Monthly Archives: December 2016

Construction Industry: Plastering Overview

The specialist construction sector is a broad field and only 3% of it is plastering. We are all illustration of vector building modern icon in design aware that it’s considered to be a ‘downstream’ construction market that is required to finish residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings.

There are of course, many different specialists within the field who focus on the following complementary areas:

  • The installation of plasterboard
  • Installation of ornamental plastering products
  • The finish and rendering of walls
  • Fibrous plastering

Some plastering related contractors have the task of preparing buildings and wall systems for plaster to be applied.

However, when it comes to most plastering companies, they find that their primary source of revenue is from residential contracts, especially for the smaller plastering outfits. The 2008 recession, hit the industry hard with less funds available for private residence owners to spend out on home improvement.

Fortunately, the commercial sector kept some plastering businesses afloat during the national economic struggle. Even with public spending inhibited, plastering contractors will continue to find some opportunities in the non-housing sectors.

According to IBIS Reports, who provide industry revenue statistics and industry growth forecasts, things aren’t looking too bad.

They state that the plastering industry has an annual revenue of £2 billion and between 2011 and 2016 saw annual growth of 1.7%, keeping over 13,000 employed and 4,416 businesses afloat. The plastering industry plays an important part when it comes to construction.

Now with fears about Brexit and the economic uncertainty that some businesses have, there could be another downturn in available spend. According to IBIS, 13.9% of plastering businesses are located in the south-east region. Which is in keeping with the percentage of the UK popular (13.7%)?

How is your plastering business faring recently? Has there been any change since Brexit was announced?

M-tec M200: A Plastering and Rendering Machine Breakthrough

Finally released in early summer 2016, the M-tec M200 Plastering and Rendering Machine has been getting a lot of attentionM-Tec plastering machine against a white background and interest from our more competitive customers who are looking to make good ground in their field.

We were highly involved in the design of this machine along with a set of skilled and highly talented German designers and engineers. Ever faithful to our clients, we have spent the last few months testing it and it’s true; it is one of the most innovative and advanced plastering and rendering machines on the market.

We know that some of you appreciate the more efficient machines that truly celebrate plastering excellence. We wanted to offer a machine in alignment with what we’ve learnt from our own experience and insights gained by you, our customers in terms of what is right and wrong about previous plastering machines.

What we developed is a machine that meets the needs of those looking for outstanding productivity and high performance.

If you’re wondering how the M-tec M200 does it, we’ve put together a few facts so that you can have an easy to digest overview of the advantages that this innovative machine delivers.

Recognised by leaders in the plastering industry as being one of the next generation of plastering and rendering machines, it can produce excellent results when it comes to:

  • Renders
  • Plasters
  • Screed
  • EWI

But let’s get down to the juicier details about it.

As a 110v machine, it is designed for access to all construction and building sites in addition to domestic jobs across the UK. Here are a few other little details that you should know if you’re considering making that kind of investment in your business any time soon:

  • This machine really gives it ‘large’ when it comes to delivering high output – after all up-to 18l/min is more than enough for most plasterers to handle.
  • With a pumping distance of 25m, this machine doesn’t hold back and is of no comparison to its predecessors or its peers. It truly is the next generation but can also comfortably handle smaller jobs too.
  • With 4-way speed control, you can enjoy the fact that the M-tec M200 is going to work like a horse for you. It can spray a broad range of materials at different speeds. Our design makes it unnecessary to change any parts even when spraying entirely different applications.

Plastering Unions – a history and the present

The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers was first granted a royal charter in 1501, and wasThe Lord Mayor of London in a golden coach. the first official representing body for plasterers, focusing on quality of work as well as the welfare and safety of its members.  The unusual spelling; “plaisterers” is the Old English spelling of the word, and has been kept in the title to this day.  These guilds, formed in the middle ages, were the fore-runners to modern trade unions, providing support and resources for the trade.  In 1887, the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers was involved in founding the City and Guilds of London Institute, which still operates today as a training and qualifications provider, offering plastering training and diplomas alongside other vocational qualifications.  Although plastering had been recognised as a skilled trade from the 1200s onwards, it was actions such as setting up the guild and investing in the future of the trade, which formalised plastering as a profession and gave support to the workers.  The existence of the guild helped ensure a high standard of workmanship among its members and supported the development of new techniques and the training of apprentices.

Today the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers invests in training and bursaries and runs award schemes to recognise achievements in the field of plastering, having less involvement in the safety at work side of things nowadays.  This area fell under the remit of trade unions; many of which were formed in the 1800s as a response to unsuitable working conditions and pay for the Victorian poor working in a variety of skilled trades.  The National Association of Operative Plasterers was formed in 1860, following the Building Trades Dispute of 1859, an event which saw many workers in the construction trade locked out of work.  Several attempts had been made from 1810 onwards to form a union, but the dispute provided the catalyst that the movement needed.  Trade unions were technically illegal at this time, eventually becoming decriminalised in 1867, by way of a Royal Commission, and formally legalised in 1871.  The criminal status made it hard for trade unions to operate effectively, but the ground swell of support for the movement as a whole, meant that recruitment to the unions was growing daily, becoming a force to be reckoned with despite their legal status at the time.

By the late 1800s the union was functioning well, fighting for the rights of skilled workers not to be undercut by poorly trained and unskilled workers, who were cheaper to employ.  There had been a period of adjustment in addressing the national and local needs of the workers, and in 1889 the union was instrumental in providing for workers who had been affected by a national three month lock out.  Facing depleted funds and resources, the union struggled for many years with further strikes and war, but by that time had joined the Labour Representation Committee, a forerunner of the Labour Party, that comprised of several trade unions all working for the same improvements.  In 1967 the union joined forces with The Scottish National Plasterers’ Union and became part of the Transport and General Workers Union the year after.  This union was renamed Unite in 2007 and works to this day to support and protect the rights of skilled tradespeople.

Without the formation of these workers’ rights groups, the world of plastering and many other skilled trades would be very different today.  Although trade union membership decreased in the 1980s and 1990s, there are still several million active members in the country and without the continued support of the average worker things could be very different.

Fun things to do with leftover plaster – part 1

We’re coming up to a slower time of year trade-wise, and many people will be looking tobaby handprint and footprint take some time off over Christmas anyway, so what can you do with half bags of plaster that won’t be used before they go solid?  The most efficient plasterers will be trying to only buy what they need for each job, saving the hassle of disposing of unused plaster, but with the best will in the world, there will always be some left behind that won’t be much use after a few weeks of being open.  It is tempting to chuck it in a skip or take it to the local council tip, but there are some other ways of getting rid of it or storing it for another job.

If you want to store the plaster for the first job of 2017, it needs to be sealed well against the air, as it will absorb moisture and start to set solid in the bag.  Vacuum bags, like the ones used to store bulky duvets and clothes in small spaces, are a good way of removing excess air and keeping it out.  A cheaper alternative is to use heavy plastic sheeting and Clingfilm to wrap the bag tightly, although this will not work as well over the long term as a vacuum sealed bag.

Freecycle, Gumtree and other local listings boards are one way of getting rid of excess plaster to a good home, as there is always someone looking for a small quantity for DIY or craft projects.  It won’t make you any money but it will help someone out and means you don’t have to make a trip to the tip just for one item.

Craft projects often use plaster as a material, as it can be cast in moulds or soaked into fabric to make a solid setting sculpting medium.  It is worth asking local schools and art groups if they need some plaster, as they will often be grateful for small quantities.  At this time of year Christmas decorations are a nice thing to make, and a project like this will keep children entertained on cold and rainy weekends at home.  Metal or silicone cake or soap moulds are the best for casting plaster in, but they need to be prepared with a thin layer of dish detergent and water to ensure the resulting model can come out easily, without breaking.  Mix the plaster and pour into the moulds, then wait for it to set.  Once casted, plaster models can be painted and used as paperweights, table decorations and ornaments.  Be careful about using thin plastic moulds, as the heat generated by the plaster mixing could melt and warp them.

Plaster can also be carved, so by using a simple mould you can create a blank tile that can then be worked on with basic tools, even old cutlery can be used to carve and make patterns in the plaster.  A sealant, like sprayable resin or PVA glue, will seal the plaster and give a gloss to the surface, which not only looks nice but also makes the result wipe clean and waterproof.  If you make coasters out of left over plaster, it is important to treat them with a waterproof layer so they can be used again and again.

One way of making nice patterns in a plaster tile is to lay leaves and other items at the bottom of the mould, covered with a layer of Clingfilm to ensure they do not become embedded in the plaster.  Once the plaster is set and removed, the imprint of whatever items you used will appear in the plaster.  If you have pets, or just enjoy looking for wildlife tracks in the countryside you can use plaster to cast the prints directly from the ground.  Just make a small frame that can be set slightly into the ground around the print and pour the plaster mix in.  When it is set it should come away from the ground easily and you will be left with a memento of your favourite pet, or a nice looking track you have found out and about.

Join us in part two for more plaster projects.

What You Need to Know About Plasterer’s Stilts

We’ve always been fans of plasterer’s stilts, ever since we realised how much faster a jobplasterers-stilts can be done. They can provide access to high walls and ceilings without needing to put out scaffolding. However, not everybody is a fan. For example, the Australian government are very sceptical about them.

Nonetheless, we are also aware that they need to be used carefully. There is some construction industry and plastering industry scepticism about how safe they are. It’s been a point of discussion for some years, in some circles.  We believe that just as long as you do your homework first and ensure that the work area is suited to stilts, then you should be fine.

Seeing as we sell them, we’ve put together this information on how to use them safely, so that you can keep yourself and your team in good shape.

Please note: This health and safety advice does not and should not replace any guidance provided by the plastering industry or the construction industry. It’s our take on it, and merely intended as additional reading for those who decide to use plasterer’s stilts.

Before wearing the stilts, it’s critical that the work area is viewed so that all risks are identified and assessed. Consider what activity will be undertaken in addition to which tools will be utilised.  Also, consider these points:

  • Look for changes in the level or slope of the area of work. Perhaps there are guardrails which will impede movement of the stilts. Look for lights, arches, bulkheads or stairwells and become aware of your surroundings and how they could affect movement whilst wearing the stilts.
  • Avoid using stilts if the height of the ceiling is more than 3 metres.
  • Do not use on stairs or to walk backwards
  • Do not use on floors that are not level or cannot support stilt work, such as earthen floors that are yet to be concreted.
  • Only use on floors that have been swept and that are dry.
  • Floors should also be free of debris such as packaging, dropped nails, tools and hoses.
  • Do not use on tables, trestles or other non-floor surfaces
  • Any stairwells or voids need to be covered or guarded, so that they can be clearly identified and seen by stilt workers.

Only competent people should use stilts. Those who have had some training or practice in how to use them safely. Plastering stilts can put users at risk of:

  • Losing balance and falling to the ground, or even through a window or over handrails
  • Tripping over tools, debris or slipping on wet surfaces
  • Falling over when accessing an area at a different level or passing through doorways
  • Injuries caused by twisting or bending over on the stilts

When it comes to using the stilts, take the following into account:

  • A solid platform, of the same height as the stilts, should be installed for stilt workers to mount and dismount their stilts.
  • Do not use stepladders for mounting and dismounting plastering stilts. It’s not advised to try stepping up and balancing one stilted leg, whilst fitting the second. In fact, this practice can be very dangerous.
  • Any equipment, tools and materials used by the stilt worker should be accessible from a mobile or stationary purpose-built stand, so that no bending over is necessary.
  • If a stand isn’t available, then another person should hand what is required, to the stilt worker, so that they do not need to pick up any item that is below the level of their knee. Any waste or debris dropped by the stilt worker should also be cleared away by this additional person.
  • The torso of the stilt worker should be vertical at all times.
  • Do not jump on the stilts
  • Procedures need to be identified of how the stilt worker would evacuate in case of an emergency.
  • Stilts need regular maintenance, in line with manufacturer’s recommendations.

Although we have filled you to the brim with safety recommendations and warning regarding use of plastering stilts, it should also be known that they can add a very positive streak to the performance of plasterers. They can enable work to be completed faster than without. However, do be careful out there, plasterers.

PAREX Renders Can Transform Your Home

Here’s an idea worth considering. If you haven’t tried Parex renders, then it’s time to get 2 smiling builders with plastering tools.busy with it. You’ll be amazed at the results and wish you’d tried them sooner.

Parex Renders have been available from us for quite some time now. They are particularly popular due to the choice of application methods, in addition to a variety of finishes and colours.

In actual fact, Parex is one of our most popular and well-selling products. They are convenient, easy to use and this method delivers a durable surface that will last for years. This company’s commitment to quality is tremendous. They have worked hard to secure a place as the market leader for their materials and have grown in leaps and bounds since they first started out. They now have 32 manufacturing bases around the world and are in 15 different countries and their staff are focused on continual innovation, product development and improvement. They are passionate about giving their customers something that is easy to use but produces a very good looking coverage. When it’s done well, it can even turn heads.

Making high quality products available to our customers is something that Plasterer’s 1 Stop Shop prides itself on. It makes it possible for a wide range of architectural finishes to be available to you and your customers. For Parex renders we offer a next day delivery too.

You’re in for a pleasant surprise when you use Parex. They are ready to be applied and they are known for being long-lasting and durable whilst punching above their weight in creativity, good looks and style.

Once you use it, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

Our Parex products include: Base Coats, General Products and Top Coats

We offer a next day nationwide delivery service and if you buy in bulk, there is a discount available.

If you haven’t tried Parex yet, make sure that you do. It delivers an outstanding finish with a high quality. You’ll be amazed at what marvellous results you can gain from laying it down.