We take for granted many of the items that appear in our environment without really thinking about how they got there: so today I’m taking you step-by-step through How Sign-Rite Makes A Site Sign.
Jargon busting: a ‘site sign’ is, generally, a free-standing sign that identifies and labels an area or building – and is often the first indication to the public that Something is going to Happen.
Our first job is to assess the site. Seeing where a sign is needed is invaluable – for one thing, if there is an existing sign, it might be re-usable, often a cost-effective solution.
Signs, while long-lasting if made in the correct materials, need maintenance and are subject to natural deterioration by weather, as in the case at Hereford.
REFURBISH OR SUPPLY NEW?
So, we determined that two existing boards facing the roads – sturdy aluminium – were sound but needed fresh over-lays, to be fitted on site. A third, new, sign was needed to mark the arrival of the Skylon’s first resident, Beck Group, in premises erected by Leominster Construction.
Secondly, we risk-assess the site, to check both that the sign will be sited safely and that our staff can work effectively. The Hereford site is uneven ground, and the work needs to be done at height, so a risk assessment is written to ensure safety precautions are planned.
Sign-Rite works closely with designers – here, Herefordshire Council – so we load the emailed design to our specialised software (we use an industry-specific called SignLab) and check sizes. (A common mistake is to assume a graphic which suits a web-site will translate to a huge sign, so we scale-up and often supply visuals to our customers to show them what their design will actually look like.)
Ordering materials comes next: di-bond panels (a sandwich of aluminium-and-composite, which reduces the metal needed, improving eco-credentials and the price) and 3m wooden posts (tall enough so that the correct amount goes into the ground) for the new sign, sourced from Leominster Building Supplies, under the FCS.
Printing is done at our premises at Leominster Enterprise Park, on an eco-solvent, wide-format, inkjet sign printer, and, after a 24-hour period to allow the ink to cure, we add a protective laminate layer. This is a skilled job – applying laminate across 3m of sign without a wrinkle – but lengthens the life of print, protecting it from abrasion and fading.
ADAPTING TO SITE CONDITIONS
Fitting on site involves co-ordinating equipment (plus safety items and protective clothing) staff, sign boards, and the weather. No electricity on site means taking cordless drills and there is no room for a cherry picker so ladders have to be used – not a job for amateurs.
After checking the risk assessment and coning-off the working area, the new panels are offered up to the existing sign, clamped in place, drilled and screwed in 12 places – working at up to 5.5m off the ground, so our installers are trained AND brave!
To erect the new sign, post holes are needed: digging is a lesser-known sign-maker’s talent – and of course the ground is stony, needing a crow-bar. Settling the posts – carefully checking the upright is perfectly vertical – in quick-drying concrete mix, and attaching a cross-piece for strength, requires precision.
Attaching the sign, drilling through into the timber frame, removing packing material and offcuts, is standard: clearing the undergrowth in front of the sign so that it can be seen unobstructed, is a little bit more unusual, but is done.
FINISHING THE JOB
Finishing at 7pm, as the light goes, leaves barely time to take photographs as a final touch: not only as a record for ourselves, it’s an appreciated gesture to send copies to the customer to show the finished job.
Then it is (just) a case of collating materials and time used on internal documents, ensuring we have an order number, writing and sending an invoice using our Customer Management Software … and waiting to get paid!
Actually, our last job is uploading the photographs to our social media – tweeting our photos, adding them to our facebook page – and featuring them in this blog. More publicity for us – and, very importantly, show-casing the resources and opportunities available in our lovely corner of England.