Captain Archibald has decided to take advantage of the beginning of the year to refurbish certain parts of the Explorers vessel! Thus, the Atoll, the central location of the hotel, will be given a new floor covering, which will have the Atoll looking and feeling like new.
The Atoll is truly the heart and epicenter of the Explorers as it is located at the crossroads of Marco’s Pizza parlour and the Gourmet Point as well as the Trader’s Bar, the Aqualagon, our indoor playground, Scally Wagg’s Jungle Adventure, the arcade and at the doors of the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant La Plantation.
A place to relax but also to have fun, the Atoll usually allows our passengers to have a drink while watching little and big pirtaes running and playing in the surrounding games, or to eat a delicious pizza in front of the glow of the Aqualagon which is reflected on the botanical coloured walls, the theme of the all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, La Plantation.
The Atoll is the heart of the Explorers and most of the accesses leading to the rooms and the different activities of the hotel pass through this space. But fear not! We have set up a series of diversions and signs that allow all explorers to find their way around the Atoll and easily access the play and dining areas. And as a bonus, our crew members are there to help you find your way around!
It’s true that closing such a space in such a busy place is no easy task. Why choose to carry out this type of work precisely? How do you organise yourself within the hotel during such a construction site? Who oversees the smooth running of the work?
Today, we offer you a focus on the Maintenance and Safety Department with Olivier, Assistant to the Maintenance Director of the Explorers Hotel, who will be pleased to exchange some information about the work in the Atoll, the annual maintenance of the Aqualagon and about his activities and that of his team on a daily basis.
Q – Who are you and what is your role within the Technical and Safety Department of the Explorers?
A – I am the Assistant to the Maintenance and Safety Director. I am responsible for managing the day-to-day work of the maintenance teams (their schedules, their daily tasks), prioritising technical emergencies and ensuring that they have everything they need to carry out their missions successfully. I also support the Maintenance Director in the management of subcontractors during projects and renovation works. My job involves freeing the Maintenance Director from the small daily constraints to let him lead the big manoeuvers. I am the decision-maker when he is not available. My role mixes management, work organisation, logistics and of course, maintenance!
Q – How long have you been part of the crew?
A – I began my work on the Explorers on October 21, 2019, so I’ve been with the crew for about three and a half months. Even if it seems recent, in just a few months I was able to fully take the measure of my position and start to get to know the real issues of the hotel and the teams in the field. It’s a fulfilling profession, but a very demanding one, which quickly immerses you in the business and allows you to learn and develop your skills quickly!
Q – What did you do before joining the Explorers crew?
A – I’m an electrician by training, but through my various professions I was led to carry out a lot of very varied missions, which enabled me to acquire know-how in several trades. I have been involved in design, project planning, implementation, troubleshooting and maintenance as a subcontractor. My most recent job was to support the Maintenace Director of another hotel in Paris, a position that is relatively like the one I currently hold at Explorers.
Q – Why did you choose the Explorers to continue your career?
A – I’ve done a lot of jobs in the Maintenance Department, which gave me a perspective on the business. Over time, I realised that one-off assignments without follow-up were not what I preferred. The advantage of working directly for a hotel is that you can follow the progress of projects in real time (maintenance, work, construction site, implementation) and be a real player in the company, at least in the medium and long term, which gives a different perspective to the job, one that is deeper and often more fulfilling. As the Explorers is a hotel with many rooms, on seven floors and with many guests, the challenges are present and allow us to train our performance and skills daily. The best thing about the Explorers is that it’s that “family” side that you don’t find everywhere, and not just with the clientele. There is a very good atmosphere and a real dynamic within the maintenance team and with all the other crew members, which is very pleasant and allows us to operate efficiently.
Q – How many people are you and what is your role in the Explorers Maintenance and Safety Department?
A – First, there is the Maintenace Director, who oversees contacting subcontractors, managing the budget and organising the smooth running of the service. He keeps a constant watch to measure the efficiency of the service daily and the smooth running of the tasks and missions necessary for the smooth running of the hotel. He also wears two hats, technician on the one hand, and fire safety on the other. Then there’s the Assistant to the Maintenance Director, who, as I explained a little earlier, will support the Maintenance Director in his missions and will manage the technicians’ day-to-day work (tasks, planning, etc.). He must be able to make proposals when necessary and must be able to master the technical issues related to the hotel business and to contingencies. The Maintenance Department is made up of 5 multi-skilled technicians, capable of carrying out all types of tasks (electricity, plumbing, tiling etc…). They know the Explorers from every angle and will take charge of repairs, renovations, maintenance and all services related to technical know-how. There is also a multi-talented painter, who oversees refurbishing the different visual parts of the hotel (wall, wood, floor and ceiling renovations).
Q – How are your days organised daily?
A – Apart from the major works and major projects which are relatively rare in a hotel and which require a totally different daily organisation, we have a maintenance management system linked to the “Housekeeping” service (room check-in) which will allow us to know in real time and every day what repairs need to be carried out in the rooms. The Housekeeping crew will then send us the information via this system, and we send technicians according to the type of problem so that the rooms are ready for the new passengers. We work closely with all the other services in order to inform and manage internal contingencies, which the customers do not notice, because our main objective is to make sure that the customer does not suspect anything and that his stay is as pleasant as possible!
Q – What is the “Security” part of your service?
A – First, you must distinguish between “security” and “safety”. When we talk about security, we are talking mainly about the security of people and property, but above all about people! Our role is to look after the safety of the families staying at the Explorers every day, whether it’s fire safety, electricity or water safety, but also all aspects related to the interior (handrails, secure windows). We make sure that our passengers can sleep peacefully on their own two ears. All the technicians are qualified or trained in fire protection in order to work together with the reception to get the protection system back in operation in case of a breakdown or problem. As far as “security” is concerned, the Maintenance Director is empowered to deal with more important issues, related to safety and security concerns and is the privileged interlocutor with the police and public security services who are responsible for issuing all the relevant safety certificates.
Q – What type of study and profile are we looking for in this branch?
A – There are several types of technical trades, namely electrical engineering, plumbing, tiling, painting and equipment maintenance, which is general and very versatile, unlike the more specialised ones above.
Q – Why perform annual maintenance of the aquatic area?
A – Regulations and legislation require us to completely empty the Aqualagon at least once a year. This emptying allows for the maintenance of certain parts of the pool that are normally inaccessible (submerged or above ground), in order to maintain its proper function. This maintenance concerns the lighting around and in the water, closing the pool avolids the presence of customers in the area and disturbing them, while working on the electricity in safety. This allows cleaning of the surroundings, pipes, main filters and pump filters, repainting and reviving the decorations and renewing their water tightness. It is also necessary to check the access ladders to the pool in order to update them if necessary. The areas of verification and refurbishment are numerous: tiling, electricity, plumbing, cleaning, water chemistry, decoration and verification of the security of the place by service providers.
Q – How many technicians are needed to maintain the Aqualagon?
A – Approximately 3 external service providers and 4 internal technicians from the Maintenace and Safety department are needed for this period.
Q – How was the maintenance of the Aqualagon carried out in January 2020?
A – The maintenance went very well; it was even completed earlier than planned. To tell you the truth, we were still very efficient and worked a lot of hours, sometimes starting very early in the morning and very late in the evening, so that Aqualagon didn’t stay closed for long so that our customers could enjoy it as quickly as possible!
Q – Why did you renovate the floor of the Atoll?
A – Given that we are in a very busy place and that the Explorers ship carries many passengers every year, the wear and tear on the Atoll’s floors is the main reason why maintenance is necessary. Nobody wants to wait until the floors are completely worn out, so the work has been anticipated for the comfort of our passengers. Moreover, as you know, we clean our spaces every day so that our passengers can walk in slippers in complete peace of mind and our automatic washing system thoroughly washes the floors, which damages the mesh and thus increases the daily wear and tear. The new flooring will not only be more pleasant to look at, it will also be sensitive to our washings but in a different way, making it less rough.
Q – How was the work organised and what were the steps to follow?
A – The first step was to estimate the budget allocated to the work. Then there was a call for tenders to find subcontractors (companies working on the site), including the supplier of the new flooring. The way in which the meshes of the new floor are intermingled (screening) gives a softer result to the touch because there is less relief than the old one. In other words, the budget has been adjusted several times! There was then a phase of preparation, planning and organisation of the work where a schedule was imposed on the suppliers, as well as the number of technicians needed to be deployed on the site.
Q – How long will the work last?
A – The work is scheduled to last around twenty days, so that the hotel can make this central space accessible as quickly as possible! This involves removing the old floor and preparing the new one before laying.
Q – How many technicians and subcontractors are required for such work?
A – There is 1 in-house technician in the Technical Department who accompanies the installing company, as well as the Maintenace Director and his Assistant who will act as a decision-maker. On such a flooring site, the Manager spends an average of 30 minutes a day giving any instructions and ensuring that the site is running smoothly, and his assistant will take care of the daily follow-up. The in-house technician will spend around 2 hours of his day supporting the subcontractors, who generally on such a site are 2 to 4 technicians and workers. The in-house technician will also work in the same area on ancillary tasks such as lighting and ventilation. Note that our Technical Director has decided to improve the TV corner of the Atoll by equipping the sockets on the counter with USB chargers, so that our passengers can recharge their phones while they drink.
Q – What are the risks and hazards involved in such work?
A – The major risk is that deadlines will be exceeded. It may be linked to a poor initial estimate of the time and a poor anticipation of needs, such as the number of technicians required, for example. There may also be problems related to the product itself, which does not correspond to the estimate and expectations. A small anecdote on the current building site which, fortunately, had no impact on the deadlines: the glue that fixed the old floor was very strong, so the technicians had more difficulty than expected in removing the flooring. This is one of the little details that you can’t know in advance! There can also be “backlogs”, such as a supplier who does not meet its commitments (deadlines and quality of service). In this case, the supplier may have to lower its rates in return, which fortunately is not the case on this site, given the quality of the product and the seriousness of the subcontractors.
A big thank you to Olivier for his time and his clarifications on the Technical and Safety Department, who daily works hard to ensure that the Explorers vessel sails smoothly through the tumultuous waters of the world. Thank you also to the technicians, to their commitment and professionalism, who allow us to offer you a stay as pleasant as it is reassuring. Their tasks are not always highlighted, unlike other hotel services in contact with guests, which are often more visible, which is why it is very important to understand their day-to-day work and their essential role in enabling the Explorers to always go the extra mile and offer you the best possible experience!
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