Industry News, Premier Construction

Biological Technology Saving The Glazing and Cladding Industry Millions of Pounds

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Over an extended period of time, a building’s exterior will be cleaned multiple times to ensure there is no build-up of unsightly soiling that can cause long-term structural damage and become an eyesore.

 By replacing chemical cleaners with biological alternatives, contractors in the facilities management industry could save millions of pounds, as Dr Emma Saunders, General Manager at Genesis Biosciences explains.

Maintaining the exterior of a building is a crucial but expensive process. The cleanliness of a building’s façade creates the first impression a visitor has, and even more importantly, falling behind in the exterior’s upkeep can lead to expensive repair costs in the future due to structural damage.

Building owners and the contractors they employ know this and spend tens of millions of pounds on surface cleaners every year to maintain and protect building exteriors. But the vast majority of products used tend to be cheap traditional chemical cleaners that simply don’t offer the short-term results or long-term protection contractors are after.

Traditional chemical cleaners are flawed by design. They’re developed to offer some immediate cleaning benefits at a very low price, but the low price point means that once diluted the product is only minimally effective and requires either frequent cleaning or a lot of labour to get the desired results.

Contractors also need to consider that the chemical cleaners they use have harsh pH extremes that can cause long-term damage to surfaces, by causing erosion to the cladding and building fixtures.  The products can also be dangerous to handle and use for employees and negatively impact the wider environment.

 However, biological cleaners are vastly different from their chemical counterparts.

The bacteria in biological products provide a very distinct advantage, compared with traditional chemical cleaners.

The continued use of biological products allows the beneficial bacterial to colonise the building’s exterior, creating a sustainable environment where even after the initial clean, the bacteria continue to break down soiling and this is what gives biological cleaners their long-term cleaning efficacy.

For contractors, this process means biological cleaners provide two cost-saving advantages. The first is that biological cleaners reduce labour costs because the bacteria continue doing the cleaning long after application and contractors don’t have to reapply the cleaners as frequently as their chemical counterparts.

Labour cost savings can be substantial. In a comparative trial undertaken by Genesis Biosciences, the task of cleaning the exterior cladding of an exhibition centre took five cleaning staff a total of 60 days using chemical based cleaning products. This was reduced to 40 days when a biological exterior hard surface cleaner was used instead.

By reducing the labour and equipment hire costs, the overall cost of the cleaning task decreased by 28% [1].  And, due to the continued cleaning efficacy of the biological cleaning products applied, the frequency of the cleaning task was reduced from 12-18 months to three years resulting in long-term cost savings for the customer.

The second cost-saving advantage of using biological cleaners is that the building’s exterior won’t be accidently damaged because of the harmful pH extremes found in chemical cleaners. Continued exposure to harsh chemicals can cause long-term surface corrosion, which is very expensive to repair.

With biological cleaners, the beneficial Bacillus offer long-term protection against soiling and this helps to protect the infrastructure.

While biological cleaners might be more expensive to purchase than chemical alternatives, in the mid to long-term, the products offer far bigger cost savings and also provide a number of cleaning benefits.

It’s therefore important that we change the perceptions that facilities management contractors have of biological cleaners because taking a short-term approach to measuring costs could be costing your business in the long-term.

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