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Managing “Impossible” Access Issues to Deliver Professional Results


Window and Cladding Cleaning

We have been very impressed with Spectrums problem solving regarding accessing all  areas of this property. Everything looks great!

The main ten-storey block of this luxurious new residential property complex in Islington, East London, required expert window and cladding cleaning services.

Discover how the Spectrum team tackled challenging access issues to deliver an immaculate finish for the client across the cladding, windows, façade and patios, ready to hand over to the property management company.

The Logistics

St George PLC is a specialist in project development for large-scale regeneration projects across London and Birmingham. We were referred to them by our long-serving client, Savills.

The project in hand required window and cladding cleaning services for a new-build ten-storey apartment block due to open in the next couple of months. As part of a larger residential property development project, this was the first building to be completed and ready for occupation.

During our pre-site assessment, we noticed the following issues:

The Site

Comprising three tower blocks with further developments scheduled, the project in question concentrated on the first completed apartment building at the centre of the complex. Located in Islington, East London, the main block on City Road stands ten floors high with a modern undulated-style design consisting of Juliette windows.

The other two taller towers (42 storeys) are still in development and will be a future project where Spectrum will most likely demonstrate rope access capabilities.

The Project

Arriving on-site, the team needed to set up the necessary kit, equipment and health and safety measures before the cleaning could begin. There were also the MEWP and truck-mounted machinery permits to sign to comply with legal operating regulations.

With all permits signed and equipment prepared, we agreed on a work schedule for the day with the client to ensure they understood our process and expectations. This also factored in the other commercial contractors who needed to be informed throughout the day to make sure they remained safe while we worked.

Next, we established exclusion zones and safe areas for working before moving the machinery into the correct access locations on the ground. We utilised two self-drive 27-meter van-mounted MEWPs and one 31-meter spider MEWP. With IPAF Certifications and expertise in operating MEWP machinery, we could overcome access issues in certain areas otherwise inaccessible, while having two technicians in the basket working simultaneously.

Our patented poles were instrumental in operating from the MEWP and building balconies. Our team will never use ladders on terraces or balconies, especially near unprotected edges. The risk of falling is not even worth entertaining the idea.

The dirt on the cladding and windows was a mixture of bird guano, nests, limescale and carbon build-up. We used our patented poles and a DOFF steam clean for the cladding. We then cleaned the windows with water-fed poles for a streak-free finish before using the DOFF equipment again to clean the patios.

The deep window polishing and limescale removal needed specialist products to provide a high-quality finish. We finished our work by completing a comprehensive façade washdown.


Due to the modern design of the building, access presented the first obstacle in how we were to gain proximity for cleaning services ten storeys high. There were large terraces with high windows, tucked around angular architecture and narrow columns of space between the towers.

The extent of the cleaning required a DOFF steam approach due to the various elements, such as the bird excrement, vegetation on terraces and pollution staining from the busy road below. MEWP machinery provided the ideal solution. However, we had to ensure the machinery did not block any entrances or cause disruption on the site with other contractors still working. Unfortunately, due to the other contractors, there was a delayed start to the project, with other essential works needing finishing on-site.

The client needed ongoing communication to keep fellow contractors safe and meet the necessary Scope of Work (SOW) in alignment with their budget and expectations.

The Result

The visual contrast from start to finish was plain to see. Here is an overview of our window and cladding cleaning process:

Having an experienced team of technicians operating the machinery and cleaning, we demonstrated a seamless, synchronised cleaning process that was efficient, effective, and reasonably priced for our client.

If you need cladding or window cleaning services in London, contact Spectrum and arrange your free assessment today.


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