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Garage signage repair

As the UK’s only national specialist, Plastic Surgeon is well used to carrying out work in busy retail locations including supermarkets and shopping centres, but the task of putting right extensive damage to the canopy and signage at a petrol filling station in the North-east presented particular logistical and safety as well as technical challenges.

The Shell garage in Newcastle-upon-Tyne had been left badly scarred when the driver of a tall articulated lorry misjudged his drive-through, hitting both the front of the main canopy – scuffing and splitting the letters forming the petrol giant’s name – and also the hollow fibre-glass sign which displays the price of fuel.

garage sign damageAfter several months of deliberating on possible courses of action, including having to replace large sections of the damaged installations, Plastic Surgeon’s national call centre was contacted by Nimbus Contractor Network.  The repair company immediately dispatched its regional Operations Director to investigate the extent of the damage and provide a quote for all the necessary remedial work.

It was agreed that two of the highly trained Finishers would be required for just over a week to execute the garage signage repair, and although they frequently mix paint by eye on site, in this case supplies of Shell’s corporate RAL colours were obtained.

The Operations Manager for the region, Mark Johnson, recounts: “This was a major contract on a Shell garage in Newcastle for Nimbus Contractor Network, which deals with a lot of incidents which involve vehicle damage to property. An articulated lorry had collided with the sign which displays the price changes electronically and then hit the actual canopy above the pumps,  breaking the lettering and denting the cladding in various places.

“I went up to visit the site and calculated it would take six days to complete for two Finishers, even though the work was made more difficult as the garage was open throughout. We worked closely with the manager in making sure we didn’t cause any unnecessary disruption to customers on the forecourt and that all health and safety issues were fully addressed in such a potentially hazardous location.

“Although we only closed one aisle at a time to carry out the work, there were a number of occasions when lorry drivers turned up with their tanks running dry, and we would have to clear everything out of the way for them to get to the HGV pump at the front.”

Different repair strategies were required due to the nature of the materials being dealt with.  In the case of the metal cladding to the canopy the Finishers began by employing some traditional panel beating skills in order to take out the worst of the dents; before beginning to reshape the surface using two pack fillers. The repairs were then rubbed down and repainted.

shell garage signage repairThe acrylic letters to the SHELL sign on the side of the canopy were more of a challenge as they had been badly split and had to be demounted for the affected areas to be stabilized from behind using Cold Weld Gel. More filler and some careful smoothing resulted in them being made ready for spraying red again.

The tall price sign is, however, formed from fibre-glass and garage staff had saved the largest chunks smashed out by the lorry. The back of the hole was splinted and stabilised before more of the gel was used to secure the section back in place. Then carbon fibre filler was used to complete the restoration of the curved edge profile and sprayed in the correct tone of white. The metal base to the price sign, which had been scraped, also required filling and respraying in grey.

Mark Johnson concludes: “The end results were excellent and the garage owner, Paul Richardson was incredibly pleased as he’d been waiting since summer to have the damage put right.”

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