From BlackWhite magazine - issue 01, in the can
Trailblazer Glenn Munro, one of the first local exterior plasterers to receive trade accreditation, on why he loves his job and Resene Construction products.
After growing up on a high-country station above the Rakaia Gorge, Glenn Munro was keen for a career outside – one that kept his body fit and mind active. A family friend got him started with plastering at 18, and by 20, he had already set up his own business. This was the start of what became Properly Plastered Limited, a company which is known today as one of the best in the business.
This two-year-long post-quake build in Christchurch by JTM Construction has nearly 1000m2 of masonry render claddings installed. The Rockcote INTEGRA Lightweight Concrete Facade was supplied, installed and finished by Glenn and his team at Properly Plastered. The Classico acrylic texture is finished with Resene X-200 tinted to Resene Half Black White. Designed by O’Neill Architecture, image by Stephen Goodenough.
“The industry was pretty backwards back then, with no formal trade available,” explains Glenn, “so within two years, I was looking at others’ work around town in Christchurch thinking I could do way better than most. This was prior to the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) setting up our Proprietary Plastering Cladding Systems (PPCS) trade, and smack bang in the middle of the dark days of the weathertight homes crisis. We were the biggest purchaser of Resene Construction System products for a fair few of those years,” he says.
Glenn says that working through that period has given him an unrivalled knowledge of how to – and, more importantly, how not to – build a leaky building. “I was at the forefront of our trade becoming one of the first group of exterior plasterers to actually gain a PPCS qualification in New Zealand.
“I’ve loved the job since day one,” he says. “Working outside, working with my hands and mind and seeing the end result of my work. There is plenty of variety in the job like rendering, texture, painting and even some decorative detailing – and being able to work on some of the most amazing houses. A couple of years ago, we worked on two separate residential builds in excess of six million dollars for each build.”
“Most satisfying, though, is the people you work with, whether it’s the members of our team that come into the trade and gain their certification and then grow as tradespeople, or the other trades on site that you become fast friends with once you work alongside each other a few times. And I can’t forget about the awesome owners that you get to meet. More recently, I have enjoyed being on the national advisory group for the BCITO and helping them shape the future of our industry for the next generation of PPCS tradespeople coming through.
While Glenn initially used a different system when he first started out, he changed over to Resene Construction System (RCS) products in 1998 and has never looked back. “After coming from a system that had a few material issues and low background support for those issues, I’ve enjoyed the quality of materials produced by RCS and, more importantly, I’ve appreciated the technical and warranty support both my customers and I receive from the RCS Group. I like the fact that RCS always involve their applicators in technical chats and product development. In my mind, it is the premier render system on the market in New Zealand, with the best applicator network and warranty support, and that’s why I’ve aligned myself with it for the last 22 years.”
“Glenn and his team at Properly Plastered very much set the bar in technical knowledge, skill and professionalism and this is precisely what our clients can expect from members of our National Contractor network,” says Mike Olds, General Manager of Resene Construction Systems.
“Innovation and technology with products is only part of the construction puzzle,” he says. “We are continually designing better solutions that outperform previous incarnations, however the key to virtually all ‘non-factory’ produced goods is the craft and skill required to apply the products and systems. As a provider of premium exterior plaster claddings, we understand the importance of protecting the built environment and those living within, as such we only supply our products and systems to registered and qualified tradespeople.”
For the last ten years, a large portion of Glenn’s work has related to Canterbury earthquake repairs and more recently on a dozen or so Northwood explosion repairs. Glenn says he and his team have a good understanding of the different construction methods and apply appropriate technical processes to repair accurately in accordance with current building standards to ensure the works perform for the clients long term. “One of the biggest differences between what we offer with the RCS systems and others is that we offer an open cavity on a vertical cavity batten system, alongside the full RCS proprietary flashing suite. During repair works on projects, I’ve seen incorrectly installed cavity systems that are showing signs of deterioration due to the cavity being closed off, and not allowing incidental moisture to escape.
“Much of what we do is unseen, such as the creation of a cavity, and installation of flashings behind the finished plaster, nevertheless these sections, although unseen, are critical to the overall long term performance and durability of what we do.”
When it comes to his favourite project that Glenn has tackled over the course of his career, he says many are favourites based on the location the homes are in. “We are lucky enough to work alongside the Gregg Builders-Farmbuild team, so we have followed them into places like Muller Station, which is next to Molesworth Station. This was for two jobs: a full cladding repair on the homestead with the Resene Construction Systems Adobe render system and new 50mm Rockcote INTEGRA panel cladding on a new farmhouse – which is New Zealand’s most remote Rockcote INTEGRA job. More recently would be installing the new RCS Dura-therm insulated foundation system on multiple projects at Mt White Station – the third biggest in New Zealand, at 130,000 acres – up towards Arthur’s Pass.
“As far as just straight out ‘big flash houses’ go, we recently clad an amazing project with Resene Construction Systems’ INTEGRA lightweight concrete cladding in Christchurch for JTM Construction, which has close to 1000m2 of render inside and out. And I guess the other favourite would have to be working on my own home which got replaced after the earthquakes, as we did a huge amount of interior render with the RCS Concrete Effect MultiStop render and Rockcote Clay Décor renders.”
For those unfamiliar with Resene Construction Systems products but interested in specifying them for projects, Glenn suggests getting acquainted with their Project Guide and their exclusive OnSite quality assurance programme.
“An RCS representative will review our work during the build process alongside the council and then they will do a further inspection two years after the build is finished to make sure the cladding hasn’t been compromised during the landscape process, or even just by drilling a garden hose attachment or a gate latch straight through it – and trust me I’ve seen it happen!
“I think Resene Construction Systems does a good job of keeping specifiers and consumers up to date with new products. If I have the chance, I’ll always talk to designers on site if I think we can work together to improve the build quality.”
And for those interested in pursuing a career in the external plastering/PPCS trade, Glenn recommends that they too enjoy working outside and are able to handle the job physically. “It is physical work most days. As the trade is very visual, I would class it as an artistic trade – or as we say these days, we are artisans! So someone that’s arty or likes showing off their work will get a lot of satisfaction out of this trade. Peacocking is a word that describes how most of us work! Lastly, I think a good tradesperson is defined by someone that does the right thing, even when no one is looking or no one will see the end result, so someone that takes a lot of pride in detail and appearance would fit into this skilful trade nicely.
“I think, these days, the most sought after quality of any employee is one that wants to just turn up each day ready to grab the opportunities that having that job represents. If someone can do that, then the rest is easily taught to them.”
This is a magazine created for the industry, by the industry and with the industry – and a publication like this is only possible because of New Zealand and Australia's remarkably talented and loyal Resene specifiers and users.
If you have a project finished in Resene paints, wood stains or coatings, whether it is strikingly colourful, beautifully tonal, a haven of natural stained and clear finishes, wonderfully unique or anything in between, we'd love to see it and have the opportunity to showcase it. Submit your projects online or email email@example.com. You're welcome to share as many projects as you would like, whenever it suits. We look forward to seeing what you've been busy creating.