31 March 2017: Grounds maintenance: looking forward to summer

We’ve been busy making sure we’re ready for the summer. With a determined effort by our grounds maintenance supply chain partners to improve on past performances.

During the winter we introduced our “weather forecasting portal”, which was instrumental in our ability to accurately monitor incoming inclement weather systems. This enabled us to respond quickly to prevent the build-up of snow and ice in operational areas. The establishments we serve were kept up and running, allowing our customers to work in a safe environment. This, combined with our establishment specific “winter service maintenance plan”, has ensured we delivered a robust service though the winter.

Looking ahead to the summer, we’ve introduced a bi-weekly grounds programme for our site delivery teams. This includes a review of completed and upcoming jobs, with stakeholders, to give transparency and improve communications.

This summer will also see the introduction of a new approved residual herbicide that has a long lasting residual effect, lasting between three and six months. This will combat weed growth on hardstanding areas and was something we were keen to improve on.

Our grounds maintenance supply chain partners have continued to invest heavily in new machinery. We have two new “JCB Fast Track” tractors and airfield grass cutting machinery. They will assist Central (East) Airfield maintenance to ensure we can respond in rapid time to ensure that the operational effectiveness of our airfields are maintained. Our supply chain have also forecast a 30% overall increase in resource from 2016 to assist in enhancing our service delivery across all patches.

Our RAF Shawbury airfield grass collection system was implemented in late 2015 to reduce the amount of grass that was affecting operations. It has improved and increased operational flying since introduction. It’s the only operation of its kind in the UK and continues to be an effective solution to the unit’s long standing concerns.

With the successes of winter behind us, we will use our new machinery, increased labour and new plans to continue to deliver a good grounds maintenance service across all patches throughout the summer.