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The recovery starts here. Restoring our cities, re-setting our economy

With hopes that an end to the pandemic is in sight, cities across the UK are gearing up for recovery. From hospitality and retail to service industries and finance, every sector has a key role to play. It will be a new normal, a changed world, but many of our buildings stood here long before we were born, withstanding wars and the rise and fall of economic fortunes. As the re-set begins, maintaining and enhancing our built environment is fundamental to recovery. Specialists and pioneers in building restoration and repair, Thomann-Hanry® stand ready to play their part

Restoring the engine rooms of recovery – maintaining our built environment in a post-COVID world.

With the prospect of restrictions being eased as the UK emerges from lockdown and the tier system over the coming months, the thoughts of estate managers and property owners are now turning towards the resumption of scheduled upkeep and maintenance programs. As managing director of Thomann-Hanry®, London-based market leaders in building restoration and pioneers of the patented façade gommage® technique, Mark Styles is perfectly placed to offer some well-timed advice.

“Planning ahead and working to a logical schedule is essential. We often hear stories of businesses looking to “mop up” year-end cash surpluses with maintenance work that is hurried, badly planned or even duplicated. As much maintenance work involves the necessary evil of scaffolding, it’s also important to identify all works required to the structure of the building as a whole, so it’s only shrouded in scaffolding once – and for the minimum amount of time. Failing to do this, at a time when businesses have never had to be so careful with their budgets, can lead to catastrophic wasted expense. Every aspect of the building needs to be considered – from leadwork, slate roofs, asphalt, and stonework down to small but important details such as pigeon protection.

“Of course, the option of façade gommage® means that it’s now entirely possible that scaffolding isn’t needed at all. We find that many property managers still mistakenly default to the traditional school of thought that scaffolding is the only solution. However, with a reach of 42 metres, our agile MEWP access system means our technicians can work up to a height of 14 storeys, bringing many office blocks and hotels within easy range.”

Identifying any required structural works is the starting point. With Thomann-Hanry®, this can be done by means of a condition survey, carried out after a façade gommage® clean has revealed the surface of the building, “warts and all”. Again, having quick, easy access thanks to a hydraulic work platform enables structural surveyors to get up close and personal with the building. Armed with a detailed report from Thomann-Hanry®, the client is then well-placed to prioritise works accordingly.

As Mark Styles points out, once remedial works have been identified, Thomann-Hanry® provide a streamlined one-stop solution, “We directly employ all stonemasons, painters, and restorers, so we don’t have to rely on subcontractors. As we made our name through the ground-breaking façade gommage® process, it’s a not uncommon misconception that all we do is clean buildings. That couldn’t be further from the truth. With all the expertise in-house, we’re specialists in every aspect of restoration of buildings of all ages, from ancient to modern.

“And it’s not just the exterior of the building – we’re often also commissioned to work on internal stonework, flooring and staircases, repairing and protecting them to address years or even decades of wear and tear, restoring interiors to their original splendour.”

However, such is the unique, game-changing impact of façade gommage®, this is still the process that turns the most heads, affecting seemingly miraculous transformations in timescales unheard of with conventional cleaning techniques. Projecting fine powders, similar to mineral talc, under low pressure across the surface of stonework and masonry, façade gommage® gently erases and lifts away layers of accumulated grime, turning the clock back years – often in a matter of days. Thomann-Hanry® are now in their sixteenth year, but MD Mark Styles admits that he still has days where he has to pinch himself. “Working on incredible buildings that, when I set the company up back in 2008, I never imagined I would be involved with can be a really emotional experience – even now. It’s such a huge privilege and an honour to be entrusted with the upkeep and restoration of so many of London and the UK’s beautiful landmarks, to play a part in the preservation of our wonderful architectural heritage.

“Here in London, clean buildings and an enhanced street scene are so important. Pristine buildings represent brands at their best. They inspire morale amongst staff. They engender confidence amongst customers and visitors. They increase appeal and value to prospective buyers. Above all, they make this wonderful city look its best.”

His final words of advice? “As I said at the start, plan ahead. Consider the building as a whole and work holistically. Scaffold only when you need to and, when you do, make sure you’ve covered every angle. Across all sectors, buildings are the engine rooms of recovery, look after them and they’ll look after you.”

About Thomann-Hanry®
Thomann-Hanry® are a main contractor for external façade cleaning and restoration using façade gommage® – a patent dry, non-abrasive system to clean building façades without the need for scaffolding. We carry out all elements of façade restoration work with minimal disruption, from façade surveying and painting to new stonework and roofing, all completed without scaffolding.

For more information, visit www.thomann-hanry.co.uk


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About Sarah OBeirne

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