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A Week With Paul

Paul Christmas has over 30 years of practical and theoretical experience in the insulation and rendering industry. Paul currently covers all bases for EWI Pro, acting as the primary trainer at the market-leading Training Academy, conducting surveys, and project sign-offs, whilst also starring in a hit YouTube video in his spare time!

Given all that Paul gets up to, we’ve decided to document his week and gain crucial insight into how the Training Academy and BD Team operate.

The Training Academy

Firstly, a bit of background on the Training Academy; Paul is the main trainer at the Training Academy.

The EWI Pro Training Academy is an integral part of our company. With a rich and diverse render and EWI solutions history, EWI Pro offers unparalleled expertise in planning, training, delivery, and execution of your project. Our extensive scope for solutions is passed onto our customers at every juncture, making us the experts on the market. 

The EWI Pro Training Academy provides us with a uniquely direct avenue to pass on our expertise. The state-of-the-art Training Academy delivers an excellent standard of training for EWI installers. Our series of approved modules offer a blended approach to learning. We combine classroom learning with practical learning. Therefore, installers will receive an all-rounded training experience. Training from EWI professionals will provide students with up to date understanding of the industry standards and best practices.

Paul – “It’s great to have an attentive group in the classroom because you can then take a step back in the practical portion of the day, and watch them get acclimated with the process of installing EWI. Ultimately, it’s very rewarding to see students put theory into practice with only a few hours of work.”

The modules

The EWI Pro Training Academy provides 6 detailed modules. These prepare the students for all facets of EWI and render-only installation.

Course 1 – Introduction to EWI – Offers a comprehensive overview of the EWI Pro systems, delivering the technical knowledge and skills required to install our systems proficiently. The course is intended to give you an excellent understanding of external wall insulation, its installation, and its benefits.

Course 2 – Introduction to Render-only Systems – Offers an in-depth insight into the range of finishes that can be achieved with the different EWI Pro render systems. The render training sessions offer a comprehensive understanding of the range of render systems on offer. Also, hands-on practice in installing EWI Pro will be provided.

Course 3 – Render Spraying Machine Introduction – Sessions are designed to provide installers with the underpinning expertise and technical know-how required for installing EWI Pro systems with a spray machine. Offering hands-on practice using a spray machine with an EWI Pro render, this course equips you with the relevant experience before site work.

Course 4 – On-site Training – On-site training consists of a visit from our technical team. They will attend your project and carry out training at your project.

Course 5 – Product Familiarisation – Aimed at experienced installers who do not currently use EWI Pro materials. Therefore, this module combines classroom-based theory with practical training. Also, the installation requires a working knowledge of the systems.

Course 6 – Advanced Rendering Techniques – Specifically designed for experienced installers who want enhanced knowledge at the EWI Pro Training Academy. As a result, this course will focus on insulating below the DPC or using decorative finishes like Mosaic Render.

Popular questions students ask

Naturally, a day of theoretical and practical training will throw up some questions for students. Paul has shared some of them and his answers.

What is thermal bridging? – “Thermal bridges are areas of the thermal envelope that are not as well insulated; essentially, they act as heat highways out of your building. Heat always looks for the path of least resistance. Using things like beading and double glazed windows helps with this.”

How do I clean rendered walls? – “This is fairly simple, just grab a sponge with a light detergent or use a pressure washer on a light fan setting. You don’t want to use anything too aggressive on a façade.”

How do you repair a crack? – “That depends on the size of the crack. Small cracks can just be filled in with basecoat and re-rendered. Larger cracks need to have a section fully cut out and fixed properly. I’d recommend giving us a call if you’re unsure what to do.”

Spray machine testing

We have recently done some product testing in the Training Academy in partnership with our sister company EWI Store.

“The testing was a fantastic exercise. Firstly, we confirmed that all products work with the spray machine EWI Store has in stock. We also tested some fun applications like the brick effect using a tinted render and a plastic stencil. We do offer a render spray machine course, so getting to grips with a new machine and shooting a video for our YouTube channel was worthwhile.”

Site visits and project sign-offs

A large part of Paul’s role is site visits to scope out projects, and ultimately sign off his trainees’ first jobs. Site visits are also the remit of our BD Team led by Matt.

“Site visits are always crucial because it helps us to advise the customer correctly. We’ll measure out the property and discuss what we’re trying to achieve. Based on the details, we can knock up some U-value calculations and offer various options for the customer. Once that’s established, we can move on to more technical aspects like condensation reports; these are crucial to ensuring that the system we suggest is vapour permeable, and won’t result in damp problems. Then we will look to perform pull out tests on walls to confirm the stress load level. Some EWI systems can be a little heavier (like Mineral Wool), so we need to make sure the walls are structurally sound. Given the added thickness, we’ll also suggest solutions for how to approach downpipes, soffits, and over seals. All of this ensures that we don’t get water ingress behind the system.” (Matt)

“Signing off a project depends on if the installers have followed the correct step. The finish needs to be smooth, the windows need reinforced stress patches, the insulation boards need to be staggered. I’ll tend to visit all first time install for our trainees and it’s satisfying to see a job well done.” (Paul)

All in all, the BD Team and Paul stay very busy, and keep the survey and training part of the business running very smoothly.

If you have any questions about site visits, leave us a comment on our social links!

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