The post lockdown demand was unreal, with talk of no work or loss of jobs across the construction industry I was trying to prepare for work being in short supply with implementing certain strategies. Frankly it was a complete waste of time, the phone was ringing the second we got back with questions like: “we’ve closed a ward for refurb and we need a nurse base can you do it?” And “does your quote from January still stand? Because I would like to order it for delivery in 4 weeks” All this while we had an amusement centre refurb, ceiling features and bedroom furniture, a cyber centre, a care home, a Dogs Trust counter and other various items for other regular customers. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, we never complain about having plenty to do, I feel Danny and myself manage to plan and co-ordinate our workload pretty well as we never miss a deadline. But this summer was going to be a challenge, and it certainly was!
Owen was the man for the job of the reception counter, using the drawings I had produced he set about building formers for the main structure while Dexter and Lee machined up the free issue CLT sections for the front. In the meantime I packaged up samples of the Corian and board materials and posted them to site. Owen was flying with the counter, every trip I made upstairs to see how he was getting on revealed huge steps were being made, the front was fixed and sanded, the raised section box was done, a panel was made up and ready to go for CNC cutting and the top substrates were ready for Corian, I just needed a confirmation on colour. I chased this up with the project manager who informed me that the lead architect had found a colour contrast issue with the Corian and the floor tiles and would like to see some other options within the price range. Now I don’t know if you know much about Corian, the link will tell you all you need to know but briefly, it is a solid surface product, effectively plastic that comes in various colours and looks a lot like stone in some instances, it can be seamlessly jointed and thermo formed around shapes to create the desired profile. It’s water proof, hard wearing and easy to clean, but very expensive, but you know what they say – “you get what you pay for”. Finding another in their price range was not going to be easy.
Where there are quite a few dark colours available, some were way over budget and others wouldn’t work in the capacity we wanted them to. They had what is called “veining” which makes the material look like natural stone so when you join them together on a right angle or a flat surface you can see where the veining ends on the joint which isn’t ideal and looks terrible, so you have to be very particular with how you join the material so in turn it becomes very wasteful forcing the project over budget. Then there are the ones that aren’t suitable for reception counters as they scratch very easily. In the end we were left with four to choose from. The same went for the tea points, four whites (of around 13) ticked all the boxes. Careful consideration was made by the architect and he chose one, but, on the condition that the black material we proposed to use for the cabinets was acceptable.
Everything was approved and we dropped the substrates down to the solid surface fabricator. This is something we can do ourselves but with juggling everything else you have to out source some things.
In the mean time Dexter is grafting away at the Tea Points. six in total, all in black with white Corian tops, site are desperate for these so the race is on to get them done and installed on time ready for the chlorination of the whole water system of the site. Confirmation of door furniture was sent and all the furniture was fitted to the doors as they were loaded on the van ready for the next days early start and trip to Hereford.
Everyone will tell you I’m not a morning person, not at all. I’ve tried everything and I mean everything to be one as the world seems to revolve around early starts. I’ve tried: Coffee, tea, loud music, soft music, exercise, hot showers, cold showers, yoga, breakfast, no breakfast, sunrise alarm clocks, curtains shut, curtains open……… You name it I’ve tried it. These days I have settled on a routine which helps but not quite the standard I’d like, something I’ve got to live with I guess. Feel free to get in touch if you want to know my weird routine……..
We left for site at 6 am *shudders* and arrived at around 8.30 am and were inducted by the site manager, we were then permitted to unload all the units and we distributed them to the relevant floors, we split into teams of two and got cracking. Dexter and I had the ground floor, which we started on right away. Putting in a shift we were ready for the off at about 4 pm. All tea points were in and we would return the following week with the worktops once they had been fabricated. This went off without a hitch.
I can’t go into too much detail on the installation on this one as I was taking a few days off and walking The English Lakes so it was left in the more than capable hands of Danny, Owen and Lee. I was very happy to see the finished article of the counter on the various Instagram stories and in my WhatApp inbox when I came into signal. The guys did what they do best and pulled off a cracking job.
The counter sits perfectly in the formed alcove and using the free issue CLT panels means that it blends in with the rest of the building. The black of the Corian really contrasts the timber.
We are now capable of logo engraving into wood. This particular logo is the 10th one we have done in recent years. The process is quite tricky but the results are worth the effort.
We import the specific file type into our CAD program and then go about re-scaling and exploding the line drawing and re joining the relevant parts such as letters and shapes. This way the computer can identify the shape or pattern and then create the path for engraving. Once the CNC is done cutting we then sand the cut outs and depending on the specification, paint the letters or leave them clear. We were asked to leave this one clear and I feel the subtlety of it really works with the rest of the counter.
Our last visit saw a list as long as Josh’s arm (as you can see from the photo it is very very long!) Owen and Lee had post lockers to install. Danny and Charlie were on integrated fridge duties and Dexter was on plinths and finishing touches. This left Josh and I to fit some window infill panels which required the use of a spider crane to lift us to the top of the building to fit them. Very tedious but I must admit quite fun.
We left site just over a week ago, 23 months after receiving the enquiry. After a final word with the quantity surveyor and site manager we discovered that the next phase had been awarded to Speller Metcalfe and they would be in touch. I look forward to receiving the drawings for the next phase as this was a very interesting job which has delivered a great deal of satisfaction to me and the whole team. Another full team effort with long days, creative thinking and skillful craftsmanship. What a team!
Thank you for taking the time to read my weekly ramblings. As always I love getting your feedback, good or bad, so please feel free to get in touch. – firstname.lastname@example.org