BBC DIY SOS Veteran's Special - Behind the Scenes

diy sos veterans bbc tv show
The popular BBC TV show DIY SOS has recently been working a project in conjunction with Walking With the Wounded, turning a whole street in Manchester from run-down empty houses into new homes for veterans.

You can watch Part 1 and Part 2 of the show here via the BBC iPlayer (UK only). However, while we were watching part 1 we were delighted to spot our old pal Wayne Burgess.

One of the key points made by the program was the challenge to find sufficient person-power to complete the project; volunteers were required to finish the transformation on time.

Wayne was one of such volunteers who gave up his time and skills to help, so we asked him to share some of the behind the scenes stories of the project, the tools he relied on, of meeting the Princes royal and his motivations for getting involved.

You may remember Wayne from such videos as this and this. And his straight-to-the-point blog post here.

Below are his words and images.

BBC DIY SOS - Big Build Veteran's Special - by Wayne Burgess

This is the first of two posts from the BBC DIY SOS Big Build exploring just which tools can hack it over 15 days of tough work, 12+ hours a day.

It's 11.45hrs, the concrete pump is just finishing up and I'm about to move the temporary water main back up to the other end of Canada Street in Manchester. It's cold, it's wet. Some of us have been here from 6.30am and some of us will be back here at 6.00 am tomorrow.

Then you look at the faces of everyone around you, smiling as you are, laughing as you are. Skint as you are.
bbc diy sos veterans special

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Welcome to The BBC Big Build Homes for Veterans special #DIYSOSVeterans.

Rewind a couple of days, you're in a dust filled room covered in black slate dust and pigeon crap,taking out walls and ceilings, dropping chimney breasts gutting these ancient terraced houses.

We've been passing bricks in a human line as we can't remove the cladding over the windows for the last hour solid or so, and the dust is so bad you can't see the walls then brick brick brick brick and randomly in your hand appears not another brick, but a Mr Kipling cake still wrapped.

wayne burgess appears on DIY SOS veterans special

Then brick brick brick...this is the banter, visual or verbal, that helps get these dust boxes ready to be transformed in just a few days from eight wrecks, into five fully furnished, fully refurbished properties, fit for families, fit for wounded veterans, complete with bespoke adaptation and all done by a different army, an army of ordinary folks from all walks of life, trades (and sparks hehehe).

It is THE happiest site you could ever imagine.
diy sos veterans special #diysosveterans
Banter was not just tolerated it is actively encouraged along with water in the plasterers bash hat as he walks backwards with it behind his back, looking up so when he then puts it back on (us by now in a different room), the expletives and laughter then explode, and from dog-tired we're all howling with laughter and spreading like machines.
The banter as always extends to who's tools are best and some light hearted bitching about everyone's way of doing anything at all, as is usual when trades are gathered together.

(This and why sparkies move as one in groups of three as if trapped in some invisible hoopla hoop...)

Some tools performed well, some smoked, some were less than brilliant, but for me a revelation was the Dewalt DCN 692 brushless battery powered nail gun.

Where we're working is dusty. It's damp. And the nails we're using were all donated from several different manufacturers, plus handfuls found around the site.

This would be a BIG problem for most gas powered nail guns. The reality was we'd have "bang bang bang..rattle rattle rattle...bash....bash....swearing..." as the gas nail guns would, one by one, fail on us.

I then produced the Dewalt, picked up a random strip of nails, loaded them in and passed it to Paul Higgson of A6 Windows to my left while another tradesman shot off to try and find a working gas nailer.
Dewalt DCN692P2 18V Cordless li-ion Brushless Framing Nailer - See more at:
By the time he returned empty handed, the floor was not just still going down but was nailed down to the entire front area of upstairs.

The DCN 692 is my king of the nailers, firing anybody's nails and when I'm using bump fire, making short work of fixing anything it was used on.

Good job I had it in the van as the guys stripping nails apart and going back to the hammer was about as popular as a nasty smell in a space suit. The 4Ah batteries are fantastic and can only imagine that the 5Ah versions must just make going back to the charger as rare as a sparks with a brush.
diy sos veterans
Power tools aside, working for free can be one of the most rewarding things you'll ever do, especially when, in the case of this project, you're paying tribute to the brave veterans.

And I want to take this opportunity on the Toolstop blog to most of all to pay tribute to the brave veterans for whom this was done, and also to the hundreds of volunteers from Wales to Scotland, Devon to Liverpool, who made something amazing and positive.
bbc diy sos

Please tune in on Wednesday 21st October to see part 2 of the build at 8pm on BBC1. Just by watching you show these people we care. It's only right that we should be doing our best, for our best.

Bless every one of you folks am proud to have grafted along side you and call you friends.

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Big thanks to Wayne for submitting this and all the photos, what an inspiring project to be a part of. If you've been involved in similar tasks, let us know in the comments section below!

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