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Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Propagate, 8th Sep, 2016.

  1. Propagate

    Propagate Member

    30th Aug, 2016
    Hi, I'm Tony, (Propagate from Property Chat).

    I turned 40 this year and I'm a Pom! Moved to Straya' in 2007 on an Independent Skilled Visa for an adventure and never left.

    Became a True Blue Aussie in 2010 and was given an Aussie passport for my trouble.

    I live on the Mornington Peninsula with my partner of 17 years, a stray cat that adopted us and a neurotic rescued Great Dane called Pluto and no kids.

    I started work at the ripe old age of 16 as an apprentice draftsman om the River Tees in Middlesbrough where I was born and bred, spent the next 7 years learning about North Sea oil rigs and how to draw & build them, until all the heavy industry in the area dried up and I made the switch to structural steel detailing, (shopping centers, warehouses, stadiums etc).

    I've drawn some great projects over the years, Arsenal "Emirates" Stadium and Aintree Racecourse Grandstands in the UK for example and over here Rod Lava Arena's Margaret Court redevelopment along with more hospitals, convention centers and warehouses than I'd care to remember.

    I loved the company I worked for in the UK, we were a small team in a sub-contract office that worked for most of the UK biggest fabricators. We had a great reputation and got a lot of prestigious projects due to that.

    Leaving that place and starting work in Oz in 2007 was an eye opener. Going from well engineered, architecturally complex buildings to poorly thought out, poorly engineered sheds and shops was depressing. Add to that the quality of the draftspeople I was now working alongside was pretty depressing.

    In my first employment here I quickly rose through the ranks, (believe me, that wasn't difficult), and ended up a gloried babysitter. I spent more time building cases for arbitration trying to get us out of being sued for doing such bad work than I did drawing my own projects it just wasn't funny.

    The company decided to make a play for a MAJOR upcoming contract that we were woefully ill prepared to do. I told them under no uncertain terms that we should even be thinking about it, and if the insisted then there's no way I'd be running it or having anything to do with it. Fast forward a few months and I get called in by the Directors, "so, we're looking good for that project and we'd like to to go to the city and run it". I walked out of their office, write my notice and went back in to hand deliver it. There's a bit more flesh to that story but that's essentially the jist of it.

    The look on their faces was priceless. It's not the first time I've walked away from employment on a principle, I figured what else can you do? I was in a high level position, had absolutely no faith in the staff or management, was expected to run an enormous project that we simply couldn't handle and on top of that traipse to the city every day to do it. They had the time and options to staff up correctly and didn't bother, so the only thing I had left in my arsenal was to walk. (To give you an idea, we had two teams on two software platforms, 5 or so one one and 3 (including me and two numpties) on the other, this project needed the second software platform and needed 20 people on it! - it is virtually impossible to get one or two GOOD draftspersons on board that are proficient at the required level on it, never mind trying to find 17!).

    A week before I was due to leave I was called in an offered a 50% pay rise to stay and the guarantee that I wouldn't have to have anything to do with that job if they won it. I like to think I'm a man of principle generally, so I thanked them for the offer, wished them luck and went on my way.

    I was totally disillusioned with work by then. I started at another office and vowed to keep my head under the trenches, do just enough work to earn my wages and try not to stand out like a shiny penny. That worked for almost 2 years but it's very hard to keep that up when most of the people you work with are useless! Unsurprisingly, that company folded.

    From the ashes of that one a few of us stayed on with the boss from that company to help him set up another. I wasn't best pleased as he owed me a fortune in unpaid Super and lost wages, but it was the best of a decidedly bad bunch. Most of the dead wood was gone, we had an OK team and I ended up as number 2 again. We actually started to get some good projects that were interesting, made some great contacts and quickly between the other project manager and myself started to get a name as the go-to guys for anything complex or awkward. That was 6 years ago.

    Over the years my boss started to fast approach 70 and my colleague and I had discussed setting up on our own a few times in the passed, due to the bosses age we thought we'd sit it out, save up, make contacts and wait for him to retire, which would make for a much easier exit than if we pulled the rug out from under him.

    And so it came to pass, he announced his retirement in May and by the start of June I had a new business partner, a business, two employees and premises!

    It seems our old boss had rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way over the years, (as he did me to be honest), as soon as people got wind we'd gone out on our own the tenders started flooding in. We have been swamped since starting up and have turned a good chunk of work away.

    So, happy days so far. My new office is walking distance form home, we're getting some good projects and we're passed the initial 3 months stage so cash-flow is starting to look way better now that invoices are being paid.

    This will do nicely for me now, we're a good size to be able to keep the quality up, which will mean repeat work and projections at the moment look like we may roughly double what our employed wages would have been. I'm happy with that, I'd rather that than do what a lot of small drawing offices do, ramp up when there's work around then end up with a huge wages bill to feed when a big project goes south and they go bust. I've seen it over and over.

    As it is, we're a good size and low overheads so we are able to compete with the bigger offices on medium sized jobs and the single detailers on the small jobs.

    My company name is an amalgam of my surname and my business partners surname (Besterfield & Beaumont - Beaufield Drafting).

    I knocked up a quick and dirty website to kick us off, I'll update it when we have more of our own projects in the bank.

    ...and if anyone is interested in this sort of stuff, there's a bunch of my old projects from the UK on my old site at (forgive it's age, some of the models no longer work and it hasn't been updated in donkeys years, I made it as on online CV to send out here when I was looking for work from the UK).

    Cheers and hope to learn a lot from the new forum, and also to share my story along the way as we learn and grow.


    TLDR:- Was a draffy, became a different kind of draffy, worked for a great company, worked for several rubbish companies, started my own company.
  2. pinkboy

    pinkboy Member

    29th Aug, 2016
    Great read Tony. I should put my fingers to the keyboard and introduce myself in the same way!

    Blacky likes this.
  3. Propagate

    Propagate Member

    30th Aug, 2016