Incredibly the occupant of the single bedroom unit had used the soap holder as a niche to place a lighted candle, causing the entire interior surface to the room to melt or become blackened by smoke. So with no hope of installing a replacement into a fully finished and occupied building, Unite contacted Plastic Surgeon as the national expert in cosmetic repair work.
The pod on the University of Arts London campus was in fact of the GRP variety, and the heat had caused a large part of the plastic skin to be burned off, leaving a crazed honeycomb effects, as well as all the sticky residues.
Following an initial inspection and consultation with the company's Regional and National Operations Managers, Plastic Surgeon's Finisher began what turned into a weeklong assignment by cleaning off all of the debris and discolouration. This revealed that there was around one third of the surface to the GRP which required rebuilding: a task that was painstakingly undertaken using Plastic Surgeon's proprietary two part fillers and a variety of tools to reproduce the constantly curving contours of the pod.
The Finisher completed the physical repairs by carefully smoothing back the filler – reapplying where necessary - until a perfectly smooth and accurate form emerged. He then primed the surface and colour matched the original paint tone by eye and sprayed in the whole area of the repair. This was followed by applying two coats of Plastic Surgeon's special lacquer; in order to waterproof and protect the new material.
The National Operations Manager for Plastic Surgeon, Laurie King, comments on the success of the intervention saying: "Unite has become a regular client of Plastic Surgeon over the past year, though the typical repairs are to a kitchen work-surface that has had a hot frying pan placed on it; or minor chips and cracks in the sanitaryware when the student accommodation is being tidied up during holiday times.
View the shower pod repair gallery
"This job, however concerned extensive damage to a GRP shower pod that had been installed as a single unit, caused when a candle placed in the soap holder set fire to the plastic. These pods are put in position early on in the build process and to have replaced this one would have been completely impossible. The only alternative would have been to cut up and dismantle the remains, then build a new bathroom in timber and plasterboard, before installing all the fittings in the conventional manner.
"It took our Finisher nearly a week to make good the damage, but it would have been a much longer job to rebuild the shower-room, and cost many times more. The client also has to think about the length of time the place is unavailable, as would a hotel or nursing home where pods are also frequently employed as part of an off-site construction solution."
Plastic Surgeon is continually expanding the range of repairs it offers to clients so that more building components can be saved from being sent to landfill; making the specialist contractor's services the sustainable alternative to replacement.