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Archive for the ‘Chief Engineer’ Category

Paintshop: Painting in Bad Weather

Heat/humidity. Full sun. Mist/rain/fog. Smog. Dust/dirt. Wind/whirlwinds. Arctic blasts. Cold/frost/ice. Sleet.

 

You know the policy: Paint until you can’t get anything done. Then try to paint anyway.

 

You’ve heard it before:

 

“You can’t let a little bad weather stop you.”

 

“A little rain or wind never hurt anyone.”

 

“Do it anyway.”

 

“Figure it out.”

 

“Just get it done. Now!”

 

Fourteen Tips for Painting in Bad Weather

 

  1. What’s the job? And what do you need to get it done?
  2. Assess your situation and the scene, relative to the project.
  3. How bad are the weather conditions?
  4. Do a last-minute check of the weather.
  5. What can you take care of while waiting for the bad weather to calm down, or clear up?
  6. Who has the final say whether you (a) hold off and reschedule, (b) wait a while, or, (c) do it anyway?
  7. Will you actually save time, money and manpower by holding off till the afternoon, or the next day? Or even later?
  8. Which way will your quality still be there?
  9. What can you do to make things work, even in the bad weather?

A. Can you paint less exposed surfaces and areas first.

B. Or, can you prep and paint sunny, less windy, less affected areas first?

SPECIAL TIPS: Remove all ice, water, rust, etc. from the surface to be painted. Make sure the surface is completely dry and smooth before painting. Use fast-drying primers and top coats; they are less affected by changes in the weather.

10. What can you do to protect you and your crew?

A. Can you partially tent or tarp the work area to cut out exposure to the elements – eg. wind, drizzle, snow, cold?

B. Allow enough air to circulate for the painted surface to dry.

11. What can you do to protect the crew from unhealthy and unsafe over-exposure?

SPECIAL TIPS: Dress for the conditions: warm coat, hat, work gloves, insulated boots. As soon as possible, invest in some waterproof apparel.

12. When is it time to call it quits? NOTE: Continuous high winds combined with rain do not a good paint job make.

13. What tasks are simply too dangerous in this bad weather? Example: Strong wind gusts are moving the extension ladders around, and pulling at the men’s clothing.

14. Is the painting project more important than following your instinct to just respect the bad weather? And try later?

INDUSTRIAL PAINTER TIP: Exterior painting can always be done, if you can isolate the work from the weather.

 

Bottom line: In bad weather conditions, health and safety must come first. No painting task nor project is worth a dollar if it costs anyone an injury, a serious illness, or worse.

 

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Make every job site a “safe-weather situation” for your crew and you.

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Start your year on a safe footing. Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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Painter’s World: Little Acts of Appreciation

Every day, a painter’s world includes opportunities to show his or her appreciation. To someone. For something.

 

Ten Acts of Appreciation a Hotel Painter Can Try

 

  1. Thank your teammates, supervisor, and other coworkers for their help, support, etc.
  2. Go easy on the teammate that goofed, again. Even if he or she could have prevented it.
  3. Hold the door open for a hotel guest trying to get moved into his or her room.
  4. Offer to hold something so a guest can strap his or her toddler into the safety car seat.
  5. Cut your chief engineer some slack. Tell him or her, “That’s okay. I can see that you’re under a lot of extra pressure right now…”
  6. Volunteer an extra pair of hands to a teammate, or staff member in another department.
  7. Offer that grumpier or aloof co-worker a way to talk to you without any explanation.
  8. Cover for a teammate when he or she needs to make a personal call during work time.
  9. Cut your co-workers some slack, especially when the work pressure is getting to them.
  10. Discreetly offer a “listening ear” to a co-worker whose mood/behavior/attitude has changed for some reason.

 

Ten Acts of Appreciation a Commercial-Industrial Painter Can Try

 

  1. Thank your fellow crew members for their efforts to bring in a project within constraints.
  2. Offer to cover for a co-worker who needs a little longer lunch or break time.
  3. Foreman: offer the worker, who is very pressured by personal responsibilities, the option to occasionally start work a little later. Or to leave a little earlier..
  4. Give the new guy a hand, or two. Even if he or she is experienced. Remember when you started out there?
  5. Cut that apprentice some slack. He or she is new to painting, and new to your company.
  6. Periodically, thank and visit your suppliers’ stores, shops, websites, LinkedIn.com, etc.
  7. Periodically connect with both your strong and less strong connections through social media. Acknowledge their recent accomplishments, or news. Thank them for any input they’ve given.
  8. On-site crew member: Loan a better paintbrush to a newer coworker, who might not yet own the size or type of brush needed to do the task.
  9. Thank and praise both long-standing and newer crew members. Especially when things have been going rough on the project, and/or for the company
  10. Thank your company’s office staff for making your job more doable. Please thank your foreman, superintendent/boss and company owner once periodically, too.

 

FOOTNOTE: I remember every person that has helped me, as a painter, to have a good day. Their smiles or laughs.  Their joking jabs. Their choices of words. Their handshakes. Their encouragement. The hands that they lent me. Their “training.” Their advice and constructive criticism. It all mattered to me. They all mattered to me.

 

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Showing appreciation works better when it’s sincere, spontaneous, and individualized.

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Behind “Painting with Bob” is a network of dedicated painters, professionals, friends, and editor.

Copyright 2018. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop Policies: Reporting Problems with Products and Materials

Every paintshop has policies and practices in place on how to handle problems that might crop up. And, every painter, as well as others that use that department, need to adhere to those policies.

 

In fact, each new department worker’s training must include this aspect of employment. At both the department level, and company-wide.

 

  1. Report all issues to immediate supervisor, shop foreman or company representative.
  2. Properly label paint products and supplies according to location in which they are used.
  3. Help others to choose the correct products for the surfaces, conditions and use/traffic situations.
  4. Document each problem beyond the normal-use level.
  5. Report any damage or loss to your supervisor.
  6. Determine and post “Paintshop Policies” and business policies.

 

Re: Products and materials used by you and teammates, or fellow crew members.

  1. Provide other departments with postable notices about procedures for reporting problems with products or materials to Paintshop and Engineering. TIP: Be sure to supply each department with notices to cover updates or changes in policies and procedures.
  2. With their and your supervisors’ permission, provide written suggestions on how to handle these problems.

Bottom Line: If you are the person responsible for the operations of the paintshop, stand firm. And, help others to follow those policies and procedures that you must follow.

 

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Running a paintshop requires one part policy, two parts consistency, and seven parts diplomacy.

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Thanks for doing your job to the best of your ability.

Thanks for your emails, and for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

 

PAINTSHOP: WHEN GOOD THINGS HAPPEN

Lead painters – paintshop managers – have many good things to report for 2017. Here are a few of the more than 5,900 responses that I received to the e-mailed question:

 

“IN YOUR PAINTSHOP, HOW HAVE THINGS BEEN GOING LATELY?”

 

  1. Regi.

“Owners ordered the property management to purchase and supply engineering with a much safer, and EPA certified, solution to treat Black mold. MoldSTAT Plus Mold Killer.”

 

  1. Alec.

“I found enough tinted paint to touch up all thirteen walls in the upgraded suites.”

 

  1. Danny.

“The air compressor kicked in first try this morning. It’s been malfunctioning. For over three months. No budget to replace it right now.”

 

  1. Pablo.

“The waterproof grout mix is holding all of those tiles onto the uneven surfaces around the pools…”

 

  1. Gabe.

“Management approved chief engineer’s request for a FaceMask breathing apparatus, and accessories before the end of 2017. My boss and I opted for a HobbyAir II, with 80-foot hose.””

 

  1. R.G.

“Starting January 2018, I’ll have a part-time painting assistant three mornings a week.”

 

  1. Brian.

“When I returned from vacation, some of the crew had cleared out the space to lay out the steel beams for me to spray. Over 120, each 80-foot long, need to be done in less than three days…”

 

  1. Fernando.

“Boss is paying time and a half when the shop closes down Christmas to New Year’s Day.”

 

  1. Margo.

“Three more painters have been added to help on the airport project January-February.

 

  1. Bill.

“Delivery date February 1 for my new (one year old) company truck. The old one is barely running. I’ve had to have it towed three times within the last month…”

 

A FEW TIPS OFFERED BY RESPONDING PAINTERS ABOUT REQUESTING EXPENSIVE THINGS 

 

DO before you ask management to invest in an expensive product, tool or equipment:  

  1. Research the item (s) you need.
  2. Contact a regional manufacturer’s rep.
  3. Ask for contact information for three contractors that use the product.
  4. Call each; find out what they like and dislike about the product. Also ask about alternate product (s) they recommend, and why.
  5. Then include all of the above information in your written request/proposal for management.

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A painter cannot operate his or her paintshop on management’s good intentions, or promises.

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Thanks for pushing for what you need, and for persisting until you get results.

 

Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: What Hotel and Facility Painters NEED to Do Their Jobs

*** A lead painter, whose hotel was damaged by Hurricane Maria’s winds, reminded me about a post that I missed submitting. Perhaps, you will find something here that can help you in 2017.

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A hotel chain’s Senior chief engineer in South Carolina emailed about team preparedness, after the October 29, 2014 post. (“Hotel Engineering Team Training: Pilot Project 2015”)

 

“We’re a small group of specialty brand inns.  Our paint applicators are all experienced in brush, roller and spray. None of them requires formal instruction on using new products, tools (and) equipment. Each painter is good at picking up on things, and running with it.

 

“Our budget is always tight. The 2015 budget can be stretched to purchase a few newer types of products, tools and equipment for each paint shop.

 

“I emailed all of our engineering directors. Each submitted a similar short list of needs. All of them requested the following:

 

1.  Samples of new formulations of basic paint products that may fit our property needs.

‘My application specialist needs to test out a product before he can decide whether to go with the newer product, or stick with the standard one.’

 

2. Small samples of products as they come on the market.

‘Our chief engineers push for their painters and maintenance techs to get to test out any new product, supply, tool, or piece of equipment before they get stuck with it.’

 

3. Free new painting and maintenance tools to try-before-we-buy.

‘Promising new tools come on the market. I want my painter, and maintenance people, to be able to try a few of them, at least. . .It makes no sense to buy a new tool for my paint shop, before we know if it will work for the painter that has to use it.’

 

4. New spray gun, or spray system pre-purchase testing

‘Each of our painters does a lot of spraying, interior and exterior. At some point, a spray gun becomes too costly to repair, or rebuild, even with thorough cleaning and careful maintenance. Replacement becomes sensible option. Some of the new spray gun systems can be expensive…’

 

Question 1: “Bob, who do we call to get small samples of products as they come on the market?”

Answer: “In your capacity, contact the product manufacturer’s testing division. Explain your interest and need in testing new products before you buy them. Tell them about the products, including theirs, that your painters have used in the past. Share a short list of pros and cons. Offer specific engineering departments and sites within your chain as “testers and test sites.”

 

Question 2: “How do we get samples of new paint/finish products that may fit our property (ies)?”

Answer: “Talk to your regular paint supplier/distributor first. If that doesn’t work, contact the paint manufacturer’s representative for each respective product line.”

TIP: “It might help to seal the arrangement if you can offer your paint applicators’ experiences with the product as ‘painting trade testimonials.’ Check in advance with a few of your painters.”

 

Question 3: “How do we get to test out new tools and equipment free? Try-before-we-buy?”

Answer: “Contact the respective tool manufacturer – “Trade/contractor services.” Talk with the director or assistant director of their “after market” research testing center. Find out what type(s) of research data they need.

 

“And, if you know that you can help meet their need:

“FAX a 1-2 page “Trade Testing-Based Proposal. Offer to provide “after market” tool use data. State how many “testing” locations you can provide and their location. For each, describe:

(1) approximate acreage and age of developed area, also property layout;

(2) structures: number, square footage, style, relevant substrates;

(3) paint shop job description, capabilities.

 

“For the tool, describe (1) need: current and projected; (2) use: how, where, and frequency; (3) purchasing plan: minimum quantity, initial order; approximate purchase date(s).

 

TIP: “Keep your proposal brief, and to the point! Do not offer the expertise of any specific dynamo painters under your umbrella. At this point, do not “bank on” any staff member to help pull this off.”

 

Question 4: “How can we get at least three spray systems to try out? Pre-purchase testing. Longer than one day for each system.

“Next year’s budget: I can fit in the purchase of one system for each property, after March 30. If our applicators know how to use the system, each engineering department can save sizeable funds, now going to outside contractors…”

Answer: “Spray systems for commercial and/or industrial use tend to be expensive. Phone the manufacturer’s nearest rep. Especially if you already use one or more of their spray guns and spraying systems.

 

“If you’re confident that you can provide important data not yet at the manufacturer’s fingertips:

“FAX a 1-page proposal letter. Offer to supply certifiable testimonials from both your top, and less experienced, sprayers. Include their experience in using that manufacturer’s spray systems, also their experience using any comparable system made by a top competitor.

“Briefly describe how your sprayers can provide feedback that will help the manufacturer build and sustain its market base for that specific spray system.

 TIP: “Please do not offer to provide any data that you’re not certain you can supply.”

 

Some needs transfer into future situations. Some useful ideas turn into future opportunities.

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Thanks for reading “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painting Them: Camouflaging Beat Up Walls, Doors, Trim

The 85-year old hotel showed its age. Though well maintained, its 240 guest rooms needed a major face lift.

But the group of employee owners could not afford it.

Yet, to fill their rooms – to keep their doors open, they needed to improve its appearance. Also they needed to repair the essentials.

In early 2016, I stayed in one of their best rooms. It needed a lot of work.

In December of 2016, the hotel’s painter demonstrated his face-lift plan to the chief engineer and general manager. Both men pushed for the group of owners to authorize the plan.

Here’s the painter’s plan, in the order that the respective area(s) would be redecorated.

1. GUEST ROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the surfaces of the wall in the worst shape.
B. Next, apply a base coat in the room’s darker main color.
C. Then, apply faux finish glaze – eg. sponging – in same color tinted 2-3 hues lighter.
D. Option: Apply base coat in main color lightened three hues. Then apply glaze coat in color 3 hues darker.
TIP: Save even more time and money. Forget the fresh base coat. And apply only the faux finish glaze – eg. sponging, dragging, or ragging – in same hue as base color, or lighter or darker.

2. GUEST ROOM BATHROOMS
A. Thoroughly wash and rinse the worst wall. Let dry.
B. Lightly sand area so all streaks and gouged edges fake into surface.
C. Paint wall in same color used as glaze color on Guestroom wall.
D. Bonus: Paint contrasting 3-inch border along top of accent wall, across from adjoining wall leading to bedroom’s refinished wall.
E. TIP: Repaint all trim and molding in base coat or Vanilla cream.

3. PUBLIC RESTROOMS
A. Patch, then lightly sand the vanity/sink wall.
B. Repaint in bright hue that contrasts with room’s main color.
Example: If main color is light gray, repaint sink wall in Light Aquamarine, Lime, or Berry.

4. CORRIDORS
A. Patch, then lightly sand walls on both sides.
B. Repaint upper walls in tint of lightest color used in hotel’s main color scheme.
C. Repaint lower walls in darker hue of same color.
D. Repaint baseboard/trim in same light color as upper walls.
E. Repaint end wall, if nicked, in contrasting color.

5. LOBBY
A. Grid worst wall into vertical stripes.
B. Patch, then lightly sand the surface.
C. Paint stripes in alternating colors: Predominant color in the room, then same color tinted 3 hues lighter or darker.
D. Option: Apply one of the colors in faux finish – eg. dragging, flogging.

The objective: Recoat the surfaces so that they would pass even the “UP CLOSE” test.

The goal: Enhance the amenity’s appearance so that the guests say “Wow!” when they walk in.

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“Painting with Bob” aims to present a side of painting that makes your job easier, and enjoyable. On a daily basis.

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Painter’s World: On Being a Paint Superintendent, or a Boss

One time, I jumped all over my father for coming down hard on a new painter.

Dad said, “He deserved it.”

I said, “No, he deserved some respect. He deserved a chance to learn, then to get it right.”

Less than fifteen minutes later, my dad took the new crew member aside. He apologized and showed the man the correct way to do the job that he’d been assigned. Then Dad stepped away.

It was the first and last time that I ever heard him yell at a crew member. And, after he died, many painters told me that they had never heard him do that.

Yes, he raised his voice. Yes, he called out the painters when they deserved it. Yes, he corrected them. And yes, he even told them what to do.

But, when a painter was not getting it – or not getting it right, Dad would help him rectify the situation. Often cutting into his own time schedule that was already under tight constraints.

When more than one painter was not getting it at the same time, Dad stopped everything. And he conducted a little, on-site crash course. Whether the problem was a new product, a stubborn piece of equipment, a resistant surface, uncooperative weather conditions, etc., he showed the entire crew that was there what needed to be done. Or not.

During Memorial Day week-end, a retired and former member of our old crew e-mailed me the following…

“Bob, your dad was a commanding force wherever he went. Wherever he stood. I knew him for over forty years. We joined IBPAT (IUPAT) about the same time.

“He was a man to be reckoned with, but never a man that insisted on it. He knew the painting trade backward and forward, inside and out. He was so blamed skilled and experienced in the trade that he could do anything that he tackled. A top rate superintendent or foreman, a ‘take charge’ person that everyone respected…”

Working under my dad was overwhelming at times. His six-foot, 200-pound frame served him well for the job he was given in life. It partnered well with the way that he needed to run a job, paint crew, powerful piece of equipment, or even dealings with a client or architect.

And the nickname “Moose” suited him like a custom pair of whites. His caribou-like walk sort of shook the floorboards when he charged through a job site. More than once, I tensed up waiting for him to bellow.

Some painters and decorators are cut out to be superintendents or bosses. You just look at them, and you know that. You see it. You hear it. You sense it in the way that they approach even basic, mundane tasks. With a unique command of and presence in everything they do.

One more thing: Commanding forces such as my father often attract equally commanding forces. People just like them. In my father’s case, it happened to be very successful entrepreneurs and founders of established enterprises. Men and women whose natural inclination was to take charge… to assume responsibility… to accept accountability for how things turned out.

Being a superintendent or a big boss was never my thing. Thankfully. For one thing, I don’t know if my father could have taken the strain, or competition. (And my mother? Forget it!)

Early in my painting career, I found my niche: serving as the go-to guy for those superintendents and bosses. Their back up when trouble loomed, and things got tough. Fortunately, every one of them, including my father, has been more than glad to turn things over to me. And to trust me with them.

Being able to fulfill – and to exceed – their expectations and needs on a consistent basis has been so worth all the effort. And the hard knocks.

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Great leaders must have great people to lead.
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Thanks to all visitors to “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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