September 2013 Volume 24 No. 8
Controlling Moisture In Wood
JOHN BOWEN CUTTING EDGE Trust, lies and elections bowens.com.au
Expert Advice on page 9
New technology with the Diablo advantage
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The Builders Choice
A Word From John Bowen
Trust, Lies & Elections By the time most readers have a chance to peruse September’s Builders Bulletin, the Federal Election will have been run and won and, even better, the Essendon vs AFL battle will (hopefully) have identified an outcome that removes the distasteful saga from our daily news. On both matters I switched off months ago.
From where I sit it appears politicians believe if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. I doubt this is a modern phenomenon. Are they lies or just twisted versions of the facts? Either way, they are used to create a narrative, attack an opponent, or respond to indefensible claims against them.
I would have been happy for the Essendon fiasco to slip behind closed doors the day the ACC brought the matter to our attention. Quite obviously the newspapers and talkback radio couldn’t help themselves, a fact I have found to be quite irritating. How can so much time and space be taken up with guess work and theories?
In the greater scheme of things, politicians are actors (my apologies to actors). They follow a script and put on a good show. They convince you they’re sincere and compassionate by kissing babies and appearing at charity events. As we know, some actors or television presenters have become politicians - completing the loop.
On the political front, I wonder if 2013 is much different to years gone by. I can’t remember the tone of political debate in the ‘90s, ‘80s or ‘70s – I hope our elected leaders in those times earned a greater degree of confidence than our representatives of today have been able to muster. The public are called upon to trust governments to maintain the good of society and trust politicians to deliver on their campaign promises. Given the increasing complexity of everyday decisions, trust provides a basic sense of security to citizens and is argued to be the basis for a wellorganised society. Using a popular phrase from the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), trust is the electorate’s “catch-all” clause. Our new man in The Lodge is expected to live up to this expectation; regrettably, I have my (strong) reservations. The 2013 Federal election campaign has led me to contemplate the idea of ‘trust’ too many times to be healthy. I find myself questioning almost every claim our politicians make and I now consider myself to have become immune to their rhetoric. I don’t imagine the politicians themselves believe even half of what they are saying. Much better people than me have pondered these same issues. Professor Paul Ward, Head of Public Health at Flinders University, considers the wellbeing of society to be under threat when citizens are unable to trust governments and politicians. Professor Ward believes trust has always been and continues to be the central concept in pre-election campaigning. Most members of the public are unlikely to personally know their local politician on anything other than a facial recognition level. They are even less likely to know Federal politicians. This lack of inter-personal knowledge or relationship creates a social distance that requires ‘trust’. The public cannot know what the real intentions of particular politicians (or for that matter, political parties) are, and therefore the public are asked to trust that a politician (and/or a political party) will do their best not to let them down. While we attempt to build our trust in one politician, another is suggesting they are not what they seem, or infecting our thinking by drawing on examples where ‘promises have been broken’. In response to Labor’s announcement of the Federal election date, Tony Abbott, in a speech at the National Press Club, said “this election is about trust”, going on to question Labor’s performance and promises in relation to the carbon tax, job security and border control. In response to this speech, Jenny Macklin questioned whether the public can or should trust Tony Abbott, saying “The test for Mr Abbott today will be whether Australian families can trust him to tell the truth”. Such ‘questionable trust’ and ‘broken promises’ are then used as ‘evidence’ to distrust the particular politician, and by default, their political party. How can the electorate be anything but confused? I suppose politicians count on us believing their lies, even in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary. They basically live in an echo chamber in which everyone watches the same news channel, listens to the same talk radio, reads the same newspapers and web sites, and hangs out with like-minded people.
‘A politician’s best talent is criticising criticism of their own claims. It doesn’t matter who is offering the commentary, even highly credentialed professionals from outside the political sphere are rebuffed without a second thought’ One of the most popular battle grounds for confusing the public has been the back and forth claims on policy costings. It seems to me you could only qualify as a politician if you are able to earnestly argue diametrically opposed points of view on the same subject. A politician’s best talent is criticising criticism of their own claims. It doesn’t matter who is offering the commentary, even highly credentialed professionals from outside the political sphere are rebuffed without a second thought. On the 23rd August Bank of America Merrill Lynch chief economist Saul Eslake analysed the Coalition’s spending commitments and its budget cuts. He said the Coalition needed to find another $30 billion in savings to make good on its promise to improve the budget bottom line. Before the public had a chance to hear Mr Eslake’s point of view the Opposition was on every news channel rejecting the independent analysis, saying it contained “some pretty fundamental errors in its calculations”. As the political world moved on the public was again left questioning where the truth lay. Perhaps the politicians know us better than we know ourselves. Maybe we can’t handle the truth or the reality of what lies ahead and they are only giving us what we crave? I would rather hold onto the hope of one day uncovering a leader who is able to package the truth with real solutions. A leader who can identify the truly important issues for Australia and provide policies with longer term horizons. If such a person does come along I hope we are smart enough to recognise the opportunity they represent. I would even be happy for such a person to use the phrase, “a fair shake of the sauce bottle” – just as long as they take the time to explain its meaning.
John Bowen, Managing Director
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Moisture In Wood
This to my mind is one of the most important factors in the continued integral long service of timber products. Water intrusion and later subsequent moisture loss causes swelling then shrinkage and often splitting. Associated with these moisture changes are dimensional changes as well. These changes cause stress on the timber product ultimately limiting the products service life. Most paints and stains attempt to control moisture intrusion by forming a surface film. However, once these products break down, usually under exposure from the suns UV rays, they crack and allow moisture in. These products then become counter productive by locking the moisture in and not allowing the timber to dry out, usually accelerating wood rot. Refer photo below. Regular readers will be familiar with a product I often promote called Cutek. Invariably associated with this promotion I use the word diffusion. This means the Cutek preservative gradually diffuses or works its way into the wood. This process can vary in time, depending on the density or moisture content of the wood. For best results I advocate applying the preservative on all faces before installation. All faces also means the ends of the product as well. This is where the most moisture/loss gain occurs.
â€˜The oil based solution locks into the cells of the wood giving it a waterproofing affect, also enhancing durability as well as board and dimensional stabilityâ€™ Some may think this is a task too great if applied by hand on site, particularly if there is a large quantity involved. We are in a position to have this process undertaken in a factory off-site. However, I do also suggest a final coat (by hand) on all exposed surfaces after installation. If a UV stabiliser (tint) is required this cannot be used in a factory application because it will not be evenly shown or have a blotchy affect. The tint should be applied (by hand) on site or the final coat. This diffusion means the oil based solution locks into the cells of the wood giving it a waterproofing affect, also enhancing durability as well as board and dimensional stability. Another benefit by applying this product is helping to suppress sap bleed. I guess a lot of what I have said about this product has been based on anecdotal evidence from builders who have successfully used Cutek. Having said that, I used the product recently on a small job I did at home. I applied the preservative to a piece of 140x19 Merbau decking on all faces. Within a week I found the offcuts had shown appreciable diffusion. Refer to last months edition of the Builders Bulletin. Summing up, builders should undertake measures that limit moisture ingress or uptake. An example of this would be decking in winter. On the otherhand they should also consider measures to limit the loss of moisture particularly in the warmer months. My suggestion in either case is to apply the measures set out above.
If youâ€™re already experiencing moisture in wood problems and need expert advice, Jeff Harvey can help. Simply call him on 0412 550 740
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Falling On Your Feet...
Laverton store to Taylor’s Lakes, and he is impressed by Craig and his company. ‘When I first went out to meet him, he mentioned his accident,’ says Damien. ‘I didn’t know what to say, I was in shock, but that drive that got him through that time has certainly helped him to be where he is now.’ Craig remembers when he first started his business and how much he didn’t know.
When Craig Robinson was twenty-one, studying a business degree, he was free climbing in the Grampians when he fell twelve metres, badly fracturing his left leg. Fast-forward two years and fourteen operations later, and Craig was finally out of hospital, after contracting a super bug in hospital. Craig, with a new outlook and a second chance at life, decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life in an office, instead he wanted to work outdoors, something physical and be part of a team. Craig threw in his business degree and instead took on a mature age carpentry apprenticeship, finishing two years later. Craig worked for a wall cladding company, where he was introduced to Bowens and this soon became invaluable to him when he started Dynamic Developments. ‘On the Friday I got my registration and by Monday I had started my own company,’ Craig laughs at the memory. Starting a company was a natural path for Craig to take and with his maturity and expansive network, he soon had his first contract. ‘I got a purchase order for a two storey frame, worth twelve thousand dollars,’ he says, ‘I spent hours and hours pouring over the plans on the kitchen table, checking and double checking. It seemed like such a huge amount of money back then.’ Now, with at least fifteen projects on the books at any one time, Dynamic Developments, is well balanced between architectural homes and renovations as well as small to medium sized commercial work. Bowens representative Damien Thomas has worked with Dynamic Developments since March this year, moving from the
‘The Bowens website was a godsend when I first started the company,’ says Craig. ‘I could do my quoting at night and they listed all the prices, it made it so much easier.’ Now Bowens supplies ninety-five percent of Dynamic Developments materials. ‘We use them for everything we can,’ explains Craig, ‘If we don’t get it from them, then it’s because they don’t supply it.’ ‘We supply Dynamic feature claddings, architectural products, special species of decking and day to day pine framing’ says Damien. ‘Craig is one of the most organised builders I know, plus he is a very reasonable and knowledgeable person, he’s great to work with.’ Part of Dynamic Developments success is attributed to Craig’s intensive six-stage interview process for any future staff, from first year apprentices to senior managers. ‘We need people to go beyond their potential’ he says, ‘Just like Bowens, so much of what we do is about culture.’ ‘Our reps over the years have been incredible to us,’ says Craig. ‘These people have gone above and beyond the call of their jobs, just to drive something to us onsite. They might be out of the office and have to go to a different store, which means not adding to their sales target but they just want to ensure we get the job done.’ ‘They are consistently competitive on pricing and their service is unparalleled,’ he says. Right now, Dynamic Developments is in Eastern and Metropolitan Melbourne but Craig is hoping to open an interstate office in the next five years. With the level of commitment and passion that Craig has applied to his healing and now his company, we have no doubt he will achieve it and we wish him the best, every step of the way.
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