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Case Study: How commercial glass restoration is reviving London’s skyline

We love London and so does everyone else it seems! According to this year’s World’s Best Cities Report, London tops the charts as the “capital of capitals”. The report says that its ranking methodology is based on aggregated data for ‘liveability’, ‘lovability’ and ‘prosperity’.

As if that wasn’t enough, earlier this year London was crowned Best City in Europe 2023 by Resonance Consultancy which publishes the World’s Best Cities Report, and Most Scenic City in the World for Springtime by travel website Travelbag.

The truth is, London is a hugely desirable place to live and work thanks to its exciting culture, stunning architecture, great travel links and terrific career opportunities. Consequently, London’s commercial real estate market is a bustling and dynamic sector that plays a pivotal role in the UK’s economic growth.

Capturing international attention

The skyline of our iconic capital city is known across the world for its historic and contemporary commercial buildings, each contributing to the unique character of the city’s diverse visual and cultural landscape. However, as time takes its toll on the facades of these buildings, they can become unsightly, dirty, and even less energy efficient.

Today we explore the vital role commercial glass restoration plays in preserving the allure of London’s commercial properties and how it impacts the desirability of the area.

Diverse mix of commercial property

London’s commercial property market is vast and diverse, encompassing a wide range of asset classes including office spaces, retail units, and industrial properties. The city’s commercial real estate market has consistently attracted domestic and international investors, making it one of the most competitive and lucrative markets globally.

Today London ranks as the leading European city by overall prospects in the real estate market, closely followed by Paris and Berlin. The total value of London’s commercial property market even remained buoyant during the recent COVID pandemic, growing 12% between 2020 and 2022.

Property agent Knight Frank reports that outside investment into the capital’s commercial property sector is expected to be 60% higher in 2023 than last year.

The importance of façade visual appeal

A building’s façade is the first thing people see. Whether they are customers, investors, staff or the media, a judgement on the quality of a business is often made based on the external visual appeal of its commercial building alone.

Studies even show that when people work in a clean office environment with lots of natural light, they are more productive and less prone to stress. On the other hand, commercial buildings that are dirty or cluttered can drive lower productivity from employees.

When See Brilliance was asked to conduct restorative works on a large commercial building in London with over 800 panes of glass, we were more than happy to put our lasting stamp on this iconic building by providing a three-phase total glass restoration and clean.

Commercial glass restoration at scale: How we restored 800 panes of glass

Our client operates a large commercial property situated in the heart of central London. After battling with reduced building maintenance challenges caused by COVID-19 restrictions they found that the glass portion of their eight-storey building façade had become soiled, stained and etched. The issue was significant enough to reduce visibility from inside the building and cause unsightly marks on the glass from outside.

Despite their best efforts to try and remove dirt and soiling through traditional window cleaning methods our client was unable to restore the glass back to anything like its original condition.

See Brilliance conducted a full site survey on the client’s building and found extensive surface soiling and etching on the glass caused by localised pollution, weathering, limescale, and dirt.

To fully restore all 800 glass panes back to their original condition our operatives conducted a sample of restorative works and suggested a three-phase restoration strategy:

  1. Initial restorative clean to remove all soiling, dirt and detritus
  2. Specialist polishing process to remove all micro-scratches
  3. Traditional window clean to remove leftover polish and bring glass back to almost as-new condition

Being situated in central London presented the usual challenges associated with access and working at height, but nothing our operatives weren’t familiar with. To overcome this, four temporary cradles were installed which enabled our restoration specialists to work on each pane of glass at eye level, providing the most suitable setting for meticulous working and the best possible outcome.

Consideration was also taken to restore the ground floor glass out of hours to minimise interference with pedestrian walkways surrounding the building.

As with all restoration projects we undertake, providing a lasting finish was essential. Our client can rest assured that, despite the harsh environmental conditions London presents, their glass will continue to sparkle for years to come.

To provide the best outcome and ensure longevity of finish, the products and systems used in this restoration project were approved by the GRM, Europe’s quality association for the cleaning of building facades and glass. Through the GRM quality seal we ensure that our products are tested for effectiveness, longevity, and most importantly for safety.

Unlike many commercial cleaning products, our restoration products and systems are non-abrasive and kind to the environment. We only use specifically designed products that are formulated for restoration of external facades. This ensures that all restoration work benefits from improved longevity and does not damage the glass surface.

See Brilliance Director Nick Down said of the project:

“Despite the many challenges associated with working at height in central London, this was a fabulous project to undertake. Our operatives were able to restore the client’s glass to almost as-new condition, and with regular cleaning it will remain in this condition for years to come. I’m hugely proud of the work we have done at this site and exceptionally pleased to be involved in restoring such a prestigious building which has so much impact on the skyline of what I consider one of the world’s greatest cities.”

See Brilliance glass façade restoration and cleaning services

See Brilliance has been a leader in commercial glass and window restoration for more than three decades. Our vast experience in specialist restorative cleaning covers all types of façade surface including metal, glass and stone.

We provide glass wall restoration, commercial window restoration, commercial façade and cladding restoration, DOFF Steam Cleaning, graffiti removal, and much more, all across the UK.

To find out more, book a callback, or request a site survey please contact our team directly. Call us on 01635 230888 or email [email protected].

Download the See Brilliance 2024 brochure