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Rope Access Render Cleaning In Clapham 600 Hours And A Clean Facade Later!

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Render Cleaning

Transforming facade cost effectively and timely - despite Coronavirus

The render on the block’s façade had become discoloured and stained over time. The management company wanted to renovate the exterior of the block, either by painting or cleaning the facade.

The Project

Spectrum already carried out regular maintenance work on the Clapham Junction block, looking after the man safe, gutters and windows. This meant that the client, a block management company, had a good idea of what our teams, and our professional approach, could achieve.

 The time scale for the project was four weeks. However, due to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, our teams were forced to take extra precautions and so the work overran by around a week.

The Site

 The management company in charge of the block wanted to renovate its façade by either cleaning or painting the exterior. Prior to starting the project, the management company had asked a number of companies to carry out sample work on the block so they could assess effectiveness of each approach.

A selection of companies carried out paint and soft washing samples. Spectrum performed a sample of our patented four-stage render cleaning process. The results of this clean were far superior to the soft washing sample and virtually on par with the painting samples. As our render cleaning process is far more affordable than painting, it was the preferred option for the project.

The Logistics

As with many of the render restoration projects we carry out, the main logistical issue of the Clapham Junction project was access. As Spectrum specialises in overcoming even the most challenging access issues, our team were the perfect people for the job. 

One of the most notable design features of the Clapham Junction block is the metal grills that protrude around 1.5 meters from the building. This makes the block difficult to access with most methods, including rope access.

 Our teams were able to work around this issue by using a number of innovative and creative solutions. In order to increase our reach, we adapted our existing patented render cleaning process. This involved fitting a long reach carbon fibre arm to the system. The arm was specially made for the job and allowed our operatives to reach past the metal grills and clean the entire facade.

If our team had not made these alterations, more rigging would have been required to allow for extra abseils to take place. By using our patented system in this new way, we reduced the number of additional abseiling days needed for the project.

Having access to specially designed equipment allowed our operatives to work efficiently and effectively. The carbon fibre arm made it possible to reach all areas of the facade with the minimum number of abseils. This reduced the timescale of the project and minimised the cost for the client.

Custom Facade Restoration

Our operatives were able to use a range of innovative techniques to access and clean the facade of the Clapham Junction block. Our specialist equipment made the job a lot more workable and allowed our team to overcome the various access issues they encountered. 

When cleaning render via rope access, we usually work in ‘drops’. This enables our operatives to work on each section of render from the top down. During each drop, the operative working via rope access is able to reach to the left and to the right. This allows them to clean a relatively large section of a facade.

However, the design on the metal grills on this property made it difficult to reach to the sides on each drop. Without our innovative solution, it would have been necessary to use more rigging and carry out significantly more abseils. Adding the carbon fibre arm to our patented system meant our operatives were able to complete the clean using a minimal number of abseils. This allowed the project to proceed quickly and efficiently.

A large proportion of the facade of the property was cleaned using our patented render cleaning system. More effective than either soft washing or steam cleaning alone, the system allows us to achieve outstanding results from our render restoration projects. 

Our render cleaning process has four stages: preparation, application, steam cleaning and targeted treatment. First of all, our teams carefully prepare the render for cleaning. Next, they apply a specially selected biocide to the surface of the building. This kills any algae or fungus present on the exterior and ensures a better and longer lasting result for the clean.

The most important part of the process is the steam clean. Our operatives use superheated steam to remove dirt, grime staining and organic matter from a building’s facade. This type of steam cleaning is incredibly effective at removing the discolouration from render and cladding while protecting the underlying substrate. Finally, our operatives use a targeted treatment to remove any remaining stains on the render.

Some parts of the building’s facade were particularly heavily stained. We used a selection of specialist de-staining products and steam cleaning to treat these areas before carrying out our patented four-stage render clean process. One elevation needed to be cleaned three times before it met our high standards. This was done at no additional cost to the client.

Throughout this project, our team used the most efficient and appropriate methods available to them. Overall, abseiling was required to clean around 20% of the facade. This was completed quickly using our adapted system and carbon fibre arm.  

Increasing the reach of our system on this project allowed our operatives to use our patented process on the majority of the facade. This produced excellent results and ensured a deep, thorough clean throughout.

Cost Saving Solutions

Altogether, our team spent an impressive 600 man-hours on this project. The work overran the original schedule by a week. This was largely because of the social distancing steps we needed to take as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread. These steps involved keeping operatives at least two metres apart and installing additional barriers to ensure safe working on the external elevations. 

Cleaning the block, rather than painting the facade, saved the client a considerable amount of money. Using our patented cleaning system, instead of heavy machinery or scaffolding, made the work even more cost effective and allowed the client to complete the project as quickly as possible.

The residents of the block were particularly pleased with the result. Many commented that the clean was so effective the façade appeared as if it had been painted.

Working Together To Deliver Results

"I think this project is one the team can feel proud of, there were so many things that came up that the team worked together on and dealt with quickly, the heavy staining, Covid-19,  access restrictions, special requests from residents,  it was a great example of everyone working well together as a team."
-Managing Director Lucian

Back to Case Studies

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