Our MD Bryan Hindle took a day off from running the company this Friday and spent time with four of our employees.
There are some things which all our team have to know and so this small class comprised a great mix, including our two new damp specialist apprentices, one of our longest serving remedial technicians and one of our remedial treatment surveyors. The morning was devoted to Asbestos awareness training, with the afternoon concentrating on causes of damp in houses and treatment. Bryan hosted the day in his new in house laboratory.
Asbestos kills over 4500 people a year in the UK and as we work in older buildings, our staff are at risk of being exposed to this deadly material. Regulation 10 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 requires employers to ensure that all workers who may be at risk of interacting with asbestos, are given approved asbestos awareness training. When preparing buildings for dry rot eradication, structural waterproofing, structural repairs or damp proofing work, we are at risk of exposure. All our site staff have done this training. However our two new apprentices have not, so this day was essential and needed to be promptly delivered within a month of their employment. The law demands that this training is refreshed annually so we are also scheduling re-training for team members . As it happens Bryan’s was up for renewal too, so a day in the office for those in need, was on the cards.
Apprentices Dillan Thornton and Thomas Moran, were taken through the basics before sitting through the on-line UKATA (United Kingdom Asbestos Association), e-learning approved course. Surveyor Paul Glover and experienced remedial technician Craig Tarbotton were also due for renewal, so along with Bryan, they too sat the eLearning package and test. The four-module process outlines what asbestos is, the harm it does to our bodies and also the likely locations of the material in buildings. What to do in cases of discovery and how to avoid contamination were covered in detail. After an on-line test, all five candidates were able to print out their official UKATA asbestos awareness certificates. So now, if they are specifying, surveying, working or being trained in buildings, they will know how to stay safe.
In the afternoon Bryan organised a round-table lesson, based on the damp diagnosis and treatment module of the damp specialist Property Care Association remedial technician’s course.
This is a core skill for our staff, so starting the desktop learning on this subject is great for the apprentices in particular. Having the MD, a surveyor and a qualified technician doing the same lesson with them, underlines the importance of good basic fundamental knowledge for any damp specialist – a central pillar for anyone embarking on a career in building preservation.
Bryan is very keen on this approach “All people vary in ability and commitment, however without a good grasp of the foundations of our business, you really can’t progress forward to advanced diagnosis and treatment; if employees are thrown in at the deep-end.” He goes on to explain why this is important “This causes problems because their experience thereafter, may be tarnished by basic errors and assumptions – all because things were never explained properly early on. That’s why I like to get back to these basics now and again.”
The session covered Penetrating damp and Rising damp. A further session on Condensation is planned. Penetrating damp included a look at the prevailing winds, house construction, pointing, the role of good maintenance and use of renders and water repellents. Rising damp was explored; capillary action, bridging (internal and external), factors controlling the rise of moisture, physical and chemical DPCs, types of chemical products and their function; basics of application, salt contamination; hygroscopic salts and efflorescence; re-plastering mixes, render admix types and applications.
It was a fun day with lots of leg-pulling and generally smiling faces and – the odd furrowed brow.
Consumers or specifying professionals can take comfort in knowing, that from top to bottom, Brick-Tie Preservation is a true damp specialist team, with genuine care and attention to training, health and safety, knowledge and service.
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