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MONDAY MAN: Wayne’s world of building

Lisa King

MONDAY  MAN: Wayne’s world of building

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HE BELIEVES that no craftsman or skilled person should go to his grave without sharing his knowledge.
That’s why Wayne Dowridge, who has been involved in construction for almost 20 years, has developed the Wayne Dowridge Construction Manual – a step by step guide for the beginner or experienced builder.
“There is nothing out there showing men and women who invest so much money in a house the things that are going on with it,” he told the DAILY NATION.
“By the time they find out what is going on or should be done, it is too late.
“With the manual they can see an idea of what should happen and they could avert that from happening.”  
Dowridge said that it was so simply written and illustrated that anyone could understand the process.
“It is for the lay person or the well-experienced person,” he pointed out.
He added that the book provided information on what type of and how many blocks to get, how much steel and what type: “You are putting a lot of money in it and you really should know. Some people do not like to put brick force in the blocks because the contractor says it takes too long, but it protects the house.”  
Dowridge placed special emphasis on women, saying they should familiarize themselves with the manual to help prevent them wasting money.
He added that it could help keep contractors in check as the builder would know what to expect, what to buy and a bit about the process.
Dowridge also recommends that all builders have an engineer on the job.
“They are trained and are the rightful person to have on the site to ascertain the strength and soundness of the house,”?he said.
“Contractors are not trained to do it, with the engineer it will cost $150 a visit and he is not needed every day but at critical moments. It pays you better to go that route rather than spend all that money and the house cracks and tears apart.”  
For a whole year Dowridge toiled at getting the book written and a further eight months to get it printed. He said that it would have been almost impossible without the training under Basil DaSilva Snr at Innotech, where he worked as a master builder and spent a lot of time fine-tuning his skills.
He also credited Ralph “Bizzy” WIlliams of Williams Industries, who saw the potential of the book and what it could do for society and helped to guide him through the process of getting it mass-printed. Currently the book is available at 34 hardware stores, gas stations and supermarkets.
Dowridge is in talks with the Ministry of Education to have the book put into the nine secondary schools that have a masonry programme.
Additionally the Barbados Vocational Training Board uses the book to teach classes.
Dowridge said when he embarked on the book back in 2005 he never envisioned it would be so successful. He just thought he would write and spread the knowledge since, in his view, older contractors were not doing so.
He said: “Older contractors would go in the car trunk and look at the plans and back to the site while the other workers try to pick up a little thing as they go along. So you take that little knowledge and mess up someone’s house.
“I wanted to write a book to stop that but I did not imagine the book would have this reach.”  
He said he had engaged in talks with the insurance industry about the publication since it had a section dealing with roof construction.
The Caribbean is his next stop for the book and he also plans to publish additional material on specific topics, such as building steps.
Additionally, he has a YouTube channel and people can seek him out at [email protected] for free advice on building.
“That way everyone can benefit,” Dowridge said.