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External Façade Cleaning with our IRATA Trained Abseil Team


Façade Cleaning

Using our custom designed equipment and our innovative portable water solution, our IRATA trained abseilers revitalised this high-rise building.

Spectrum was approached by a property management company and asked to clean the façade of a large, central London residential block.
The location of the building – right in the middle of the capital – had caused its windows and cladding to become very dirty. The management company wanted us to remove this dirt and restore the property to its original aesthetic condition.

The Project

The project at the Merano building was to focus on external façade cleaning, window cleaning and cladding cleaning. Work would be carried out via rope access and the BMU already installed on the site. To carry out this work and complete the job safely, our teams underwent specific IRATA and BMU training. This training lasted two days.

The cleaning works at the Merano building were scheduled to last two weeks.

The Site

The Merano building is located on the Albert Embankment, next to the River Thames, right in the middle of London. A recently completed development, the building is made up of a large number of high-end apartments, many of which have views of the river. There is also a sky garden and a bar within the property.

The façade of the building is mostly made of glazed panels with some cladding present as well. Cleaning glass requires high levels of attention to detail as incorrect cleaning processes and products can easily result in a streaky, imperfect finish.  

As the block is largely made up of residential units, our teams worked to minimise noise and disruption throughout. We also made sure that any disruption at road level was kept to a minimum. This meant cars and pedestrians could largely pass the building without an issue.

The Logistics

One of the main challenges on the Merano site was the height of the block. At high elevations, the wind speed is much greater. This can make working from BMUs and via rope access difficult and dangerous.

In order to combat this, we adapted our focus to work on elevations with less wind speed wherever possible. This allowed our teams to continue working in almost all conditions.

The BMU installed on the Merano had been designed specifically for the building. In order to safely use the BMU, our teams were required to undergo two days of special training.

When we were onsite, we assessed the different elevations on the building and decided which were best suited to being cleaning by rope access and which by BMU. Where possible, we used rope access to clean the windows and the façade as this allowed our teams to work faster and more efficiently.

Innovative Cleaning

Once we had carried out an assessment of the Merano’s façade, our teams set to work removing the dirt and grime that had built up on the windows and cladding. A lot of this dirt and grime was deposited on the building by pollutants in the local area. As the Merano is in central London, car exhausts and other fumes can build up quickly, causing discolouration to all external surfaces.

One of the main challenges our teams faced when cleaning the façade of the Merano was getting clean water to the operatives in the BMU. As the windows and cladding were very dirty, buckets of water would quickly become discoloured and full of dirt. Using dirty water to clean the façade would have resulted in an imperfect finish, and so we used an innovative water delivery system that had been developed by our operatives on a previous clean.

The process used a portable water system with pumps to deliver a constant supply of fresh water to the operatives in the BMU. We made some adaptations to the hand tools used in order to ensure the system was as efficient as possible. By using this unique water delivery process, we were able to achieve a pristine finish and carry out all cleaning work to the highest standard.

Throughout the clean at the Merano building, our teams worked via rope access wherever possible. Our abseilers are IRATA trained and are able to safely and efficiently work at high elevations. Rope access is generally faster than using a BMU, and so this approach saved the client time and money.

Where appropriate, we used chemical cleaning products to help remove dirt and grime. These products were always selected to ensure they didn’t damage the glass or cladding used in the facade of the building.

In many cases, our IRATA trained abseilers use our specially made, patented cleaning equipment. This equipment is specifically designed to be used by operatives cleaning via rope access and allows buildings to be cleaned quickly and efficiently. As all of the abseilers and BMU operatives working on the project were fully trained and highly experienced, we were able to carry out the clean quickly and safely.

 Efficient Cleaning Results 

The cleaning works at the Merano building were completed within the two weeks allocated for the work.

By combining the use of BMUs and rope access with our innovative water delivery system and patented cleaning equipment, we were able to thoroughly and quickly clean the façade of the Merano building. During the clean, we removed built-up dirt and grime and ensured all windows and areas of cladding were left clean and streak-free.

Disruption was kept to a minimum throughout, ensuring residents, those using the building and passersby were inconvenienced as little as possible.

Delivering Customer Satisfaction

The client was very happy with the result of the cleaning and the efficiency of the work carried out. Our teams were able to show that rope access is one of the most efficient and affordable ways to clean a building of this type. They were also able to demonstrate the unique capabilities of our patented cleaning system.


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