The Apprentice Diary: Entry #18

So the past couple of months have been interesting, as I’ve worked on three of our main residential sites, one new build, a large pop top, and a reclad.

I say it’s been interesting as we are a bit stretched on the ground right now, so I’ve had to play foreman on two sites, and acting foreman on the other when the main foreman has been on holiday. I’m totally fine with it, organizing the guys, ordering materials, and contacting subbies. But in some situations, it shows how little I know, especially when it’s a little outside of my experience. This is where my mindset has shifted slightly from just being a task orientated apprentice, as I’m now constantly looking for reference material.

Sourcing the knowledge

Being educated on as many products as possible is a good thing, and I’ve found the handbooks from GIB, Mitek and Cavity Sliders especially handy. They are only small, so can be kept in my glovebox. There are also some groups on Facebook that I use as a good way to keep connected with other builders and ask questions with mostly constructive replies. Finally, always keep a look out in your local ITM for news, seminars, and product updates. The staff there see a lot of builders each and every day, plus they are visited regularly by reps from the main building supplies manufacturers.

That all seems quite heavy going, but hopefully it shows there is a big (yet exciting) step up from simply following tasks that are given to you and being responsible for a build. A step that we must all take at some point if we want to further our careers and experience.

Slip sliding away

Onto lighter things, I had a ‘slow motion noooooooo’ moment the other day. I was working on a roof, when my dog bar started sliding down the tiles (in slow motion of course), bounced off the spouting, over the edge, then I heard a splash. Hey, why the splash? Well, it landed in one of the water barrels we use to hold our scaffold down. After much laughter, and piss-take about stripping down to my boxers to get it, I decided to make a dog bar retriever out of 4x2 and some 90mm nails. I’m glad to say, it worked, and no one saw me in my undies that day.

We are lucky to have a hammer hand who likes to keep our sites tidy, and even more so stacking waste in our bin as efficiently as possible. He may not be a competent builder, but man, he can make a full skip a work of art!

As always, till next time, stay safe.

by Stu Foster
Apprentice Builder