Australian building industry
Building work in Australia
Welcome to our page 6, Australian building industryAustralian housing industry
Australian housing industry
Dear readers, we have been promising you that we would write some hubs about DIY brickwork and other building things, well this article here explains how I started to work in the building industry, and later on as a tradesman.
When I came to Australia in the sixties I ended up working in the building industry, we were mainly working on fixing old houses, or building new house from scratch and also units and warehouses, so I ended up learning how lots of building things were done, in the end I specialized in becoming a bricklayer, and have worked most of my life as a bricklayer.
Now, let us talk about what we are going to write in this article; the Australian housing industry in the sixties, we will also be talking about, Working in the Australian housing and building industry; Earning and saving money if you can; and Working with this Italian builder.
The Australian housing and building industry was and is one of the major employment industries in Australia, you might say that this is so also in other countries; but in other countries building new houses is not as important as it is in Australia. One of the reasons for this is that Australia takes in many emigrant, in the sixties Australia was taking emigrants in a regulated way, now because the population grows steadily also accommodation need to grow, therefore a lot of new houses need to be built, this building of new housing accommodations gives many opportunities for the new comers to be employed, since there is a lot of manual work involved, and therefore a healthy cycle is thus created; but even with these opportunities the building industry has its ups and down, as we all know.
The housing building industry and real estate are more or less linked together and both have their ups and downs; you see, it could have been helpful if one could foretell what is going to happen next year, but it is not always possible to guess what is going to happen in the future. If people could know this, then they could be able to save money, especially if they are going to buy a house. It would be also helpful for the investors, as they would be able to invest their money at the right opportunity; about buying a house and saving to buy a house, we are going to write later on, because now I would like to continue my own story about house building, since that is what I was going to do in the first place; anyhow it is worth to keep informed in these money matters.
Working in the building industry
As I have said in one of my last hubs called: Is Australia the land of opportunities; when I came to Australia from my native town; Genzano di Lucania Italy I ended up working in the building industry. Working on building in Australia is usually a temporary job, because even the employer is subject to the same opportunities of work, therefore one is never sure what is going to happen next when one job is finished, and therefore there were always concerns about our employment status, so, sometimes we could not help to continually ask ourselves, whether our employer would be able to get another job to do in time, before we finished the one we were doing, but even though we were thinking that we still worked hard to finish the job on hand as soon as possible, because to find work you had to be competitive.
Well I have to say here that although this small Italian builder did lots of small jobs, it did work out all right most times and we were able to move from one job to another all-around Brisbane town and also to some other close by town/s. Of course this would cause some worries if you had no transport of your own and you had to rely on some friends or the employer to take you on the work site, where the building was going to be built, but we managed somehow.
I remember that there were times when I had to get up early and catch the first tram to the city, and then I had to catch the second tram to another suburb, where usually the builder would pick me up and drive me to the onsite job, in the evening after eight hours or more of hard work, I had to go back home, which took again a long time, but anyhow we managed all right, after all we were here in Australia to earn money and as long as we had a job to go to and earn that money we were happy to do that. You see, on building sites workers can earn a bit above other people wages, but there was this uncertainty because there was no guaranty that the work would last and it also was hard work all day long.
Anyhow I think that it was a good job with good opportunities to learn and improve your knowledge of building something yourself. You see in those times one could improve their working and earning position more easily than today, as a lot of people did, it was possible then because a lot of things were simple, and therefore they could be done just by using your common sense. Of course there were always inspections from local authorities to follow, but once you knew what it was required they were easy to follow, if you used your brains diligently, therefore in a way we have to say that we had more opportunities then compared to today opportunities.
Earning and saving money
Whatever you do in life, perhaps the most important thing is; Earning and saving money
In my case and many other people like myself, because there was uncertainty of not having a permanent job in the building industry, one soon learn that whatever money you earn from your job you have to save some, otherwise you could have problems soon or later; so, this disadvantage that we had in this job pushed most of us building workers to become good at saving money, because we wanted to feel safe and independent.
Now let me just talk about money, since I have mentioned it just now. In Australia because the economy is based on capitalism the more money you are able to earn and save the better off you are, of course this is also true to most other part of the world, but in Australia seems to be more so, because it is a new country, and people rely more on what they are able to earn than in anywhere else in the world. This is because there are not many existing reach families that live on the earnings of the properties that have been passed down from generation to generations, so almost everybody here have made their own way up if they have any money. Therefore in Australia is mostly up to yourself if you want to get better you have to try harder, you see most people here are self made so most of the people have earned their own way. Once you know that this question comes to your mind and you ask yourself, if other people can do it, I am sure can do it too?
By knowing what we have just said above, one can understand that in Australia, not only you have to try to earn money, but it is very important that you save it too, and at the same time you have to try to improve your working position, so that you can be more independent and not rely completely on others; this would help if it happens that you lose your temporary job and also by saving money you can start one day to buy your own house, which is the most important thing that people should do, if they want to live a good life. I know now that most of you are saying that this is a hard thing to do, but you see, this can be done because I have done it myself.
Anyhow I believe that I have said enough about this money business for the time being, so let me go back to tell you about what I did with this job in the building industry and became a tradesman, and also how I ended up buying our house. But first let me tell you how and what we did and my progress in this building job, so that one can compare what was available then and what opportunities are available now, while I was working with this Italian small builder.
Working for this builder
Working and learning with this small Italian builder
Dear readers, in these writing while I am telling you the story about myself working in the Australian building industry, I am also going to try to give you details of how things were done in dose days; therefore if you are one of those people that have in mind to do your own building renovations one day, you can somehow guess what you can find, in those building that we built then, because you already know how we built them.
Now let me go back to when I started work with this Italian builder, who was a bricklayer and concreter, we were working on houses and because there was not enough bricklaying work on these houses, as they were mostly built with timber, we were building only the foundations, the concrete stumps and some brickwork as the base of the house. Of course we did also some jobs under the existing houses and this has given me an opportunity to learn many things about those old houses in Brisbane.
Just for comparison sake, so that you can see the difference between those times and today, let me describe to you what we did to prepare a new base for a new timber house, which would be setting on concrete stumps and some brick walls.
First of all we went to set up the site, if it was not already set up from the builder or carpenter that would build the timber house. This setting up required that we should fix some timber frame to the ground with pegs and according to the measurement in the plan, then mark them accurately, so that we had the right measurement to go by, in order to start digging the foundations for the stumps and brick walls and also for building the whole house.
Then we had to dig the foundations and this was mostly my job as I was the labour and I was pretty good at digging, this may seem hard to believe but even digging one has to be an expert to do a good job, as the shape and depth of the foundations is important to do a job properly. Just to show you what I mean to dig a hole for a new concrete stump, 20x20 centimetres as most stumps were supposed to be; the hole for this stump should be in exactly the right place, it should be sixty centimetres deep in natural ground and at the bottom should have a circumference of at least 40 centimetres or more. These were the average specifications then, unless it was stated otherwise. I know this because I have dug several hundreds of them if not thousands.
All the tools that I needed to do this job were a pick a post hole shovel and a crowbar, it usually would take me a couple of days to dig the entire house holes, which could usually be between twenty and thirty holes. You see I was able to dig a hole in less than half an hour, but it was hard work. Sometimes when there was some brickwork to do we had also to dig these foundations by hand; the foundations were usually dug according to specification, which usually would be 60 centimetre deep in the natural ground, this means that if the grounds had been filled up that filling should not be counted as depth, of course this was the same as the holes we dug for the concrete stumps.
Anyhow, before I finish writing this hub I want to say that those houses that we were helping to build in the sixties with this builder contractor that I was working for were average affordable house that the average family could afford to buy, and therefore they were sold easily.
Now, I believe that I have said enough in this hub and although there could be a lot more that could be said, that part we are going to tell you in our next hub, which is going to be about how we made those concrete stumps on site and other stuff, while we were working on these affordable houses.
See you soon.