Up close: Paul Gangemi

August 21, 2023 | People

Paul is a Construction Manager in Paynter Dixon’s Remedial division. He speaks about the innovation which emerges from complex remediation, managing stakeholders with empathy, and the determination to get the job done.

Your background in construction?

I started out as a chippie, completing my apprenticeship in carpentry and working in residential construction where I progressed to site supervisor. I was building a house for a client who was also a site manager for a remedial company. We talked at length about the sector and I was won over.

A remedial company took me on as site manager where I stayed for 7 years. The team had vast amounts of experience, so I had to prove myself in terms of general construction knowledge, delving into technology, methodologies and more. The road led to Paynter Dixon almost 5 years ago and I haven’t looked back.

What is the secret to success in this line of work?

Always put the client first. Take the time to understand their hardship, especially when operating in a strata environment with tenants and owners. Whether it’s a family home, commercial office, retail store or property investment – every person has their own set of priorities.

How significant is problem solving?

Problem solving is at the core of remediation. For example, our team recently completed re-cladding works on a prominent high-rise building in the Sydney CBD. This saw 4,000 square metres of combustible aluminium composite panels removed and replaced with compliant cladding.

Swing stages were deployed on facades with boats lodged from rooftops, including an adjacent building with approval from the building owner. Rope access was another major component of the work, with abseiling workers operating at night and outside business hours.

The work was dependent on obtaining consent from multiple stakeholders. While we were contracted to a commercial client, it was crucial to negotiate building and facade access with retail owners who shared the precinct. Working around contractual limitations, we went to great lengths to bring all owners to the table.

I sat through close to 70 stakeholder coordination meetings over two-and-half years. Patience and determination are important in our line of work.

How did this challenging environment drive innovation?

We were working at height within the most densely populated centre in Australia. This was a high-risk environment and safety was our number one priority as is always the case.

“We innovated through new processes, reporting measures and by ramping up site documentation – all focused on driving the culture of safety on site.”

Can you provide some examples?

We introduced 90-minute safety inspections which involved our site managers observing all work fronts and documenting compliance with photographic evidence This information was uploaded to our online project management system and sent through to the client.

Training and ongoing familiarisation were also major contributors. We constructed a replica swing stage and tethering board in the site office for induction purposes, and we held high-risk pre-starts with every shift to ensure all workers were mindful and prepared.

We also constructed hanging scaffolding specifically for the skybridge, which is an overhead structure spanning two building facades, 16 storeys above street level. It took five months of planning and over 60 revisions of the methodology.

The resulting level of safety achieved for the scaffolding meant that site workers could perform their tasks without having to wear harnesses, enhancing their free movement.

What impresses you most about Paynter Dixon?

Paynter Dixon will not turn its back on a client, whether returning to fix a problem or responding to a new brief. That goes with how I see myself. We have a sense of duty in our work.

Every day I work closely with the Remedial team. Call me biased, but they are highly motivated and are up there with the best in the market. Just look at our projects – it shows.

Learn more about our remedial services.