Behind the scenes of The Block

Love The Block? This is what you don’t see on TV.

With a clock counting down, 10 contestants and a TV production crew, the Nine Network’s hit reality TV show The Block isn’t your typical building site.

“The big difference between The Block and any other construction site is the pace, and the energy required to meet that pace,” says the show’s Co-founder and Executive Producer, Julian Cress, who has 16 seasons under his belt.

“We work to extremely tight deadlines and everyone understands that. It’s a big operation.

“At the pointy end of each week, work often runs all night. It’s not unusual for the contestants to work through shifts close to 48 hours. And that goes for 12 weeks. There’s no day off from the day they arrive to the day they leave.”

To ensure the drama stays squarely with the contestants, the site workings must be efficient and compact. That’s where Royal Wolf came in, seamlessly providing a bespoke shipping container solution.

“The more compact our solution, the less impact and encroachment into the working space,” explains Gavin Bentley, Regional Manager, Victoria, Royal Wolf.

Royal Wolf designed, built and installed The Stack, a two-storey customised shipping container solution, comprising three site offices, 20-foot storage container for tools and equipment, first aid room, lunch rooms, and toilet and washing facilities.

“It was incredible to be able to centralise all of those important facilities in an area without taking up too much room on the site,” says Julian. “That was a massive advantage, and something that really helped us get the project done on time and on budget.”

This video shows how integral Royal Wolf was in delivering The Block’s worksite amenities quickly and efficiently.

On any given day of filming, The Block has up to 80 people on site at a time, and this number jumps to 100+ as the weekly ‘room reveals’ get closer.

“There is a constant stream of trades, labourers and other people coming through,” says Julian. “You’ve got the contestants, their builders and trades, The Block’s own builders, sponsors, safety officers, admin people... then on top of that, there’s our film crew – producers, sound recordists and camera people. That’s a lot of people who have to work around one another to get the job done.”

With all that movement and action, tools and equipment ‘go missing’ from time to time. Integrated tool storage was a crucial part of Royal Wolf’s design of the stacked shipping container amenities, to ensure site safety and security.

“It’s really frustrating when tools go missing on site. We don’t have the time to go out and get new ones, so having secure storage on site makes a big difference,” says Julian.

To address this need, the built-in storage was made secure by the award-winning Wolf Lock, an easy-to-open handle with a safety exit feature that can be opened from the inside, even when the door is locked.

Of course one thing that no one could foresee or plan for was a global pandemic.

“Coronavirus is the biggest thing we’ve had to face this season,” says Julian. “It was a huge challenge for us to pivot and introduce physical distancing on a site with so many people on it. But The Block is all about problem-solving and dealing with things that happen unexpectedly. It’s about how people rise to that challenge of when their plans go awry.”

The same could be said about Royal Wolf’s approach to problem solving: there’s always a way, and it’s about rising to that challenge.

 

The Block 2020 airs on the Nine Network from Sunday August 23 at 7pm.

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