A ‘Grand Design’ it isn’t, but the Yarnauwi farm shed has seen enough delays to make even Kevin McCloud blush. After 14 months, our simple 4-bay equipment shed is finally done. Ordered in January 2016, with the shed company suggesting an initial completion date of June 2016, this modest structure was beset with delays ranging in scale from an apocalyptic winter through to urban tradies that couldn’t quite stomach the prospect of venturing beyond suburbia.
In our scouting for shed quotes, we initially entertained the prospect of going with a local construction company that does the whole lot from council approval to lock-up. While appealing, this option was going to be almost $15,000 more than the nearest quote, so after a bit more research we settled for an established, city-based company that would do the manufacture and erection, while we would be responsible for site preparation, the concrete slab, rainwater tanks and associated plumbing.
While the whole sorry tale is too tedious to recount, some of the highlights include a rainwater tank blowing away, the company delivery truck getting bogged and unloading the shed materials in the front paddock, 150 metres from the building site, the company-contracted “site clean-up” guy removing materials that were still required necessitating the re-ordering of various bits and pieces, and almost weekly phone calls to the company for nigh on eight months to get the darn thing built, with construction beginning in earnest a mere six months after the suggested completion date.
During one conversation with a company contact they sighed and said, “You’re just so far away.” It was a telling remark, and a sound reminder of the value of seeking out local tradespeople to complete local jobs. Indeed, all of the elements that we were responsible for contracting were completed promptly and to a high standard, with the tradespeople initiating regular communication about their progress. We’ve also discovered that rural networks sometimes exist beyond the Internet. A Google search for trades on the Fleurieu Coast often throws up outdated or expired listings on generic directory websites. We’ve rung more than one phone number that’s been met with a laughter that we’re seeking work from a company that haven’t existed for years. Finding someone who’ll do the job is more effectively found through a conversation at the ag supplies or landscaping shop or sifting through the pages of the regional news. Our concreter, for example, we found through asking a local building designer. Word-of-mouth carries with it a tacit endorsement of particular people too, supporting confidence in the quality of their work.
But now it’s up, the doors are on, and we have permanent shade and storage. It’s still only a tin shed, but perched on the top of the hill, out of the sun and with the wind curling over the roof it feels nothing short of luxurious. Aside from shade, there are many small pleasures that we’ve been awaiting for years: having a few tools onsite for when a problem needs solving, a relatively comfortable space to eat lunch, a sturdy bench to work on. Even the way a roller door opening or a few steel beams frame the view brings some pleasure. See you at the shed warming!