I had already engaged a builder, Brett, and a plumber, Tony, to help with the slab. I asked Brett to help with the slab as I thought it would be best to ensure the foundations were laid as close to perfect as possible to set the house up for the best chance of success and avoid any potential that the house be known as the Gariwerd equivalent of the leaning tower of Pisa.
Brett and Tony had both known dad for years and previously completed work on the cottages. I trusted them both completely, and so began one of the most invaluable lessons from the project – work only with those that you trust.
We swiftly cut the site into the hill, dug the trenches for the foundations, Tony laid the plumbing, Brett laid the reo mesh & organised for a pest specialist to wrap the plumbing with termite protection. The building inspector took a look at everything and gave the go ahead and then we laid the slab. I promptly emailed dad the good news; he replied, “fantastic, no turning back now
Next up was the task of laying the bricks. My initial bricklayer fell through only a month beforehand, excusing himself from the project with, “oh, I just thought you weren’t going ahead, I’ve already booked another job”, despite our last conversation being specifically about how I’d be ready to start laying in May! However, some things happen for a reason, as I wallowed on how my first significant setback came at such an early stage in the project and was anxiously wondering how on earth the walls were going to look if I laid them myself, dad was working behind the scenes, contacting friends and contacts that may know a bricklayer.
Next minute, he calls me with a number, “it’s a bloke called Tim, he’s apparently a lovely young chap, used to do bricklaying, now he’s a panel beater, worth a shot”. I apprehensively picked up the phone and called Tim. To my surprise, he was keen, and could start straight away. I learnt an invaluable lesson that day, one that has become the core of who I am and how I operate. It’s how you deal with the setbacks that define you and ultimately the path of your project. There is a solution to everything… time.
This lesson has always sat at the back of my mind since, it helps me continue operating logically and rationally, it keeps anxiety at bay and establishes constraints to work within, that helps me develop creative solutions to any problem that may come my way.