General Construction 1,082 views Feb 02, 2018
On-site support - keeping it real

Every building is made up of hundreds if not thousands of different building products and materials. Each product has been tested in a laboratory and certified to confirm it will do its job. However, once on-site, materials will act differently. They come into contact with different atmospheric conditions and are reliant on the installation by a contractor. This is where on-site technical support proves its worth.

On-site technical support is often under-valued, but as a business, Sika places huge emphasis on it. It’s a core part of our product offering and a fundamental part of our everyday business. As a global leader, producing products for a variety of market sectors from construction to automotive (see supporting our customers is something we do - everyday.

For Sika, on-site support starts at the research and development stage. We don’t just test new products in a laboratory and then package and sell them. We take them to market and test them in the real world. A laboratory is a controlled environment and our products are not installed in controlled environments – they are installed in some of the most challenging and harsh conditions you can imagine.

Every site is different and contractors work in very different ways. As such, it is important to put our products into practice to see how they react. This could be from how they are handled on site; what effect the weather has on them and how they react to other materials. It is also important to get feedback from contractors as they are at the sharp end installing them every day – their feedback on how the product feels, how easy it is to work with is invaluable.

We also believe that we have a responsibility to ensure that once our products have been specified, they are installed correctly and the end results meet the client’s expectations. Changing specifications happens all too frequently, often as a way of reducing costs. However, sometimes a change in specification has a knock-on effect and the end result is that it isn’t fit for purpose and ends-up costing the client more money.

There is also the issue of interpretation. Many commercial and industrial projects we visit are made up of different areas, from manufacture to storage. The floors in these different parts of the building need to be treated differently as their usage can differ greatly. Therefore, different grades of flooring should be specified depending on their intended use.

This is easy to overlook when looking at project drawings, but with on-site support the use of the building can quickly be ascertained and a suitable specification created.

On-site technical support shouldn’t stop there. We work closely with our contractor network to assist them on a job-by-job basis. This starts with training for a site operative at our Preston or Welwyn Garden City facilities and runs right through to assessing on site performance on a job. This is essential for projects where Sika is providing a guarantee.

Technical support adds value at every stage – from helping develop new product to creating appropriate specifications, assisting with workmanship to ensuring a specification is maintained and the results exceed expectation. The only way to do this is by witnessing products in-use and seeing projects being delivered.

There is no substitute to real life. On-site support may be a traditional value, but it’s a value that Sika believes strongly in, and it’s something that I believe makes us that little bit different.

By Mark Prizeman, Sika Technical Services Manager, Flooring and Refurbishment