Hutchinson Builders dominating Brisbane’s skyline

Hutchinson Builders, Newstead, Tower cranes

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 art form, 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.

Bonn Germany, buildings and construction

Tower crane base, Bonn germany

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.




Kathmandu & Pokhara commercial construction

Pokhara construction, Nepal construction, 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.

Berlin, Germany – construction is a little different

Hi, I am Matt, The Travelling Builder.

This week I have been to Berlin, Germany. I got off the train at Berlin Central. What I noticed most while walking to my hotel, was how much construction work there was taking place.

Getting off the train, you are meet by four construction sites in a row. One of which was beside a river partially flooded with water, I will talk about this later. Walking along the streets, I can’t help but notice the amount of tower crane’s in the sky. And the number of cranes being erected. The volume of construction sites that you had to walk past, I should say, the amount you had to walk under scaffolding, to get around was equally impressive.

Newstead skyline brisbane, brisbane skyline, brisbabe tower cranes
Skyline over Newstead looking from Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.

The volume of cranes reminded me of Brisbane and the amount of construction work happening and the number of tower cranes in the skyline. On one of the last projects that I worked on in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, when standing on the roof, looking north in a short radius, you could count 16 tower cranes. If you looked around a full 360 degrees, you could count a total of 24 cranes. The project I was working on was only a couple of stories tall with most of the skyline blocked by other high rise buildings.

To walk into Berlin and see such a large volume of construction work going on was surprising. While walking around, there was a vast variety of different types of construction working happening. A new subway getting built (what I think was a new subway). Towers (high rises) going up everywhere. Building refurbishments, and minor works you could hear in the background when you walked past apartment buildings.

Berlin construction site

Berlin construction, berlin construction site, construction in berlin germany
Berlin construction site partially flooded. On the other side of the job site is the river.

As I mentioned earlier, getting off the train, there was one construction site that gained my attention above all else. The site was on the river’s edge next to Berlins central train station. The first thing I noticed was the lack of secure fencing and hoarding (hoarding is non-see through or solid fence) around the construction site. You could just simply walk straight in off the street through holes in the fence that were not designated entry points.

Looking down into the construction site, they were digging out the basement. As you looked down, you could see how much water was in and around the work area. The water was up higher than what the guys were working. They had a couple of excavators down low, behind what looked like remnants of an old buildings basement. The old building remnants were all that held back the water. I was surprised to see this going on, back in Australia if you tried to do the same work below the water line, you would have a lot of explaining to do.

Berlin construction, berlin construction site, construction in berlin germany
Piling machine doing the foundation work for the new building.

The piling rig that was doing the foundations was massive; the mast was around the 6-7 stories high. The footprint of the machine was comparable to a small one bedroom apartment. The photos do not do the piling machine’s size justice as you walk past and try to look up to the top of the mast.

Berlin Cathedral

There was one building in particular that caught my attention, which was the Berlin Cathedral. Some background information about the Cathedral, it had five architects working on it over its lifetime.

Martin Böhme (1717)
Johann Boumann, the Elder (1747-1750)
Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1817 & 1820-1822)
Julius & Otto Rashdorf, father, and son (1894-1905)

Berlin cathedral, berlin buildings
Berlin Cathedral

The first building built back in 1451, and oddly enough the second building which got completed in 1345 (I have no idea why). In 1750 the third building was completed, followed by the fourth building a century and a half later in 1905. After the war repairs had been completed, the building got inaugurated in 1993.

The highest part of the building is 115m. The part of the building that stands out the most is the gold on top of the spires. On a dark overcast winters day, these spires were bright and shiny.

Difference in construction compared to Australia

There was a notable difference of the scaffolding set up on construction sites. In Australia, our scaffold has to have mesh and shade cloth around it to keep the dust and debris inside the building site. Here in Germany, the thing that I noticed was how much scaffolding didn’t have any mesh around it. There was nothing from what I could see; that would stop debris from falling off the sides. I do want to acknowledge there was hoarding (solid roof) over the footpaths to catch anything if it did fall. However, the hoarding didn’t stop debris from falling off the sides and out onto the roads. I noticed this on quite a few job sites I walked past.

Berlin construction, berlin scaffolding, scaffolding in berlin
Meshless scaffolding in Berlin. The mesh stops debris from falling.

The other thing that surprised me was how many construction sites had insecure site fencing. And how much see-through fencing was around, allowing the public to see what was happening. Back home in Australia, if we have a job site where the fencing isn’t secure, and someone walks onto the construction site and gets hurt, we are in a world of trouble. I guess at some level; this demonstrates the culture of the German people’s respect for what is going on around them and what other people are up too.

Berlin has been a great city to visit, and casually wander around. I will certainly be back again.

A special thank you to GoEuro for organizing my transportation for this trip to Berlin. If you are planning a trip through Europe, check out their website at for great transportation deals.

Everest Base Camp – The buildings along the way

Namche bazar nepal, namche bazar new house, namche bazar new roof installed

The  Mt Everest Base Camp Trek has a great glimpse into the buildings of the Himalayas.  The biggest thing to keep in mind when looking through the photos, all the building materials have been carried by hand.  I mean, someone carried the building materials on their back for days to get them to construction site.

Namche bazar nepal, namche bazar new house, namche bazar new roof installed
After a week of trekking we came back to a new roof on the house in Namche Bazar.
Namche bazar nepal, namche bazar new house, namche bazar new roof
New house in Namche Bazar new roof framing getting built.
Namche bazar nepal, namche bazar high rise, the travelling builder
To put this building into prospective, most of the material to build this building where carried by porters. They walk for two days to get it here, one part of the trip has an 800m rise that takes 4hours to walk.
Khumjung bridge, khumjung bridge collapse
A landslide late at night caused the Khumjung bridge to collapse. Lucky no one was hurt.
Khumjung new bridge, khumjung temporary bridge, khumjung nepal
After the Khumjung bridge collapsed, the locals built a new temporary bridge.
Khumjung hydro power station, khumjung hydro power
Dotted along the trek, little hydro power stations can be found. This one can be found at Khumjung.
Khumjung hydro power turbine, khumjung hydro power, khumjung power
Looking inside one of the Khumjung hydro power stations. Not much to see, but it works well.