God’s Way Ltd was recently gifted the use of a space that could act as short term accommodation for God’s Way Ltd visitors and volunteers. Two of the company directors, Catherine Spence and Mary Luck, own a 40 acre property in Wilkesdale, Queensland. One of the sheds built on this property was able to be converted to hold a number of bedrooms and a share kitchen. Catherine Spence kindly donated the necessary materials and paid for contractors to complete the work that God’s Way Ltd volunteers and members could not complete themselves.
Improvements on this property at the time of purchase were a house and three sheds. The previous owners had used one of the sheds for his business of importing tractor parts, and created two rooms within it for use as offices. There was an ‘add on’ in this same shed/office which had provided a basic living space while the house on the property was built.
In Queensland, you are permitted to build sheds without any council approval and the shed in question had probably been built by the prior owners in a bit of a hurry, or in sporadic bursts as their time permitted during short visits to the area (before they moved permanently onto the property). The living space was rudimentary at best but contained a sink, some shelving and a wood heater. Structurally, very old iron was used on the roof. Bricks had been made for the walls but there had not been enough brick laid to reach the height or the roof (other material was then used on top of the brick). The floor was made of hardwood but the bearers underneath were too far apart making it a little unsteady and springy to walk on. By the look of the wiring for the electricity, it was most likely not completed by a registered contractor.
The God’s Way Ltd founding members and directors have long term plans to build facilities which will include very comfortable accommodation for visitors and volunteers. However this renovation was undertaken where and when it was because there were many people coming from overseas and interstate to participate in the last instance of the God’s Way Ltd Volunteer Selection Programme (VSP). As there is not currently enough suitable and affordable accommodation locally to house the many people who would be arriving, it was decided to complete the renovation quickly in order to provide a short term solution. God’s Way Ltd saw the benefits of being able to offer accommodation close to the VSP activites, as this would negate the need for overseas visitors to rent accommodation and to hire cars for travel to and from activities.
It was decided that God’s Way Ltd (in cooperation with Catherine and Mary) would complete a basic renovation in the shed which formerly housed the previous owner’s tractor business, as it already included an open area (which could be used as living space), 3 small alcoves (which could be converted to bedrooms), a sink (some of the plumbing could be used to create a large share kitchen), and there was a small bathroom building with toilet and shower nearby (which was used as a toilet for the business when it was in operation). Renovation of the old roof and bearers supporting the hardwood floor would be left for future works.
Once completed, the renovated hostel-style accommodation could be offered to visitors by donation. These donations could be used to re-coup some of the costs incurred in the renovation.
In time, God’s Way Ltd will build volunteer and worker accommodation on God’s Way Ltd properties, however it was decided that this renovation offered the opportunity in the interim years to provide short term stays to visitors and volunteers who may ultimately assist in the construction of more permanent facilities.
The office rooms and the entrance to the building were renovated to make bedrooms.
The old roller door was replaced to make the basic living room insect free. A glass sliding door with insect screen that was salvaged from the Function Centre Caretaker’s Renovation Project was reused to create the new entrance.
The old living area (bed sit) was made into a kitchen and dining room.
The old wood stove, a wall, sink, cupboards and everything else in the room was removed and replaced by new stainless-steel equipment.
Under direction from AJ Miller (Jesus), David Walsh (Cornelius) completed the carpentry work for the renovation. Jesus researched the various fittings and stainless steel kitchen benches, tables etc that were purchased. Most of the God’s Way Ltd members and volunteers provided labour throughout the job.
Because the original electrical wiring had not been installed to correct specification, most of the building had to be rewired. This meant that wall panelling had to be removed so the electricians could install the necessary wires. The electricians carried out their work over two days.
When the panelling was being removed to allow access, termites were discovered!
The white ants/termites were investigated and found to be in the skirting boards, architraves and one dividing office wall. This was rectified but it cost some time and work. A specialised contractor found that, in order to eradicate the termites, it was necessary to drill holes in the steel shed that was retaining the soil underneath (using the shed structure to retain the soil was another not-to-code building practice discovered to have been used in the original construction!). Once the new holes exposed the soil, it could be sprayed with chemical to kill the termites. The areas where the skirting boards had been removed and under the hardwood floor also needed to be treated. Two areas of the floor boards in the kitchen area were removed to treat the soil underneath.
Painting & Panelling
The original cement sheet wall panelling, that was carefully removed as access for the electricians, was very old and had only been glued or nailed in place. Unfortunately not all of these sheets survived in one piece, cracking as they were removed. New sheets to serve as replacements, as well as additional sheets to line the new walls that were constructed, were purchased and installed.
The original paint colour was able to be matched, and Cornelius and some volunteers spent 3 days painting the new additions.
The old business area had a variety of linoleum laid. When cupboards and storage arrangements had been changed over the years (prior to God’s Way purchase) old lino had been cut away and for some reason another coloured lino was laid to cover any gaps.
In this renovation, most of the historical storage was removed to expose only bare concrete underneath. So, all in all, the floor was quite a patchwork!
When it came to covering over the concrete, there was no way to match any of the original linos, none were even similar. So, another design was chosen to lay in the newly created bedrooms.
Clotheslines were erected, two washing machines were set up and new plumbing to drain the grey water was carried out and installed.
Mattresses, pillows, pillow covers and mattress protectors were purchased for use in the bedrooms.
Two fridges and a chest freezer were purchased for the kitchen. God’s Way members donated much of the other kitchen equipment, including blenders, crockery, pots, pans, cutlery and two gas stoves.
Change of name
The old shed/office/bedsit is now to be known as God’s Way Ltd hostel accommodation.
Combined Use of Eco Tent Accommodations
During the VSP, Jesus and Mary also kindly offered guests use of the eco tents located on their property to be used as additional bedrooms and bathrooms.
A bush track was made to allow access between the two properties (which abut) so that participants could walk or four wheel drive to the hostel from the eco tents. Jesus and Mary donated the use of their 4 wheel drive for licensed drivers to transport participants over the track.
Final Welcoming Touches
Before the VSP participants arrived, God’s Way Ltd members and volunteers spent 3 days thoroughly cleaning the new hostel facilities and the eco tents. The grass was mowed around the hostel, curtains were washed, ironed and re-hung.
The hostel is now being used for short term guests who wish to visit to meet with directors, volunteer their time, or to learn about God’s Way Ltd projects. The large kitchen and common area with wood stove is used each fortnightly work rotation for directors, members and volunteers to hold a meeting and share a meal.
God’s Way Ltd is very grateful to Catherine Spence for funding the renovation and donating the use of her property so that these services can be offered to the organisation. Special thanks also goes to Jesus who oversaw the entire renovation project. His decisions about construction changes and the kitchen fit out have ensured the final result is very functional and comfortable.
God’s Way Visionary & Founding Member
Construction Branch Manager
Date event occurred: 22 May 2018
Branch Manager: AJ Miller (Jesus)
Branch Auditor: AJ Miller (Jesus)
Programme: Renovation of Current Assets
Project: Hostel Accommodation