The latest contractor member to join the Mastic Asphalt Council (MAC) is Oxley Asphalte based in Brighton. A family run business, Oxley Asphalte is run by Jack Oxley and his wife Rebecca.
Jack comes from a well-known family of asphalters who have worked in the asphalt business for many years and the trade has been passed on through five generations so far. Jack’s grandfather Tony Damario had a successful business for many years known as Damario Asphalt and Jack still works alongside both his uncle Paul and cousin Shaun at Oxley Asphalte.
Jack said: “Asphalt has been our family trade since the 1940’s and my love of asphalt was passed on to me from my grandfather. I’ve got a real passion for the trade and it was a natural progression for me to start my career in mastic asphalting.
“I carried out my NVQ Level 3 apprenticeship in mastic asphalt at New City College Hackney – previously known as Hackney Community College – whilst employed and trained by Sussex Asphalte at the time.”
During his apprenticeship, Jack’s talents in the craft of mastic asphalting were recognised when he won an award from the college for the best second year apprentice in 2008. He worked for Sussex Asphalte in Brighton for 12 years before starting his own business – Oxley Asphalte – in January 2017.
Since then, Jack’s business has grown from strength to strength, specialising in mastic asphalt projects for both domestic and commercial premises, ranging from minor repairs to whole roof reconstructions.
As a former apprentice himself, Jack believes that developing apprentices is vital for the future of the industry. He said: “I’m very passionate about asphalt because I’ve grown up around it and I realised the importance of training in the art of becoming a craftsman in the industry. The only way of keeping the industry going is to train apprentices up in order to make the industry better and stronger. It’s important that we develop and train the next generation of mastic asphalt installers.”
New City College Hackney is the national centre for mastic asphalt education and training, and relies upon support from MAC and its members. The mastic asphalt craft is taught by professional tutors and the traditional time-served apprenticeship is now incorporated into national vocational qualifications, leading to a Level 2 qualification.
MAC aims to protect the future of the industry by supporting apprentices through an intensive three year training programme that will ensure they can install mastic asphalt to the highest standards. The craft training programme is said to be one of the most demanding in the construction industry, and includes practical and theoretical training to use mastic asphalt across a wide range of applications.
The skilled work involves ensuring that asphalt is at the correct temperature, and then spreading it using traditional techniques to coat the surface. A thermoplastic material that changes shape when heated, mastic asphalt cures to form a hard, durable, finished product that exhibits exceptional mechanical and waterproofing properties.
To maintain the industry’s reputation and ensure high quality applications for every single project, only trained applicators are permitted to install mastic asphalt under MAC’s strict rules. Being a MAC member enhances the reputation of a contractor and gives a badge of quality and assurance that they meet the very highest of standards with regards to factors such as trading and credit history, insurance policies and quality of workmanship.
Jack said it was always his aspiration to become a MAC member and he is delighted to achieve it after being in the industry for some 16 years.
He said: “Since I established Oxley Asphalte seven years ago, it was always my dream to become part of MAC. I take enormous pride in my work and being a good, honest company, and this ethos is one that is shared with MAC.
“New waterproofing systems are coming out all the time, but people keep coming back to asphalt. It’s tried and tested and it doesn’t fail. I strongly believe that mastic asphalt is the most effective waterproofing system available because of its versatility and the skill and craft that goes into its installation. It’s almost like a work of art.
“By becoming a member of MAC, I hope that I can share my passion for mastic asphalt with a wider audience. I’m really proud to become part of an association that shares my asphalting passion.”
This article featured within the December 2022 edition of RCi magazine – click here to view the article.