Fortunately, she spent a day in hospital and was sent on her merry way with a bruised head, bruised ego and one hell of a headache to look forward to in the morning. She was found unconscious on the pavement by members of the public after the sign detached from it’s fixings and fell, round about 11am. Oh dear love, talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time(!) The sign itself, 30ft by 2.5ft, was damaged beyond repair and taken for investigation.
This example just shows how important it is to spend the time and effort on installing a sign properly. After all, if things do go wrong, it’s ordinary members of the public who are at risk. Large signs like this are heavy and need to be secured in their positions indefinatley. It’s all part and parcel of the service a good sign-maker should offer.
Usually, before design and build, a survey is undertaken of the site where the new signs are to be installed. For me, this isn’t just about taking measurements and rough sketches. I tend to take my measurements whilst also taking photos of the existing installation or space and determining the best way to affix the sign(s) in their place.
It’s also important to have the right tools and equipment for the job. This will not also ensure you work safely and confidently, it will also re-assure your clients about your skills and professionalism. Word-of-mouth is a great marketing tactic, so make sure your clients praise you and your work! Get called a ‘cowboy’ and trust me, the work WILL dry up. Reputation is everything, take the extra time, effort and funds to guard it with your life!
Who’s To Blame?
In this instance, the young woman who got hit by the falling sign was quite lucky. However, she could have just so easily been killed by the accident. A sign as big as this one could easily kill one or more people by falling. The people/company/person who installed the sign will definately be the prime suspects for the ‘scapegoatism’ that would surely have followed such an event. This sign fell off about 11am in the morning, but imagine it fell off at 11pm the night before when there would have been a queue of young revellers outside the nightclub.
Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance For Sign MakersTo cover yourself against accidents like this, it’s important to take out public liability and professional indemnity insurance. In today’s ‘compensation culture’, it’s imperative that the victim has the right to seek damages for her injuries. This can be a significant amount when everything such as injuries sustained, loss of earnings and personal effects are added up. A thorough investigation to establish the cause and liability in such an accident is the norm. So, if it’s your shoddy workmanship that’s at fault, trust me, you’ll get it in the neck(!)
If you’re not covered, you could be ‘up shit’s creek without a paddle’ – as they say around my neighbourhood. This would mean you’re personally liable and could even result in a prison sentence. It wouldn’t really help your professional reputation too. Eek!
Design, Build AND Installation
A good graphics company or signmaker will offer the full service. From initial concept and site survey to design, build and final installation – all in a safe and professional manner. Engaging the client directly through the process will ensure a happy client at the end. This is why, for example, I always provide a visual rendering of the projected design.
I do this by taking photos of the building or location where the signs are to be placed, and then edit the photograph to show how the final signs will look. This provides the client with the ‘end vision’. It’s great because the client knows what to expect, and you can get on with the job at hand of designing and building a kick-ass sign/sign system which will, hopefully, not end up crashing down onto an unsuspecting member of the public(!)