Landfill charges have a significant negative affect on the bottom line for building companies across Britain, but two major projects by Carillion Construction showed how savings can be made by using specialist cosmetic repairs to reduce costs and cut the company’s carbon footprint.
A staggering 76 tonnes of building components have been saved from going in the skip thanks to the work of Plastic Surgeon: the repair specialist having been tasked with carrying out various snagging operations at the Ferrara Quay and Kings Road developments; both in Swansea.
The Bath office of Carillion has been a regular customer of Plastic Surgeon over recent years and now makes routine judgements on the type of remedial work which is more economically viable for its Finishers to undertake; rather than recalling individual tradesmen to locations where damage has occurred.
In the case of the 26 storey Ferrara Quay apartment building and the three residential buildings at Kings Road, this meant weekly meetings between Plastic Surgeon’s Regional Manager, and Carillion’s management team.
The scope of the works encompasses almost all of the specialist skills offered by Plastic Surgeon and the products saved from going to landfill include internal and external doors, windows, worksurfaces, wood laminate flooring, baths, basins, shower trays, and various types of tiling.
At the peak of the contracts, there were half a dozen finishers involved virtually full time at the two locations.
Due to its sheer scale (the apartment block is Swansea’s tallest building) Ferrara Quay saw up to four finishers involved at any one time, with a Senior Finisher in charge and the Regional Manager helping as necessary. And because the main means of access for all trades on the project had been up through the building’s communal areas, with whatever equipment was required, and then into the individual flats, doors had fared particularly badly.
The Finishers at Ferrara Quay repaired more than 300 internal doors as well as a significant number of the wood veneered fire doors that form the corridor entrance to each dwelling.
The repairs – often more than one per door – generally involved carefully filling to restore the profile, before they were rubbed down and the colour or wood effect could be restored by hand. A similar approach was used for the wood laminate flooring though the finishing is modified in terms of a different lacquer being required to respect the wear conditions and the chance of moisture entering the repair.
Then in the kitchens Plastic Surgeon’s involvement concerned filling and colour matching high gloss cupboard doors. In many cases getting the sheen or reflectance right so that the area of the repair would not be distinguishable took longer than colour matching repairs to the granite worktops. Meanwhile, scratches and other damage to the stainless steel splash-backs was polished out in a process similar to that which the finishers use for glass. While the 458 internal doors repaired across the two projects saw a total waste saving approaching 10 tonnes, a heavier individual weight meant the 149 entrance doors actually beat this figure.
With natural granite being the densest material dealt with, the worktops added another 2.7 tonnes to the figures, while the 29 baths repaired prevented nearly another tonne of waste, as well as considerable bulk, filling the skips.
The Project Manager, Paul Keber, commented: “We have utilised other repair specialists in the past but have found the quality of the work carried out by Plastic Surgeon to be to the best standards. Some of the work has been very good indeed.
The decision making process in whether to utilise a ‘repair medic’ has to be whether the customer can tell the difference. The skill of the operative is paramount in being able to achieve an invisible repair. And it is wrong for anyone to think the motivation for repair is purely related to price: the point is more about the disruption of, say, taking out a kitchen unit, ordering a replacement, installing it and refitting everything around it: you are likely to cause more damage.
The main principle then is about efficiency and the fact it is environmentally friendly. You are making the best use of resources, avoiding the need to manufacture new products.”
Overall the 20 different categories of product or component saved – which also included a fireplace and a large number of fascia panels on the apartments’ balconies – brought the tonnage for the job up to the total of 76 tonnes.
Such detailed information, together with descriptions of each repair carried out, is all part of the data available through Plastic Surgeon’s use of bespoke ‘palm pilots’ carried by each finisher. This enables clients to have total confidence in the accuracy of accounts submitted, and then to incorporate the figures into their own accounting or reporting systems.
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