Renewal Project becomes classroomDoug Conway
A hole new world for construction students
A gnarly tree root holds up a multi-million dollar project for two months; a tiny piece of asbestos throws another spanner in the works. Welcome to the real world.
Trinity construction students are learning first-hand, on their own doorstep, about the practical problems some of them may soon be seeing in professional life.
For them the School’s Renewal Project is not just a massive building project but an educational experience.
Wearing hard hats and high vis vests on a site tour, they saw for themselves some of the unforeseen obstacles that are part and parcel of the construction industry.
The tour was part of a student engagement initiative that will not only better equip them for their exams but also make them “a bit more street smart” before entering the workforce, according to Scott Swann, Trinity’s Director of Major Projects.
He showed them the deep hole in the Seaview St nature strip that was supposed to become a sewer manhole as part of the Renewal Project.
But the roots of a Moreton Bay fig, chopped down years ago but not documented on any council map, had other ideas.
They were so deeply entangled around underground gas, water, electricity and Telstra lines that further excavation was impractical, and the manhole had to be moved, causing a delay estimated at six to eight weeks.
Mr Swann also explained to students how a small piece of asbestos discovered during demolition of one house on Seaview St led to another setback. The asbestos had to be reported to authorities, and disposed of safely; an independent hygienist then ordered an inspection and testing of all adjoining demolition sites before work could proceed.
The students, accompanied by Head of TAS Carlos Ramos, said they found the experience useful and informative.
“We learn in class about the different laws that apply, but here we are seeing them in practice,” said Jake V (12He).
“It’s good that it’s happening right here at school,” said Jacob N (12Sc). “It exposes us to what is happening in the real world, the setbacks, the tree, the traffic, work times, all the things that have to be considered in plans.”
The students, through the School, had already acquired their “white cards” after completing a two-day WorkCover risk management course.
They were given the induction course at the Summer Hill site project office of builders Hansen Yuncken, the same course undertaken by all onsite workers.
It covered issues such as safety equipment, site rules (no music, no mobiles while walking), accident and emergency procedures, allowed working hours, noise and dust-free times (essentially 12-2pm) and the use of fencing to segregate students from work sites.
“The idea is to give them live experience on a live site, to learn from a real builder, to see what the risks are, and to get a feel for what’s involved,” said Mr Swann.
“It will help them to know what they can realistically expect to see in a work environment and make them a bit street wise. Too many these days can be thrown in the deep end.”
The induction course and site tours are being made available to Middle and Senior School construction students, some of whom will also go on work placements with Hansen Yuncken.