Surface preparation for new builds

Published 7/3 at 16:42

According to the magazine New Homes Review, 40% of new build homes in the UK are not completed by the agreed deadline. While some delays may be unavoidable, contractors can work together to stick more closely to deadlines.

Connie Johnson, vice president of marketing of National Flooring Equipment, explains how surface preparation contractors can help a new build project run smoothly.

As the population increases, we need more houses and commercial and industrial spaces to make sure everyone has the amenities they need. For example, research by Heriot Watt University says that the UK must build 340,000 new homes each year until 2031 to meet demand, with the construction industry now under pressure to rapidly deliver high quality housing over the next few years.  Working on a new build, whether it is a residential, commercial or industrial space, requires different considerations than a renovation meaning that surface preparation contractors should work with other contractors on site to make sure a new build is successful.

A small new build project might be organised by the new homeowner who brings in certain specialists, whereas a large project might be run by a general contractor who brings in other companies to help complete the work. No matter how big the project is, communication is key to make sure it is a success. For example, contractors should work together to organise a schedule so that they can carry out their part of the job at the correct point to a high standard and to the deadline. 

Surface preparation should always happen at the end of a project to avoid anything compromising the quality of the final floor covering. If surface preparation contractors complete their work before the space is painted, or the electrics are installed, there is a chance that paint will fall or electricians will have to undo the work that has already been done by the surface preparation contractor in order to lay wires. The contractor has to work for longer to fix the floor, slowing down the project and costs more for the client. 

The best way to ensure a housing project is completed to the desired finish is to make everyone involved aware of what to expect. Customers can ask for a certain look or finish of the floor, but it does not mean that the desired finish can be delivered.  ‘Just because you say something it does not mean that somebody hears the same thing,’ is a common phrase in construction. Contractors should make it clear what they will try and do, and the potential outcomes. Contractors should also have several back up plans that they clearly communicate to the client to make sure the work will still be completed to the client’s expectations.

Unlike a renovation, surface preparation contractors work with freshly poured concrete. This means that they do not have to counteract any mistakes made by contractors who have worked there previously.  

Fresh concrete gives the project manager, the client and the surface preparation contractor the freedom to work with a wider variety of materials. For example, in a larger space where the client wants polished concrete, contractors will not have to worry about hiding any old stains or cracks. 

Before starting a job, surface preparation contractors should understand the desired function of the space as well as the traffic that will be around  it. For example, a residential space will only have a small amount of foot traffic in comparison to a warehouse that will have many people walking around, as well as large equipment such as trolleys or forklifts.  Once the work is completed, contractors should put together a maintenance schedule because all floor coverings require maintenance for a longer lifespan. If the customer understands what maintenance needs to take place and when, they will be able to keep the high quality of the floor for longer. 

Working past deadlines can disappoint the client, who may complain to others and negatively impact on the contractor’s reputation. Thus contractors should encourage communication, manage expectations and take the time to complete high quality work. If they can keep these considerations in mind, construction companies can meet deadlines while maintaining a high standard of work.

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