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Irreplaceable cladding repaired at new school

The set term times of the academic year make the handover of any school building project onerous enough for the project team, but the challenges can seem insurmountable when it is discovered that very visible components have been damaged and, crucially cannot be replaced. This being one of the key reasons why Plastic Surgeon’s cosmetic repair service can prove invaluable to contractors and clients; such as at a new school in Southampton.

In the case of Bitterne Park Sixth Form College, the problem facing the project team concerned a variety of cladding panels which had suffered staining, dents and scratches due to the carelessness of following trades

Plastic Surgeon was actually already on the Southampton site having tendered for the more routine task of putting right all the little nicks and scrapes that labourers and even tradespeople tend to cause when they are moving trolleys, toolboxes and other heavy objects around a building. In fact many of the internal doorframes, which had been fitted with their architraves already attached, had fallen victim to passing traffic and two of Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers were booked for 60 hours of filling, smoothing back and repainting some 50 units on three floors.

Because the areas of damage were quite small, the Finishers undertook what Plastic Surgeon refers to as ‘Smart Repairs’, mixing by eye the limited amounts of paint required to blend in and complete the repairs. And as a result none of the door linings or their trims had to be replaced.

Then as the scaffolding came down from around the Bitterne Park Sixth Form College, and the cladding was cleaned ready for handover, the various sections which had been dented by ladders, or had been in contact with cementitious material became evident. In one area there had even been an attempt to jet wash the cement stains which had only caused the surface coating to lift. With dozens of timber veneered and metal cladding panels in an unacceptable condition, and their European manufacturer no longer trading, cosmetic repair was the only option open.

Andy Keenagh, one of the Finishers involved, takes up the account saying: “The wooden panels were thoroughly cleaned up, degreased and given a key by slightly abrading them, before we could begin spraying.

“While in many situations our involvement saves the main contractor and their clients the additional cost and disruption of replacing items like cladding panels – along with the landfill chrges – in this case there was absolutely no chance of purchasing replacements because the European cladding manufacturer had gone out of business.”

Due to the volume of paint involved in recoating so many of the metal cladding panels, Plastic Surgeon purchased sufficient quantities of the paint in order to complete the work; utilizing the new RAL reference books that the Finisher now carry, to identify the seven different colours, as no information was available from the cladding manufacturer.

Spraying the 29 coloured panels, measuring some 1200 mm in width, was carried out working from podiums and other access platforms, with all surrounding areas masked off to prevent further contamination. All of the preparation, including extensive filling and rubbing down, and the repainting took the three Finishers involved a total of 72 hours.

Andy Keenagh concludes saying: “All of the work at Bitterne Park, both inside and out, had to be done to a very high standard because the frames and the cladding panels we were repairing were so visible. There was also time pressure with areas needing to be handed over to the school, but we succeeded and helped the main contractor out of a very difficult situation.”

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