The Deep End

Two more caravans left the Park today, for disposal. 14 and 18 years old, the 14 year old one was still in good condition and had a few more years service left… while the 18 year old one would still have been fine, had the owner turned the stop tap off.

Once a caravan has had a water burst, it is often badly damaged. Carpets throughout need replacing, chipboard furniture will have swollen, and caravans built with plain chipboard floors (ie early 1990’s) need new floors.  (Nowadays, floors are made from “flooring quality chipboard” which has been developed to resist water damage with a waterproof glue.)

One new caravan has been delivered today, but it is stood in the car park. It has been raining for days, and the ground is wet. Especially at this particular part of the Park. Wetter than I have ever seen it, in 41 years. With a couple of inches of water laying on top of the grass, it looks more like the Florida Everglades, but without the alligators.

We can’t drive a land-rover across it, let alone safely push 8 tons of caravan across. If a caravan sinks in soft ground, raising it is a difficult process. In 2005 a man was tragically killed doing what was always thought to be a routine operation.

http://archive.cravenherald.co.uk/2007/11/1/204470.html

The method that was being used is one that was used almost universally. Blocks and jacks. For years and years it had been done that way throughout the country, and there is still no real alternative.

What concerns me is that I had to search, search and search again for details of this tragic event. Surely the details should have been circulated to Caravan Parks, in order that we could compare our working practices to prevent a recurrence.

But no. We got a leaflet from the trade associations about safe siting of caravans, and out of 60 pages wittering about “systems of work” and “developing a plan” there is half a page warning about dangers during jacking operations. Worded in extremely vague terms.

An extremely important bit of information is lost in a sea of irrelevent details. I know that there are rules about information being publicised during a court case, but the result was that between March 2005 and two months ago, hundreds of caravans around the UK were being jacked in exactly the same method that led to this fatality, and nobody warned us.

So we will leave this caravan where it is for a while, to give the weather time to change and the ground dry out a bit.

We’ll work at the “shallow end”, instead.

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