Cruiseline column repair contract
As the UK’s only national cosmetic repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon has substantial experience of undertaking work in restaurants, hotels and other places of public entertainment; where flexibility of service has been as important as the actual restoration techniques involved.
Successfully completing a complex contract addressing two almost identical restaurants on board a cruise liner while at sea did, however, require the refinement of a new repair approach as well as very unusual measures to contain the work; both physically and within strict time restraints.
Plastic Surgeon was tasked with carrying out the repairs to dozens of column casings as well as ‘waiter stations’ within the two locations by the facilities management company which acts for the ship’s owners.
While most restaurants can offer a 10-12 hour window when diners will be absent, the pace of life on a cruise ship meant that Plastic Surgeon’s pair of highly experienced Finishers were required to erect their containment awnings and complete all repainting work between the end of dinner at 11 pm, and the start of breakfast being served at around 6-30 am.
In fact Plastic Surgeon has been involved in carrying out a variety of maintenance and reinstatement tasks aboard cruise liners, enabling its R&D department and operations managers to refine the service offering to deal with the special demands associated with working at sea. These have included the purchase of special electrical equipment to suit the electrical current variations generated by the marine engines.
Introduced into the Finishers’ armoury last year, System 300 is a single pack acrylic vinyl chloride co-polymer material which, crucially, offers the ability to fine tune the viscosity. It was therefore possible to employ the product to reproduce the multi-coloured, flecked finish found on the columns and the waiter stations.
Andy Keenagh, who heads up Plastic Surgeon’s R&D department and who was in charge of the contract carried out on board the liner, explains the special challenges involved. He comments:
“This job focussed on the columns or pillars within two ‘silver service’ dining rooms, where passengers wear full dinner dress in the evening and expect everything to be pretty much perfect.
“This was the main reason that although the facilities management company we were working for had said we could do all the repairs and preparation, then spray the colour in at the end, I took the decision we should complete three or four columns a night.”
The routine in the restaurant is for all the tables to be laid for breakfast as soon as the dinner places are cleared between 11 pm and midnight. Logistics demanded that the majority of the place-settings and table-cloths were put out as normal, with just those immediately surrounding the work area left bare.
The two Finishers began each night by erecting airtight awnings around the pillars under repair, accessed by a tunnel with a makeshift “airlock”. Special new equipment was then employed to keep dust produced to an absolute minimum.
Andy Keenagh continues saying: “We were carrying our standard fume extractors on the ship, but also utilised the new sanding equipment the company has purchased. These feature a very high density of extract points across the face of the 150 mm wide pad – linked to a vacuum encapsulation unit – to cut dust by 98 per cent or more.
“The actual repairs were required where trolleys and chairs had scratched quite deep marks in the columns, where corners had been chipped off the doors to the water stations, and also where their counter tops had been gradually worn down so you could see the undercoat.
“The repairs were done using our Cold Weld Gel and Ultra-Premium Filler before smoothing the surface ready for painting. Then the System 300 in the base gold colour as well as orange, red and blue, were thinned down from the basic mix to achieve a viscosity which would give us the correct texture. And thanks to Plastic Surgeon’s extensive research and development facilities we had already carried out exhaustive trials to confirm that the System 300 is stable enough to withstand the regular cleaning regime that is used on board ship to prevent bugs breaking out, featuring some very aggressive chemicals. As a result there was no need to apply additional coats of sealer or lacquer.”
Even though choppy conditions sometimes made spraying difficult, the work was all completed successfully over a two week period while the liner toured various destinations off Africa’s Atlantic coast. Not only was the client very pleased, but there were no complaints received from passengers about odour, dust or any disruption.
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