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.
2017 has got off to a good start with projects underway around the country.
We are working in East Sussex on a splashpad as part of a leisure park development. The site is at Camber Sands near Rye, and is a new feature being installed as part of the redevelopment of the holiday park. So far we have experienced torrential rain and freezing temperatures but the project is moving on. One of the quirks of working on sites like these is that the client provides the accommodation and the site teams end up staying in the park mobile homes. Whilst these are great for family holidays in the summer months I am told they get a bit chilly when the temperature outside is minus 5 degrees C.
At the other end of the country we are working on a very similar scheme at Stibb near Bude in Cornwall. Another splashpad development on a holiday park but here we are working very closely with the Main Contractor who is building the control and plant room next to the splashpad.
These projects are running to strict timescales to allow the work on the surrounding areas to be finished before the parks reopen and take holiday bookings.
In complete contrast we have just started building a 6m deep pumping station and associated valve chamber with ancillary works on a sewage works for Wessex Water. The site is about 10 miles from our offices, so gets lots of visits from everyone. It also means that everyone gets home at night.
We are also involved in work for a government agency along the sides of the River Severn within site of the Severn Bridge. This must rate as one of the most bleak and cold places in the South of England. When the wind is blowing up the estuary bringing rain from the Atlantic it is not a pleasant place to be.
The winter maintenance of the weedcutting boats is underway and fabrication of platforms, structures and stairways is keeping the workshops gainfully employed.
Despite the cold and recently wet weather everyone is cheerful and looking forward to the advent of spring, longer days and hopefully better conditions to work in.