88-year-old boss raring to go with foray into fancy bricks
AT THE ripe old age of 88, Claypave owner John Piele would be within his rights to at least start thinking about retirement.
But with a 33-year-old family business to run and some 75 loyal employees to look after, this survivor of the paver and brick industry still lives and breathes his work.
Still clocking on one day a week at Claypave's Dinmore site, Mr Piele never has the job far from his mind, and decades of working in the industry hasn't dulled his enthusiasm.
When a prominent Brisbane architect and brick layer recently approached him with an idea to produce a new long format style of brick, he jumped at the opportunity.
Some tweaks to the machinery at Dinmore have allowed Claypave to produce the new bricks in a cost effective way that will hopefully make them an attractive prospect for home builders looking for something a bit different.
A collaboration with Graya Construction has resulted in the first big test for the Epic Long Format brick, which is being used to build a high-end, architecturally designed house in trendy Paddington.
Mr Piele said he was excited about being involved in producing something relatively new for his industry.
"The building industry is one of the slowest to accept change out of any industry," he said.
"This long format brick has only been around for the past 12-18 months and this home at Paddington is the first major project to use them. We've got this $100,000 Ignite Ideas Fund grant which we'll use to go out and promote them.
"We can sell them for about a third of the price of what some of other brickworks were importing them for."
There is no specific structural or practical advantage behind the design of the Epic Long Format bricks, with Mr Piele pointing out that they are sought after purely for their aesthetic appeal.
New Farm architect Craig Channon and brick layers Elvis and Rose first approached Mr Piele with the idea of mass producing the bricks and the family-run Ipswich business made the required adjustments to its existing machinery to suit.
"I worked out that we could convert our paving machines to make long format bricks in high volume," Mr Piele said.