Day three saw the most construction activity so far, the bricklaying team learnt the skills they will be using to construct the brick and block walls, from mixing mortar to laying bricks straight, level and plumb, building practice walls to test their skills. They also spent time on the site to identify the challenges they will be facing allowing them to plan the rest of the week’s activities.
The water utilities group began installing the water supply using fusion jointing on all of the pipe work – an electromechanical system for joining pressurised pipework. First a trench had to be dug which was completed by machine, with students having the opportunity to operate the digger under supervision. The pipework so far was tested and luckily no leaks were found! The team also got the opportunity to try their hand at some steel fixing operations.
The drainage group located and dug trenches both by hand and machine and laid granular bedding ready for the pipe work and began joining some of the pipe work. They learnt about how drainage works and the importance of correctly installing drainage on site.
The carpentry group spend the morning building the frames for the suspended timber floors, which consisted of 5 separate frames which will then be constructed on site, they then moved onto the wall frames, constructing the internal and external stud wall frames, which like the floors, will be transported to site to be put together.
In the evening, we had a talk from Chris Williams, director of Prolectric, a company focussing on the design and installation of a range of mechanical and electrical systems, based principally around renewable technologies or energy efficiency services. Chris discussed the types of solar lighting they offer and the financial and environmental benefits thee offer over traditional methods, giving the students an insight into new renewable technologies that the construction industry can take advantage of.
Tomorrow the build continues as well as further team building activities in the afternoon, ready for the final full day of construction on Thursday.
The second day started with an early visit to the site we are working on for the rest of the week, students are tasked with building a washroom and toilet block facility for a fictitious campsite using a number of different methods, the teams are split into the block and beam floor and wall team, the drainage team, the water supply team and the carpentry team.
The morning was spent being inducted into the site, having health and safety briefings and manual handling training and then splitting into the teams and beginning the task. The carpentry team studied the drawings and prepared cutting lists ready to begin work tomorrow, the brick and block team planned their work and were familiarised with their materials, the water supply team learnt how to joint the pipework they will be laying and the drainage team had a steel fixing workshop in addition to planning their work.
In the afternoon, we visited two local construction sites to gain an understanding of how large scale construction works, being shown around by the project teams who explained all the different processes happening on site, this was a useful insight for the students and gave them an excellent opportunity to see how real construction sites operate. Tomorrow the hard work begins with a full day of construction!
All first year built environment students are away for a week of hands on construction activities at Construction Live, run by Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset.
We left on Sunday morning from Brighton, arriving at around 3pm ready for an afternoon of management and leadership skills training at the outdoor activity centre. In 4 groups the students worked together to accomplish a number of tasks such as getting the whole team over a 10ft high wall, through a spider web of ropes only using each gap once and building a bridge using planks and poles without any one falling off (if they did the whole team started again!). The tasks allowed the students to plan their approach, think about how they needed to work in a team and listen to all team members. The afternoon was a great fun activity which really helped with teamwork and management, an essential skill in the construction industry.