After this long installing fences, even though each job has it’s own challenges that need solving, it’s good (and necessary) to enjoy the humour and company of those around us. For some reason women seem to be better at this than men, but we men can learn it too
About once a week I get a call asking if I can come and fix a dodgy glass fence job, or install a fence for someone who’s bought some materials to ‘DIY glass fence’. Unfortunately, as we all know, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear”, so mostly I’m not able to assist. We use first class materials and I won’t even try to turn bad materials into a great job, it can’t be done!
Sometimes good materials are installed badly, as in the photo’s here. Using screws to hold posts to wooden deck is never going to provide a solid job, especially soft wood as in this instance. Even if the installers just didn’t know any better!? they are not qualified to be doing this work.
In summary, even if it looks good on the outside, not everything is as it seems. Check the fence – if it wobbles around alarmingly, don’t pay for it! In this instance the home owner had concerns, but paid for the job. When problems arose they could not get the installers to come and fix it.
A customer of mine asked me, “What warranty do you have on your work?”. I replied, “if you have a problem with the fence call me and I’ll fix it”. Before the concrete had time to dry there was a storm with high winds that moved a post. He called the next day, concerned that we would not fix it promptly – we were back that night, from memory a Saturday night in the howling wind and rain, and fixed the post.
If you look at our prices, you will find that they are about 10% more than companies who use contractors to install. For that extra 10% you get courtesy, respect, and timely service – all of which equal peace of mind. I think it’s 10% well spent.
This is what it looks like when done right.
Some days…well, some days you’d just rather forget.
Today we had a simple repair to do, just a 15min job – a recently installed gate was out of alignment, which was unusual, but we thought quickly fixed.
How wrong we were! It turned out that the extruded flange on a gate post was not straight. Now I’ve never seen this before, and I hope now I never see it again, because our only option was to disassemble the fence, remove the post, and replace it. This is very simple to say, but difficult to do, because when we put the posts in, we don’t want them to come out, ever.
This particular post was in liquid limestone that we’d core drilled, so we had to be careful not to touch it, chip it or break it, which left us about 2 cm around the post to work with, to a depth of 700mm!
My workmate started with bravado – the electric hammer drill with a 25mm diameter bit, 1 mtr long. This drill has a lot of twist, as he discovered when the drill bit stopped drilling and the drill kept turning – it turned his hand, then his arm, and would have kept dancing if he hadn’t let go with a high pitched (he has musical training) Eastern European version of ‘Yikes!’
So off to hospital with him and it was up to me. After an hour I was through the liquid limestone, and it was time for some gentle persuasion to try to break the post free of it’s footing (also designed to stay on forever). After five minutes or so of wailing at it with a hammer, fatigue set in and I missed the post and ….into my shin. If there had been anyone to give me pity I would have had a high pitched wail myself, but alas it was only my new bruise and me, and not an empathetic heart between us. I kept at it and grumbled about how hard it is to get good help, and what a heartless boss I have
Thank God, the post was out after two and a half hours. Appointments made on the assumption of a short repair were looming, so it was off to do a quote and then back to the post. Re-digging a hole should be easy, but when you’ve filled it with cement it’s a different story. Out with the big big drill, diamond core bit, water to keep it cool, and what do you get?? MUD.
Drill two inches, hand down the hole into the quicksand/facial mud to clear the rubble, hand up the core drill to clear rocks and debris, wash hand and arm, drill two inches…. After half an hour of that, get out drop saw and cut post to new length so don’t have to do it for another half hour. Set post lines, cement post, remount gate, replace first panel, pack the van, notice new post not quite in line, adjust… hang on, it shouldn’t be that easy to adjust…. it appears there was too much mud in the hole. The quickset wasn’t quicksetting. Uh oh.
Time to go to two more quotes, not certain the post will dry over night, pull the post out!
Tomorrow’s a new day, we’ll start again.
My workmate rang to say no broken bones, just weak ligaments and muscles (or something like that, couldn’t quite hear..), so he’ll be fine.
The sunset looked good, so diverted to the beach to enjoy it.
Our last two jobs have been shared – shared with other trades who hadn’t yet finished on site! Generally we like to come in last, start with a clean worksite and leave a clean worksite. If there’s too many people on site, things can get complicated and crowded, not to mention potentially dangerous.
Sometimes it can’t be helped, but if at all possible we’d rather reschedule your job until everyone else is finished – so please just call and tell us about it – even if it’s the 7th time someone else has let you down! (this happened to us recently)
We won’t mind!
After three years of business, we still get most of our business from referrals, which has great benefits, but one that may not be obvious is that we don’t get too many enquires.
This is important because it enables me to
- deal personally with all our customers, and
- keep balance so that we have enough time to do every job well.
You won’t find us running about with our pants half down (sighs of relief from all concerned!), radio blaring techno-babble thrash music, and disappearing at the end of the day leaving the remains of our lunch rubbish for you to pick up. Nope, just a couple of middle aged guys (with belts firmly tightened above the hips) enjoying the challenge of doing another job to the best of our ability. And we don’t put our building rubbish in your bin!
After only three days back at work things are starting to gain momentum, with jobs confirmed from as far afield as Albany. Here’s a few photos of our last trip Albany, with our new canine friends and the aftermath of ‘nicking’ a water main… never fear, things worked out fine as you can see by the finished product.
Welcome to the new year and our new website! We hope that 2010 will be a year of progress and joy for you and your families.