There was a story which made the papers last year, and is still doing the rounds on the Internet, about one American who tried to sue the manufacturers of the iconic Winnebago camper van after putting it in cruise control on the freeway, before going in the back to fix lunch. After the crash most of the giant camper van needed fixing, and they believed the owner’s manual should have made it clear the vehicle wasn’t capable of fully driving itself. Well to be honest Plastic Surgeon couldn’t have helped them after a full on “Winnebago wipe-out”, but here in the UK we do carry out an incredible number of caravan, mobile home, holiday lodge and camper van repairs every year.
In fact, it’s that time of year when most of these forms of temporary accommodation are off the road or standing empty as the winter weather sees holidaymakers looking for warmer climates. And therefore our Finishers are carrying out far more repairs around the holiday parks or on people’s driveways than they would during the summer period.
Particularly for the clients with hundreds, or even thousands of ‘vans, sprucing them up after a long season is a massive logistical challenge; and they simply don’t have the time to wait for a trail of tradesmen to go around replacing all the damaged items. It’s very costly as well; while replacement items may not be readily available.
Caravans and mobile homes are necessarily built to be low in weight which means fixtures and fittings are unlikely to be as robust as their equivalents in a house. Shower trays are something we are regularly asked to repair where a shower head or shampoo bottle has been dropped on them, causing a crack or a hole, while in one case recently the entire plug-hole and trap had broken away from the rest of the moulding. Thankfully we have developed a technique for ‘splinting’ cracks in the lightweight GRP, prior to the Finisher filling and colour matching the surface so that the tray appears completely intact, and crucially, stops leaking.
Similarly we repair basins, sinks and even cookers or refrigerators. Many more fittings are made from timber based materials which get knocked or dented. However, our Finishers can not only restore them to their original profile, but also reproduce the original grain pattern using colours blended by eye and painted in with fine artists’ brushes.
Outside, the cladding panels can be saved from replacement using similar techniques; and as a result the total amount we prevented from being sent to landfill last year, through more than a thousand repairs for caravan, lodge and park home owners, was a massive 8.64 tonnes.
Amongst the big park homes holiday providers we’ve worked for over recent years are Park Resorts, Bourne Leisure, Parkdean Holidays, Haulfryn and John Fowler Holidays. And in addition to the ‘van interiors or exteriors repaired, we have also been asked to help refurbish facilities such as shower blocks and clubhouses.
In fact you could say most of our Finishers could now do all these sort of repairs on cruise control. And while we encourage our drivers to go easy on the accelerator pedal as part of our sustainability agenda, we’ve never had one leave their seat while the vehicle is moving.