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High Rise Window and Cladding Cleaning

 - 

Albert Embankment

 Despite a range of logistical issues, our operatives were able to restore the Albert Embankment to its original aesthetic

The property management company in charge of the Albert Embankment site recommended Spectrum to the main contractor. This was done as part of the handover clean. Spectrum had been awarded the maintenance cleaning contracts for the blocks and so was the perfect choice to tackle this part of the project.  

The Project

The work at Albert Embankment in London had three main focus points: high rise window cleaning, cladding cleaning and limescale removal. The entire project was due to be completed within 2 months.

The Site

Located on the south side of the River Thames, the Albert Embankment is a busy thoroughfare used by thousands of people every day. As well as buses, cars and bicycles, our teams also had to work around heavy foot traffic and railway lines when cleaning the buildings. The site was made up of two large buildings, both of which were surrounded by roads, pavements and other potential obstacles. 

The presence of the railway line on one elevation of the Albert Embankment site meant that there were extra health and safety issues to take into account. This was not as simple as just making sure operatives wore the correct colour high vis - it meant that our teams had to put a careful plan in place in order to keep the site safe. All health and safety assessments were done before work started on site.

The Logistics

Each of the buildings that our teams were cleaning on the Albert Embankment site was fitted with a BMU (building maintenance unit). Each BMU had been specifically designed for the building it was fitted to. This meant our teams were required to undergo special training in order to use the machines. Training took the form of classroom teaching sessions on the safe operation of the machines. Our operatives were required to sit an examination at the end of their training to show their knowledge was up to scratch.

The BMUs installed on the blocks only allowed 2 people to work on the machines at any one time. In order to ensure our teams still made rapid progress, they developed an efficient way of working. This allowed them to bring the project in on time despite the restrictions.

Though the properties were fitted with purpose-built BMUs, there were still some sections of the blocks that the machines could not access. This was because the gaps were too tight for the BMUs. These drops had to be cleaned by specially trained operatives via rope access.

Thanks to their position right in the heart of London, the Albert Embankment blocks had collected a considerable amount of dirt and grime. As the buildings were caked in dust, pollution particles, mould and debris, the water used to clean the windows and cladding became dirty very quickly. While some contractors would continue to use this dirty water in order to save time, Spectrum knows that the best way to get excellent results on this type of project is to use clean water.  This meant that our operatives needed to change their water on a very regular basis.

However, getting fresh water to our operatives provided another logistical challenge. It was not always possible to go down to get clean water as there were not always safe and convenient places available to park the BMU. This meant operatives were required to travel up in order to change their water, something that can take as long as 45 minutes.

As the Spectrum team was determined to achieve a pristine finish and bring the job in on time, they needed to find a way to replace dirty water quickly and efficiently. The solution that they came up with was to use the same system we developed during the cleaning of 25 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf. This system provided BMU operatives with a portable supply of freshwater using pumps. Some adaptations were required in order for the system to work but, once in place, it allowed our team to clean the building quickly and thoroughly using clean, freshwater.

Custom Designed Solutions


Like many of the large commercial and residential buildings our operatives clean, the Albert Embankment site had a range of logistical issues that had to be overcome. Once our teams had found effective solutions to these issues, they were able to work efficiently to clean the windows and cladding on the site, remove limescale from the property and restore the facade to its original aesthetic condition.

The portable water system developed by Spectrum for 25 Churchill Place in Canary Wharf worked exceptionally well on the Albert Embankment site. Allowing our operatives to work continuously, and giving them an unlimited supply of freshwater, meant work could proceed on the site without delay.

As well as carrying out window cleaning from BMUs, Spectrum teams working on the project were asked to clean the property’s cladding. This presented a number of fresh challenges as some of the cladding panels had a ripple effect. While this gave an interesting visual aesthetic from the ground, it made cleaning the cladding a slow and laborious process. This is because our operatives were not able to use the normal professional tools available to them.

In order to overcome this issue, improve results and make this part of the building easier to clean, our operatives traced the pattern of the rippled cladding on-site and then sent it to our R&D team. They were able to make an exact CAD of the pattern and use this to design a special hand tool that would fit perfectly between the rippled parts of the pattern.

This design was sent to our 3D printing team and, within 24 hours, we had a prototype hand tool to exactly fit the cladding. This made it possible for our teams to clean this complex design quickly and thoroughly.

Providing  Results - No Matter The Challenge

Throughout the project at the Albert Embankment site, our teams used their ingenuity and experience to come up with creative and innovative cleaning solutions. From adapting one of our own unique systems to perfectly suit the site to creating purpose-designed tools and techniques, Spectrum went above and beyond at every turn in order to ensure fantastic results

Despite the many logistical challenges faced by the team working on the project, the work at the Albert Embankment site was delivered on time. The client was very happy with the results of the work, as were the Spectrum team working on the project.

Competitive and Affordable

“This project was a great example of how Spectrum tackle high rise buildings differently, using R&D to develop better ways of doing things, while still being competitive and affordable to the client.”
-Managing Director Lucian

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