Posted on Fri 12th Jul 2019 at 12:33pm
We caught up with Showlite’s Head of Flooring, Jeremy Abraham to find out how we’ve got it all covered…
What is it about Showlite's approach to carpets and floor coverings that makes it different?
Within exhibition companies, it’s increasingly rare to find a department solely dedicated to floor coverings. Between myself and my colleague Paul Chapman, we have over 25 years of experience providing floor coverings within the industry. With our extensive knowledge we provide quality advice to organisers and exhibitors and offer creative solutions to meet their requirements. Being a smaller company, we are also on hand to assist our account managers and sales team with floor covering enquiries however big or small. Although Showlite continues to grow, we’ve worked hard to ensure our personal and friendly service is maintained.
How do you get the floor coverings right for every client?
We start by listening and then offering ideas to help meet our clients’ vision for the show. To prevent shortfalls on site, I always like to look at the showplan as if it were a puzzle. I want to know exactly what’s required for every sqm of floor space. If there are unsold areas, or missing information, all possibilities must be planned for. Once the ‘puzzle’ is complete, we’ll look at the constraints we may face on-site and then work out the best possible solutions. For trickier installations, our clients rely on our experience to advise them on what’s required for the lay to work. We've achieved some fantastic results in some very testing environments, but you just can’t turn up to site in the hope that everything goes your way. Even our simplest shows require thorough logistical planning to ensure the carpet is manufactured and delivered on-time and in the correct amounts and widths. If we do identify potential issues prior to going to site we'll work with floor managers, venue staff and the relevant contractors to ensure a process is put in place to overcome those issues.
How can you help us save money on carpets and floor coverings?
We're fortunate to have great suppliers and contractors that have been with us every step of our journey so far. If our client has a tight budget our suppliers will work with us to help find ways to keep the costs down. We can offer simple ideas like using a more robust carpet colour to prevent the need for a polythene cover on the carpet. If the build allows it, we can reduce costs by fitting a 1 colour blanket lay across the show which produces less waste and requires less labour to install. We have a range of products to meet most budgets. Carpet is such a cost-effective way of adding value to a show. With a little creativity such as using separate bold colours in aisles or stands to signify separate zones, or adding borders to features or carpet cut-ins in entrances, we can really add the wow factor to a show without breaking the bank.
What is the goal of a successful floor covering installation?
Happy faces! I love it when you see the client walk into the hall on the opening morning of a show with the aisles freshly carpeted and you see a big smile on their face! For myself and the team, there's a great sense of satisfaction after all the hard work put in by so many to deliver a well carpeted show in such a small space of time.
What are the most common problems encountered when installing carpets and floor coverings?
As with most services it comes down to the quality of information gained prior to site. There are always things that are out of your control but making sure we ask the right questions to the right people massively lowers the risk of on-site issues.
Reduced builds and back to back shows have thrown up challenges for everyone in the industry and I'm always amazed how we continue to overcome these obstacles. The days where we could deliver the carpet the day before a build and then get a good head start on the lay are now rare. Venues and organisers do their best to help us, but occasionally we find ourselves unloading an artic using a forklift with a 4m boom while doing our best to keep other contractors at a safe distance. Similarly on a tight pull-out we’ll need to wait for areas to be cleared before we can pull the carpet and load it onto the recycling lorry. When you are working against the clock, this can be challenging.
How do you know you're doing it right?
Feedback from clients really helps, but sometimes it can actually be the lack of contact that tells me everything is going to plan. When I first started working in floorcoverings with a show going in, my phone would start ringing an hour before the build right through to an hour after show opening with various queries and issues to be resolved. Over the years, with thorough preparation, producing good site files and having quality fitters that I trust to lay our carpet as required, those phone calls have reduced dramatically!
To find out how Showlite can help you with your floor covering requirements contact us at www.showlite.co.uk