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Flock Off Goes Airside

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In the second of a new series Simon King spends time on the road with Jamie Naylor and Pete Bowers-Davis, the owners of Integrum Services

THE FIRST JOB

    On an overcast day at the end of July, I met Integrum co-owner Jamie Naylor at Heathrow Airport, and headed to the first job at one of the airside tower buildings used by British Airways: clearing debris to enable telecoms engineers to come in to work on the network. The scale of the job was significant. “There was loads of old office furniture, chairs and a mixture of metal and wood, that we had to take apart and separate, to waste disposal or waste scrap,” Jamie said.
    Pete Bowers-Davis added that 14 tonnes of waste was disposed of. First, carpet tiles were removed to create an open space to work in. Staff had to move tables, chairs, desks, filing cabinets and break it up to move it.
    “This office was packed from end-to-end – we put fans in place to generate the air flow,” Jamie said, “and you couldn’t do more than two or three hours work at a time. We spread the work out over a period of about four weeks.” Jamie said that the work was costed to be done in two phases.
    “Phase one is everything that we’ve done,” he said. “Phase two has been costed and we’ll get the go ahead and get it done – I’m not 100% In the second of a new series Simon King spends time on the road with Jamie Naylor and Pete Bowers-Davis, the owners of Integrum Services sure when the second phase will start.”

“You couldn’t do more than two or three hours work at a time”

    The BA building was last fully operational in the early 2000s, judging by the age of the paperwork, Mr Naylor said.
    “The paperwork that we found went as far back as the late 1970s and early 1980s,” he added. “The client is over the moon with the work that we’ve done.”
    Jamie said that during the clearance, there was evidence of bird activity and there was evidence of rodents, but not anything current.
    Jamie said: “The birds were an issue – we could hear them nesting up in the cable trunking, but that was fairly easy to deal with.”

THE SECOND JOB

Inside one of the massive BA hangars, Jamie and I climbed up to the walkway at the top, where the Flock Off system was installed recently.
    Jamie said: “This corner was one of the worst affected parts of the hangar and deemed to be an ideal spot for a trial.
    “Pigeons are used to this area. They’re fairly undisturbed and it’s high up and tucked out of the way. Everywhere else within the hangar, they will sit on some of the open beams.”
    The Flock Off system is mounted on top of rolled steel joists (RSJs).
    Explaining how the Flock Off system works, Jamie said: “When birds fly near, Flock Off disrupts a key protein in their bodies used to navigate. This momentarily halts their ability to judge speed, direction, and distance – and the simply can’t land.”
    Fouling was cleaned up with a mobile jet wash and Jamie conceded that it takes up a lot of time and it’s not always easy to keep on top of.
    “With the introduction of Flock Off, there was a fantastic reduction in the amount of fouling below,” Jamie said.
    “The impact was fairly instant, and the client is considering rolling out to other parts of the airport.”

“There was a fantastic reduction in the amount of fouling below”

    Jamie said the install itself is fairly straightforward using magnetic base mounts.

    He added that other areas of the airport have been highlighted for trials. Integrum Services is also starting to receive leads direct from Flock Off.
    “I’ve got one to go and look at down in Devon at a holiday park,” Jamie said, “and Pete’s been dealing with an install that’s on the verge of going ahead for a big apartment block on the Thames in London.”
    Jamie said that one Flock Off system will cover approximately 130 linear metres.

SOLAR PANEL PROOFING

    Jamie said that solar panel proofing work takes Integrum Services “all over the place”, although the business aims to stick to a maximum of two hours from the office.
    “We do an awful lot of jobs for solar panel company Switched, and local authority work, and we have a five-year relationship with the Raven Housing Trust.
    “The biggest one we had recently was for the Settle Housing Group for solar panel proofing at 79 houses in Hertfordshire; we went through the tender process and won the tender. Our office team managed it superbly. It couldn’t have gone any better from making contact with the residents and keeping them informed.
    “It was fairly plain sailing from the perspective of dealing with the actual client, dealing with some of the residents on the other hand right was a whole different kettle of fish.”
    Jamie said that Settle Housing Group has already booked in another 10 solar panel proofing jobs and is going to drip feed work through for the rest of their financial year, until it has a new budget for doing a second phase, in a large batch again, next year.

“We’re contractors for every major facilities management company in the country”

    In another area of the airport, Pete is about to start a cleaning job, removing bird fouling from the floor of a hangar – and he claims the company does the ‘biggest fouling cleans in the country’.
    Pete has recently started using social media to highlight the company’s work, with one video on TikTok titled ‘How we clean aircraft hangars’.
    “With social media, I do wonder if we’ll attract younger people to come into the sector,” Pete said.

RECRUITMENT CONUNDRUM

    Pete said that with a large percentage of people in the industry nearing, or beyond, the retirement age, the industry faces a major challenge.
    Jamie said that anyone that’s got a degree of aptitude and is pretty good at pest control, ends up starting up for themselves.
    “If you’re a one-man band, or you’ve got a couple of people working for you, the decent guys are making a go of it and there are also a lot of journeymen, who go from company to company,” Jamie said.
    Pete continued: “There’s always going to be a market for cheap in and out pest control. Everyone said to us, when we started out ‘you’re two blokes having a go’, but we’re contractors for every major facilities management company in the country. We’re at the point now where we really need to be strategic in managing the business.”
    In August, Integrum Services hired a business manager, but Pete ands Jamie concede it’s difficult to recuit ‘guys on the road’ and they have also had to turn work down.
    “We can’t be in all these places at once,” he said. “Ideally, we’re looking for someone that is trained and can hit the ground running, or someone that is untrained, but willing to learn.
    “We’ve had someone phone up and say, ‘I’m really interested in the job, but basically, I want £40,000 a year minimum’.
    This year, every Integrum Services technician has had a pay rise.
    “It’s cheaper than losing them and then trying to find someone else,” Pete said. “Being finalists at the National Pest Awards will give us more exposure as a company – staff can have a blowout, with a day off the next day.”

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