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Building repair to fire damaged house

When a blaze broke out in a group of retail units on Canvey Island, not only were the half dozen businesses completely destroyed, but there was also considerable damage caused by smoke and heat to the residential building next door.

Evacuated by the emergency services at 5-30 in the morning, the occupant, Lynda Cain, was shocked to see the state of her home after the fire had been damped down and was not sure whose responsibility it was to clear things up.

Fortunately her insurers – one of the UK’s top five companies – has a national agreement with the building repair specialist, Plastic Surgeon; enabling swift and effective action to be taken.

Given the extent of the damage to the two storey house – including blackened and buckled roofline fittings, windows caked with combustion residue, and other staining – Plastic Surgeon included the erection of full scaffolding within its detailed quote.

The contract commenced with two of Plastic Surgeon’s highly trained Finishers, together with the regional operations manager, employing detergent and elbow grease to clean away the worst of the smoke and tar deposits. This was followed by more thorough cleaning with special solvents to remove the more stubborn stains, which also revealed the full extent of the physical damage.

Some sections of fascia and soffit had broken loose due to the extreme heat popping fixings, while other sections had warped. New screw-holes were drilled and the profiles secured before the rough old holes were filled and smoothed back. And in a couple of areas, the Finishers employed a technique Plastic Surgeon pioneered to reshape distorted the uPVC using heat guns.

Mild abrasive pads were also utilized to polish out minor scratches caused by flying debris from the fire; and this process was repeated across all the UPVC window frames. The Finishers then used their colour mixing skills to match the repairs to the original surface colour.

Although Plastic Surgeon has perfected specialist techniques for removing scratches from glass using electric power tools and polishes – as well as having a way to repair chips – in this instance the glazing only required a thorough cleaning.

Plastic Surgeon’s Managing Director, Rob Mouser, remarked: “This was serious refurbishment work and necessitated our organizing full scaffolding and doing a thorough risk assessment before things got underway.

“Our Finishers were on site for two whole days, cleaning, filling, smoothing and polishing, as well as re-fixing the fascias and soffits where the heat had caused them to come loose. This was by far the most economic option for the insurance company, and also caused minimum disruption to the occupant. At Plastic Surgeon we believe repairing is almost always preferable to replacement, and it is also more sustainable from an environmental point of view.”

Reflecting on the way the work has been carried out, Mrs Cain commented: “The retail units contained businesses such as a kitchen shop, a paint store and a working men’s club, all owned by different landlords, so I have had to get the work done through my own insurance company while matters are sorted out. Happily though, they called in Plastic Surgeon and they have done a really good job.

“Where there were pieces of the fascia that had broken away, they have patched them and you cannot even see where the join is. They have worked really hard getting all the dirt off from the fire – cleaning and polishing – and I am really pleased with the way it all looks. Even where the scaffold had to be erected my newly laid drive and decking were all protected so that there were no marks. It is a brilliant service.”

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