Showing commitment to local employment

The philosophy of Bellarine Springs Retirement Village in Drysdale centres on fostering a sense of community, so it’s no surprise that the village has looked to the local community to source a team of skilled tradespeople, managers and suppliers for the construction of the high quality homes.

With building well underway on Stage 4 at the village, Bellarine Springs’ commitment to using local workers and suppliers is boosting employment in the region, with the construction injecting millions into the local economy.

Construction Site Manager Dean Goodier – who worked on the MBA Award-winning Bellarine Springs Community Centre in 2017, says assembling a local team for the project is delivering an array of benefits, ranging from improved efficiency, to better building quality.

“Because everyone is local, they all know each other and work together as a team, which means things run more smoothly, and you get a much better quality outcome,” Dean explains. “We all work together to make sure we do it right the first time – even if it means taking an extra five minutes. Local pride is on the line – and we all want to do a good job for each other.”

Solid foundation
“It’s fabulous working with a team of other local trades- people,” John says. “I get along with everyone who works here…no one yells and screams, and if there’s a problem we just call over whoever we need to help with the problem and we just sort it out together.” Responsible for the concrete slabs, paving and exposed aggregate work for the new homes, John says that working closely with other skilled local “tradies” ensures everything runs smoothly, and results in an excellent quality finish.

“I work closely with the carpenters, plumbers and electricians, and especially with Anthony (Baric), whose company is doing the excavation work, just to make sure we’re all on the same page,” John explains.

“For me, it’s not just about coming and putting the slab on the ground – it all starts with the site preparation. So I work with Anthony to get the heights and levels right, and we’ll go over it together to make sure it’s perfect. This also ensures we minimise wasted cement, which helps the environment and keeps costs down.”

Special techniques
John, who initially learned the trade from his father – a specialist concreter for more than 45 years – also has some special techniques he uses to help maintain the integrity of the concrete during and after the curing stage.

“We have some different ways of doing things, including a special, wax-like product that we spray on top of the cement after it’s poured, to ensure that it dries evenly,” he says. “Even though it takes a little longer, doing this helps trap the moisture in the slab to prevent cracking, which is especially important as we get into the warmer weather. Not many people use this technique, but it’s much better than just putting plastic over the wet slab, because that can cause the concrete to sweat, which can result in a range of other problems. Our way results in a better quality outcome and a solid foundation for the new homes.”

Close to home
One of John’s co-workers on the site, excavator Anthony Baric, lives just 15 minutes from Bellarine Springs.

Anthony, says that the opportunity to work on a major community project so close to home is “fantastic”. Initially a plumber by trade, Anthony loves the fact that he can leave his 10-tonne excavator, bobcat and 10-metre tipper truck on site during the project, instead of having to move them from site to site every day.

“Before I started here, I’d drag my machinery with the truck around to every job – and with up to two jobs a day there’s a lot of down time involved in that,” Anthony explains. “Now, everything stays here. I drive my ute to work, turn the key on my machine at 7 and turn it off at 5 or whatever it is. It becomes a routine and there’s no wasted time. It’s a very efficient way to work and helps reduce down- time and costs.

“I thoroughly enjoy working alongside other local trades- people and having this big body of work ahead of me… it’s certainly very satisfying to see it all coming together, and the view from the construction site isn’t too bad either!”