Archive for January, 2009

Marquee linings tip

Monday, January 26th, 2009

This is something we learnt over the years.

It’s very difficult keeping marquee linings clean, especially when you’re flat out and they’re going up and down every weekend. To start with we used a commercial cleaning company who turned round the linings within 2 days, the only problem with that is the linings came back crinkled, we’d often get comments from customers that they needed an iron -we even hired a steamer for one particular wedding as the wrinkled linings were so bad.

Most linings fit into a domestic washing machine -all of our DIY Marquees are designed that way intentionally. Pleated linings up to 9mx3m can fit but you need a commercial washing machine for 12m and 15m.

So here’s my recommendation -wash the marquee linings at home in your domestic washing machine but only do it just before putting your marquee up the next time it’s out. Don’t put the linings in a dryer, put them up damp:

  • The linings dry very quickly
  • The linings dry in place, so no creases
  • You avoid having to use dryers – our biggest cause of small tears and damage
  • Make sure your hands are clean, damp linings will pick up any dirt (we used to keep a pack of baby wipes in the van for this)

If your linings are really bad (if they’ve been stored damp for a long time for example) and have mould on then simple washing won’t get it out, it needs something more drastic. High-Spec Ltd offer a mould away spray that’s useful to keep in your van but only really good for small patches, if the area affected is large you have to soak the linings in bleach, just make sure you wash them thoroughly afterwards and don’t leave them soaking for too long as it damages the velcro etc.

I hope that’s helped some people out there, thanks for reading.

Spencer

Marquee Hire Companies and PAT Testing (Portable Appliance Testing)

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Most of this is taken (with permission) from our friends at Essential Supplies:

Did you know:

Under HSE guides and Electricity at Work Act you are responsible for the electrical safety of every electrical item your company owns. You must be able to prove that you have adequately tested all your portable electrical equipment whether it is for your own Staff’s use or hired to customers. For most companies this means that once every year all your electrical equipment is PAT tested, by a suitably qualified person. PAT testing companies and electricians commonly charge £2-£4 per item to be tested.
 
Essential Supplies are able to advise and supply you with all the necessary test equipment, teach you or your colleague how to perform PAT tests and record the results. This could lead to you saving a lot of money over the year, and is a great way to keep your staff busy during the quieter winter months. Any equipment needing repair automatically needs a PAT test which you can now carry out instantly after repairs are done making sure that item is safe.

Essential supplies are offering two training courses at their Basingstoke depot:
PAT Testing for marquees and event companies
to be held on Wednesday 11th February  £220.00

Basic Marquee Electrics
to be held on Tuesday 17th February      £180.00

Now as a qualified electrician I can tell you that PAT testing is a dull job, but it needs to be done and if you can save money by doing it yourself rather than paying an electrician then that seems sensible to me.

If you’re new to marquees or just want to gain confidence doing electrics then their basic marquee electrics course might be for you.

Interesting stuff. If you’re interested in going on one of the courses drop Essential supplies a line, I think places may be limited so don’t hang about.
Thanks for reading

Spencer

Marquee Hire Health & Safety

Monday, January 12th, 2009

As with a lot of industries health and safety has become a bit of a nightmare, with ignorance no defence all you can do is try your best and hope nothing happens.

The biggest health and safety issue I heard of was someone dying (yeh that’s pretty big) by touching an overheard power cable with a marquee pole. If there’s overhead power cables just don’t put a marquee up there. Telephone cables aren’t a threat though would still be expensive if you knocked them down.

From memory I think power cables are run vertically, telephone cables are run side by side.

Once you’re past this point you’re onto the more day to day things. I’m far from an expert in this so don’t treat my word as gospel I’ll just recount what I experienced.

At the time the regulations were ‘if you’re lifting anything above head height you should wear a hard hat’. It depends on your style of marquee how long this would be appropriate for – on our DIY Marquees it would only be when lifting the sides so around 20 minutes. On aluminium frame marquees it would be a couple of hours (falling purlins are the main cause of accidents I’ve seen on site). Steel toe capped boots should also be supplied.

Now as an empolyer things start getting interesting. It’s not just enough providing a hard hat and/or boots. You need to be making sure they’re worn at the appropriate times and worn correctly. If someone suffers a head injury through not wearing a hard hat, even though you’ve provided it you could be liable. How stupid’s that? This is where common sense and health & safety don’t go hand in hand.

So if you’re employing people you need to supply hard hats and make sure they’re worn at the correct times.

I believe this is the sort of thing associations such as mutamarq cover. We never felt the need to join ourselves but I can see the appeal. It’s worth having a look at them whether you’re just starting up or have been hiring out for a while.

Thanks for reading

Spencer

Party tents use powder coating, commercial marquees are galvanised

Monday, January 5th, 2009

I’m often asked why we don’t powder coat our marquee framework so here’s why:

When I suffered my back injury and realised I had to go into marquee sales rather than marquee hire I started to do some research. Basically I picked the brains of mates in the industry, various contacts and searched round for what the current options were.

The boundaries are getting greyer and greyer but people clearly differentiated between ‘party tents’ and ‘commercial marquees’.

By general opinion party tents were made from thin PE material, were a budget option and had….powder coated framework.

Commercial marquees were always seen to have PVC covers, be more durable and long lasting and always used..galvanised metal framework.

Visiting a friends marquee hire business really made up our minds -he had a mixture of powder-coated and non-coated framework and after just one season the powder-coating was scratched and chipped. The galvanising looked better simply because it still had a uniform finish. As he said if people want a marque for anything other than a cover out of the elements then they’ll use an interior lining anyway.

I think most people would think a powder coated framework is superior when brand new. But our marquees are built to last a long time and after a few uses when that powder coating becomes scratched and peeling nearly everyone would agree galvanising’s a better option.

That’s why we use galvanising.

Thanks for reading

Spencer.