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A case history – “The double quick stainless steel erection!”

all metal solutions team7.30 Friday morning and the phone rings as I unlock the office door.

“Good morning  All Metal Solutions how can I help“

Hi Paul, I am in the S**T! can you come to site and have a look at something , now !” was the reply.

Regularly, we answer the phone to a cry of help, normally to someone forgetting to order something  or, more commonly they have just had a hand over meeting with the client and there are a couple of items that they forgot to do.

These can range from a handrail in wood , which should be in stainless steel , the car park barrier that they thought the client wouldn’t notice isn’t there or burglar bars that should be on the inside of the window to stop unwanted visitors when the office is empty.

On this occasion it was a missing stainless steel handrail to a top floor landing .The client had asked for the original 1970’s one to be replaced with a modern one

Previously everyone involved in the project from site manager to the architect, thought the other person was sorting it. This meant that the job had the following criteria attached to it:-

  • Can you do it today?
  • Can you do it without making any mess?
  • Can you make it as cheap as possible!

Most of our regular clients expect us to be able to say yes to all of the above. The first stage is to go and look at the job.

So I reorganise my day and head off to site.

Mick greets me at the gate. He seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders, and quickly we’re discussing what needs to go where, when I can have access and when it needs to be completed. Mick tells me that he doesn’t know how it got missed. His ‘Boss’ has already told the client that it will be sorted for handover in a few days’ time.

Mick has used us on several occasions and most of the time has everything in hand. He tells me that the last two weeks have been hell. One minute he’s in an Indian restaurant with his boss, the account director and the client all telling him what a great job he’s doing and then when it was clear he was going to miss handover due to last minute client changes (according to Mick); the project wasn’t quite on budget and the client is pushing for even more changes. He finds himself on the receiving end of emails from everyone involved asking what’s happening and what is he doing.

On every site the couple of weeks leading up to handover is normally chaos and it’s when a site manager can become a hero and deliver the project despite all the setbacks and changes, or as Mick was starting feel, you’re the ‘Kicking Post’ and the person everyone is trying to allocate blame to!

At All Metal, we adopt the following procedure to get through the “tense” days at the end of a project

  1. Get the deadline the client wants and work backwards. There is no point spending time working out costs if it is impossible to get materials in the agreed deadline.
  2. With the deadline, work out materials, production and fitting costs then sit down and discuss. Don’t wait for people to respond to emails because if they do place the job with you, it loses time and creates more pressure
  3. If our cost is acceptable, confirm the best time to carry out the work. Normally the site will be flooded with everyone trying to get their jobs finished and everyone thinks that they take priority because of the amount of hassle they are getting.

In reality, everyone’s getting hassle, and most sites will leave you to try and work together without starting World War III.

Normally we offer a night shift in these cases, which may cost us more but what we save in being able to park; not waiting for other trades to get out of the way; being able to work in a space without everyone asking you to move your tools, get access to power etc., more than compensates for it.


  1. Confirm and organise method statements, risk assessments, HI VZ, Tools, access etc. before starting
  2. Complete the work in the agreed time scale. If you’re not going to finish on-time, highlight this as soon as possible, not an hour before you are supposed to be finished.
  3. After completion get it checked!
  4. Invoice the amount agreed, not add items incurred but never discussed.  It’s unfair to expect a client to pay for work carried out, without their prior knowledge as they may not have the budget or been able to do it themselves.

Following the above steps, Mark and the boys stayed late on Friday night to manufacture the stainless steel parts needed.  We fitted the new stainless steel handrail during the early hours of Saturday morning to help ensure that handover went ahead on Monday. Mick managed to sleep on Saturday night and we managed to help another client hit their deadline!

So when you’re in the S**T and you need a company to offer a helping hand give All Metal Solutions a callcall , we all make mistakes and forget things but the true quality of a company can be seen in the attitude  they take to resolving them with you .