Onsite headaches? 

Construction skills shortage

Skilled construction workers are thin on the ground. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. 

According to the Construction Skills Network (CSN), a further 266,000 workers will be needed to meet projected UK construction demand by 2026, with carpenters, joiners and construction managers among the positions most in demand. 

“It makes retention of quality people key. You can have the most detailed designs and specifications – but ultimately, if building products aren’t installed to those specifications, they aren’t going to perform. 

That creates a world of pain for the main contractor and often multiple sub-contractors, including those indirectly associated with individual elements of the build.”

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium

The advantages of a design, manufacture and installation commercial glazing contracts

Commercial glazing is one of those areas of a project build where things can easily go wrong, as it brings a number of different specialisms together, often including steel work.

“Steelwork is manufactured to more forgiving tolerances, which can have potentially big implications for the curtain walling frames fitted to it. You have façade systems which are manufactured to exacting precision running up against framework which may be out.

“So, you need skilled fitting teams and the knowledge to get around and overcome those problems but also guys on the ground who you know will work effectively alongside other trades, get the job done and do so safely.” 

As a specialist in the design, manufacture and installation of aluminium curtain walling, windows and doors, Acorn Aluminium has a track record of successful project delivery.

We work with leading architectural aluminium systems specialists including Senior Architectural SystemsMetal Technology Systems; and Kawneer to supply high-performance aluminium windows and doors and curtain walling to the commercial sector.

This includes a commitment to work closely with main contractors and architects from project inception to completion.

“Being on board early delivers immediate benefits. We can often work with specifiers to develop more cost-effective solutions”, Paul continues.

“Our designers have extensive expertise of doing this.

“But the other big benefit is that it establishes relationships and dialogue between different trades and suppliers early on.

“That communication makes it more likely that the install will run smoothly later on.” 

Highly skilled window and door installation teams

Acorn Aluminium’s installation teams are fully qualified to do the job, but also to work safely alongside other contracting teams on site. 

This includes undergoing extensive health and safety training. All installers in its team have gone through the Construction Skills Certification Scheme and carry CSCS cards. It’s team of site supervisors are also Site Supervision Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) accredited. 

Acorn installation teams also undergo specialist training on access equipment including the IPAF (International Powered Access Federation) training; and PASMA (Prefabricated Access Suppliers’ and Manufacturers’ Association) training and certification, plus all appropriate working at height training. 

We also work to established quality procedure processors with main contractors to ensure what we deliver on site reflects what’s specified on site drawings to the millimetre. 

Site supervisors

Acorn’s fitting teams report into an ‘off-the-tools’ site supervisor. While installation experts in their own right, they don’t get involved in the fitting process but are there to liaise with other trades and the main contractor as required, while also to trouble-shoot problems.

“Communication is key in making a project a success. Conversely, bad communication or the absence of communication is a recipe for disaster”, says Paul. 

“Our team of site supervisors work as an extension of the main contractor’s team, attending site meetings and planning alongside other trades to guarantee smooth delivery.” 

Rigorous project sign-off

Acorn Aluminium has also developed a rigorous internal sign-off process on each installation it completes before fitters move on to the next element of the project. 

This includes running through a series of checks for the quality of the fit before internal sign-off. It guarantees things run smoothly during the customer sign-off stage.

“It’s a proven installation process. We always make sure that what we do is ready to go and accurate, so nothing we do is ever out of line with the datum or negatively impacts other trades”, Paul explains.

Concluding thoughts

Paul continues: “There is always going to be pressure on main contractors to control costs. 

“And we get that and will do our best to work with them to deliver savings.  If we can get in early enough based on past experience, there are normally savings we can make.  

“The flip side of that is that quality and expert installation can’t and shouldn’t be devalued. Our fitting teams are highly accredited and highly skilled operatives. They’re trained to accurately read architect design drawings and fit precisely to them. 

“There is a cost to that but a fair one that reflects the expertise of those individuals, and which given the contribution that they make to the overall success of the project, one that we believe is worth paying.”

For more information, please contact:

Paul Stevens, Managing Director, Acorn Aluminium
t. 0115 9282166

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