Monday, 23rd November 2015

Walter Lilly celebrates surveyor’s success

Zoe Wickins gains full membership with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveryors

After a lot of hard work and determination, Zoe Wickins has gained full membership with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. This is an amazing effort having only graduated from Loughborough University in July 2013.

This sets a great example to all of our surveyors, especially the current crop of graduates and trainees.

Zoe joined Walter Lilly in 2009 as a sponsored student from Loughborough University. Since graduating, she has progressed to the role of Surveyor and has experience of both traditional and design and build contracts on high class residential and bespoke public building jobs.

Congratulations Zoe, from all at Walter Lilly!


Monday, 23rd November 2015

Progress at Belgravia

Demolition is now complete on site

Demolitions are now complete for our project in Belgravia. The scheme involves a new basement with a new steel frame Mews structure over to be complete using top down construction.

Temporary works are in place to retain the mews façade and provide stability to neighbouring structures. Underpinning is ongoing on site to make way for the new basement. Underpins are up to 6m deep and are being cast in one hit by GSS Piling. Structural engineers Heyne Tillet Steel.

Thursday, 12th November 2015

2015 Walter Lilly trip to Swaziland

Walter Lilly helped to construct a new Neighbourhood Care Point

18The 2015 Walter Lilly trip to Swaziland comprised a group of nine graduates and trainees Ben Hollis, Ben Ladyman, George Colgate, Jordan Spencer, Josie Corr, Matthew Cathersides, Matt Pyle, Rebecca Ukleja, with Erica Denman as team leader again. . The eleven hour flight to Johannesburg and four hour bus transfer to Swaziland went smoothly as could be expected.

Our project this year would be the construction of a new Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP) on a plot of land in a rural area of the Elzuwini valley near Lobamba. This would be the seventh NCP built by All Out Africa with funding and help from volunteers like ourselves. These NCPs provide a centre for the local orphaned and vulnerable kids to come eat, get basic pre-school education and be clothed. With the extra money raised by the team prior to leaving, we managed to fill four suitcases with toys, games, clothes and books – some of which will be wrapped up and given to the kids at the NCPs at Christmas time, and the remainder were given to the Hope House Orphanage where we spent an afternoon assisting with the mealtime and entertaining the kids.

Following the orientation, the group went for a walk through the local village Lobamba where they all made friends with the local kids.

On Monday they headed off to the NCP all clean, smart and full of energy. From this day onwards they spent most of thier time covered in dust, mud and sweat and didn’t really manage to get clean until they returned home! The first task was to clear the land of the top soil, grass and roots for the footprint of the building. Eight gruelling hours of digging later (in 35oC heat no less) they transformed the unruly grassland into something more manageable, no easy task with rock hard earth following several months of no rain!

The following day involved more digging, much to the chagrin of the happy but blistered and achy team. They had to dig a trench 500mm wide and 800mm deep with a step on two sides to allow for the slope. Given they only had a string line, a tape measure, spades and pick axes to complete this task they managed a really rather beautiful trench – the Walter Lilly engineering department would have been proud!

21For the rest of the first week, they poured the foundations and started laying the blocks for the classroom, including a damp proof course. This was all tough going as everything is done by hand, even mixing up the batch. First job of the day was to collect the cement from the neighbour’s house – not an easy task given that the bags are still double the weight of bags allowed in the UK under the manual handling regulations They first mix consisted of sixteen wheelbarrows of river sand, four wheelbarrows of gravel sand, four bags of cement and copious amounts of water. They made variants of this mixture every day for the rest of the trip for the foundations, mortar and render.

They also had to entertain the local kids whilst working; Matthew provided a very popular wheelbarrow riding service, Josie taught them the YMCA and pat-a-cake, Matt Pyle went for the food option and Becky got taught by the kids how to pose for the camera!2

At the other end of the site Josie and Becky were in charge of building the toilet block. Progress was good and by the end of the first week they had completed most of the walls, one of which was curved (no easy feat when using just a spirit level and a string line.) By the end of the second week the toilet was almost complete, including a very fetching version of the WL logo in the render.

One afternoon a week, All Out Africa runs a homework club for the kids who have been sponsored by previous volunteers to go to school (whilst primary education is free the uniform, books and bus fares to school are not) . Homework club was set up to ensure that these children are actually benefitting from this education. The Walter Lilly team took part in two of these afternoons and helped the kids with maths and English (most of them were hoping not to get the kids doing long division

In and amongst the digging and the bricklaying, they had to make the mud bricks which were to be used on the upper sections of the walls. This involved mixing mud, water and grass into a very sticky and heavy pile which was then packed into a two brick mould and left to dry for three days. This process was repeated until they had made two hundred bricks.

11 croppedThey had a number of people from the local community come and help during the two weeks they were there (their assistance was much needed as they can dig for hours without a break.). As thanks the team gave away a football shirt (apparently West Ham is popular in Swaziland!), bought lunch and one guy got a ticket to the Swazi vs Burundi football match being held in Lobamba.

In two weeks, they completed the foundations and eight courses of blockwork for the main classroom, the foundations and four courses of blockwork for the store room, dug the foundations for the kitchen, almost completed the toilet block and made two hundred mud bricks. They went through twenty pairs of gloves, eight pairs of boots, and most of their t-shirts and shorts in so doing. The team can be very proud of their hard work in achieving so much in the short time they were there.

You can’t work hard without playing a little hard too, so they made sure that they found time to enjoy some extra-curricular activities including quad biking, zip lining, swimming, hiking and a safari. In our opinion, as far as team bonding goes, there is nothing quite like spending two weeks building in Africa to build good working relationships and lasting friendships.

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