting grows they are now looking to expand into Melbourne and Sydney. It is exciting times for the Fix It Up team.  It will be great to come back in the future to see how business is progressing.

Fix It Up website:  www.fixitup.com.au

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0410 829 334

Hutchinson Builders dominating Brisbane’s skyline




Hutchinson Builders or more affectionately known as Hutchies, have capitalised on the building boom that is taking place in Brisbane, Australia.  For the last few years, the skyline of Brisbane has been littered with tower cranes completing in this current round of high-rise construction.

Hutchinson Builders, tower cranes, Brisbane
Some of Hutchinson Builders tower cranes around Brisbane.

On any given day, no matter which direction that you look, you can see multiple tower cranes. Back in 2016, I had the pleasure of working in Fortitude Valley.   Standing on the roof, you could look North towards Newstead and count 16 cranes without moving.

Tower cranes, Newstead, Brisbane, Hutchinson Builders
Tower cranes over Newstead, Brisbane.

How many tower cranes are there in Brisbane currently?

According to the RLB Crane Index for the 2nd Quarter of 2017, Brisbane has 81 tower cranes scattered across the skyline. Brisbane’s tower crane count is down from 2016 3rd Quarter of 104 tower cranes. The number of cranes in the sky is the largest number that Brisbane has seen.

There are a lot of other large builders in Brisbane contributing to the current shape of the skyline. Some of the notable large commercial builders include Brookfield Multiplex, Hindmarsh, Icon Co and Mirvac just listing a few.  Then you have an absolute plethora of smaller commercial builders throwing up tower cranes all over the place, companies like Tomkins Commercial & Industrial Builders, Condev, Torre Developments and the list goes on and on.

Hutchinson Builders are everywhere around Brisbane

Hutchinson Builders, Tower cranes, Brisbane
Hutchinson Builders tower cranes over South Bank, Brisbane.

It’s not necessarily that Hutchies are the biggest or the best, they just happen to be the builder with their name everywhere. Travelling the streets of South Bank Parklands district, most of the construction site fencing has Hutchinson Builders banners wrapped around them.

Heading north, the density of cranes begins to lessen. However, the familiar blue and white cranes stand out from the rest. Mostly due to the fact they are the ones standing the tallest. One block in Newstead, Hutchies have had the luxury (or the nightmare) to have three high-rises as next door neighbours.

Hutchinson Builders, Newstead, Tower cranes
Hutchinson Builders well underway, Newstead Brisbane.

The boom in Brisbane caused an interesting event for all subcontractors and tradespeople. With the amount of work available, just about every subcontracting company and tradesperson were able to name their price. You would watch guys wheel their toolbox out of one job site head down the street and walk straight into the neighbouring project.

When a project’s timeline started to lag, finding additional site personnel was near impossible. Mostly, fancy reshuffling of site works was the only option available. Meeting the project’s timeline became an artform, not for the faint hearted.

As we head into the second half of 2017, it will be great to see the current high-rise boom continue; I guess time will tell how long this cycle has left.

3D printing is not the death of construction, we are!




See the problem is not that the construction industry is archaic or 3D printing technology. The fundamentals, which are grounded in science, will never change. Let’s look at the advances over time.

We started with wood, then moved to stone. Now we use concrete and steel. What’s the difference? Not much really. The fundamentals are all exactly the same. A solid foundation, strong walls and then a roof.

Where too from here? Well, in 2000’s we still have a solid foundation, just that we can now dig down further than ever before. This let’s us build higher than ever before, fancier shapes than ever before.

Then this ‘new’ technology came along 3 Dimensional printing of buildings. OMG! Let’s just stop for a second and look at this technology. 3D printers print with conventional construction materials, concrete, polymers, etc. It has a large machine to print with or simply prints smaller modules.

When the Dubai government printed the world’s first office building, and to be clear I am using the term ‘printed’ losely. They used the services of a Chinese company SunWin. Now as the story unfolds, the building was printed in modules, brought to site to be ercted. Which was followed by finishing trades to complete the building. (See links below to reference article and YouTube videos).

Now how is this any different to how we have been building? Its not. Call me a critic, but we are seeing a shift in construction. Why? Because as an industry, we have lost our way. We have broken down our trades so much that we can no longer call tradesmen, ‘Tradesmen.’

We are specialists in our fields. For example, drywall installers (plasterer, setter) once was one trade where one person, fixing (sheeting), taping (setting), sanding, soctia (cornice) install. Guess what, each one of them are now sub-trades. You can call yourself and ‘AND WE’ let people do this, call themselves tradesmen.

It has nothing to do with technology, look at our trends in the last 30years. As business gets tougher and tougher, companies start to niche down, specialize in a small portion of their respective trade.

Where we have failed as an industry, we have highly specialized companies that employ apprentices. That is great for the first year and a half. Now that apprentice is great at one portion of his trade. What happens when they go out into the world as a ‘Tradesmen.’

These poor tradesmen suddenly have a real wake up call. They go out, go to work for another company that specializes in a different section of their trade. The apprentice learned a little of everything will doing his college theory work, but never experienced it in the real world his whole trade.

Here is the problem, the industry just failed him. We just set up another apprentice for failure. We didn’t teach his trade; we gave him an insight into the world of his trade. This is where it all collapses in a heap. This apprentice has now had to learn real quick what he now thinks is his trade ‘by himself’. Now assuming, and I mean assuming he got taught the fundamentals of his trade he may do alright. But what happens when he employs an apprentice?

Now we have a problem. This tradesman, that may or may not be taught the fundamentals is now teaching the next generation of tradesmen. And this has been going on for generation after generation. As business niche’s down, the real victims are the future generations of tradesmen.

When you go back in time, and you only have to go back as far as the 70’s. An apprentice had to do at least 4 years, some trades longer. Now days, you can get a trade certificate in matter of a few years, sometimes quicker. You only have to prove that you ‘know how to’ do something, you don’t even have to show you doing it.

3D printing is not the problem; 3D printing has evolved out of opportunity and leverage of technology. 3D printing buildings don’t have a building built in half the amount of time. Nor does modular buildings result in the building built in half the time.

No, what these new building methods/technologies do, reduce the ‘onsite’ time. Once a wall has been ‘printed,’ it still needs to be finished. Tradesmen are still required to complete finishes, fixtures and everything else.

Modular buildings are the same; they are simply built in a factory, which still takes time. The only difference from the outside, the ‘onsite’ time is reduced. Guess what, everyone in these ‘new’ technologies are marketing their buildings get completed quicker. I dare you to ask what the ‘lead’ time is? Suddenly your onsite time doesn’t look so good; it looks very much the same as a ‘covenantal’ build.

So why the new technology companies? Simple, try finding a good tradesman that knows their entire trade? A tradesman that knows the fundamentals?

They are few and far between, and as the older generations retire, we are screwed. It has nothing to do with technology that is going to disrupt the building industry. Technology is going step in to fill the gap that we have created in our handing down of our trades.

Buildings will always need a foundation, walls, and a roof. Buildings will always need to be maintained over time. There will always be a need for tradesmen. There simply won’t be any tradesmen.

Reference materials

First office building

1- http://newatlas.com/3d-printed-office-dubai-completed/43522/
2- https://youtu.be/a0FNKGTNIhE

Bonn Germany, buildings and construction




I spent about a month in Bonn Germany and got to see a fair amount of the city. The city center is relatively small so walking around is a viable option. Being able to walk around was good as my German language speaking skills didn’t exist.

If you would like to find out about the city, I recommend checking out Wikipedia. And there is a good travel website Wikitravel which lists out all the places to visit, like Beethoven’s home.

As for this article, I have written a caption under each photo to give you an insight into my trip to ‘Bonn, Germany.’

Bonn town map
Nothing like a map of the town center to find your way.
tower crane, Bonn, Bonn germany
Bonn tower cranes #1
Tower crane base, Bonn germany
Love the fact that the crane is sitting on timber.
tower crane, Bonn germany
The first of two tower cranes.
mobile crane, tower crane setup
This mobile crane was setting up a tower crane, lifting over the footpath without CLOSING the footpath.
tower crane, rhine river, bonn germany
Installing a tower crane on the Rhine river.
tower crane, rhine river, bonn germany
The completed tower crane on the Rhine river.
awesome jacket, bonn germany
Love this guys jacket.
piling machine, bonn germany, excavations
This piling machine was sitting on the outside of a 2.5 story hole.
Construction at night, Bonn Germany
Construction sites at night have a certain appeal about them.
Basement construction, commercial building, Bonn Germany
I took a few photos in of this basement from over the fence. One guy beeped his horn at me.

The Rhine river through Bonn

River rhine statues, river rhine
Can you find the three men looking out over the river? I didn’t notice them at first.
Rhine river germany, rhine river
The Rhine river in Bonn looking towards Konigswinter forest.
River boat, Rhine river
Riverboat heading up the Rhine river.

The ‘Love Bridge’

Bridge, river rhine
The River Rhine under what I call the ‘Love bridge’.
Love bridge, Bonn germany
The bridge has padlocks all the way along both sides. Each padlock is engraved with dates and who loves who.
Love bridge, bonn germany
It is a little romantic seeing all the padlocks along the bridge.
Love bridge bonn germany
Some more padlocks on the ‘Love Bridge’. I wonder if the love is still there between the lovers?
Bridge, Bonn germany
The ‘Love Bridge’ or as my friends called it the ‘Green Bridge’ in all its glory.

Cathedral that calls Bonn home

Bonn's Cathedral, Church Bonn germany
Bonn’s Cathedral. I have no idea of its name. Compared to other cities I have visited, this one is a little underwhelming.
Bonn Cathedral, Germany
Bonn’s Cathedral side building. Wait till you see the heads that go with this building.
Bonn Cathedral at night, Bonn Cathedral
Bonn’s Cathedral by night. I think that it looks better personally.
Castle in Bonn
I am guessing this has been left as more as a monument than anything else.

Bonn’s Christmas markets 2017

Bonn Chrsitmas markets, xmas markets germany
Bonn’s Christmas markets had so much ‘Wurst’ it wasn’t funny.
Bonn xmas markets, Germany Christmas markets
There was always a crowd regardless the day of the week. The weekends were the worsts.
Christmas market stalls, Bonn christmas markets
Even the stalls were crowded. The heads on this one moved to corals.

Some of Bonn’s buildings

Bonn's town hall,
Bonn’s town hall stands out. Even without being told this is the town hall you can tell.
Bonn's parliment building, Bonn's government building
Bonn’s government building. Apparently, this was the old parliament building.
UN Building Bonn, Bonn united nations
UN Building, I took a few photos and was expecting to get arrested.
DHL post tower, Bonn DHL
The DHL post tower building can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Bonn.
DHL post tower rear entry, DHL Bonn Germany
DHL post tower has one of the nicest rear entry’s I have seen. No dodgy fire door here.
Old building in Bonn Germany, Building Bonn Germany
Old school timber building in the middle of the city center.
Modern building, Bonn modern architecture
This is a random modern building. My photos don’t do the building justice.
Old buildings at night, night buildings, bonn germany
The old buildings with a little bit of light shining on them come up a treat.

Sculptures throughout Bonn city.

Bonn Rhine river sculpture, Bonn sculptures
This sculpture when I first saw it, I hated it. It has slowly grown on me.
Twin heads, Sculptured heads, Bonn Germany
The twin heads are out the front of Bonn’s Cathedral. They make for so interesting photos.
Bonn sculptures, sculpture Bonn Germany
This is random if you know what it is please let me know.  I think it’s faces stacked on top of each other??
track track Bonn, railroad bonn germany
I got a kick out seeing this on the way to filming one of my earlier videos. I took so many photos of this piece train track.

Random photos of Bonn Germany

Underground walkway, tunnel, Bonn Germany
When I first walked into this tunnel I thought of ‘Rompa Stompa” the movie. I took some photos as this old man was coming down the stairs behind me. I thought he was talking to me, I can’t be sure cause he was talking in German.
Train line, train power line, Bonn Germany
I just thought this was a cool photo. It’s a train line power pole.
designer hand basin, hand basin, Bonn Germany
I know bathroom photos are dodgy. But that had basin is awesome.
Flowers, plants, Bonn Germany
Something a little different. Flowers in the winter.
Snow Bonn, Germany
Not a lot of snow, but that made my morning seeing it.

 

 

 

Tomkins Commercial – Emsworth street apartments




Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, emsworth street apartment, development construction
Tomkins Commercial Emsworth street apartment building.

Emsworth Street apartments were built by Tomkins Commercial and Industrial Builders in 2015.  The building contains 10 units built over three floors.  This was the first project that I got to be the site manager from beginning to end.  Emsworth Street apartments ended up being a steep learning curve for myself.

Working with neighbours

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, zero boundary, development construction
Tomkins Commercial building on the boundary line.

Construction of the building had a couple challenges to overcome.  The first was the zero boundaries down the northern side of the building and rear retaining walls.

Without the cooperation of the neighbours, I am not sure how we would have built out of the ground.  Particularly, with the zero boundary footings and retaining walls backing on the neighbour’s garage.

Overhead power lines

The second challenge was the overhead powerlines at the front of the building.  The building is 6m from the front boundary and 7.5m from the overhead power lines.  Coming out of the ground We could work around the powerlines as the first floor was set back 3m from the upper floors.

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, concrete pump, overhead power lines, development construction
Tomkins Commercial concrete pumping around overhead power lines.

There was room at ground level (first floor) to position cranes and concrete pumps towards the front of the site.  Once the scaffolding was erected we then ran out of room.  Fortunately, the neighbour on the southern side had just sold his property to a developer.  The developer allowed us to rent the property for a short period.  This gave a place to position our cranes and pumps as well as storing materials.

Digging the foundations and drainage was a little challenging as there was rock about 400mm below the ground surface.  All of the footings were required to be bed 200mm into the rock.  This added to the time it took to dig the foundations and created a small amount of tension between some of the neighbours.

As the building went up, there were the usual problems of subcontractors being understaffed, timelines not being meet and the availability of materials.  To help speed up the process, we used high early strength concrete on the suspended floors.  This allowed the internal fit out to commence sooner which helped regain some of our lost time.

No room to work

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, tight work spaces, development construction
Tomkins Commercial working in tight work spaces.

The biggest problem we had was the lack of room on the different levels.  There was no room for loading bays, so everything that the contractors needed were loaded onto the floors.  The block layers had the hardest time trying to work around all their materials.  In the photos, you can see the tight confines that were created by the limited floor space.

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, plasterboard, development construction
Tomkins Commercial plasterboard stacks taking up way too much room.

On level 3, the plasterboard was preloaded before the roof trusses were installed, which caused all sorts of problems.  The plasterboard stacks were huge.  Back propping was left on levels 1 & 2 to minimise the risk the concrete floors being overloaded by the plasterboard.  The back propping did cause a few issues installing the ceilings around the kitchens on level 2.

We managed to estimate the finish heights for the top of the brick fire dividing walls correctly, without any adjustments being made once the trusses were installed.  Getting this height correct doesn’t often happen, so it was good to see the extra time spent had paid off.

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, stair well, development construction
Tomkins Commercial internal stairwell.

The biggest hurdle that we had internally was the scaffolding taking up the entire center stairwell.  The scaffolding was for the rendering and stippled ceilings to be completed before the floor tiling.  Normally, this would have been fine, except the kitchen delivery was late by a few days resulting in a clash.  To the cabinet maker’s credit, they worked around the scaffolding even though it did take them twice as long to deliver the cabinetry.

All in all the project and the team I got to work with were great.  Looking back now, I sometimes wonder why I thought some of the challenges were so difficult.  I guess hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Process photos

Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, wet day, development construction
Tomkins Commercial wet day.
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, concrete formwork, development construction
Concrete formwork being installed for Tomkins Commercial
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, concrete reinforcing, development construction
Tomkins Commercial concrete reinforcing installed ready for engineers inspection.
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, concrete placement, development construction
Tomkins Commercial concrete placement.
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, core fill block walls, development construction
Core filling block walls.
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, timber truss, development construction
Tomkins Commercial timber truss being installed.
Brisbane Queensland Australia builder, Tomkins Commercial, Tomkins commercial and industrial builders, internal fit out, development construction
Tomkins Commercial internal fit out.

Heath Nicholson Builders ‘Round House’




I have been following Heath Nicholson Builders on Instagram for a while now, watching their various projects progress. So I got in touch, asked if I could write an article about one of their projects.

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, aerial photo, house frame, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders aerial photo of frame stage with the guys working.

Heath was more than happy to help out with an article and said that the “Round House” they are currently working was a once in a career opportunity.

Before we get into the project, talking with Heath, in particular asking to write about a project of theirs has been easy. In my experience, people that are willing to help out another person is a credit to that person. A person’s willingness to help others can tell you a lot about how they run their business, and this is no different with Heath.

We have all heard that social media is a powerful marketing tool.  It was social media that prompted this client to contact Heath.

“I won the job because the client saw some of the different types of work we were doing on social media, and called me. She told me she couldn’t actually find any builders in the area to take the job on because it was “too hard.””

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, roof rafters, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders feature roof rafters.

As you look through the photo’s, you can see that it’s not just a straightforward building. As we all can imagine, a circular building is going to be a nightmare. The curved walls have been creating daily challenges, especially being constructed out of timber, steel and brick. We are not talking a nice large gentle radius, the radiuses are tight.

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, curved steel beams, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders curved steel beams.

The level of workmanship that is going into the project is second to none. As we all know doing something right doesn’t take much more time. As Heath said, they are on track and have only be slowed by wet weather.

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, roof rafters, curved roof, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders roof rafters following the round shape of the home.

According to Heath, the openable domed glass roof in the center of the building is going to be fun challenge. The domed glass is currently being designed and will be interesting to see how they make this happen.

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, curved brick wall, round windows, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders curved brick wall with matching round windows.

There have been no specialised subcontractors brought in for this project either. The team that Heath is using are the same contractors he uses on every project. That is a statement of the trust Heath has in his contractors and employees.

This is one of those projects that once finished, will be talked about for a long time.

I am looking forward to seeing this project unfold. If you want to follow along, the best way is to follow on Instagram (@nicholson_builders).   Heath Nicholson Builders is based in Shepparton Victoria Australia.

Heath Nicholson Builders website: www.heathhicholsonbuilders.com.au

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +61 459 999 676

Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, aerial photo, house frame, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders aerial photo of framing and brick walls.
Shepparton Victoria Australia builder, nicholson builders, heath nicholson builders, brick laying, house construction
Heath Nicholson Builders house frame stage and brick laying.

How to structure your building contractors website




What is the purpose of a website for building contractors? Well, the best way to relate to your website like it is a 24-hour shop front. A place people can come and take a look around at your services. What work you have done in the past, check out what other customers have to say about you. All without you having to do any customer service work.

Your website is your opportunity to build credibility with potential customers before they call. How many times have you checked a business out online before you have called them?

When looking for businesses on the internet, you are looking for something in particular; you just want to find the information you are after. It could simply be a phone number, or you may want to see if they have a particular product or service. The same with your potential customers. I say, potential customers, as past customers will likely base their decision to use you on their last experience of working with you.

Being a builder or trade contractor, your website doesn’t need to be flashy with all the bells and whistles. All you need is a nice simple easy to follow website.

There are only a few key pages you will need for your website.

  • Homepage
  • Services page
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Blog (optional)

An optional extra is to include a blog on your website. A blog is like a roll of articles that you can add too over time. A blog gives you an opportunity to write about services in more detail and past projects. It is also a place for you to write about frequently asked questions. By linking to these articles to other pages on your site helps to start to build a relationship with potential customers.

Before we get into what each page contains, there are a couple of sections that remain the same on each page.

Header Section

Website header layout, website header, building contractors website layout
Website header layout

In the header section you have your company name and/or logo your logo. You will have your business phone number and a menu which lists the different pages on your site. The menu usually only lists the main pages, for example, home page, services page, about page and contact page.

Body Section

Website layout, body layout, building contractors website layout
Website page body layout

The body section is where you place all the content (content is images and text) that is relevant to that page. In the text, it is always good to link to other pages on your website. Linking makes it easy for people to move around your website while keeping engaged in whatever caught their attention.

Footer Section

Website layout, footer layout, building contractors website layout
Website footer layout

The footer is the very bottom of the page; here you have your copyright statement, links to pages (optional, but recommended) and your business phone number. It is also good if you are not linking pages at the bottom of your website to still have a link to your contact page. You can also include links to your social media accounts.

What should each page contain?

Homepage

Your homepage is where you introduce your business.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • A couple of images whether this is your team or a past project photo
    • Some text about your company &/or services however this is not always necessary
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Services page

This is where mention the services that you offer.  For example, you might be a plumber that only does maintenance work.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
  • List of services
    • Each service to have a paragraph or two about what you do with an image
    • Each service listed could link to a separate page that goes into detail about it, and you could include photos relating to that service.
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

About us page

This is where you talk about your company.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
  • Image or two of you &/or your team
    • Text about your company
      • Who you are
      • How you started in construction
      • Why you started your company
      • Any credentials, media mentions like TV, etc.
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Contact us page

Simply where you list all your contact details.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • Business phone number
    • Email address
    • Social media links
    • Contact form (optional)
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Blog

Where you write articles that are relevant to your business and services.

  • Header section (top of the page)
  • Body section (middle of the page)
    • List of articles/posts that you have written
    • Articles or blog posts ideas
      • Past projects
      • Services you offer
      • Frequently asked questions
  • Footer section (bottom of the page)

Your website doesn’t necessarily have to be laid out correctly as I have mentioned, your options are endless. But keeping it simple and covering the very basic points above, you are giving your potential customers an opportunity to get to know you.

We all know that when we instill confidence in potential clients that we are likely to win their next project. By having a website, you are creating a good foundation for you to build their confidence.

What is online content / marketing? Is this relevant?




First I am going to make a statement that may or may not upset a few people. ‘Online marketing’ is the same thing as ‘online content.’ That is anything that can be found by a Google or any internet search.

What is online content?

So what do I mean by online content? Online content is simply anything that you or anyone posts on the internet. Whether it is on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, etc.), your website, YouTube or any paid advertising on the internet.

How is that online marketing?

Online content, online marketingEasy, Google your name, throw your name in any social media network. Watch what happens. What you see is your online content, yep that is you and your business. I hope good things popped up on your screen.

Whether you like it or not, what you saw is your online content, your online ‘marketing.’ Because if you saw all that, so did all your customers. Just to be clear, it doesn’t matter whether you put that information up there or not. The fact that the content is there to be found makes that marketing. If you did put that information online, great, you have control over that piece of content or information. If you didn’t put that content online, you need to take notice. Because again your customers / potential customers just saw that information and you DO NOT have control over that content.

As you can imagine, all of this becomes very real and very relevant. Where the biggest impact lies is with your potential clients. The reason for this, if you have a happy relationship with previous customers, are more likely to base their decision on their experience of working with you. Their searching online is more likely looking to see what you have been up too since their last project.

Potential Customers

The same as you, your potential customers Google and search for things online. They are comparing you to the next contractor and what they can find out about you. This in of its self is not a problem, especially if you have a good online representation.

Couple a good online presentation with good face to face conversation, you are in a good position.

What you have online whether it is your social media accounts like Instagram or Facebook, is a great opportunity to better position yourself in the market. By putting in a little time, you can improve the confidence that you leave with your customers when they find you on the internet.

Kathmandu & Pokhara commercial construction




Commercial construction in Nepal, in particular in Kathmandu & Pokhara is not that much different to that of Australia, well not at a fundamental level. All buildings start at the foundations, then the structure (framing) is built, and finally coming back down finishing the outside.

The building structures in Kathmandu & Pokhara are predominately concrete. The concrete structures are constructed the same as the rest of the world. There is steel reinforcing, formwork and so on, but there is where the difference start to show up. The biggest difference that stands out is the scaffolding.

From what I saw, there are some very real differences in the scaffolding between that of a first world country and Nepal. First thing is how bare the scaffolding structures are left once erected. Australia has restrict rules on scaffolding, for example, minimum working platform widths. Well as you can see in the below pictures places to work are tiny, if they exist at all.

What was evident as well was how scaffolding doesn’t seem to exist until the very last moment. You can see this in a few of the photos. Please enjoy the pictures and leave your comments below.

Kathmandu construction, concrete column reinforcing, nepal construction
Concrete column reinforcing placement. Would you join this guy standing in the column.
Concrete stair construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Concrete stair construction in Kathmandu. Pretty much the same as every where else.
Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, commercial construction, commercial scaffolding
Regardless of how many floors, scaffolding in Nepal is bare.
Commercial scaffolding, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Scaffolding in Kathmandu looks awefully bare compared to home.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
A typical commercial construction in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Another view of a typical commercial construction site in Kathmandu.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction
Aside from the obivous differences in construction practices, the fundamentals of building are still the same everywhere.
Commercial construction, kathmandu construction, nepal construction, pokhara construction
I love the way the middle floor ceiling is completed before any external walls have been built.
Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, commercial construction
This building in Pokhara, Nepal simply captured my attention.

Construction site management, why I love it.




Hi, I am Matt The Travelling Builder.

In this episode, I am going to talk about why I love construction site management and site supervising. Over the years I have had many roles, a carpenter, manager, leading hand and a laborer. I get the biggest kick out of construction site management. I thoroughly enjoy working with all the guys on a project, working with hundreds to well over and well over thousands of people.

Working with different trades

It is great getting to work with all the different trades and getting to experience something new. There is never a day that goes by where you don’t learn something new. Also being able to work with the architects, engineers, and designers and finding out how came up with their designs. Problem-solving with the design teams is great as well. The last thing that I will touch on in this episode is the cool projects that we get to build.

Working with the different tradesmen on a project can be like working with a bunch of friends. Over time you get to make new friends. As you move from project to project, you catch up with guys you haven’t seen in years. Sometimes it is like no time has passed. Catching up on what projects they have worked on, what they have been up too, how their families are. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, which is one of the things that I enjoy about construction site management.

Working with the guys, I get to experience the pride they have in their work. Especially when a problem arises, everyone has their thoughts on how to solve the problem. How we can move forward and get things back on track. Everyone gets in and gets the work done.

I don’t always work with tradesmen, but mostly all the guys that you do work with are genuine people. They are doing the best they can with what they have. The best part about working with them is getting the opportunity to learn something new.

Every trade has some other tip or trick for solving a problem or making something work. Even just showing you new tools that they have collected which make their job easier. Learning makes going to work enjoyable. You get to go to work and spend the time learning something new. Not just learning for your personal benefit, but what you learned today will come into use on a different project. This learning always gives further insight into various ways to view problems.

Working with design teams

Not only do you get to work with the trades on site, but you also get to work with the architects, designers, and engineers. The beauty of this, they have a vision of what it is they want to build, but also how they are going to get there. The practicality of building, not all of the architects and engineers have trade backgrounds or experience. As a site manager, you become invaluable to them. Your experience to figure out how it is you are going to build the intended building. Sometimes the design has to change slightly to complete the building. You have to get involved with the design team to produce the result.

Architects

Architects and engineers have spent many years learning their trade and skills. Being an architect, being creative and being able to design a building inside of a client’s briefs. Being able to figure out what is intended is something that I don’t have the patients. I am clear that it would drive me mad sitting down and trying to draw this stuff. Trying to figure out how to make the bathroom fit with the kitchen, and the bedrooms and lounge rooms, while meeting all the compliance requirements. Certainly in an apartment building. Even houses have the similar constraints and minimum requirements. I have a lot of respect for the design guys. Some designers aren’t so great to work with, very fixed on what it is that they want. At the same time, they have spent a lot of time and effort to get to develop the design and I am quite ok with that.

It makes my job that much harder, it’s a challenge that isn’t insurmountable. It just gives another level of excitement to what it is to be a site supervisor.

Engineers

Working with engineers is good. It is an opportunity to learn the workings of the structure of the building. Learning which are the key components. Even the simple things like the reinforcing in the concrete and how all that works. There have been so many progressions over the years that each high rise has a new product, a new method of building to be able to make the building work. The best part is you might have a problem, the contractors and yourself may have missed some structural element or component. For example, one project I managed, we got the centers of the reinforcing on the top layer wrong. Instead of being told to pull all the reinforcing up and redo it, the engineer worked with us to solve the problem.

Being able to have a good working relationship with engineers and architects is a real privilege. Having that relationship is a way to learn so much more than-than focusing on one trade. You get to be a part of the process; it’s an opportunity I am so grateful to have been given.

Building cool buildings

The last thing I wanted to mention was the cool stuff you get to build. I was very fortunate to work on a project at Australian Catholic University, as the guys on the site referred to as ‘Building T.’ That building was built by Tomkins Commercial and Industrial Buildersand went on to win National Awards. On ‘Building T,’ I was the finishing foreman. There are four skylight tubes in the center of the building; the architect showed what the intent of these skylights. Between the glazing contractors, other site managers, and myself, we were able to work out how we were going to build them.

It wasn’t exactly a straightforward process, there was four of them, they had to be identical and line up. It was a bit of fun and games to make them work. I think we did a pretty good job. The architect liked what we had come up with and built. Overall the whole project turned out to be an amazing project, and I am so glad I got to be a part of the team.

Completing a project

Just getting to build buildings is the ultimate joy. Standing back, looking at what you have achieved in that last six, twelve months or however long the building took to complete. Knowing that you had a role in that building and all your efforts have paid off to contribute to the delivery of the building.

When you get to the end of a project, it can be comical. All the problems, all the struggles you had on the way you seem to forget. You stand back and ask yourself why was it so hard? I haven’t done a project where it was an easy project. I have always got to the end and looked back, and said to myself, I don’t know why it was difficult. At the time it was, by the end, you have forgotten all the hard yards. It’s just a joy to be able to stand there and say I built that. Looking at all the work the guys have done, you know all the stories in the building. A lot of stories that most people will never know, lots of dramas, lots of funny stories, lots of crazy weekends where people have come to work when they shouldn’t have.

Being about of the construction site management team is a good job that I enjoy.