Winter days are shorter than summer ones, and whilst they offer a change of pace for some, for Alex, our maintenance manager, they are a chance to reassess and take stock of things. So we caught up with him to find out more about his life in a day.
For Alex and the maintenance lads, their days generally start at 7.30am and end around 4.30pm, like the construction team. However, summer work can start earlier, at the crack of dawn and continue long into the evening as light prevails. Alex says that it entirely depends what needs to be done for the clients at that moment in time.
In winter, yes the days are shorter, but for Alex it’s a great time to catch up on admin, come up with new ideas for planting schemes and look at training to add new skills for the maintenance team.
Currently, Landform have 10 mobile maintenance operatives. The chaps may have several different sites to visit during the course of their working week, unlike our permanent fixed operatives elsewhere. The team cover all manner of sites, from private residential clients, to corporate and even council spaces, maintaining football pitches.
Alex, himself, started work solely as a maintenance operative, some 14 years ago. Perhaps as testament to his hard working attitude, he has worked his way up to manage the team. It does mean that now he does less gardening, and spends a bit more time in the office, but he goes out to visit all the mobile operatives, supporting them with horticultural advice, and he meets with clients to check they are happy with progress. Good maintenance is about constantly checking, monitoring and reviewing things, something Alex then reports back to Mark Gregory and the Office team.
Take St George’s Fields, a private residential estate of about 300 flats, in Central London for example. The site is maintained by 1.5 gardeners, one full time operative with part time assistance from a second. The site is approximately 3 acres of private communal gardens. Alex will meet once a month with the estate’s garden committee to liaise with the estate manager and the head of the residents association. They meet and generally go over a tick-list report, which goes on to the head gardener. At these meetings, Alex will discuss progress but also redevelopment ideas. These might be simple, like recently observing that some Phlox planting needed splitting, or it may be larger in scale, like discussing new planters or planting schemes.
For any significant redesign or redevelopment, Mark our MD, and Catherine MacDonald of the design team, would work more closely with Alex and the clients to prepare proposals and ideas for the additional work, but for a bit of extra planting and small summer bedding schemes, Alex takes the initiative to work closely with the client and their gardener to carry out as much as possible within the allotted weekly maintenance time, and within agreed costs.
When asked what his favourite season of the year was, Alex said that he likes all the seasons for different reasons, but autumn might pip the others to the post! For him, after a fun, busy summer working away to get everything perfect, autumn colours are stunning and the inevitable slow down after all that hard work gives a chance to recharge the batteries and plan ahead for the following year.
For more information about our Maintenance services, please do not hesitate to contact our office:
T: +44 (0)1276 856 145