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How Our Emergency Leak Services Saved Our Client From Hiring a Helicopter!


Leak Detection

The client was pleased with our speed, professionalism and seamless ability to co-ordinate with their 3rd party contractor.

A ten-storey-high leak in a residential property in Wandsworth, London, required emergency leak detection and repair services via rope access. 

Discover how Spectrum’s expert technicians removed the 80 kg stone cladding panels to find the leak and provided temporary repairs against the clock to prevent further property damage and disturbance to the residents.

The Logistics

A central London property management company contacted us as an emergency when one of their new properties had reported water ingress issues. And while we’ve worked with this management company before on various building maintenance and cleaning projects, the team had not previously worked on this property.

With time against us, we got to the property as quickly as possible to conduct our pre-site assessment:

Leak detection strategy ready, we got to work on finding the source and providing a temporary repair before any more water ingress damage affected the property and its residents.

The Project

Water leaks was reported down the internal void, which affected five flats. When we arrived, the first job for our two IRATA Level 3 expert rope access technicians was to inspect the roof anchor points and declare them safe and fit for abseiling.

After these checks, we set up rigging ropes for our two technicians, so they could descend into the working area with a separate 3:1 pulley line to support the manual handling of the 80 kg panels once removed.

We released the cladding fixings one the abseilers were in position. The technicians then proceeded to attach additional supports on the panels with slings around the slab. Under complete support, the slab was manoeuvred safely to the ground using the pulley system that helps distribute the weight.

With the cladding panels removed, the area was exposed for thorough leak detection of the rainwater downpipe. The technician noticed the disconnected downpipe and applied temporary measures to stem the leak before arranging permanent pipe repairs. Each operative took photographs to document this for the client report and added repair recommendations.

We included any further defects we noticed in the report, either related or non-related to the leak detection as we appreciate many clients cannot get an up-close view of their properties like this very often.

Finally, we sealed the problem area to temporarily stop the leak while the client waits to get the joint between the pipes permanently replaced or adapted. Unfortunately, the current pipe system was two different sizes which meant they were not sitting flush together, causing water to easily escape. This obvious oversight is a measure of poor craftsmanship by the previous contractor. 

While the permanent repairs are on hold, all the stone cladding panels were stored in a designated, protected area so future workers can easily access and repair the leak without having to handle the extremely heavy panels again.

The Site

The residential property called Tileman House is three apartment blocks side by side. The tallest block was 13 storeys, while the highest point of the leak was ten storeys high.

Situated with a bus stop across the road and constant traffic beneath, the team had to be careful not to disturb the public below as they abseiled and removed the heavy cladding panels.

Even if the client wanted to invest more in a cherry picker or crane, heavy machinery was out of the question, as the foundations of the car park below the work area would not be able to withstand the weight of an elevated work platform.

The only other option would have been a helicopter! But that solution would have cost the clients tens of thousands of pounds.


Thirteen storeys high, the first issue was gaining access to the work area. Fortunately, having IRATA Level 3 rope access technicians on hand meant we could quickly test the permanent anchor points on the roof to ensure they were fit for purpose. This insight eliminated the need and inconvenience of installing temporary anchorage.

With access established, the next challenge was removing the heavy vertical cladding panels and guiding them safely to ground level. We matched the 80 kg weight by installing a separate rigging system and a pulley that naturally made the slabs easier to transport. Being a 3:1 system means that the rope has three points to distribute the weight of the panel and proved incredibly effective for this project. But it wasn’t just the weight of the panels; it was the location.

Ten storeys up and without the possibility of a crane or elevated work platform meant that every stage of the removal and manoeuver had to be done precisely without mistakes. We also had to remove three slabs before finding the leak, which complicated the service as it involved a spot of guesswork trying to find the source of the leak.

The Result

The client was delighted with the professionalism of our leak detection service, the money they saved through our rope access and our seamless ability to coordinate with the third-party contractor. Here’s a brief overview of our leak detection and repair process from start to finish:

The team awaits the go-ahead to complete the permanent repairs and refit the stone panels using the same rope access techniques.

If you need any leak detection services, contact us for a free quote.

Back to Case Studies

Read Our Cladding Cleaning and Restoration Projects

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+plus point70% saving in access costs - No scaffolding required.

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+plus pointAbseiling is a cost-effective method when it comes to façade cleaning

Scaffold-Free Render Cleaning - No Painting Required

18th June 2020

+plus pointAll rust and lead staining was removed with out PAST process.

Roof Leak Detection

17th December 2020

+plus pointThrough our removable anchor points, we are able to eliminate the need for scaffolding, offering up to £30,000 in savings to our clients!

How We Cleaned 15 Rendered Blocks In Kent In Under 5 Weeks

18th June 2020

+plus pointOur self contained vans carried 1000 litres of purified water to site each day.

Torc cleaning

4th March 2021

+plus pointThe powerful yet gentle effects of the DOFF and TORC machines allowed us to remove signs of wear without leaving cracks.

CCTV Drain Inspection

11th June 2020

+plus pointCCTV drain surveys help to prevent serious leaks.

Major Building Contract

18th January 2021

+plus pointOur team of operatives are trained and experienced in meeting the specific standards of work outlined in any major works contract.

In-Depth Stone and Brick Inspection

27th July 2021

+plus pointWe're proud to provide our clients with the best stone inspection and conservation service possible.

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