They always say it is easier to do repeat business rather than find new customers. This is of course very true for our maintenance teams where we revisit familiar properties to work on the ponds and lakes, year after year, getting them ready as they come alive again in the spring. But the last couple of weeks has seen us secure two pieces of engineering work for previous Clients. One is for the Corporation of London, working at the Barbican Centre. We will be replacing some steel pipework in a lake we cleaned out and restored about 12 years ago. The challenge is that we are working in a totally built environment, surrounded by residential flats, two schools and the Barbican Centre. So our working methods and times have to be modified to suit our environment. It is also a challenge because of the number of people who want to stop and chat, they are genuinely interested in what we do and want to find out more. Whilst it is only five minutes out of their day, when you have been asked for the thirtieth time “So what are you doing then mate?” it starts to eat into the time available to do the job. But still we are from the West Country where the opportunity for a yarn over the fence is never deliberately turned down!
The second job is in complete contrast. We will be cleaning out a lake for a private Client near Swindon. This was the place that John and Chris first met when they did the same work together in 1988. We know the date because it is cast into the concrete bridge that they made to go over the cascade. Here we will be working in a very rural environment, with only dog walkers and ramblers to see our progress.
Both jobs present different challenges and contribute to the variety of work we enjoy completing from mechanical engineering to heavy plant and excavation.
We have recently completed a number of projects where the main features of the works have been fabricated in our own workshops. We are CE accredited to Level 3 (EN1090) and produce a wide range of made to measure products including bridges, jetties, flood gates, trash screens, sluice gates and bespoke one-off fabrications – using a variety of materials such as steel, timber and plastics.
The pictures show works in Devon including replacement trash screens at two sites and a fabricated mild steel footbridge with a composite deck and stainless handrails.
All three structures were upgrades and improvements on what was installed previously. All our fabrications are bespoke and made to suit the particular location. The first activity is always a careful survey of the site to ensure we have the correct dimensions. This must be done to ensure that when the finished structure arrives on site the measurements are perfect and it fits first time.
Trash screens are installed in flood channels to remove large pieces of debris from the water course before it flows through a pipe or culvert. The screen reduces the risk of debris causing blockages in the culvert and subsequent flooding. We also undertake maintenance contracts with several clients to ensure that these screens are regularly cleaned and maintained so that they are ready to take any storm flows, and are not covered over with a fly-tipped mattress or garden waste.
Rycote Park was the site of an Elizabethan royal palace, and the main house still incorporates part of that original building. The extensive grounds include a lake of almost 5 hectares, part of which dates back to Elizabethan times but which was considerably enlarged and landscaped by Capability Brown in the 18th century. Very little work had been done to the lake since that time. By 2000 it was heavily silted up, with only 0.5m depth of water over most of its surface area, and seriously encroached by alders, willows and marginal vegetation around the greater length of its banks.