As the UK’s only national cosmetic repair specialist we carry out a lot of fine finishing work for the major housebuilders, helping them get their properties ready for handover to purchasers who are not simply making one of the biggest investments of their lives, but who are also increasingly expecting the sort of ‘showroom condition’ previously associated with car dealerships.
What puzzles us at Plastic Surgeon, however, is the mindset of many site agents who use our services in the manner of a “distress purchase” – that is to say like a householder who only considers buying a new boiler when the old one has finally failed; or a car owner replacing a blowing exhaust.
Are site mangers in denial about snagging, or do they believe that the tradesmen they have around are suddenly going to acquire the skills, tools and materials to put right all the damage that occurs on virtually every project across the country during the build process?
The building industry can be divided down into three main categories of work:
Traditional masonry construction featuring lots of ‘wet trades’ including block-laying and plastering.
Panelised construction, predominantly using timber frames.
The latter remains something of a niche market, and although the factory build process does avoid a lot of the collateral damage associated with site work, it is more favoured by the education sector and fast food chains than housebuilders.
While traditional housebuilding has its own problems linked to all the drying out of water used for mortar and the like, the first two approaches both involve dozens of trade contractors visiting site to install plumbing, electrics, doors, windows, bathroom suites, fitted kitchens and dozens of other components. And what has always been a problem is their lack of care for each other’s work.
As a result when the time is getting close for final inspection, there tends to be dozens of little dents, scrapes, chips and other damage. And some of it can be quite catastrophic with dropped hammers having punched a hole through the shower tray, or something having left a severe stain across a brickwork elevation.
Even if the matching bricks or another shower tray are available, the time and cost involved in replacement are considerable, so having a viable repair method is a real bonus. And significantly you pay less for Plastic Surgeon’s unique skills if they are used as part of a planned snagging repair strategy rather than an emergency call out.
That’s really our message then: admit that snagging is as much part of the building process as digging the foundations, and when our regional sales manager calls to ask how we can help, make a note on the programme board, rather than tucking the phone number away for when the carpenter, painter or whoever else has said “There’s nothing we can do!”