Apprentices build for brighter future

Building apprentices enjoy the sustainable challenge of working on the Peregian Beach Community House.
Building apprentices enjoy the sustainable challenge of working on the Peregian Beach Community House. Contributed

Apprentices tired of being assigned only menial jobs have been given a refreshing work experience challenge at Sunshine Coast building sites.

And they have the Peregian Beach Community House project team to thank for their recent boost in job enthusiasm.

With an estimated 20 tonnes of recycled hardwood forming 70 per cent of the timber used in the $1.5m facility, apprentices Ted Grace, Nick Van Den Bergh and Dan Fordham have sorted, de-nailed, shaped and helped fix the iron-hard material to the building's frame.

Under the guidance of Altum Constructions' directors Rob McCready and Alex Rigby, site foreman Steve Williams and five carpenters, the apprentices say they have finally been given work they consider challenging.

“I was sick of just being told to sweep up on building sites,” said 21-year-old Nick.

“And working with hardwood is far more difficult than pine and softwoods.”

The twin-wall polycarbonate sheeting roof, a lightweight insulating material allowing the penetration of natural light, last week went on the 365 square metre community house on the corner of the David Low Way and Woodland Drive.

Natural lighting and ventilation, on-site water collection and usage, low-energy lighting and a 2.8kilowatt solar electrical systemare all features of the innovative centre.

Mr McCready said it was a “real pleasure” to be involved in a project where everyone could be proud of the product they had built.

“The apprentices, especially, are appreciating it. A lot of builders tend to just put them on the broom.”

The council-owned facility, co-funded by the council and the federal government, is managed by a community based organisation, The Peregian Beach Community House Inc (PBCH).

PBCH president Barry Cotterell said all stakeholders were excited about the building's innovative features and its use as an inclusive community hub.

“The house is situated at the entry to the Noosa Biosphere Reserve and embodies the principles one would expect of an area aspiring to sustainable principles,” he said.

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