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Repairs help facilities managers keep buildings running

Whatever type of built environment you look at, often the biggest challenge for the facilities manager or estate manager is organizing a time slot for repair or maintenance work to be completed – without disturbing the everyday use of the facilities. And for this reason, calling on the services of an experienced specialist can represent the least disruptive, as well as the most cost effective answer.

As the UK’s only national cosmetic repair contractor, Plastic Surgeon has a successful track record going back three decades and a client list which extends from top hotel and retail chains to providers of student accommodation, domestic as well as business insurers, and even cruise ship operators.

Each situation represents its own set of challenges regarding time, accessibility, health & safety and the actual technical challenges of the work.

In the case of student flats, university holidays normally provide regular windows of opportunity for running repairs, but the actual level of wear and tear can be quite severe.

One of the most common repairs which our Finishers carry out for landlords is dealing with burns in laminate worktops; normally where someone has carelessly rested a very hot frying pan, causing a deep scorch mark in the surface. The only recourse – other than full replacement – is to dig out the burnt material, rebuild it with two-pack filler and smooth it back to restore the surface profile. The coloured, woodgrain, stone effect or other detail is then painted back in by eye and sealed with multiple coats of lacquer.

Then in one extreme case a student had the literally bright idea of leaving a lighted candle in the soap recess to the one-piece shower pod in her en-suite. Although the ‘cluster’ bedroom did not actually catch fire the entire pod was damaged by heat and smoke leaving the shower discoloured, crazed and unusable. And because these pods are installed during the build process, they cannot be replaced.

Several days’ painstaking restoration and redecoration by one of the Finishers finally allowed the student space be let again.

Normally, far more time sensitive are the contracts which Plastic Surgeon carries out for international hotel chains with high occupancy levels leaving little opportunity for anything other than cleaning and replenishments.

Plastic Surgeon’s R&D department has actually developed a number of repair techniques with clients like hotels in mind: enabling items such as wash basins and vanity units to have chips and water stains restored within the few short hours available after guests check out in the morning.

Elsewhere, a busy spa hotel had some deep scratches polished out of the glass balustrades on the main staircase leading from reception; completed by two of the Finishers working through the early hours of the morning. And recently an old Victorian rail way hotel in Newcastle called in Plastic Surgeon to repair and conceal a crack running the length of the porcelain trough to a vintage gentlemen’s urinal, which had kept a toilet closed for years.

In most of these instances, there is only one room at a time where the Finishers are involved, but on many occasions they have had to work literally surrounded by the public.

When for instance, Paignton Zoo decided to mark its 90th birthday by placing 50 brightly painted life-size glass fibre gorillas in public spaces across Devon to raise funds for conservation, Plastic Surgeon was asked to keep the animals looking their best.

All those hundreds of photo calls with excited youngsters took their toll, requiring the Finishers to carry out running repairs to the gorilla statues in locations across the county. Even more challenging, though, was the contract to restore the large whirlpool baths on the deck of a passenger liner – while it was cruising the Caribbean. There the Finishers had to cordon off the work area and drain the pool, then not just contend with the movement of the ship, but prevent any dust or paint spray disturbing the passengers sunbathing nearby.

Spraying techniques are actually a very important aspect to the skillset of the Finishers who undergo not just initial training, but regular additional courses as they progress up the company’s career ladder.

Variety is one of the many positives that Finishers say they like about the work and they will regularly find themselves filling, smoothing and colour matching old or contemporary tiles one week, then being asked to completely change the colour of an office building’s façade the next. Fitted cupboards and furniture – either old or brand new – is another prime subject for repainting using the Finishers’ arsenal of spray guns and compressors.

In all areas of their work, our Finishers, their supervisors, and regional operations managers strive to ensure that repairs are carried out to a consistently high standard, with the minimum of disruption, and ensuring the most sustainable outcome, by avoiding the need for replacement.

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