A lot of people seem to have a misconception about concrete and concreters, sometimes thinking of it as a dull industry with just a lot of hard, physical work involved. Of course this can be true from time to time, but, unless you’re in the industry you won’t get to see the job satisfaction that is brought about after completing a project, especially a decorative project or something freehand.
I can personally look back on the projects that I/we undertake at Walker Concreting & Resurfacing and recall at least 9/10 jobs where I’ve actually stood back when the work was complete looking over the job and feeling very proud of myself and the boys for what we have accomplished.
Here I’ll go through a few of the things in detail which make our industry so rewarding for the men and women who ply their trade within.
Physically Hard Work
First things first. A lot of the time, concreters aren’t drawn to this trade for lack of better options. We’re a funny breed of people who would rather be out getting our hands dirty and having sweat over the brow as opposed to sitting in an office with a tie on having to shave every day to keep up appearances.
Concreting can be a very physical line of work for a good part of it. Everything is heavy, the steel, demolition, new concrete, it pushes our bodies with everything we seem to touch.
This brings about a sense of accomplishment and pride by the end of the job. Sitting back and going through in your head exactly how much materials you have moved and placed by hand is not something anybody can just come and do. It not only takes a fit, strong person to complete the work, but also years of training and expertise in knowing exactly how to handle the materials to get things right (and make it a bit easier on the body as well).
Apart from all the work that goes into the backend of the business through advertising and years of good, quality work provided to gain a good reputation, the quoting process of a project is extremely important and takes a lot of work to make yourself stand out from the competition.
Firstly, getting that call from a potential client, then going out to inspect the work that is required, to writing up the quotation in detail and outlining the entire project’s schedule to expect to complete it in. Then finally providing our clients with website information, address’s to inspect our work and several other items to make yourself stand out.
Having all of this information come together properly and having our client call us to approve our quotation to pick us above our competition is extremely satisfying. It means we have done everything right in gaining confidence in our client to have the knowledge that we can complete their work to the standards they require….being put first among our peers who competed with us.
Organising a concrete project can be relatively challenging. Not only are there many things to bring to site to complete the work, but it all needs to arrive at the right time to make sure the project runs smoothly, and we make the required profit from the job. Time is money, and if something isn’t there when it’s meant to be, can hold the project up costing dollars.
Disregarding the the preparation stages of a project, I’ll just run through what a typically pour would be like getting things managed correctly.
First of all there are several men/women working on the project for the day, these people need to be organised to turn up on time and to bring the right equipment with them.
From there, there may be a concrete pump that needs to be pre-organised with a specific time they need to turn up. We also have concrete delivery of 3-4 trucks or more to complete your project, these also need to not only turn up on time, but have certain separations between each truck allowing for proper placement without waiting time being charged.
As the concrete is being placed, heights and falls need to be strictly adhered to to allow for a good installation, this all needs to be completed in a certain time frame as the concrete is going off as soon as it is mixed, so we’re on the clock.
When the concrete has been placed, we need to then keep a keen eye on what the concrete is doing as it is our boss for the day and we work to it’s requirements. Some places go off quicker than other, as well as all the edging and floating that needs to be done yet. It takes an experienced eye to keep up with concrete and not start falling behind it….as well as physically hard work of course.
Finally finishing the concrete which is again usually done while chasing it on a time frame. That surface needs to look good and there’s only a relatively small window to make sure it happens.
When all this works out well and we have done our managing correctly for times and materials, it’s very rewarding seeing the results of our work.
Decorative concrete and decorative resurfacing is by far the most rewarding part of this line of work. From exposed aggregate to covacrete resurfacing, the results speak for themselves.
Years of practice in our trade lead to expertise in these sectors. Exposed aggregate for instance can be tricky at times getting the timing right, being ultra careful with your screed as to not leave screed lines in the surface, to working the surface and timing the sugar correctly, every part of exposed aggregate installation is important and we only see the success of our installation during the final stages of washing off the concrete.
When we are decorative resurfacing, we are taking an old, worn out structure of concrete and turning it into something sharp, dazzling and modern that looks out of this world. Taking something from horrible to amazing leaves a great sense of pride in our efforts.
The final overly satisfying part of our industry are happy clients. To firstly win the project, then give our clients our up most professionalism, along with getting all the process’s correct to complete the work properly and having our clients satisfied and happy with what we have done for them, this is the best sense of accomplishment we can ask for.
Next time you have a look over a great looking concrete project, have a little think to all the work and thought that has gone into creating such a project. You’ll find there was a concreter there at one stage looking back over the job with a big smile on their face feeling good about what they have achieved.