Xmo Strata Newsletter – October 2014

Xmo Strata Newsletter – October 2014

October 2014 Newsletter

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Welcome to the October newsletter – and congratulations to the Xmo Strata employees who have raised money for Motor Neurone Disease research and other charitable causes in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

If you want to see some of the videos you can do so below!

In August the company passed annual accreditations for ISO 9001The International Standard for Quality Management., 14001 and 1800, with only two observations and two improvements requested by the auditors – all four have now been actioned.

New Bolt Tightening Tool

Xmo Strata has never been a company that does things in a certain way just because they’ve always been done that way – the company will often find safer, quicker, more productive ways of doing things.

Crews and managers are always concerned to ensure that the bolts fixing Main Identification Signs to their concrete bases are firmly attached and tight. The signs weigh a tonne or more and in heavy winds they can fall over, causing death, injury and / or extensive damage.

They sit on concrete foundations – which we’ve written about in the newsletter many times before (there’s a quick reminder of the previous topics below).

The traditional make-do way of tightening the bolts is to increase the leverage available on the spanner by slipping the spanner handle into a piece of old scaffolding or pipe, The problem is that the ends of the pipe can get damaged, as shown in some of the pictures, and there is a risk of slippage or an accident.

Crews also report that it’s simply inefficient as a tool. So they’re now trialing a purpose-made extender, designed by the company and developed for us by our own Stuart Newton, which is the right length and won’t slip – they say it is safer and more efficient

The ends of the pipes used to give additional leverage can become damaged, increasing the risk of slippage or an accident.

The traditional way of gaining extra leverage – put the spanner handle into a scaffold pole or a bit of old pipe!

The new Xmo Strata system:  a purpose made solution, which won’t slip and will be more robust.

Those concrete foundations…

You may recall from previous newsletters that one of the common problems with the foundations of Main Identification Signs (often known as MIDMain Identity Sign - The big Price sign on a petrol forecourt, sometimes referred to as Totem, Gantry, PID, Pole. signs) is that they are not big enough if a larger sign is specified. Over the years, the signs have become bigger, more sophisticated and heavier – yet sometimes, new signs are simply placed on foundations built for a much smaller, lighter unit.

Another problem is that foundations should be angular, located in holes with vertical sides and right angles; yet because that requires more effort, concrete is sometimes poured into oval / boat shaped holes. They are easier to dig, but have far less resistance to wind – even if they are the right size, they may not hold-up the sign in extreme weather.

Both practices are dangerous and have led to accidents in the past. Xmo Strata crews replacing MIDMain Identity Sign - The big Price sign on a petrol forecourt, sometimes referred to as Totem, Gantry, PID, Pole. signs are briefed always to carry out at least a rudimentary check on the foundations, to the limits of their expertise.

Waste stacked in roof void!

Waste from signage and canopy work is expensive to dispose of legally, safely and professionally.  The cost will be covered in a contractor’s quote for the job – but even when the money is taken, is the work always done?

One crew working in Somerset found a previous canopy maintenance company …. working on the same site some years ago …. simply hadn’t bothered.

They simply slid old roof panels into the gap between the roof and ceiling in the forecourt canopy.  You can just see it on the pictures accompanying this story.

It will have saved money, though the client may have paid for safe removal at the time.

The Xmo Strata crew reported it to the client so the matter could be professionally dealt with.  “You have to hand it to them for cheek,” said Xmo Strata Managing Director Steve Martin.   “Essentially, they just handed the cost of doing it down the line – but they avoided it entirely themselves!”

Incorrectly fitted roof panels

On a related matter, Xmo Strata crews recently found a filling station with incorrectly fitted canopy roof panels.

As well as being bolted down, they should have been secured by a lip at the edges, preventing lift-off in high winds.

That would cause extensive damage and risk to life – wind born panels can travel large distances fast.

Fixing it required materials and equipment the crew didn’t have – so they sent a detailed report to the customer, allowing remedial work to be planned.

New work for BP and Shell

Xmo Strata is currently conducting surveys on over 30 BP sites as part of a longer contract … and has won work from Shell on sites which will have Waitrose stores and image upgrades.

Possible import delays

Signware deliveries from the Continent could be delayed by refugees trying to stow-away on trucks crossing the channel.

Some operators are using long diversions to avoid Calais … enhanced security measures are also causing delays. It hasn’t affected Xmo Strata yet but it’s an issue the company is watching carefully.

And social media reports say that Apple has booked so much freight space from China that it could delay other deliveries, including signware!

Our regular web watch came up with the usual collection of footage and stills showing alarmingly dangerous, eccentric, and sometimes plain barmy working practices.

We’ll leave you to make your own judgements about these!

Possible import delays

Signware deliveries from the Continent could be delayed by refugees trying to stow-away on trucks crossing the channel.

Some operators are using long diversions to avoid Calais … enhanced security measures are also causing delays. It hasn’t affected Xmo Strata yet but it’s an issue the company is watching carefully.

And social media reports say that Apple has booked so much freight space from China that it could delay other deliveries, including signware!

Our regular web watch came up with the usual collection of footage and stills showing alarmingly dangerous, eccentric, and sometimes plain barmy working practices.

We’ll leave you to make your own judgements about these!

Online Newscast

As always, if you prefer to watch your news, TV style, rather than read it, you can do so on our online newscasts, produced in conjunction with these newsletters. You can find them on the company’s website but you can also ask to be notified when the next newscast is produced (it will be in November). Contact the company’s head office or just have a word with your regular Xmo Strata contact and we’d be delighted to put you on the list!

Alternatively sign up at the following page : Sign Up

Congratulations to Nats!

Finally, congratulations from everyone at Xmo Strata to Nats Taylor and her fiancé Sean Scotcher, who will be married by the time you read this. Many readers will know Nats as the presenter of our online TV newscast , but she also works as a freelance TV presenter and will be starring in a Christmas TV ad.

Nats and Sean tied the knot at a romantic Italian hide-away and the current newscast was one of the last jobs she did before flying off for the ceremony.

“Nats very quickly became a valued member of our team,” said Director Kate Parmentier. “We send all our very best wishes to her and Sean! She’ll be back at work in time to present the November newscast … but has yet to confirm what her professional married name will be!”

Direct from Italy just in time for publication – Nats and Sean at their wedding!

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