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Expert Q & A – Facing up to the future

Technical journalist and Editor of Modern Methods of Construction, Bruce Meechan, interviews the Contracts Director for one of the UK’s leading cladding specialists.

Our commitment to constructing a low carbon infrastructure – orchestrated through rapidly reducing emissions targets in the Building Regulations – has put the external envelope at the forefront for improvements in the way we build, in commercial and other sectors, as well as with domestic properties.

And few people have a clearer view of the multiple demands being faced by façade specialists than Andy ‘Mac’ McDonald, Contracts Director for Anaco Systems: a company that partners with most of the major main contractors on projects across the country.

Describing Anaco’s activities, Mac states: “We are specified or are the preferred supplier to main contractors groups like Laing O’Rourke, BAM Construction, Carillion and Balfour Beatty; regularly being involved with schools, universities, healthcare buildings, supermarkets and the other big retailers. Then we have three high performance curtain walling systems that we offer – Kawneer, Technal and Metal Technologies – all being aluminium framed with various specifications for the glazing and nonvision areas.”

For its nationwide operations, Anaco recruits its own designers, contracts managers and other supervisory staff, but chooses to utilize a series of sub-contract installation teams; many of whom it has worked with for years. This arrangement enables it to optimize the service it provides to clients, and allows it to respond more efficiently to the peaks in demand which
inevitably occur.

Mac explains: “Construction programmes tend to be organized differently depending on the sector you are dealing with. Retail contracts tend to be extremely compressed as the client wants to have the place open as quickly as possible, while education projects are more drawn out – though you do end up with a very large number of schemes all completing at the same time; which can stretch your resources to the limit.”

It is not surprising to learn, then, that Anaco calls on the services of to undertake the vast majority of its snagging requirements. Indeed, just in the Manchester area this summer, Plastic Surgeon’s finishing teams were assisting Anaco on site of the city’s new Health Academy, Enterprise Academy, King David School, and the Manchester Co-operative Academy which has been supported by the retail giant.

With the exception of the King David School, all had to be handed over by the start of September. And as ever when different trades are pushing towards the ‘finishing line,’ damage does occur to components already installed; with cladding panels being a prominent victim.

Mac reflects: “It is almost inevitable that when everyone is rushing to finish their own jobs, or striking the scaffolding, minor accidents happen, and often it is our kit that gets damaged. We then have to deal with scratches and small ‘dinks’, the sort of things people do towards the end of contracts. We had used other spray teams in the past, but by electing to work with Plastic Surgeon we have accessed a nationwide service, giving us one port of call, and a known standard of workmanship.

Plastic Surgeon is the UK’s market leading expert in fine finishing and repair services, and the only nationwide provider.Established for over 20 years, the company was one of the founders of the fine finishing sector, now employing over 100 staff based at its headquarters in Devon and operating from seven regional centres throughout the UK.

Plastic Surgeon can restore almost any damaged interior or exterior surface in commercial or residential buildings. Thanks to specialist training the company’s finishers are expert in repairing and fine finishing practically any material including;

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