By Parker Young, Executive Vice President and COO at Straub Construction
Recently I got to take a trip to North and Middle Caicos Islands. North is known as “The Green Island”. Needless to say, the views are gorgeous.
There is no direct access to the island other than a daily ferry from Provo. So you feel at times that you have the entire island to yourselves. There are a few quaint establishments, but the biggest take away for us was how hard it would be to live on an island like this. Just your ability to get basic supplies, fuel, food etc. takes a lot of effort by the shop owners to get them.
We found it fascinating that for such a small island it had three distinct communities, each with it’s own market, schools and church. The infrastructure is very basic… with one main road the length of the island along with the power lines.
As someone from the construction industry, I enjoyed talking with the locals on how they did work and got materials.
Most structures are block with a stucco on the exterior and then a wood framed roof.
It took almost three years to build the house we stayed in. There is no concrete batch plant, hardware store, or lumber yard, so planning is key! There was a house under construction near the one we stayed at and every morning, seven workers on three bicycles drove by on their way to the job. (Yes, one of the bikes had three people on it.) Just a different way of life.
For those of you not in construction, a batch plant (also known as a concrete plant) is equipment that combines various ingredients to form concrete in mass quantities at a central location. Batch plants accelerate the construction process considerably… cement trucks go to a batch plant to get a full load of concrete and take it to the job site. In Turks and Caicos, the house we stayed in was constructed by mixing and using one bag of concrete at a time. That’s why a fairly simple home took three years to build.
While walking along the beach, we saw a rusted excavator. I knew it would be a perfect picture for this story. Normally you would see the husk of an old ship on the beach, not construction equipment!
It was a great trip for us and definitely reminded us how blessed we are to live where we do.