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Archive for the ‘hotel painting’ Category

Cocoa Beach Hotel Faces Changes Head On

In March, a hotel GM in Cocoa Beach invited me to stay there for several days. It was the idea of the property management company that had contacted me, way back in 2013, about a position.

 

“Pack a clean set of whites,” had been added at the end of the email. Curious. I did as requested, and headed for the ocean.

 

For the next three days, the hotel’s painter and management company regional director of operations led me around the property. They pointed out surfaces that needed work. They walked me through areas they wanted to improve. They showed me themes and color schemes that the owners wanted to change. And, they made lots of notes on their iPads.

 

The fourth day, we revisited some of those areas. Then, we sat at a small shaded table, and went over the men’s notes. By that time, typed into a hard copy for each of us.

 

Usually, that’s when “the best laid plan hits the fan” (my paraphrase). What the budget can bear differs a lot from the combined needs and wish lists. And, available time and manpower.

 

Not in this case. Everyone at the decision table has been motivated – and ready to move.

 

For example: Here’s what has happened within the last month and a half.

 

  1. A local general contractor was hired to repair and upgrade guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, game room, health club, children’s playground, and part of the conference center.

 

  1. A specialty contractor has signed on to remodel the main kitchen, and public restrooms.

 

  1. The GM has been authorized to add three people to the engineering staff for two full years.

All three will start work August 01, 2017. Each will handle specific aspects of the property upgrade.

 

  1. Grounds-landscaping specialist – Redesign and re-landscape the front entrance, nature sanctuary, rest, and walkway areas.
  2. HVAC and OSHA specialist – Handle vent system cleaning, filter installation, room thermostat replacements, bathroom fan/ventilation system cleaning and repairs.
  3. Painter – Prepping and repainting all areas designated on the improvement list.

 

Each of the three new engineering employees worked previously at, or on, the hotel property.

 

Each is a certified specialist in his or her trade.

 

Each is proficient in English and Spanish. One also speaks and writes Portuguese and Mandarin Chinese.

 

Each is related to a current hotel staff member.

 

Few engineering departments are able to gain three additional workers at once. Fewer have the luxury to employ three specialists at once.

 

It is done more readily in other parts of the U. S. It can be done when both the hotel management and owners are operating on the same wave length. At the same time.

 

An exciting thing to see in action – to be a part of – when it happens.

 

 

“Together… making a place for the human spirit to find ease, if only for one night’s stay…”

 From: Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Jan Karon. Copyright 2015.

 

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As always! Many thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Hotel/Facility Painters: Is Outsourcing Your Paintshop Services in Your Future?

It should come as no surprise to any hotel/resort staff member, when the news arrives that the management and operations of a certain department will be outsourced.

 

Other mid-to-large sized for-profit employers have been farming or “outsourcing” for needed services for years. More and more local, county and state governments have been contracting out for the management and operation of entities under their umbrella.

 

What throws a hard, curve ball is when the outsourcing company is going to move in its own people to staff that department, which is a part of the organization. EXAMPLES: Food and Beverage/Catering, Pools and Gazebos, Housekeeping/Laundry, Security, Sales, Conventions.

 

With a large department, the outsourcing company may opt to employ certain existing hotel staff members. Persons experienced working in that area, and with its targeted guests and visitors.

 

Usually, these persons need to complete new, pre-employment forms for the external company. Including for federal and state tax withholdings. Usually, the persons do not need to go through the hotel’s Human Resources’ job application and screening process.

 

So far, hotel engineering departments have been exempted from the contracted outsourcing system of employment. Some exceptions exist.

 

  1. The property owners decide to outsource the management and operations of the entire hotel business. Here, existing staff can sign on with the external company, or a designated staffing company.

 

  1. The outsourcing company “out-sources” the hotel’s engineering department services.

Note: Designated staff members may be able to apply to the outside company, to continue to work at the same hotel.

 

  1. The outsourcing company decides to switch engineering operations to a temporary and on-call arrangement. For all positions and tasks, or for certain positions and tasks.

Note: Usually, some of the current engineering staff members are offered the opportunity to work in his/her current – or a similar – position, but as a temporary or on-call worker.

 

In all cases, some positions are eliminated. Some job quotas are reduced. A lot of department re-organization takes place.

 

In smaller businesses – eg. hotels and inns, clinics, hospitals – the services of a full-time painter may not be needed any longer. They may not be affordable. Within the budget.

 

Thus, the career hotel/facility painter needs to be ready to adapt. And, to switch “employers,” if and when the time comes.

 

At the same time, take note!

 

Not all outsourcing arrangements work. Many get axed at some point. Department management and operations are returned to in-house people. Former staff members may be re-hired. Experienced employees are put back in charge of operating their respective department.

 

After reasonable tries, more city and county governments are voting against renewing their contracts with outsourcing companies. Businesses are tightening up qualifications and expectations for their outsourcing contractors. They are more closely, and accurately, computing the bottom line.

  1. “Are we really saving money? “
  2. “What’s the trade-off been within – and for – our community?”

Hotels and resorts are listening to their experienced staff members, about major organizational and ethical problems dealing with the outsource company’s people. Hospitals report losing once loyal employees and community support. Also they report an increase in serious liability quality-of-service and patient treatment issues.

 

What can a hotel painter do to influence top management and owners in deciding which way to go?

 

  1. Show a greater and more sincere interest in your hotel, and especially in your teammates. What’s really going on with them? What’s great, so-so, not good at all? Share in any on-going dialogue among your coworkers. Your bosses, too. TIP: Hold back a little here. Keep “person,” “personal,” and “personality” out of this.
  2. Show an interest in the “outsourcing” discussion. Periodically, exchange a few ideas with your chief engineer. Especially, if you’re the lead painter and help him handle a lot of the troubleshooting.
  3. Discreetly ask questions. Try to find out the reasons management is looking at outsourcing your job. Or, the entire engineering department.

 

THEN, ZERO IN ON YOUR POSITION…YOUR FUTURE.

 

  1. Update the hotel’s job description for your job. Provide a clear, detailed picture of exactly what you do there. Include both standard and special skills and abilities that your hotel’s painter must have. To get the job done! NOTE: Now is not the time to underestimate and undervalue what the real job entails. Now is not the time for humility.
  2. List the types of tasks, orders, projects, and emergency jobs you have done. Estimate the frequency with which you’ve done each. Indicate the location of each on the property. TIP: Keep your own on-site painter’s photo gallery up to date, and captioned!
  3. List the customer service functions you perform. That includes for team members, fellow staff members, managers; guests, visitors; suppliers, vendors, contractors; inspectors; and the community.
  4. Offer your experience and insight as input to the (a) chief engineer and (b) general manager. Limit what you offer in information to details that will positively support your bosses’ true position. Also, their short-range and long-range goals.

 

Final Note: As the staff painter, you are often in a unique and influential position. You tend to come into regular contact with coworkers and managers in many of the departments and work areas within the hotel’s organization. You tend to “brush shoulders” with certain aspects of the hotel or facility’s actual business.

 

Bottom Line: You may be able to play a key role in management’s decision to outsource. Or not.

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“Press toward the mark that you want to leave behind.”  RDH

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2012, 2015, 2017. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

Paintshop: Upgrading Your Skills in the 21st Century

Work orders come and go, and come again. Projects vary by size, complexity, surface/area, and time constraints. Some come along periodically, once or twice a year, every few years, or only once.

 

Whether you’re a hotel or facility painter, you’ll need to keep on your toes. Ready to do what’s necessary in a reasonably prompt, professional and timely manner. Consistent in your techniques and outcomes, even when a high degree of creativity and flexibility are required.

 

Have you ever had a problem prioritizing, then scheduling, and eventually following through on certain work orders and projects? Whether the glitch was self-induced, or caused by outside forces? Examples: hotel’s/facility’s chief engineer, or general manager.

 

Here’s where experience can be a great coach, and mentor. We learn by handling the same or similar work orders repeatedly. We learn by facing the same or similar situation more than once.

 

When your experience needs a boost… when your repertoire of effective techniques, products/materials, supplies, and tools needs to be expanded, try these quick tips.

 
1. Tweak one of your standard techniques, products, supplies, and/or tools. WHY? You know that its basic elements work; so draw on that foundation of success.

 

2. Tap the experience of a pro in handling that type of work order or project. Examples: Online tutorials and sources, paint store consultants, fellow union/association members, related manufacturers.

WHY? It’s very possible that he or she has been there and done that. Some of the bumps that you’re facing have been worked out already.

 

3. Ask your chief engineer. WHY? He or she is there to keep things running smoothly, and cost-effectively. Probably, he or she has dealt with the situation before, though it’s new here. No doubt that he or she gets the connection between your doing a good job, and his or her ability to keep things humming. And your boss will want to add some wisdom to your mix.

 

4. “Google” the problem, in the form of a brief question or phrase. WHY? You may be amazed how many other painters have faced the same challenge, and found doable answers via their extended internet network.

 

5. Step out. Stretch your innovative, gutsy soul. Kindle or rekindle that pioneer spirit that may not have gotten much of a chance, in the past, to spread its wings. WHY? That’s how you become an expert yourself. A go-to guru!

 

Painting at the hotel often called upon skills and abilities that I did not know that I had. Untapped talents and resources that fit the need perfectly. Or surprisingly close. Whether facing a new or reconfigured work order, project, or troubleshooting problem.

Often, it was those challenges – those questions and uncertainties – that made the job come alive.

 

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New experience builds a foundation for great experience.

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Thanks, everyone, for checking out “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s World: What You May Not Know About Black Mold

Never believe something cannot harm you just because you can’t see it. Just as a virus or bacteria can cause an infection, Black Mold fungi, offers its own type of threat to your health.

 

Basically, anything which is microscopic and exhibits the definition of being alive supports its own defense mechanism. And that’s against us.

 

Black Mold, or other similar fungi, produces spores which are unseen to the naked eye. During the stages of their metabolism, they produce by-products which are often toxic. These toxins interfere with the normal metabolism and respiration of humans.

 

WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT BLACK MOLD

 

I didn’t know much about Fungi, Black Mold, Myotoxins, etc. until I started looking into it further. The following is a list of three of the most dangerous effects from mold exposure:

 

1. Mold inhalation – Decreased hemoglobin red blood cell concentration, lowered blood gas concentration, anemia, and bronchial and/or sinus inflammation and infection.

 Symptoms: Dizziness, muscle spasms-tremors, headaches, stressed breathing, clamped oxygen supply, runny nose, burning eyes, confusion, and blurred vision.

 

2. Mold Skin Contact AbsorptionAnemia, change in basal respiration rate, lowered blood gas concentration, subcutaneous pustules, lesions, and widespread rash.

Symptoms: Skin irritation, itching, burning, dizziness.

 

3. Long-Term Effects (most important) -Prolonged exposure that often causes an irreversible anemic health condition. Stem cell differentiation development within the bone marrow that’s affected by cases severe mold exposure. Change in the Hemostasis of hemoglobin/red cell relationship is altered.

***Secondary effects – Permanent respiratory illnesses such as chronic and/or acute Sinusitis, Bronchitis, Asthma, and Sinus tract cysts; irritation and/or inflammation of the mucus membranes. Also partial obstruction of the airway. Because of past exposure, susceptibility to allergic reactions from common dust and pollen.

 

HEALTH PREVENTION OF MOLD EXPOSURE

 

1. When cleaning: Wear protective suit, gloves and head covering; also proper respiratory equipment such as a charcoal, organic vapor respirator, or a self-contained, fresh air supply system. Note: Dust mask is totally inadequate.

2. If infestation is invasive: Use garden sprayer with 50/50 bleach-water, or peroxide solution. Spray infected area. Promptly remove yourself from the area until the solution has degraded the mold. Then you may clean and remove by hand what is left. When the removal of mold is completed, rinse entire area with fresh water – either by hand or with a garden sprayer.

3. Ventilate! Ventilate! Ventilate! In the area where you’re working, always provide adequate ventilation when spraying bleach or similar toxic chemicals. Open windows. And use circulating fans. The cleaning process will be much safer, and go much smoother.

 

IF AND WHEN YOU’RE EXPOSED TO MOLD…

 

1. Seek a clean, fresh air environment as soon as possible. Go outside if necessary.

2. Get help now! Someone needs to assist you and call “Emergency 911” and “Poison Control” – your chief engineer,  security director, member of management, teammate.

3. If you suffer a rash or burn of any kind, use a baking soda/water solution, calamine lotion, or a hygienic glycerol soap to help reduce skin irritation.

4. In severe cases, it may be necessary to get a steroid injection. This depends on whether or not your entire body is affected.

 

IN THE CASE OF MOLD EXPOSURE…

…what you don’t know will hurt you.

 

1. I developed both chronic and acute sinusitis from daily exposure to massive amounts of toxic levels of mold plus the toxic cleaning agents, over a period of six years.

2. On a daily basis, I took the proper precautions. I used the products and safety tools and equipment provided and authorized by the chief engineer, and property management and owners.

3. But the amount of mold was too great, for too long of a time.  According to health and environmental specialists, “a person could not have come out of it without suffering ill effects.”

4. The physicians have said I was fortunate. A strong majority of persons develop Asthma. In addition, a large number are also diagnosed, eventually, with Sinus and Bronchial Cancer, and/or Lung Cancer.

 

WHEN TREATING MOLD…

Whether at home or on the job, take your time. And work safely.

Take care of yourself and the others around you.

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Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day!

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Thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Surviving a Hotel or Hospital Property Sale

The rumor mill has been grinding out “guess whats” for weeks. The “hotel” or “hospital” where you work is up for sale.

 

The order comes down, straight from the top.6uT

 

‘Be on your best behavior.”  “Keep this place running smoothly.”  “Keep your mouth shut.”

“You never know who might be watching – or standing in front of you.”

 

“Don’t blow it!”

 

Then you hear that the strangers walking around are prospective buyers.

 

“Keep on your toes. Stay alert.”

 

For weeks… months, the staff sees a steady stream of serious buyers canvassing the property.

“Be extra courteous and hospitable,” management team tells everyone.

 

The stream of prospects reduces to a trickle. It might even stop altogether. Or so it seems.

 

Then the big guys show up. With their cameras, webcams, custom-apped smartphones, tape measures, calculators, etc. It appears that they’re walking around every foot of the place. Staff spots them everywhere. Even in secured, private areas.

 

Things quiet down again. You see a handful of the same people moving around the property. Checking things out very carefully, several times. The rumor mill shuts down.

 

Word leaks out: The property has been sold. The G.M. confirms it. An announcement to all staff includes the name or names of the new owner/owners, and their take-over date.

 

All this while you’ve needed to get your work done.

A lull hits the entire organization. An eerie type of mourning engulfs the place. A very brief time is allowed for everyone to accept the news.

 

The transition work begins for everyone.

 

You – and probably everyone else on staff – start asking the same questions:

 

  1. What are the new company’s policies and rules?
  2. What are the new company’s practices that every staff member is expected to follow, effective immediately?
  3. What are the new company’s policies, rules and practices specifically aimed at your department? For your job as “Painter”?
  4. What kind of help will be available if you run into any problem trying to work under the new system?
  5. How long do you get to make the transition?
  6. Is your job at risk? How long do you have?

 

Usually, change takes place very quickly, when a hotel or hospital property is sold.

 

They “clean house” thoroughly. Bodies are moved out at sometimes a shockingly fast speed. And, heads roll.

 

The chain of command may change. Management may change drastically.

 

For those staff members left, job descriptions change and switch. Work shifts and schedules may change. Pay scales, dress codes and benefit packages will probably change.

 

New owners, new managers, new game.

 

Surviving the sale many not be your call. Surviving may, or may not, be what you think.

 

 A few tips for surviving the sale of your workplace

 

  1. Promptly start getting ready for whatever may be coming down, at the first hint of a possible change of hands.
  2. “Keep your nose clean,” as my father once advised.
  3. “Zip your lip,” as my grandfather used to say.
  4. “Prepare for every possible scenario that may affect you,” as I’m suggesting via this blog.

 

Final note: Some property sales move silently and swiftly. No signs. No rumors. No strange visitors milling around. No news!
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Surviving the sale of your work property comes down to your self-preservation skills, and attitude.

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Thanks for following “Painting with Bob.”

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

Renovating It: 108-Room Hotel

Cousins in the Indianapolis area purchased a 108-room hotel that needed a complete renovation. Structurally, both buildings were solid. No rotting, cracks, holes, breaks, etc.

 

The improvements could be made in stages. So the new owners decided to follow the wild suggestion of the drywall foreman under the construction management company:

 
“Replace nothing that still works, or can be restored. Unless it does not meet code…”

 

STAGE ONE: Bringing the entire property up to code.

 

This has required a large outlay of capital.

  1. New roof on the two building.
  2. New plumbing (copper tubing.
  3. New wiring, switches, sockets, plugs.
  4. Replacement of all A/C window units, and repair and rebuilding of main A/C systems on roofs.
  5. Replacement of stair and corridor steel railings and banisters.
  6. Resurfacing of pool and replacement of heaters.
  7. New security system, including videocam surveillance and computer systems.
  8. Replacement of one half of all wall joists and drywall in each front office.
  9. Replacement of two-thirds of all wall joists and drywall in each of seventy guest rooms.
  10. Repair and replacement of kitchen equipment.

 

STAGE TWO: Getting the hotel ready for occupancy.

  1. New carpeting in guest rooms and all public areas.
  2. Ceramic tile cleaning, repairing and polishing in 108 guest baths.
  3. New wi-fi wiring and routing system.
  4. Furniture repair and refurbishment in all guest rooms and public areas.
  5. Cabinetry and counter repair and re-laminating in all guest rooms.
  6. Fixture cleaning and restoration in all guest rooms, public areas and meeting rooms.
  7. Landscape revitalizations: clearing out, pruning, replanting, etc.
  8. Re-asphalting, striping and marking of parking and no-parking areas.

 

STAGE THREE: Repainting and refinishing of all exterior and interior surfaces.

  1. Cleaning and repairing of al wood and concrete surfaces.
  2. Prepping all surfaces: filling, patching, sanding, etc.
  3. Priming all metal surfaces, new lumber, bare metal, and stripped surfaces.
  4. Priming all new drywall and floating seams between new and existing drywall sections.
  5. Spray painting exterior walls, floors, doors, etc.
  6. Spray varnishing and clear coating all exterior wood decking, benches, built-in seating, fences, railings, signage frames, etc.
  7. Brushing or rolling of all fascia and trims.
  8. Popcorn spraying interior ceilings of front lobby, halls, offices, restaurant, public rooms, and meeting rooms.
  9. Spray painting all interior ceilings, walls, doors and trim in guest rooms and public areas.
  10. Brushing/rolling interior trim, wainscoting, baseboard, etc.
  11. Refinishing all wood cabinetry, shelving, mirror frames.
  12. Refinishing all wood furniture in public areas, also restaurant and two meeting rooms.

 

STAGE FOUR: Decorative finishing and covering of select areas.

  1. Marbleizing tops of tables in lobby, office reception area, meeting rooms’ central lounge.
  2. Installing wallpaper on back rotunda wall of front desk area.
  3. Faux finishing one wall in each bathroom of front office wing.
  4. Installing commercial grade wall vinyl in all public restrooms.
  5. Installing Indy-500 3-D scenic mural on main corridor of wall entering restaurant.

 

The 108-room hotel will reopen on November 1, 2017, in time for the holidays.

 

Several new, alluring amenities will grace the premises:

  1. Cyber library and graphics studio.
  2. Children’s WI -FI, 3-D “Pit Stop” studio.
  3. Self-service snack/night bar = foods, non-alcoholic beverages.
  4. Self-service laundry and dry cleaning center.
  5. Enclosed meditation flower garden and bird and butterfly sanctuary.

 

Terry, the oldest of the cousins in this new venture, becomes very animated when he talks about the hotel. At 54, he says that he has been learning many new lessons during “this exciting process.”

 

A few facts: Approximate cost of Stages 1-3: $2.1 million:

 

Construction management company: Over 30 years hotel/resort renovation experience.

Subcontractors: Selected per industry recommendations. No bidding.

Project tradespersons: All hired through respective local union offices.

New staff painter/decorator: Selected from painting crews that have worked on the project.

 

Question: How many other smaller hotels need a fresh, new start in life?

 

My belief: Older commercial properties hold just as much promise as older houses.

 

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Revitalizing and reusing older properties and structures deserves more of our attention.

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Thank you for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

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

Painter’s View: “Mrs. J,” Homeless Hotel Resident

Mrs. “J” lived on the second floor of Building 300-400. That is, toward the back of the hotel property.

 

She and her three young children had been there for nearly a year. Victims of an abusive husband/father and home foreclosure, they owned what had fitted into three suitcases. And, they had nowhere else to go.

 

Sooner than later, the woman’s money started to run out. She had extreme difficulties paying the rent on the guest room. More frequently, her children were seen foraging for food left in trash bins setting throughout the property. The middle child even took to sneaking into the Food Court, and asking the cook for uneaten food.

 

Our G.M. took a “Samaritan” approach to Mrs. “J” and her children. He did the same for the more than ten other families that had nowhere else to go.

 

Among other things, he made certain that the families – especially the children – had a Christmas. Holiday food, warmer clothing and new shoes, even gifts. And, he discreetly invited the staff to help out, too.

 

On Christmas Eve morning, I started my shift early. At 7:00 A.M. Mrs. “J” stood at the corner of her building, closest to my usual parking spot. She approached me slowly.

 

She looked down at my name badge. “Robert, I’ve been waiting for you.” Her eyes looked sunken.  There were fresh bruises on the left side of her face and neck, also her left arm and both hands.

 

“Mrs. ‘J,’ what happened to you?” The woman wobbled, trying not to fall against my truck.

 

“I’m okay now. He…uh…He left.”

 

“He…Who left? Your husband was here? He found you?” A sick sensation hit my stomach.

 

“Yes. But he’s all gone now…Won’t be back.”

 

“How do you know that?”

 

“Because I have no money to give him.”

 

No money? I thought. The woman was on her own. She was struggling to keep a roof over her children’s heads, and food in their stomachs.

 

I did not ask her. I just pushed the button on my mobile, and asked for “Security.”

 

Mrs. “J” and her children needed a little extra help. I wondered: How many other temporary hotel residents here needed this type of extra help?

 

That Christmas season marked a new, trumped up security plan for our special guests. One that carried over into the following year. It was a plan that no one on the staff really talked about. Yet, everyone on the staff knew about, and discreetly helped, to carry it out.

 

In previous years, I’ve posted about homelessness in America, and homelessness in Central Florida. I’ve posted about our Santa/G.M’s humanitarian  heart, and the kind hearts of his elves/staff.

 

It may be six years after Mrs. “J’s” Christmas attack. It may be close to three years, since I posted the first piece about hotel homeless residents/guests.

 

Let me reassure you: Christmas of 2016: Many destitute individuals and families call hotel rooms their homes.

 

A Painter’s Plan…

 

Are you, or will you be, staying at a hotel, resort or lodge this holiday season?

 

  1. Please keep your eyes and ears open for guests that need some help.
  2. Let the first staff member you see that you’ve noticed that another guest – especially any child – is struggling.
  3. Notify Security promptly if any guest or family appears to be in a crisis mode.
  4. Do not approach the needy guest yourself. Do not reach out to help.

 

You will be doing enough – the right thing – by contacting the hotel staff.

 

At Christmas time, “persons with special needs” go far beyond the traditional definition of “special needs.” It encompasses anyone – of any age – that needs help from someone else. To survive!

 

A message to the rest of us: Eyes open. Ears alert. Heads up. Heart open. Enough to recognize that another person needs help. And enough to call for help!

 

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Painters and decorators: Thank you for brightening and freshening up the world of others.

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And, thanks for visiting “Painting with Bob.”

Copyright 2016. Robert D. Hajtovik. All rights reserved.

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