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Restoring Our Cities – The Power of the Built Environment

Restoring Our Cities – The Power of the Built Environment
15 April 2021
 

Seeking reassurance from our physical environment is a natural human reaction – perhaps even more so during times of uncertainty.  

Mark Styles, Managing Director of Thomann-Hanry® discusses the points surveyors, property owners and property managers should consider now that we are walking towards the reopening of our cities.

Styles is a leading voice in the façade restoration industry and began his career in construction twenty years ago. In 2005, he first heard about a revolutionary system called façade gommage®, used in France for cleaning building facades. He introduced this system to the UK and in 2008 carried out Thomann-Hanry®’s first project – the Grange Hotel Holborn.

 

"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."

 

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. 

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.

Mark Styles

Picture: a photograph of Mark Styles

 

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.

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.

 

Clean Buildings Representing Brands

 

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.

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.”

Picture: a photograph of Somerset House

Article written by Mark Styles | Published 15 April 2021

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