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  • Writer's pictureF.B.I

Design Builders- 10 Minutes

After being part of Feilding Business Initiative since 2012, I have done a few 10 minutes and gone over a lot about myself, the business and my own background.

Last night while I was getting my information together on what I was about to do my 10 minutes on “House Maintenance” my 12 year old peered over and stated “ DAD, that looks REALLY boring – don’t do that.”

Considering Miss 12 spends most of her time on Instagram, coming in for a hug only when she is reaching into my pocket to get my phone to play on, I thought I might make the most of her showing some kind of interest in my business and mix a little business with family time. After all, that’s one of the upsides of owning your own business. So, I asked her to ask what we should talk about then and it prompted her to ask me the following questions which led to some interesting answers.

Through the eyes of a 12 year old.

Q1 : “ Okay, So what is the funnest part of building a house ? Like when you are cracking the eggs when baking a cake?” Bonnie, aged 12.

The best part of the building process when building a house for me would when the foundations are poured successfully. It is not only an extremely satisfying moment for the client, really indicating that the job is underway and in good swing, but quite often a real high five moment of relief for the builders. This is because foundations can be very variable based on ground conditions and also very weather dependent. When the foundations are poured is when we find out if we need more steel, metal etc – and this can often be when costs can over-run (due to unforeseen circumstances). There is nothing worse then asking a client for more money at the start of the job and we will avoid whenever possible, so when the foundations stick to the plan and go well it’s a real relief!

Q2 : “What do you do when your boys are naughty at work? ” Bonnie, aged 12.

Well this is quite topical, as some have only just been naughty! While all our employees have never even got as far as a written warning, which shows the extremely high calibre of people we chose to work alongside, the only time I find myself telling them off is when quality of workmanship is below what we accept. An example is recently I made one of the builders go and rip at least 6 or 7 pieces of gib off a house after myself and the painter decided that the work was scrappy and not acceptable. This could be considered as the boys mis-behaving or being naughty. While they don’t do it deliberately, the stuff that they often need reprimanding for is just making silly mistakes or not thinking things through properly. This ends up costing the client and myself time and money. I hold them accountable to high standards and sometimes it makes me the bad guy. They often sulk with me for a while, kind of like a 12 year old!

Q3: “ If you weren’t a business Builder Owner, what would you be ?” Bonnie, Aged 12.

I always wanted to be a policeman growing up, probably like lots of young boys I would imagine. I have always been a little bit of an adrenaline junkie being into Speedway so I always thought being a policeman would be fun and exciting – however, from what I hear that is about as much paperwork as builders have to do now so maybe its not all cops and robbers and fun.

Q4: “ How did your first social club meeting go ? Do you feel like it's more of a gang or a support group ?” Bonnie, aged 12.

About a month ago, there was talk about Design Builders employees starting a social club. To be honest all I thought at first was, great – more time and money – however, in the back of my mind I liked the idea of gathering to boost group Morale . People liked the idea of getting together for a meal or event and having some good laughs. A lot of my workers have small children, so we knew it was only going to something that we were allowed to happen maybe 2 or 3 times a year. The idea of it is to stay connected in some way, a lot of the builders work with only 1 or 2 others on the building site so lose touch with the other builders in the company when they aren’t placed on the same job. The idea is not to focus the social days around drinking (a lot of our employees are actually health junkies) but rather team activities, friendly competitiveness and engaging in something that can take a little bit of pressure off – and lead to some good conversation. I have a lot of respect for these men so its nice to see them in a relaxed environment rather than always in the workplace shooting orders at them.

Q5: “ How much Merch have you gotten over the years and can you ask for more ?” Bonnie, aged 12.

I reckon I have got about 200 Tshirts, over 20 tubs of sunscreen, at least 50 hats, 100s of pens, about 30 takeaway coffee mugs, around 5 speakers and 20 key chains. Mostly from Bunnings and Carters.

Q6: “Why are there no girls building ?” Bonnie, aged 12.

Well, there are woman building but you are right, very few. I always used to think it was because of the physicality of the job, thinking that given the demands of heavy lifting on site that was what steered woman away from the industry. However, it is most probably the old school mentality that construction is a man’s industry that stop woman from pursuing it and from them being encouraged to pursue it. I admit there would be many roadblocks for woman, starting from this way of thinking. While, I wouldn’t like to say its because of sexism, it is undeniable given the statistics this would play a part. It is more common to have woman as project managers, painters, or plasterers of specific sub contracts then builders and I would imagine this is because woman are most likely better at finishing things! I would like to think that our own workplace environment is one that would be open and easy enough for a woman to participate in.

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