Behind the scenes at a specialist contractor

For a maintenance company which has been operating for nearly 30 years you would think there is nothing new to find…you couldn’t be more wrong.

The technical team at specialist contractor Mila Maintenance recently discussed the issues they face when carrying out repairs and maintenance to windows and doors in the social housing sector.

Coming out loud and clear was a belief that maintenance in the future will become increasingly specialist as architects and specifiers choose very bespoke ironmongery for their developments rather than items which will be readily available if they need replacing in the longer term; but this is only a part of it.

Mila Window and Door Maintenance has been working in the social housing sector for nearly 30 years now and has completed close to 1.2 million repairs; many of these have been on windows and doors with well known and widely specified hardware products, but there is a trend developing.

“While discovering that windows and door have been fitted with very bespoke hardware is not necessarily a new thing, our experience would indicate that it is becoming more prevalent, and in the longer term this will make maintenance of windows and doors even more of a specialist discipline” comments Contracts Manager Dean Bradford. “Increasingly the homes we work in have had very bespoke products fitted to them”.

Between us as a team we have almost 200 years experience

Contracts Manager Richard Smith takes up the story “Does this cause us a problem? Not at all; this is where our experience comes into play; between us as a team we have almost 200 years of practical experience in our field. It is very rare we come across something we haven’t seen before, although it does still happen; this is where we need to lean on our experience, to identify what will work as a product solution, or to use the relationships we have built up with an extensive supply chain to advise us and supply us with workable alternative solutions”.



We have always been able to find a solution as we did recently for Homes for Hackney

Chris France General Manager picks up on the supply chain. “It is one of the great strengths we have as a business that we have such wide-ranging relationships with the wider window and door industry supply chain in the UK and across Europe”.

“Many of the earliest product choices were of course European, and there continues to be a significant European influence on hardware specification. Working with our partners we have always been able to find solutions for clients, as we did recently on a scheme for Homes for Hackney, where the original ironmongery was entirely obsolete. In this situation we were able to use our knowledge, our technical skills, and our relationships with the supply chain to source a set of ironmongery to return the windows and doors to their original working condition, saving the client a lot of money, and the residents a lot of disruption and distress”.

Strength as a team

Managing Director Tristan Cooke reflects on the strength of the team, “One of our key strengths is we work as a team; if one of our engineers comes across something in the field, the team discuss the detail together to see what options might work best as a long-term solution”.

“If it is not a repair but a full refurbishment which is required, we agree a proposed solution and then carry out a test mount and a review process as a team. Only when we are happy will we agree a programme with the client”.

Contracts Manager Dean Bradford “Obviously, hardware from the same supplier as the original specification is best, even if it is a different model; but if not, this is where our relationships with the supply chain and our knowledge kick in. To date we have never been unable to find a workable and cost effective solution for any of our clients”.

Maintaining windows and doors is becoming an increasingly a specialist trade. Aside from the technical knowledge required, Mila Window and Door Maintenance understands the importance of, and how to ensure resident health, safety and well-being throughout the process.

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Written by : Richard Smith

About the author

Hardly a week goes by without a new challenge. You could be forgiven for thinking that after 23 years in the job, there would be nothing new to see. But the opposite is the case for Senior Contracts manager Richard Smith.

Mila Maintenance
& Installation Services