For centuries, the UK’s towns and cities have been built around stunning architecture both old and new. From St. Michael's Church in Southampton (built in 1070) to London’s Walkie Talkie building comprising 34 stories at a height of 160 metres, they dominate our surroundings.
But all buildings deteriorate, and with cladding and natural stone so prevalent in many large buildings, the face of our nation’s cities is degrading with each passing year, impacting the physical presentation of our beautiful surroundings.
The upkeep of these buildings might not be something you see every day but it happens regularly and can be a colossal job that requires the expertise of specialist companies.
Newbury-based building restoration specialist See Brilliance recently undertook restoration of White City One in London, a large multi-story building with an external façade spanning hundreds of thousands of square feet. The main building, previously occupied by the BBC’s Broadcast Centre, is covered in aluminium panels that were heavily soiled after years of weathering and inner-city pollution.
Technica lDirector Nigel Bennett explains: “The process of restoring a building like White City One takes days of planning, health and safety precautions and access considerations. When we undertook the work here there were extra considerations too; specialist non-abrasive techniques had to be used by our team to restore badly soiled external panels after years of pollution build-up.”
Maintaining a building’s exterior is not just about aesthetics but also about the longevity of the building itself. A well-maintained exterior will result in the extended life of its façade as well as an improvement to the general operation of the building’s exterior.
Following the multi-million Pound investment at Westminster Abbey to restore stonework on the 13th century building, Westminster City Council recently released a report on the importance of maintaining facades and masonry of its historic buildings. The report concluded that, although the work involves a hefty investment (particularly for buildings as large as Westminster Abbey), the benefits provide a good return on the initial investment.
“A well-maintained building will retain a good visual appeal, but the most important benefits extend far beyond just aesthetics. In the case of buildings in London, many of which are historic and even listed, keeping a building’s exterior clean results in longer lasting masonry, fewer corroded areas and more effective water drainage.” Explains Nigel Bennett from See Brilliance.
“From a tourism perspective, it also enhances the experience for 31 million tourists who visit our glorious capital each year.”
Beyond simple aesthetics is safety. The UK is home to thousands of ‘mature’ buildings, many of which are used to this day as homes and businesses. There are estimated to be about 500,000 listed buildings on the National Heritage List for England. One of Britain’s oldest buildings, the General Post Office in London, dates back to 1829 and is still used as commercial premises today.
These properties, while refurbished as required, invariably have construction materials of poorer quality than modern buildings. For this reason, it’s important to keep their exteriors clean and maintained using non-abrasive cleaning techniques.
Britain is blessed with a long and enviable history of great buildings, and with the help of our building maintenance experts we hope to keep it this way, ensuring our heritage and businesses both are represented at their best for all to see.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
If images are required please use the attached media along with the caption below:
The White City One building in London, previously occupied by BBC television. The building recently underwent full external restoration following years of weathering and pollution build-up.
Company: See Brilliance
Address: Unit M Venture House Bone Lane, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5SH, UK
Phone: 01635 230 888