After my last post when I was out and about helping Dr. Gerard Lynch, the weather hit hard and the site I was supposed to be working on closed. I was left without a placement. It is not easy being a Bricklayer when the snow heavens open, there is not really much you can do about it. That being said I spent the time working on my NVQ portfolio and various other administration tasks thus not to waste my time.
A week or two on and the site I was supposed to be on is open!
I am now back in South Oxfordshire. I am staying in the same B &B as before in the beautiful town of Henley-on-Thames (a town a find myself slightly falling in love with) and I am working in a little village just outside of town with a company called ‘Symm’.
The site is HUGE I think it’s defiantly up there on the biggest jobs I have every worked on. I am used to walking around having a break in the back of the van, not here, everything is all very professional just as you would expect.
The project that I am working on is a new build garage and pool house. It is not just your average new build though. The buildings have been built using hand pressed bricks, flint and lime to match the existing property.
I am working with two bricklayers an older chap called Steve who has worked with Symm for over twenty years and a younger chap called Connor who has been bricklaying about the same amount of time as myself and has been with Symm around 7 years. They’re both a good laugh. I have missed being on site, I think it’s the banter more than anything. I don’t think there is another job in the world where you can meet people in the morning and by the afternoon you can all be taking the mickey out of each other and its accepted as ‘normal’.
My first week with Symm was a short one due to the temperature, it was still too cold to build. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I was inside with the team working on the indoor swimming pool (that is HUGE).
On Thursday it was warm enough to do some bricklaying myself and Connor were given this little project – filling in between the arch.
I enjoyed building this, nothing technical but after being off site for over a month I was happy to build anything!
This arch (pictured above) isn’t what it seems, from a distance it looks like great traditional craftsmanship, unfortunately it is actually a pre-cast concrete arch with bricks cladded (stuck) onto the face (front) which I don’t like at all!
The arches are not the only pre-cast material on site – the chimney.
Oh the chimney! This ‘chimney’ consists of an aluminium frame that is then covered in polystyrene to which the bricks are then stuck onto using an adhesive. This frame is then secured on the roof.
I think anyone could make a list as long as their arm why these two won’t stand the test of time. I could, but I won’t, I will get carried away and end up writing an essay! That said I would very much like to hear your opinions about pre-cast/pre-fab materials. Have you ever used them? Do you think they will last as long as traditional building methods? Do you like them? (I hope not)
Leave your comments below this post.
The weekend came and I headed home. I took the chance to take a look around St. Pancras Station and hotel in London on my way. If you don’t know about St. Pancras I highly recommend you do a little research on the ol’interweb – it is full of interesting history! I have never been inside the station or hotel before, I have walked past them many of times but never really understood or realised what was inside. Obviously I know about the train side of things but I never really thought about the architecture or the history.
This changed when it was featured on a T.V programme earlier in the week.
Once inside I was not disappointed!
The brickwork inside is amazing, the craftsmanship really stands out.
I also took a sneaky walk up the top of the hotel where I was greeted by this amazing ceiling detail
I really recommend you go and take a look for yourself if you get the chance.
All in all it is great to be back on site, I just wish there was more to do! Hopefully the weather will pick up and I can crack on.