About me, the BikeVan Handyman

About me

Hello, I’m the BikeVan Handyman and my name is Spencer Ede. I live in Eastbourne with my wife and two children.


About 11 years ago, we decided to be a little greener so we gave up both our cars, started walking and cycling everywhere, with the use of public transport thrown in, and we feel better for it. So having a BikeVan® seemed to sit well with us.


My work began about 31 years ago in the building trades. I started off as a roofer, serving an apprenticeship in slate and lead roofing, and I’ve been working my way down ever since! I’m a fast learner and love variety so began to diversify with general building and carpentry work on the massive new developments in the London Docklands during the 80s. Like any building contract work, sites change and opportunities to learn new skills arise.


Initially I was working with a group of men that concentrated on all things ‘exterior’ like concrete and hard-standings and laying drainage pipework but I soon found myself painting whole factories, and trying my hand at fine finished plastering. My belief is that most of these skills are easy to pick-up and there’s no substitute for getting your hands dirty when mastering a process in depth. In between carpet fitting jobs I began working for a company that carried out building maintenance and small building projects in London’s West End. So, the next phase of my all round education led me from new-builds, to some truly old and glorious ones. The work took me to Mayfair, Berkeley Square, Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge.


It was a job that required multi-skilled operatives to soak up a variety of work. I loved it! These massive Georgian properties in the most expensive parts of London were truly a sight to see. But, although wonderful to look at, the buildings had some serious maintenance problems. When this was combined with occupants of fine and exacting tastes I became a busy man!


A typical month would include, painting & decorating, carpentry, changing locks, fitting kitchens, brickwork repairs, jet washing walkways, plastering, coving and cornices, plumbing, installing bathroom suites, electrical installations, ceramic and stone tiling, guttering and serious drainage issues, caused by the fact that the buildings were older than the Victorian sewers surrounding them. Now this really was an education. I later combined this with college studies and things really fell into place. I also started working with a group of friends who mainly did internal refurbishments of offices and commercial properties in the City. This led to hands-on experience of bespoke joinery, stud wall partitioning and dry-lining systems, suspended-ceiling fixing, curtain walling, bomb-proof films, vinyl fabric wall coverings and accessible floors.


By now I’d had experience of running my own Limited Company and I’d been supervising work on site from day one, which included measuring and estimating materials and labour.


I spent the next 8 years as a maintenance and construction manager. This new detour took me into surveying, understanding building regulations, estimating, contracts management and organising maintenance programmes and complex works on site. I studied and gained a qualification in Building Surveying and later became a ‘Strategy and Systems Manager’ for a technical services department of a local authority as a high earning consultant.


Next, I moved with my family down to Eastbourne for the fresh air, good schools and sunshine. So, to cut a long story short...here I am, BikeVan Handyman® doing what I love best, building maintenance. Being a building maintenance handyman is usually a mixed bag of work, served at a high pace, for lots of different personalities. Just my cup of tea!

 

 

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01323 417 449
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Copyright Spencer Ede 2018, trading as the BikeVan Handyman