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December 2013 Volume 24 No. 11


B Bulletin

JACK BOWEN The Meaning of Christmas


Are you site ready for 2014?

10 of the best

Products for every tradie this Christmas The Builders Choice

A Word From Jack Bowen

The Meaning of


Christmas is upon us – yet again – and oh so quickly! Don’t we say that every year? The mad panic to ‘get things done’ before Christmas, and then find later that all that urgency was unnecessary! But Christmas it is, and I want to examine our attitude to what is primarily a Christian celebration. The 2011 Consensus Report on religious affiliations showed that those reporting an affiliation to a Christian religion made up 61% of our population (22 million in 2011). In 1911 it was 96%, 2001 it was 68%. So these ‘affiliation’ numbers don’t look great for the future of Christianity in Australia. This numbers game would look even worse if it included those practising their Christian religion versus those who are not. (The same could be said of anyone who claims a religious or personal belief.) But as we approach Christmas, and in particular the commercial aspect, I would espouse the sort of universal values which “propose that the worth of a person cannot be measured by money or possessions, that frugality is to be preferred to conspicuous consumption, that we are responsible for one another, and that justice and honesty cannot be compromised in the struggle for status and security”. However, much of the commercial advertising associated with Christmas is centred around the values of “getting, owning, enjoying, producing, competing and winning, placing great emphasis on aggressiveness, self-satisfaction, status and security”. In many ways I accept that this is just the sort of life, the reality, we live in. I’m just hoping that the meaning of Christmas – the birth of Christ, the emphasis on families, the coming together of families from all religious denominations - remain the dominate force/influence at this time of the year. So in the lead up to Christmas day, and the holiday period beyond, we somehow need to revisit what we really want for our family, our friends and workmates. The giving of presents of course is great fun, and in the spirit of the traditional Christmas I certainly know and remember from the time I was a child. But whatever ‘gifts’ we give must be secondary to our behaviour towards all the people we associate with at home, at work and at play. I just think it’s a great time – the end of another year/start of another Christmas – to re-examine who we are and be truthful to ourselves, our friends and peers. So the ‘meaning of Christmas’ needs to be retained despite (maybe) the lessening influence of Christianity itself. As Australia grows, the influence of other nationalities and religious groups will become obvious. But also obvious should be the traditions that have made this country so enjoyable and liveable for generations of Australians.



‘It’s a great time – the end of another year/start of another Christmas – to re-examine who we are and be truthful to ourselves, our friends and peers.’ We can examine our history and be critical of much that has been wrong, but we should also look with a lot of pride at what this young country has achieved. What was achieved, and what has contributed to the wonderful ‘way of life’ we enjoy today, needs to be protected. To me, the meaning of Christmas brings together the really important aspects of our life in this country and while the religious aspect is the reason for Christmas, the meaning that it brings should be accepted by all that are fortunate to live here. I’m also hoping that as our customers reflect on the year passed, and their relationship with BOWENS, that most do so with good feelings about who we are, and how we performed. Whatever I might say or ‘preach’ in these Builders Bulletin articles, if my company does not live up to the standards I believe in – then we have failed. Any organisation is as strong as its weakest link but it’s the leadership that must show the way and clearly articulate the values that provide the base from which the whole team can respond. The 2013 year has not been without its problems but the company has and will continue to focus on improving its service to our Builder customers and emphasising the need for all staff to be responsible for their actions. We all make mistakes, but if all our staff can show initiative and take on the responsibility of customer service and satisfaction, that would give us a great New Year of 2014 to look forward to! I personally wish all our customers and staff (and families) a wonderful Christmas. On behalf of the Bowen’s Board of Directors I also do this, and look forward to a happy and prosperous time ahead!

Jack Bowen, Chairman of the Board of Directors

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Bowens Hire Are you site ready for 2014? Why wait until New Year’s Eve to set your goals for 2014? My advice would be to set your goals now and start planning for a ripper year ahead. That way, you’re well ahead of the race. urdy also has st ary fencing or apart. p d m le te ul s Bowen els being p an p nt ve re clamps to p

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to view video

Things are looking up for 2014. Interest rates remain low and according to the latest industry reports, residential building approvals are on the rise. Yet competition in the building industry for the increase in building activity is fierce. One goal I’ve set for 2014 is to get a jump on my competitors and to be more organised. We all know things ramp up in the summer months – is your building site safe, secure and ready to roll? Your first consideration is the safety of your site. Often signs are not enough to deter people from entering a work site, especially during the holiday period when revelers and bored teenagers are out and about roaming the neighbourhoods on their end of year break. It’s not just graffiti and site damage you need to be concerned about. Workers and the public can slip on rubble or trip over planks of wood, cutting open a leg or causing a nasty fall. Good housekeeping from the planning stage goes a long way to ensure your site is safe right from the beginning. Firstly you need to install temporary fencing panels high enough (at least 1.8m) to prevent people climbing over them. Chain mesh temporary fencing is the perfect solution as it is difficult to scale. Good temporary fencing also has sturdy clamps to prevent panels being pulled apart.

Get organised now and have a safe and workable building site ready to roll in 2014! It’s also important to make sure the layout of the site supports good housekeeping and takes into consideration: walkways; designated storage areas; vehicle access; and designated delivery areas. Setting site rules is a good place to start. Everyone on site needs to do their bit to ensure the site stays clean throughout construction. Rubbish cages can be hired to keep rubbish and debris contained during construction so that it is not lying around on site creating a hazard. Also, consider things that might hinder deliveries such as overhanging power lines, trees, and whether the item can be picked up at the end of the build. For example, portable toilets are delivered by crane truck and require clear and unhindered access in order to be safely lifted onto site. So too you wouldn’t deliver a portable toilet to the back of a block if there was no access to pick it up at the end of the build! At Bowens we only supply fresh water flush portable toilets with large holding tanks to cater to a number of trades coming through the site over the period of the build. We always ensure toilets are placed on even and stable ground to prevent the toilets tipping and potentially falling over. Also, while it is the responsibility of everyone on site to keep the toilet clean and hygienic, we can make life a lot easier and organise toilet servicing on a regular rostered basis whereby we simply turn up at site on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis to clean the toilet, replenish toilet

Rubbish cages can be hired at Bowens Hire to keep rubbish and debris contained during construction.

paper and replace chemicals and water for fresh water flush (we never supply recirculating or straight drop toilets). We then date stamp the toilet with the next rostered service date. It’s a good idea to get your builders’ temporary power supply (bts) organised early as the electricity retailers can take up to 21 days to connect power to your pole. Before ordering your pole, check whether there is a pit on site as they will need to know whether you require overhead or underground power. Depending on whether you are building a single house, multiple dwellings or commercial premises, they will also need to know whether you require a domestic, commercial or 3 phase power pole. At Bowens, while we can organise the hire of the power pole, you can choose to connect with your own energy retailer. If the block is vacant it is important to ensure the power company has access to site at all times. Energy retailers will charge a wasted trip to site if they cannot access the pole to connect power. This can sometimes cost up to $200! To avoid this, you can purchase a power industry lock which allows the power retailer access to site even if you are not there. Once installed and connected the bts will be issued with a Certificate of Electrical Safety and should be tested on a regular basis. Once the site is established, proper supervision is critical to ensure everyone follows the site rules. Each trade is responsible for cleaning up after themselves. If a fencing panel is removed it needs to be replaced; never tamper with a power pole that has been erected and passed its Certification; if you need to move your portable toilet, call us for a restand. Toilets are a complex mechanical product and need the right equipment to be moved - even one metre. Always ensure the site is maintained in a safe and tidy condition.

Plan ahead of the new year and call Bowens Hire today on 9720 6049




Step on it

Speed up your next build with

Cassette Flooring

Prefabrication is not a new concept in building. The supply of Trusses & Frames have been a part of the building supply product to site for over 20 years. At Timbertruss, where our two sites at Geelong and Dandenong makes us the biggest manufacturer in Victoria, we are always looking at what we can do that can make us the builders choice in such a competitive industry. So with the input of our innovation team, we looked at the floor area, where we obviously supply Posi’s and flooring as a product separately. So with this in mind, after a lot of investigation work and a push from the Timber industry as a whole to fight against the concrete slab market, a new concept was developed called “Cassette Flooring”. Cassette Flooring is a floor system, whether it be Posi’s, I-Joists or solids, with the flooring glued, then automated nailed using a state of the art machinery in the factory at a size suitable that they can be delivered to site on our crane trucks. (i.e. 3.3 max width & 12m length). Like any floor system, all Bracing, Strongbacks, Rim Beams or Timber Beams are installed within the Cassette, where the design is compatible for a straight or stiff floor. Once manufactured, delivery is by our crane trucks and provided access is fine, the reach is suitable (crane capacity is up to tonne in weight & lifting to a distance approx. 12m) the cassettes can be placed in position. The benefits of this strategy are numerous, but most builders will agree the key factors include speeding up the building

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to view video 6


process, often shaving weeks off a construction timetable which in effect reduces costs markedly, minimising the amount of space needed on site for materials and storage, reducing on site labour costs as well as being a safer way to build. In order to achieve the desired outcome, the design stage is crucial. Steve Harvey of Timbertruss notes that the tolerances normally associated with flooring such as load capacity, joist positioning and the like are all still factored in, but it is done in a more adaptable way through computerised drafting software which then sends the dimensions needed ready to be cut to order and shipped off to site. It’s due to this precision, and versatility, that Cassette Flooring will be adopted by more and more builders. One such builder is Liam Robertson of LR & MJ Constructions. When we asked him why he chooses to use Cassette Flooring, his answer confirmed the benefits. “Some of the benefits would be obviously the speed, the safety aspect and, really, storage on site. It comes on the truck, we don’t have to do anything here, it just comes straight off. That would probably be the three main points.” Liam went on further to add that for large volume builders such as his company, cassette flooring allows for a much higher turnaround than ever before. What would have taken weeks previously can now be achieved in days from ordering of the materials to final fit for the floors. Not only is this a reduction in time, but it has a massive impact on the cost.

‘It’s due to this precision, and versatility, that Cassette Flooring will be adopted by more and more builders.

Safer working platform (OH&S).

This notion is also supported by Steve Harvey. “The main benefit that I see for the system is the time it saves for a build cost. And you are looking at most jobs, you know, may range from 2-3 grand. You add that up over a number of days, the benefits of that will go back to the builder’s pocket. And if he can get the cassette system up quicker, that means that he will get his progress payment quicker and therefor the benefit is for the builder. So, no doubt, it’s the way of the future, and hopefully from the cassette perspective, we are leading the way with TimberTruss. We can actually make sure we are leading the industry.” We feel this is the way of the future in “Prefabrication building” and Timbertruss will continue to develop our business to lead the industry in any other possibilities, whether it be with cladding with framing or prebuilt roofing, such as they do overseas, so at the end result is the benefit to the builder.

Incorporate specific penetration points.

For a more detailed look at how Cassette Flooring may benefit you, please check out our latest video online, or get in touch with Timbertruss for a personalised conversation about the lifting of the Cassettes onsite.

Benefits & Features • • • • • • •

Speed up build time to save up to $2k-$3k a day. Safer working platform (OH&S). Less chance of theft. Precision built in factory. Can incorporate penetration points and insulation. Can be done for first floor. Sub floor: Sloping sites where less cut and fill is required, with adjustable stumps - with Posi’s and I-Joists. Less stumps are required also.

Precision built in factory.

All the guesswork and calculations done in a factory andDECEMBER then delivered 2013 to site. 7

Expert Advice

Protect Your Floor Over The Dry Holiday Period

Regular readers of my articles will know it is the time I warn of the possibility of severe floor shrinkage during the usual holiday season. It is not uncommon for me to return from Christmas holidays to inspect a floor that has experienced floor shrinkage. Co-incidentally it is a time when it is not uncommon that bush fires and drought conditions occur. One thing is common in both these unwanted events; LOW HUMIDITY. Accordingly, I think it important for you to understand how this happens, or why a floor, and I include established floors, can react to appropriate weather conditions that are conducive to unsightly floor gapping. RH 40%

Cover width 80mm

Dry Conditions

MC 11%

Humid Conditions RH 80%

Obviously the dwelling should be designed with appropriate measures to keep heat and sunlight out. Having said that I make the following suggestions; • Keep the house well ventilated, particularly during the evening when there is more humidity in the atmosphere. • If the house is still to be finished and the floor is installed, cover the windows with temporary coverings, perhaps newspaper. • Buckets or bowls of water left around the house, even the sinks or bath, will help put moisture into the micro climate within the house as the water evaporates.

Cover width 79mm MC 8%

RH 60%

What Can Be Done To Prevent Shrinkage During The Warmer Month’s?

Cover width 81.5mm MC 16%

Relative Humidity, Moisture Content And Shrinkage Humidity is a measure of how dry or how much moisture is in the air. When the relative humidity is low, moisture in timber flooring moves into the air causing the moisture content of the flooring to reduce. Inevitably, associated with this drop in moisture content is shrinkage. At this time of year, warm temperatures and dry air can make timber floors very responsive to moisture loss and gaps at board edges can quickly appear. A typical scenario can be a builder or installer, installs a floor just prior to his Christmas holidays. The dwelling is locked up and no fresh air is cooling the house down. Consequently there is a build-up of heat lowering the humidity causing shrinkage as explained above. This situation can just as easily apply to established house floors given similar conditions as just outlined.

• A novel way could be allowing wet clothes dry on the clothes horse inside the dwelling. • If you are away, arrange for a neighbour or friend to open the house at night. A word of warning if you are thinking about using air conditioning to achieve increase of humidity in the house. Many of the systems currently used for cooling are refrigerated based. This type of system takes humidity from the air and if used for prolonged periods, will probably cause unwanted shrinkage. However, an evaporative system puts humidity into the air and will help to prevent shrinkage. If on return from holidays your floor has suffered severe board gapping, other methods may be necessary to restore the floor to its original form. These methods are; • Daily applications of a damp mop (not wet). • Mist spraying the rooms, then laying clear plastic over the floor, causing sweating. • Once the floor has returned to a reasonable appearance and the floor has stabilised sanding and polishing can take place. These measures should only be carried out by a very experienced flooring contractor. The diagram above will give you an idea of how dry conditions through to damp conditions can affect dimensional changes in flooring. I acknowledge using the Australian Timber Flooring Association information sheets to state some of the information above.

Buckets of water left around the house will help put moisture into the micro climate within the house.



If you have experienced these types of issues or would like some expert advice, Jeff Harvey can help. Simply call him on 0412 550 740.



ECOWOOD with colour built in!


• With colour built in, ColourWood saves time and money by eliminating the need for additional stains to be applied after installation • Ease of disposal for wastes and offcuts through normal waste collection and disposal services in accordance with local authorities. • International acceptance. The preservative system in ColourWood is used in over 20 countries.

For more information about ColourWood visit Decking & Sleepers are readily available and are now in stock at most Bowens stores. Other products are available but manufacture lead times apply.

Getting The Most From Your Colourwood Discerning builders, landscapers, architects and home owners can now take advantage of the following features and benefits by specifying ColourWood for all their structural, outdoor and in-ground building needs: • Family friendly, recommended for environmentally sensitive areas or frequent human contact applications. • Durable, attractive outdoor wood products, guaranteed against failure from decay and insect attack.

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ColourWood is safe for applications that are in close human contact and durable against decay and termite damage. DECEMBER 2013


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Makita 185mm Circular Saw 5740NBSP • Thin kerf blade cuts through all grades of timber even hardwoods • Improved handle design gives great balance • Bevel lock to 45° • Calibrated aluminium base for increased accuracy


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Bowens Christmas Trading Hours Monday 23 December 7am – 4pm All stores

Wednesday 1 January Closed All stores

CHRISTMAS EVE 7am – 3:30pm North Melbourne, Phillip Island 7am – 12pm Mt Evelyn, Hastings, Bentleigh East, Rowville, Croydon, Shepparton 7am – 1pm Hallam Closed Epping, Taylors Lakes, Laverton

Thursday 2 January – Friday 3 January 7am – 4pm All stores 7:30am - 5pm Phillip Island Saturday 4th January 7:30am – 4:30pm Nth Melbourne 7:30am – 3pm Mt Evelyn 8am – 12pm Hastings 7:30am – 1pm Bentleigh East 8am – 4pm Rowville 8am – 1pm Croydon 8am – 3pm Phillip Island Closed Epping, Taylors Lakes, Hallam, Laverton & Shepparton

CHRISTMAS DAY – BOXING DAY Closed All stores Friday 27 December 7am – 3:30pm Nth Melbourne, Bentleigh East, Rowville 7am – 3pm Mt Evelyn, Croydon 7am – 4pm Phillip Island Closed Hastings, Epping, Taylors Lakes, Hallam, Laverton, Shepparton

Sunday 5 January 9am – 4pm Nth Melbourne 9am – 2pm Phillip Island Closed All other stores

Saturday 28 December 7:30am – 4:30pm Nth Melbourne 7:30am – 3pm Mt Evelyn 8am – 12pm Hastings 7:30am – 1pm Bentleigh East 8am – 4pm Rowville 8am – 1pm Croydon 8am – 3pm Phillip Island Closed Epping, Taylors Lakes, Hallam, Laverton & Shepparton

Monday 6 January – Friday 10 January 6:30am – 5pm North Melbourne 7:30am – 5pm Phillip Island 7am – 4pm All other stores Saturday 11 January 7:30am – 4:30pm Nth Melbourne 7:30am – 3pm Mt Evelyn 8am – 12pm Hastings 7:30am – 1pm Bentleigh East 8am – 4pm Rowville 8am – 1pm Croydon 8am – 3pm Phillip Island Closed Epping, Taylors Lakes, Hallam, Laverton & Shepparton

Sunday 29 December 9am – 4pm Nth Melbourne 9am – 2pm Phillip Island Closed All other stores Monday 30 December 7am – 3:30pm Nth Melbourne, Mt Evelyn, Hastings, Bentleigh East, Rowville, Croydon 7am – 4pm Phillip Island Closed All other stores

Sunday 12 January 9am – 4pm Nth Melbourne 9am – 2pm Phillip Island Closed All other stores

Tuesday 31 December 7am – 3:30pm Nth Melbourne 7am – 12pm Mt Evelyn, Hastings, Bentleigh East, Rowville, Croydon 7am – 4pm Phillip Island Closed All other stores

Normal trading hours resume Monday 13 January 2014

Like the new Builders Bulletin? Subscribe now! Be the first to know about all the latest deals and news from Bowens. Simply scan the code or head to the website and sign up. Easy as. Bentleigh East Croydon Epping Hallam

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Bowens Builders Bulletin December  
Bowens Builders Bulletin December