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Large Painting Works

We drafted a master plan to cover the painting program for the whole plant over a five-year period. Next we divided the main plant areas into blocks, using the internal roads as boundary markers. Each of these blocks had over 100,000 square feet of painted area to inspect and repair as necessary. There were 49 such blocks in all, so 10 blocks were planned per annum.

We put these large contracts out to tender, asking the bidders to inspect and decide the scope of work themselves. The goal was to bring the entire paint work within that block to a specified photographic standard, e.g., 1% localized breakdown (see Appendix 23-A). We would help them inspect the current condition and provide a limited amount of scaffolding material as well as our hydraulic man-lift. Each bidder could take up to three days to do the initial inspection. We left it to the bidder to decide the specification for surface preparation and paint application. We specified only the end results, using the photographic standard, which we could monitor visually.

Successful bidders had to carry out three further inspections after the initial work. The first was at the end of 6 months, the second after 18 months, and the third and final inspection was after three years. After each inspection, they had to repair any damage found, but this was to a less demanding photographic standard than originally required, e.g., 3% localized breakdown. The bidder had to guarantee the paint work for a period of three years.

We would pay in installments. On completion of the initial paint work, we paid 75% of the contract sum. The first inspection and repair entitled them to a further 5%, the second inspection 10%, and the final inspection 10%. If only minor touch-up work was required, we agreed to provide, free of cost, a hydraulic man-lift and/or scaffolding materials for a period of 10 days on each occasion. Our view was that after the final inspection, the paint work would last for a further two years when a new round of repainting would commence.

We selected the prospective bidders from a list of international painting contractors and paint suppliers, most of whom formed alliances. We were able to attract enough bidders, as the work volume was steady and large. The bidders received free facilities for access during inspections and minor repair work and did not need to mobilize these services at their cost. Because the plant was remote and short of infrastructure, such mobilizations could be quite expensive. This policy brought down their costs significantly; being in a competitive tendering situation, they were inclined to pass on some or all of these savings to us.

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