As Marketing Manager I find it quite important to get a good understanding of what is going on in each part of the business. This morning I experience what our Operations Manager, Justin, does. An on-site shift in which Justin takes care of the Project Management. The main job for the project manager is done well before the shift date, and if done well everything should just run smoothly on the actual day. To get to this point our in-house design can draw up the architectural plans and gain consent from the council. All required egress was taken care of as well as the site prep and earlier this week, foundations were bored, inspected and timber piles poured with concrete spacing on the new foundations.
I arrived, along with crane, gear trucks and the traffic management team at 6.45am. It was clear that these guys have worked together on dozens of jobs. Everyone knows what they were meant to do, and they start by moving the crane into the right position. It’s nerve-wrecking watching a massive truck move backwards into a small driveway. It needs to be positioned just at the right spot to be able to lift the house from one end of the property to the other.
Once in position the crane driver gets to move into action for the first time this morning. He picks up the required concrete and wooden blocks for support under the spreader arms.
It’s important to know how solid the ground is and where there could be cavities underground. The house roughly weighs 25 tonnes and the crane goes up by about 30 meters. Those who understand physics know how much force will go into the spots where the blocks are placed.
As the crane pushes off the ground and levels itself with its spreader arms, all wheels leave the ground. Finally, the team can get started with the set-up of the metal structure that is held by the crane and supporting the house lift.
This takes a good 30 minutes, then it is all connected with straps that go underneath the house. I’ve never seen such big shackles, hooks and metal chains and find it fascinating how they piece it all together.
House On-site Shift
This is the moment of truth. The crane driver gets the go ahead from the team on the ground and he slowly starts lifting the house millimetre by millimetre. Everything goes smoothly, and the house is lifted completely and moved above the new piling.
I’m nervous watching the team and it is clear that the house owner feels the pressure too. Justin is right there in on the action ensuring the house is let down on the exact right spot. If out of place by a just centimeter council could deny building consent due to easement or setback infringements. The house move is complete within 20 minutes from lift off.
My day on-site is over
At this point, I leave site with a completely new understanding of what our on-the-ground-team does. Justin stays back to ensure everything is cleaned up in accordance with the plans.
The Relocatable House Co. has a full project management team in Auckland, Waikato, Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty, giving us the capabilities to project manage on-site shifts, repiling and complete house relocations across most of the North Island.