Joined: July 2004
||Posted: 03 Sep. 2005,20:27
One of the things that happen when you upgrade to mech-laying aids, Leighton, is that your whole set-up changes and you end up having flags positioned ready for laying with minimal effort. Funnily enough, using a vac-lift for riven or riven-effect flags is one of the areas that's been fascinating me this summer. I watched a gang for a couple of hours and they came to the conclusion that the best working method was to have one man making the bed, two on the lift and one on maul and butter. With the flags 3-5m or so outside the working area, all four of them, and the bloody nuisance yappy dog, were never idle and they laid/pointed the best part of 30 square metres in between 10am and lunchtime. Admittedly, they didn't do any of the cuts, and there's a case to be made for yet another man working on that part of the job, but with 4 men cluttering up what was, after all, just a medium sized patio (44 sq m), another bloke on there would have been too much.
When it comes to using vac-lifts with pressed flags, you can rely on just two men: screed the area; lay the flags; couldn't be simpler. However, many of the council teams I've observed seem to work in 3-man gangs, which gave enhanced arse-scratching and fag-rolling opportunities, but I couldn't see where the additional productivity could come from. Naturally, being council workers, I couldn't order them to work as a two-man gang for an hour so that I could compare and contrast to the efforts of a 3 man gang, but I'm hoping to talk a private subby into giving me free rein with his lads for half-a-day on a job later this autumn.
For the small patio/driveway contractor, many of the mech-aids are, for the moment, just not practical, but with improved awareness and in-depth illustration/teaching of better working methods, they can, and do, offer great opportunities to almost every job.
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