Quality finishes don't come easy! We catch up with an exhausted Keith to find out how he really feels about working on The Block this year.
How much harder is this year's The Block than the last?
The project is much bigger than 2011's. The buildings were in a worse state, and, structurally, this year there's a lot of brick-work and steel and things like that. This time there's a lot more involved, and a lot more dangerous structural work.
How different is working on The Block to other sites you've been in charge of?
It's great — I love The Block. But it is a massive project, and it would normally take 12 months. If you can't accept that there's going to be lots of work involved, it's not going to work. On The Block, you have to do more than you've ever done in your life, basically!
And in such a short space of time!
The time-frame is nearly impossible. We do it — but I don't know how a lot of the time. That's why I have to crunch people. I have to keep pushing them and pushing them and pushing them, otherwise it just doesn't get done!
How long have you been working in the building and construction industry?
Since 1987, so 25 years. I'm 42 now, and I started being a supervisor at about 26 — I was thrown in the deep end.
How did you find going from that to being on TV? Do people hassle you?
I haven't really had too much bad feedback. One day I went to the races and had a young guy heckling me about being 'a woman hater', because of the dramas with Katrina and Aimie last year. It was okay, they were just young and drunk. Apart from that, it's been pretty good.
That sounds a bit full-on!
I think sometimes people might take me the wrong way. I come across a bit meaner than what I actually am sometimes. Every now and then I may have trouble talking to the girls — not meaning to. But I am not trying to be lovey dovey with them either — I have to treat them as workers.
You are known for your run-ins with contestants — what do people say to you about that?
You know, a lot of the tradie-type people, they love it. But I try to be as fair as I can. I'm not trying to make anything up, or anything like that, for the cameras. Sometimes the contestants don't realise they're building a house for someone. They have to live there; it has to be perfect. If you buy a house from a builder, you expect quality, and that's no different with The Block.
How do you feel about all of this year's Block residents?
I love every single contestant! I really don't want this to finish.