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Rope Access Gutter Cleaning

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Gutter Maintenance

Our team of IRATA trained abseilers cleaned this school's hard to reach valley gutters when other companies couldn't!

Spectrum was approached by a school in Ilford that had been told by another contractor that the building’s guttering and other areas of the roof were inaccessible. As a result, the site had not had its gutters cleaned for several years. We were asked to put together a strategy for clearing the gutters on the three-storey Victorian building. In addition to designing an access strategy, we were also asked to clean the roof as well as the main and valley gutters.

The Project

The project presented numerous challenges. The building was tall, over a hundred years old and constructed with multiple valley gutters. These gutters needed to be cleared of plants, leaves and other blockages, which can cause leaks and water damage to the structure of the building.

The client faced a steep outlay to resolve the problem. However, they were told by a previous customer, who had highly recommended our services, that we would be able to offer an alternative solution.

The Site

The East London site was a three-floor Victorian school building with pitched roofs meeting in valley gutters. Unfortunately, due to fencing and other obstacles, there was no cherry picker access to the roof. There was also no safety infrastructure on the roof that would allow operatives to move around it safely.

The Logistics

The project presented numerous logistical obstacles. In addition to the gutters being inaccessible via cherry picker, there was no safety system on or around the roof. 

Moreover, the parapet and valley gutters were unreachable using a traditional vacuum pole system. This indicated that rope access was the best method for cleaning the gutter and roof. However, there were no suitable anchor points on the building.

Innovative Gutter Cleaning

Given the obstacles to accessing the gutters and roof, this highly challenging project required specialist systems and equipment as well as trained operatives with accreditation from IRATA (International Rope Access Trade Association). 

We used rope access in order to reach the areas that needed clearing. Gutter cleaning via abseiling is the safest and most effective way to access roofs and gutters on tall buildings, allowing operatives to reach practically any part of the structure. Since gutter cleaning using rope access requires no vehicles such as a cherry picker, it is a quick and cost-effective way to carry out cleaning and maintenance.

 Abseiling requires anchor points on the building to secure both a main and a safety line. However, this Victorian property was not equipped with anchor points. Spectrum was able to bring in our own portable anchor points to secure the ropes on.

We are fully equipped with a range of portable anchors of different types and sizes. These can be secured to the building with no damage to the structure and used to secure the operatives’ abseiling ropes. Since we own our own portable anchors, our clients make substantial savings on rental fees for this equipment.

 We combined these rope access techniques with our proprietary gutter vacuum pole system to maximise efficiency. We are equipped to design specialist solutions for unique, logistically challenging projects. Using 3D printing methods, we design and manufacture our own bespoke gutter-cleaning kits, and many of our innovations are patented.

In this case, we designed and built on-site a custom directional path around the difficult-to-access areas of the building. Combining abseiling access to the gutters with a bespoke vacuum pole system designed specifically for this building, we were able to service the roof and gutters in a fraction of the time it would have taken to erect scaffolding and complete the cleaning operation. We were therefore able to complete this highly complex project in three days and minimise disruption to the school.

Solution Orientated Services

During the gutter cleaning, our team was able to access the valley, parapet, and main gutters for the first time in many years

We found an enormous amount of debris in the gutters and on the roof. This posed a threat to the fabric and aesthetics of the building, bringing the potential for leaks, structural issues, and staining. We were able to remove over fifty bags of gutter debris from these areas. Judging from the amount of material, the building had not been successfully cleaned in over ten years. However, with our patented solutions and abseiling techniques, we were able to access all areas of the roof efficiently and cost-effectively.

Creating Value For Our Customers

Our custom gutter cleaning solution, which combines rope access with equipment designed and 3D printed by Spectrum specialists, saves our clients both time and money. Without the need for cherry pickers or scaffolding, we can provide gutter cleaning services for 30% of the cost quoted by other operators. Gutter cleaning also saves our clients money in the long run by preventing leaks, water damage and staining to the exterior of the building – all of which are more costly to repair.

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