A group of students from Edward Milne community school and Belmont secondary school recently completed field work for their carpentry program and have a fully erected house to prove it.
Through the SD 62 Carpentry Program, students built a duplex, containing three bedrooms and two bathrooms per suite, from the ground up during the months of March and June.
“They’ve built the whole house,” said Mark Ambery, EMCS carpentry instructor and certified journeyman.
When students arrived at the job, all that existed was an excavated site with location pins for the building. Many nails and some unproperly cut boards later, a house now stands on the 1800-block of Tominny Road.
“We do what is basically called a framing contract, so we do all the concrete, all the framing, put the roof trusses up and take it as far as we can to lock up,” Ambery said.
As quality control, Ambery ensured the students did a meticulous job, even correcting them for minor problems.
“I really try to get them to do it correctly so that they see how it should be,” he said, adding the students generally do a slower job than regular carpenters because the class stops to discuss layout and problems.
But that also means the job is done right.
“The quality of the job is good,” he said. “We have time to go through everything in the house and make it right before we leave.”
EMCS student Jackson Plonka, 16, said he was amazed he and his peers built the structure.
“When we sat in the house for lunch… I just stopped and looked at everything we made,” he said. “We made it, we put up every stick of wood in the house.”
Richard Foster, contractor and owner of A & R Construction, supplied the house and supplies as a classroom for the students.
“It was good, there was nothing really wrong with anything,” he said. “Everything is square and plumb.”
Prior to arriving at the job site, students had about four weeks of in-class and on-hand instruction at Metchosin Technical Centre. Students learned about typical framing techniques like building layout, foundation work, and framing of floors, walls and roofs.
From there, the 13 students had the option of pursuing an apprenticeship under a contractor or continue with Ambery and work on a house with other students. All students will receive the same credit and will complete an exam at the end of the semester.
“What the program is designed to do is generate more young people entering the trades,” Ambery said.
The carpentry program is facilitated through the South Island Partnership, where high schools and post-secondary institutions work together to provide students with industry experience.
The program itself is a collaboration between Edward Milne community school and Camosun college.
Tuition was paid by the Industry Training Authority and high schools.