Is there nothing Rendine Constructions can't fix?
When Joe Bourke joined Rendine Constructions 36 years ago at only 16 years of age, as an apprentice carpenter and joiner, he wasn't planning to add 'scuba tiling' to his ever-growing list of skills.
Yet in 2020, with his role having evolved to become our in-house 'Mr Fixit', he along with one of Rendine's long term specialist tiling contractors, devised a process to replace broken tiles in the Epworth Hospital's physiotherapy pool - without removing the water.
It's the latest in a long list of can-do accomplishments for the Geelong construction company prides itself on going the extra mile to provide creative solutions. While others in our space might stick doggedly to their lane, Rendine prides itself on extraordinary construction, but also on continuously innovating and leaving no stone unturned to delight our customers.
Along the way, Joe has fixed the problems of hundreds of schools - from storm and fire damage to vandalism, a sewage spill and even a sinkhole - plus an array of other buildings across Geelong and Western Victoria. He has been called out at uncivilised hours to discover water cascading down internal walls - in one case, directly through a still-live main switchboard. In each instance he devised a logical solution; in many cases even making it possible for occupants to experience only minimal interruption.
At the Epworth, where Rendine Constructions is a preferred contractor, broken tiles on the floor of the pool had created a jagged edge that made the pool unsafe for use by rehabilitating patients.
Joe enlisted the assistance of a tiler and a fly-in-fly-out scuba diver who normally provides running maintenance to drilling rigs, as well as sourcing special silicon sealants developed by the US Navy for underwater use.
“It went really well,” Joe says. “Both were under the water in full scuba gear and finished in a matter of few hours, and were in and out of the building in the space of a day.”
Joe says every maintenance call-out brings a new problem to solve. “One of the first emergency calls I went to, there was literally a waterfall inside the school building, coming down the wall inside the switchboard over all the electricals. I just thought, 'what do you do here?',” he says.
“We isolated it, and pumped out about 10,000 litres of water from the upper level of the building. They actually got back in fairly quickly once we got some air movers and dehumidifiers in place.
“If it's something new, there's always other people to ask. And just when I think I've seen everything, you get asked to scuba dive to fix some tiles!”
No job is too big or too small - Joe was recently called upon by the City of Greater Geelong to inspect and replace missing stair treads on an access stairway at Collendina beach. A simple proposition for Joe but for beach users, a vital job to be completed quickly to restore access.
At the other end of the scale, Joe was called to Mildura following a significant flooding event in 2011 to repair three schools, instead arriving to find damage to 14 schools. One needed an entire wing to be re-roofed, in the process uncovering significant mould in the ceiling cavity, while another school had an even smellier issue.
“When the school ovals flooded, a sewer popped a lid and sewage spilled all over the ovals,” Joe explains. “We had to get environmental specialists in to give us a scope of work to deal with that. I don't know how many kilometres of temporary fencing we needed to fence off the ovals.”
Another job at the Epworth has been to replace the stainless steel plates on the bottom of the operating theatre doors, which had become damaged by being repetitively hit by rolling hospital beds. “We took those back to the workshop to do the repairs but had to have them back at the Epworth the same day, so operations could proceed as scheduled the next morning,” Joe says. He also devised a plan to minimise the liklihood of reoccurence, by wrapping the stainless steel around the edges of the bottom of the door so when the hospital beds hit the door there is a reduced risk of the same issue happening again.
Rendine Constructions General Manager Michael Thornton says that "Joe's knowledge and experience at Rendine make him our resident Mr Fix-it, there are not too many problems he cant fix or find a solution too. He's a very valued member of our team."