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Dealing with concrete splatter in London and other major UK cities

The iconic skylines of London, Manchester, Oxford, and many other cities across the UK are adorned with an eclectic mix of historic and modern structures, standing as a testament to our architectural history and extravagance.

However, amidst the grandeur, a lesser-known issue has been silently plaguing the buildings in these cities: concrete and cement splatter. This is a complication which poses a significant threat to the aesthetic appeal and longevity of the building facades affected.

This menacing problem often arises from large-scale construction projects in dense areas where measures to protect nearby structures are improper or inadequate. As a result, concrete and cement falls on to other buildings in close proximity. Strong winds can exacerbate the problem, carrying concrete particles to nearby roofs, windows and even vehicles on the street below.

The impact on commercial facades, stone and glass

Concrete and cement splatter can cause unsightly ‘ghosting’ stains on the facade of a building, disrupting the facade’s original design and appearance. The white residue of dried cement on dark-coloured surfaces or the grey stains on light-coloured building facades can be particularly glaring and diminish the overall visual appeal of any commercial building or monument.

Beyond the obvious aesthetic concerns, concrete and cement splatter can also lead to structural issues to a building’s facade over time. The splattered particles can seep into tiny cracks and crevices, causing gradual deterioration through freeze-thaw cycles and chemical reactions.

The risk to historic buildings and monuments – of which there are literally thousands in London – may be even greater.

According to Historic England there are currently more than 19,500 historic listed buildings and 165 scheduled ancient monuments in London, each requiring specialist care and maintenance to ensure the longevity of the materials they are constructed from (you can find out more about how we restore historic buildings here).

Although these historical landmarks have stood for centuries, concrete and cement splatter pose a serious threat to the structural integrity of these facades, which are often much more delicate than those of modern buildings. Preserving historic sites like these is of utmost importance to maintain the UK’s unique cultural heritage.

What comes next?

With a seemingly ever-growing skyline dominating cities like London and Manchester, new construction and renovation projects have become a daily occurrence. According to Deloitte, more than 12,000 properties have been under construction in Manchester every year since 2018. Today there is more than 1.7 million square feet of office space under construction in the northern powerhouse, most of which is high-rise commercial property.

This significantly buoyant construction environment adds pressure on existing commercial building owners and tenants to ensure that their building facades are safe from the heightened risk of cement splatter incidents, especially when builders are working in confined spaces or under tight schedules.

To add to these complexities, unpredictable weather such as the recent strong winds and heavy rain we’ve experienced across the UK can carry cement particles over considerable distances, depositing them on nearby buildings.

In some cases, contractors may not be providing adequate controls to protect nearby buildings from concrete splatter or overspill. If a construction site spills concrete on a neighbouring property, they often have a legal responsibility to get it professionally removed so no permanent damage is caused.

Fortunately for many, there are conditions under the Considerate Constructors Scheme that rectify the issue swiftly, often insisting that insurance policies cover this type of accidental damage.

Working with a professional facade restoration and maintenance company

Addressing the issue of concrete and cement splatter requires a proactive approach involving various stakeholders, including construction companies, architects, local authorities, and building owners.

At See Brilliance we can work closely with all major stakeholders to restore and maintain your commercial building facade if it is the victim of concrete or cement damage from construction overspill.

We recently completed concrete removal and facade restoration works in Bishopsgate, London.

Our four-stage restoration process, performed by abseilers and using Mobile Elevating Work Platforms (MEWPs), begins with the removal of outer layers of concrete followed by the application of specialist releasing products to soften the remaining concrete deposits.

Next up, a rinse and powder removes any ghosting stains left by the concrete alkalise. Finally, a specialist finishing product is applied to the affected facade. By blending the restored surface to the unaffected areas, we are able to restore the facade back to its original condition.

Before and after photos of concrete removal in London

Before and after photos of concrete removal in Bishopsgate, London.

Find out how we can help

Established for more than thirty years, See Brilliance is a commercial facade restoration expert focused on restoring and maintaining all types of commercial building facades, glass and stone.

We provide a range of concrete and cement removal services to help commercial building owners and tenants keep their buildings looking spotless and operating efficiently for years to come. Get in touch today to find out more.

See Brilliance specialises in commercial restorative cleaning of metal, glass and stone. We also provide commercial facade restoration, stone facade restoration, glass facade restoration, TORC Cleaning, DOFF Steam Cleaning, graffiti removal, and much more, all across the UK.

If you’d like to get in touch today, call our team directly on 01635 230 888 or email [email protected].

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