Nfld. & Labrador

Rock-solid television: HGTV's newest Brigus-based program showcases a tight building crew

Though they might be building right on the edge of the world, there's no task too extreme for third-generation builder Randy Spracklin and his team. Now, people can watch from the comfort of their couch, via a new show on HGTV Canada.

New show launched last month

Meet the folks behind Rock Solid Builds

7 months ago
4:37
Carolyn Stokes speaks with Randy Spracklin and Nikki Spracklin about their new HGTV show 4:37

Though they might be building right on the edge of the world, there's no task too extreme for third-generation builder Randy Spracklin and his team behind Newfound Builders. 

Now, curious viewers looking to see what it takes to pull off the stunning — and often daring — projects that Spracklin's team takes on in one of the most scenic pockets of Newfoundland can watch the action unfold on HGTV's newest renovation program, Rock Solid Builds.

Spracklin said it all began when the network was looking to set a new show on the East Coast, and Cineflix Productions reached out to the team of veteran contractors.

"We did a sizzle [reel] and the network loved it, so they gave us 10 episodes per season." 

The show, which airs Thursday nights at 11:30 p.m. NT, launched in February. 

Randy's apprentice, Nikki Spracklin, who despite sharing a last name isn't related to Randy, said at first she didn't believe it.

"I thought it was a joke at first. I was like, 'Wow, that'd be cool,'" said Nikki. "I never thought it would have actually happened."

Rock Solid Builds features the rugged landscape of Newfoundland's coastline, particularly around Conception Bay. (HGTV Canada/YouTube)

The series follows the construction team as they renovate and build properties in the historic Newfoundland community of Brigus.

"It's about us, following the journey through Newfoundland," said Randy Spracklin. "Newfound Builders, our company, renovates, builds new homes, we work on the water — we do everything, so you're going to follow the journey of a lot of unique things."

It's certainly not like the home renovation shows that viewers might be used to, Randy said. There's a big reveal in each episode, with plenty of different projects to follow along with the tight-knit team of builders, which include Randy's father, Scott Spracklin, and his right-hand man, Paul Earle.

It's a unique take, but there's no gimmick here, he said.

"It's real life. It's about as real you can get."

When it comes to compelling television, it never hurts to have an attractive backdrop. To that extent, the team couldn't have asked for much more than Brigus.

"Newfoundland in general is beautiful," said Randy. "So seeing that scenery, the ocean, our landscape, it plays a big part."

Showcasing province's rugged appeal

Filming for the series began in 2019, continuing right through Snowmageddon and then the onset of the pandemic.

"We followed all the government protocols and regulations," said Nikki Spracklin. "So it was a little challenging at first, but we continued on just as normal, everybody followed all the protocols, and we pulled through and pulled it out."

Despite the challenges of COVID-19 precautions, she said it was still that characteristically unpredictable Newfoundland weather that provided the show's biggest hurdles; particularly when working outside, year-round.

"It was hard sometimes," she said. "We're not a company who just gives up when it's cold and raining, so we pulled through and every snowstorm, the pandemic, like having them follow you through some mega things for Newfoundland's history — it was a challenge, but it was amazing."

Randy Spracklin and his team tackle both new builds and historic renovations in Brigus. (HGTV Canada/YouTube)

Aside from watching these projects come together under such challenging situations, Randy Spracklin said the real treat for viewers is seeing just what building in a remote part of the country looks like.

"We're pretty unique the way Newfoundland architecture is; we're building on one giant cliff on the edge of the ocean," he said. "So it's pretty unique and amazing, and we're happy to show the rest of Canada what we can do."

Randy said the feedback he and his team have received since the show aired has been great, with many reaching out and expressing their interest in visiting the province. Spracklin said he's hopeful it might drum up some business as well.

"That's what it's all about," he said. "Getting people here, seeing our lovely province and, you know, maybe they want to move here and build a nice home."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Conor McCann is a freelance writer and journalist based in St. John's.

now