2 - What are pitched roof gutters?

What are pitched roof gutters?

What are pitched roof gutters and how do you clean them?
All pitched roofs, whether they cover apartment blocks, warehouses, offices, shops or homes, should have adequate guttering. Gutters help to get rain water away from a property as quickly as possible, something that goes a long way to preventing leaks, damp and other maintenance issues.
If pitched roofs gutters become blocked by leaf mulch, moss and other debris, they can begin to overflow. This can cause a number of serious problems and result in long-term damage to the building. The best way to prevent blockages and keep pitched roof gutters working as they should is to clean them on a regular basis. Spectrum has extensive experience in accessing and cleaning pitched roof gutters. Our teams can help you remove dirt, debris and grime and keep your gutters in great condition.


What are pitched roof gutters?

Pitched roof gutters are found at the bottom of pitched roofs. A pitched roof is one that slopes steeply from its apex to its base. If both sides of the roof are pitched, the building’s roofline will have a triangular appearance when viewed from a side angle.
Pitched roofs are very common across the UK. They’re found on private homes, office blocks, commercial buildings and high-rises. They are a popular roofing choice as the steep slopes help rain water to run off the roof quickly and efficiently. This can help to prevent water working its way into a building and causing maintenance issues.
Gutters are located at the base of a pitched roof to catch the water that runs off its surface. This water is then diverted into downpipes and away from the building via a drainage system. Pitched roof gutters should be kept free of blockages and obstructions at all times if they’re going to work as efficiently as possible.


Why clean your pitched roof gutters?

Over time, moss can grow to cover large areas of your pitched roof. When it rains heavily, this moss can be dislodged and washed into the guttering system. Leaves that fall onto the roof from nearby trees can also build up in the gutters, especially in the autumn and winter months.
If this dirt and debris is not removed from pitched roof gutters, it can begin to restrict the flow of water. In some cases, it can even block the gutters altogether. If this happens, water will begin to overflow from the gutters and work its way into the fabric of the building. If the issue is not rectified, property owners may find damp, rot and mould begin to appear in their building.


How are pitched roof gutters cleaned?

Pitched roof gutters are generally cleaned using high pressure water. This jet washing quickly and efficiently dislodges moss, leaf mould and other debris that may be clogging the gutters. In order for a clean to have a good result, the professional undertaking the job needs to ensure that the dislodged debris hasn’t got stuck in the downpipe or another part of the drainage system. This can also be done using high pressure water jets.
Using high pressure water for the clean allows our teams to take a chemical-free approach. This helps to protect the local environment and make our work as sustainable as possible.


Accessing pitched roof gutters

One of the main issues with commercial gutter cleaning is access. A lot of the time, pitched roof gutters are located many storeys up. This can make it difficult to reach the problem areas using conventional cleaning methods.
Unlike other companies carrying out gutter cleaning in London, Spectrum specialises in scaffolding-free access. This means we will not erect scaffolding around your property in order to reach and clean your pitched roof gutters. Instead, our expert teams use a combination of access methods designed to minimise cost and disruption and maximise efficiency.
Where possible, our teams reach pitched roof gutters via rope access. Our operatives are highly trained in abseiling and so are able to reach and clean parts of a property that would be inaccessible using other means. This method is very quick and does not require any heavy machinery on site.
In some cases, high gutter cleaning is best carried out from cherry pickers, scissor lifts and MEWPs. All of these options offer a range of benefits and all can be carried out efficiently by our highly trained teams.


The benefits of using Spectrum to clean your pitched roof gutters

There are a number of benefits to using Spectrum to clean your pitched roof gutters. Chief among them is our expertise in access. Thanks to our highly-trained staff, our teams are able to carry out most pitched roof gutter cleans via rope access. This negates the need for scaffolding and allows us to carry out the work as quickly and efficiently as possible. When rope access is not an option, our teams will use MEWPs or scissor lifts to reach the affected areas.
Another major benefit of using Spectrum is our patented approach to cleaning. Our teams use specially-designed and 3D-printed tools to access and clean all parts of a pitched roof gutter. These tools are printed for each job and can be ready for use in as little as 72 hours. The ability to design and print bespoke tools gives our teams unrivalled access to pitched roof gutters and allows them to clean areas that would be out of reach using more conventional methods.
By using rope access, cherry pickers and scissor lifts, as well as our specially-printed 3D tools, we can avoid the need for scaffolding. This can save our clients a lot of money and time, two things that make managing a property a lot easier.
If you would like to find out more about pitched roof gutter cleaning and the services we offer, take a look at the many case studies on our site. Alternatively, pick up the phone and get in touch with a member of our team.
Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 6 - What is a CCTV drain survey?

What is a CCTV drain survey?

Though they may not be the most glamorous part of a property’s infrastructure, drains are one of the most essential. By taking waste water away from a building quickly and efficiently, they prevent a range of serious maintenance issues and help to keep buildings of all shapes and sizes working as they should.
Regularly inspecting and maintaining your drains helps to keep them in good condition and identify potential issues before they become too serious. Our CCTV drain surveys are the most time- and cost-effective way of inspecting your drainage system and keeping on top of drain maintenance. Keep reading to find out more.
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What is a CCTV drain survey?
A CCTV drain survey uses specially-developed cameras to look deep inside a drain and check for any issues. When our operatives arrive at your property to carry out a drain survey, they’ll access the system via a manhole. These manholes, when properly sited, give our team members access to the entire drainage system, ensuring they’re able to spot all potential issues.
Our operatives will check the footage gathered for a range of issues and provide the client with a full report, detailing any essential maintenance work that is required. As CCTV surveys are carried out using specialist equipment, they can be completed quickly and efficiently, with the results available almost immediately.
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Which issues can be identified using a CCTV drain survey?

When they are carried out by skilled, experienced operatives, CCTV drain surveys can identify almost all common drainage issues. If they are spotted early, many of the issues can be put right quickly and at minimal cost – and minimal disruption – to the client.
– Blockages
Blockages are a very common drainage issue. Often caused by food, hair, tissue and other debris being washed into the system, full and partial blockages restrict the flow of water in the drains. If the pipes become completely blocked, water can start to back up and may overflow out of sinks, toilets and baths.
Partial blockages can cause water to back up into a building. They can also result in wastewater flowing more slowly through the pipes. This increases the risk of bad odours in the building and causes sinks, baths and showers to drain more slowly.
CCTV drain surveys can easily spot full and partial blockages. Once the problem area has been identified, our team can use the most appropriate cleaning method to remove the blockage and get the drain back to full working order.

– Leaks

Leaking drains can be a serious issue for property owners. If the wastewater is leaking into the structure of a building, it can begin to cause damp, mould and other maintenance issues. If the water is leaking into the earth, it can destabilise the ground around the property and make the area unsafe.
A CCTV drain inspection can be used to find the leak and assess the extent of the problem. The footage gathered by drainage cameras is invaluable when it comes to creating a plan for the repairs. Our operatives will use the video and images to decide which type of repairs are most appropriate and decide which tools will be required for the job.

– Displaced joints

All drainage systems have joints. These joints connect up sections of the pipes and allow the drains to change direction, converge or diverge. If these joints become displaced, it can cause leaks and other drainage issues. Displaced joints can happen as the result of subsidence, or be caused by root movement or building works.

– Corrosion

Over time, the materials used to build the drains can begin to corrode. This corrosion is often caused by harmful chemicals entering the system and damaging the pipes. If corrosion is not stopped, pipes can begin to leak and the structure of the system can become weak. Drain inspection cameras can spot signs of corrosion and help property owners get an early warning of this common issue.

– Minor and major tree root ingress

As trees grow upwards, their roots grow outwards. While they grow slowly, tree roots are incredibly strong and can easily crack and crush drainage pipes. If this happens, it can result in leaks and blockages, so identifying and addressing the issue early is essential.

– Cracked and collapsed drains

Cracked and collapsed drains can be caused by a variety of issues. Tree roots, building works and subsidence are all common culprits. Corrosion can also weaken pipes, making them more prone to collapse. A drain survey can find a cracked or collapsed section of pipe quickly and easily. The section can then be replaced or repaired and the drains returned to working order.
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When should CCTV drain surveys be carried out?

CCTV drain surveys should be carried out whenever maintenance issues are suspected. There are a number of signs that can indicate a drainage system is not working as it should. These include:
– Bad odours emanating from plugs and toilets
– Slowly draining sinks, showers and baths
– Overflowing drains
– Unusual gurgling sounds
– Leaks outside the property

If property owners, their tenants or the businesses that use their buildings notice any of these indicators, they should arrange for a CCTV drain inspection as quickly as possible.

CCTV drain surveys should also be carried out whenever a building changes ownership. As drainage cameras can identify a wide range of maintenance issues, a survey will ensure that buyers know exactly what they’re getting when they sign on the dotted line.

Spectrum offers a full CCTV drain survey service

Our operatives have the skills, expertise and experience needed to carry out thorough CCTV drain surveys. They will access your drainage system and perform the survey while causing minimal disruption to tenants and businesses using the building. Once the survey is complete, our operatives will provide the client with a detailed report outlining any issues discovered.
Find out more about the importance of drain surveys, and learn about the services we offer, by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team.
Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 1 - What is a drain cleaning service?

What is a drain cleaning service?

What is a drain cleaning service?
Drains are one of the most important features of a large commercial or residential property. Helping to get water away from the building quickly and efficiently, drains prevent flooding, leaks and other issues that can damage the structure and aesthetics of a property.
The best way to prevent drainage issues, and keep a commercial or large residential property working, is to carry out regular maintenance. Cleaning your drains on a regular basis will help to keep them flowing, and give you the chance to inspect the drainage system and make sure everything is working as it should.
Spectrum has extensive expertise in cleaning and maintaining drainage systems. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, our drain cleaning teams work around the clock to keep the country’s properties running smoothly.
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What is drain cleaning?
Drain cleaning is the process by which debris, dirt and built-up grime is removed from the pipes and manholes that form a drainage system. Debris can be washed into drainage systems by rain water, or enter the system via toilets, sinks and other water disposal points. This is especially common in large residential and commercial properties where toilets and sinks see heavy use every day of the week.
The aim of drain cleaning is to remove as much debris, dirt and grime from the drains as possible. Removing this from the pipes should help to prevent total and partial blockages from forming in the system. If blockages do occur, emergency drain cleaning may be required to rectify the problem and prevent further damage to the property.
Drain cleaning should be carried out on a regular basis. Even if there are no obvious issues in the system, property owners and managers should carry out cleaning to flush the system through. Cleaning should also be carried out whenever drains in the property are running slowly as well as when a property changes ownership.
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Why do you need your drains cleaned?
As their job is to dispose of wastewater, drains often have to deal with the dirt and debris that washes into the system. Small pieces of food, wet wipes, oil and chemicals all find their way into drainage systems. Over time, this debris will begin to build up in the pipes. If this restricts or even blocks the flow of water, it can cause the system to back up. This can result in flooding, bad odours and leaks.
Flooding and leaks, in particular, are bad for properties, as they can damage the structure of the building and cause serious maintenance issues. If overflowing drains are not cleaned, property owners may find rot, mould and damp begin to set in, causing long term damage to the aesthetics and structure of the property.
If you run a business or operate a commercial property, odours emanating from blocked drains could cause you problems. Customers will not want to smell backed-up drains as they eat, shop or socialise, so keeping your system flowing should be one of your top priorities.
There are a number of signs that indicate a drain needs to be cleaned. These include bad odours emanating from plugholes, slowly draining sinks and baths and overflowing drains. If you notice any of these issues, it is important to have your drains cleaned immediately to prevent further problems from developing.
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How are they cleaned?
There are a number of ways to clean drains on commercial and large residential properties. While one drain cleaning company might use chemicals to break down grime, another will use powerful jet washing to remove debris and return the drains to good working order. Drain cleaning should always be carried out by a professional drain cleaning company to ensure blockages are thoroughly removed from the system and the drains are working as they should.
Drain cleaning is a relatively quick and easy process. Drains have access points, known as manholes, located regularly along their length. This gives drain cleaning professionals access to the entire system, allowing them to remove blockages wherever they occur. The manholes will also need to be cleaned on a regular basis to keep them in good condition and prevent a build up of dirt and debris.
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What are the advantages of using Spectrum?
Spectrum has extensive experience cleaning drainage systems of all sizes. Our teams have carried out drain cleaning in London and across the South East, tackling a wide range of drainage issues along the way. This experience makes Spectrum perfectly placed to take on all types of drain cleaning projects in all types of buildings.
One of the main advantages of using Spectrum for your next drain cleaning project is our detailed picture and video reporting. Before we carry out a drain clean, we inspect the system using a specially-designed camera. This gives our teams the opportunity to see exactly what’s going on deep in the system and create a cleaning plan that properly addresses the issue.
Carrying out a camera inspection also gives our expert operatives the chance to check the system for any cracks or faults that may be causing issues. Once the clean is complete, we give a copy of this detailed report to the client so they can see exactly what our teams have done, and plan any necessary maintenance works.
Unlike other drain cleaning companies in London and across the UK, Spectrum doesn’t use chemicals to remove debris and clear drains. Instead, our teams use powerful jetting to blast debris out of the drainage system and get the water moving once more. This approach ensures no excess chemicals end up in waste water plants or leak into the local ground water supplies. Avoiding excess chemicals in the drainage system is kinder on the environment and provides a more sustainable approach to drain cleaning.
Find out more about our drain cleaning services, and the advantages of using Spectrum for your next project, by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team.
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Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 3 - What are valley gutters - and cleaning considerations

What are valley gutters – and cleaning considerations

What are valley gutters and how do we clean them?
Keeping roofs clean helps to improve their aesthetic appearance and prevents debris from the roof falling into gutters and causing blockages. Cleaning roofs on a regular basis also offers property owners and managers the opportunity to assess the condition of their tiles, shingle or corrugated roofing and address any outstanding maintenance issues.
As roofs are often made up of irregular shapes and angles, cleaning them is not always easy. In many cases, the most awkward and hard-to-reach areas are valley gutters. Found in many residential and commercial roof structures, these distinctive gutters can become problem areas if they are not properly cleaned. Understanding exactly why valley gutters need extra attention, and putting a suitable maintenance programme in place, will help property owners and managers to take better care of their buildings.

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What are valley gutters?
A valley gutter is defined as the area where two main roofs meet, or where there is a change in the direction of the roof. Often found between adjoining, pitched-roofed houses, on warehouse buildings and on properties that have been added to over time, valley gutters are common across the UK.
Valley gutters can take a number of forms. In some cases, the gutter will be almost horizontal, with just a small angle to ensure water run-off. In other cases, the gutter may run along the same angle as one of the adjoining roof sections. This generally gives the gutter a much steeper incline. Valley gutters can be made up of a number of materials including concrete, lead, cement and tile.

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What are the common problems with valley gutters?
As valley gutters are located between two areas of sloping roof, they’re prone to flooding. This is because all of the water that falls onto the adjoining roof surfaces will find its way straight into the valley gutter. If the gutter is blocked, or if the existing drains are not up to standard, this water can pool in the valley and begin seeping into the property itself.

The problem is made worse due to the fact that valley gutters are also prone to blockages. A lot of the moss growing on the adjoining roofs, as well as leaves, twigs and other debris that drops onto the sloping surfaces, will end up in the valley gutter. When it enters drains, this debris can cause blockages and potentially lead to flooding, something that can seriously damage the structure and aesthetics of a property.
The best way to prevent flooding and blockages is to clean valley gutters on a regular basis. Cleaning these key areas removes moss and debris before they can enter the drainage system. The more often cleaning is carried out, the less chance there is of blockages causing serious drainage issues.

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How are valley gutters cleaned?
Because valley gutters are located in the dip between sloping roof sections, they can be very difficult to access and clean. If a building is several floors high, valley gutters can be even harder to clean, especially for operatives that lack specialist access skills and equipment.

When cleaning valley gutters, it is important to avoid pushing debris into the drains and causing blockages. Operatives should always check the adjoining drains at the end of the job to ensure they are clean and clear.
During our years of experience accessing and cleaning valley gutters, Spectrum has developed a number of innovative and effective techniques. These allow us to reach even the most awkwardly-located valley gutters and remove dirt and debris quickly and efficiently.

Our ladder-less approach and unique equipment allow our operatives to clean valley gutters from the safety of the ground. Our specialist poles let operatives work on valley gutters located up to 6 storeys high. This impressive reach allows cleans to be carried out quickly and effectively, protecting valley gutters from dirt, debris and blockages.
In many cases, our equipment enables us to reach places that would be too dangerous to access using ladders and other conventional methods. This allows our teams to provide clients with a thorough, comprehensive valley gutter cleaning service.

Before carrying out a valley gutter clean, Spectrum operatives use cameras to photograph and film the gutters. This allows them to assess the condition of the gutters before they begin cleaning and to identify any maintenance issues that might require attention.

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What are the advantages of using Spectrum?
Spectrum has extensive expertise and experience accessing and cleaning all areas of a building. Our teams are able to use specialist equipment to access and clean all parts of a roof, including valley gutters. The poles used by our operatives can reach up to 6 floors high, allowing them to work quickly and easily from the safety of the ground.
Our experience allows us to come up with the most appropriate solution for all problem areas and create a detailed and effective plan for the job. Having an expert team on hand to carry out the clean ensures great results and a quick, efficient clean.

Another major benefit of choosing Spectrum for your valley gutter clean is that our teams do exceptionally thorough work. Before the clean, they’ll use cameras to survey the problem area and identify any potential maintenance issues.
Once the clean is complete, they will carry out a full water test of the entire system to check for blockages and other issues. And, once the job is complete, Spectrum will provide clients with a full works document containing photos and any other relevant information pertaining to the project. This comprehensive approach ensures all jobs are completed to the highest standard and clients are kept informed at all times.
Properly maintaining valley gutters will help to prevent blockages and leaks and keep your roof in good condition. To find out more, and to discuss a cleaning project of your own, get in touch with a member of our team today.

Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 2 - What is DOFF cleaning and why is it so good?

What is DOFF cleaning and why is it so good?

DOFF cleaning is one of the most popular cleaning services offered by Spectrum. Effective at removing a wide range of organic matter, as well as paint, staining and discolouration, DOFF cleaning helps our operatives to achieve outstanding results every time.

What is DOFF cleaning?

Doff cleaning is a specialist cleaning process that uses a ‘DOFF’ machine. This machine super-heats water to produce high temperature steam. This steam can then be used to clean roofs, walls, render, cladding and almost all other structural surfaces on a building. DOFF steam cleaning machines are easily portable and so can be brought to any site that requires this powerful process.

How does it work?

Specialist DOFF cleaning machines heat water to a much higher temperature than traditional steam cleaners. This superheated steam is incredibly effective at removing a wide range of unwanted substances including algae, mould, paint and staining.

The steam is delivered to the surface of the cladding, stone, masonry or render using a targeted nozzle. This helps to concentrate the power of the steam and remove staining quickly and efficiently. In fact, the steam is so effective that it negates the need for chemical solutions. This can be a real benefit when dealing with delicate materials and sensitive substrate.

What can DOFF cleaning be used for?

The DOFF system can be used to clean a wide range of surfaces. It is effective at removing a variety of organic substances as well as paint and graffiti. When DOFF cleaning properties in the South East, our operatives are often tasked with removing:

• Algae

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Algae growth is a common issue on many commercial and residential properties. Algae spores are carried through the air and deposited on external surfaces. In favourable conditions, these spores can quickly take hold, producing large areas of red, green or black discolouration. DOFF steam cleaning can quickly and efficiently remove algae from almost all surfaces to leave a façade looking like new.

• Graffiti

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Graffiti is a problem in lots of towns and cities across the UK. The DOFF steam cleaning system is one of the most effective ways of removing graffiti from both commercial and domestic properties. In many cases, this type of cleaning removes graffiti in a matter of moments, leaving the façade looking clean, fresh and like new.

• Paint

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Old, peeling paint is often removed from external surfaces before the start of a new cleaning project. Our operatives use DOFF cleaning to get rid of a wide range of water and oil-based paints, as well as varnishes and bitumastic and thermoplastic coatings.

Cleaning at height

In cases where Spectrum is asked to clean high-rise buildings and large commercial structures, our operatives are able to increase the reach of DOFF cleaning using our patented equipment. This innovative approach gives our expert team the reach they need to access all corners of a building and leave the exterior looking like new.

The benefits of DOFF cleaning

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The DOFF cleaning system offers a number of benefits over other options. While it is not suitable for all situations and all surfaces, it is ideal for a wide variety of applications.

– Protecting the underlying structure

One of the major benefits of DOFF cleaning is that it does not damage the underlying substrate. Other high-pressure cleaning methods, like jet washing, can easily damage soft stone or masonry, resulting in a pitted, uneven appearance at the end of the cleaning process.

As DOFF cleaning uses low pressure, high temperature steam, there is no chance of inadvertently damaging the underlying materials. The method is so safe and so effective that it is the only system accredited by English Heritage for use on their protected buildings.

Spectrum often uses this system to clean period properties. These buildings, like many managed by English Heritage, have antique façades and are made of delicate materials. DOFF cleaning London period properties allows our teams to restore these beautiful buildings to their former glory.

– No need for chemicals

The super heated steam produced by DOFF machines is so effective it can remove a wide range of stains and discolouration without the need for chemical cleaning products.

– Quick and efficient

Completing cleaning projects quickly and efficiently allows Spectrum to keep costs down and minimise disruption. As DOFF cleaning gets rid of a wide variety of staining, paint, organic matter and discolouration in moments, the system allows our teams to work as fast as possible.

– Easy access

DOFF cleaning machines are readily mobile, allowing our operatives to use the system wherever necessary. In cases where the staining or discolouration is located high up on a building’s façade, Spectrum can use a variety of specialist access techniques to reach the affected area and resolve the issue.

What facades can be cleaned with DOFF?

DOFF cleaning services are very versatile. The system can be used to clean everything from stone and brick to wood and tile. Our experienced operatives are able to advise clients as to whether DOFF cleaning is the best option for their needs. They will also be able to talk them through the cleaning process and what they can expect from the finished result.

Why hire professionals to carry out DOFF cleaning?

If your business is looking for DOFF cleaning in South East England, Spectrum can help. Our expert operatives have extensive experience using the system and so will be able to thoroughly clean your building without causing any damage to the substrate.

Get in touch with Spectrum now and we will carry out free disinfecting cleaning on your property. This service is designed to kill a variety of germs and is part of our effort to tackle the current coronavirus pandemic. All of our teams wear full PPE on site when carrying out cleaning works, and all are fully trained in getting the most out of this powerful cleaning system.

Find out more about our DOFF cleaning services, as well as our coronavirus disinfecting services, by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team.

Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 1 - What is an Inspection Chamber?

What is an Inspection Chamber?

They’re a familiar sight on our roads and pavements, but few of us ever give manhole covers much consideration. Unless they’re broken, wonky or open, the majority of people will stroll past a manhole without giving it a second thought.

However, manhole covers are actually a very important part of the nation’s drainage system. Covering the entrances to inspection chambers, these unassuming spots provide professionals with essential access to our drains. Understanding exactly what an inspection chamber is, and how it can help you maintain your drainage system, will help you properly situate your manholes and keep your drains in good condition.

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What is an inspection chamber/manhole?

An inspection chamber, also known as a manhole, provides an access point for a drainage system. This access point can be used to inspect the drains and to clean and clear the system when required. Without inspection chambers, drains can easily fall into disrepair or become blocked. If this happens, and professionals are unable to reach the damaged or blocked section of the system, the drains can overflow and cause serious issues for surrounding properties.

Inspection chambers should be situated wherever a branch pipe joins the main drainage run, and when there is a change in the size of the pipe. Inspection chambers should also be created when the drain changes direction horizontally by more than 30 degrees and when there is a straight run of piping measuring over 22 metres.

Inspection chambers are positioned at these spots to ensure professionals have access to the entire drainage system. This is important as, if a section runs too far without a manhole, it can make it impossible to carry out essential drain surveys, drain repairs and drain jetting.

Inspection chambers generally consist of a base, sectional risers with a seal, and a manhole cover. Further risers can be added to provide more height and make access easier. Manhole covers are always situated at ground level.

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What is the purpose of inspection chambers and manholes?

The main purpose of inspection chambers is access. Drains need to be inspected on a regular basis and these chambers allow professionals to reach all parts of the system.

From an inspection chamber, specialists can carry out detailed drain surveys. These surveys are used to ensure the drain is in good working order and to check for damage and blockages. If any damage is discovered during a drain survey, drain repairs can be carried out using the inspection chamber as an access point. If the drains become blocked, the inspection chamber can be used to jet the drains and remove the blockage.

Without properly-situated inspection chambers, drain cleaners would struggle to access all sections of pipe, and blockages could become impossible to clear. If surveyors are unable to reach all parts of the system, they may be unable to spot maintenance issues and the drains could become damaged.

Inspection chambers are topped with manhole covers to prevent people from walking at ground level from falling into the hole. Manhole covers also stop rubbish and other debris from ending up in the drains and surface water ending up in the system.

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How do you clean an inspection chamber safely?

Like the drains themselves, inspection chambers need to be cleaned on a regular basis to keep them in good working order. This work is often carried out at the same time as drain jetting and drain steam cleaning, and is an important part of general drain maintenance.

If an inspection chamber isn’t cleaned regularly, it can begin to fill with debris and become blocked. If this happens, it can make it difficult, or even impossible, to access the drains for surveys, cleaning and repairs.

Blockages can be caused by debris entering the space via a broken or faulty manhole cover. This issue will need to be addressed at the same time that the inspection chamber is cleaned to prevent future issues.

Entering an inspection chamber can be dangerous, especially if it’s full of rubbish or natural debris. This means it’s essential you use a professional to access and clean the space. They’ll have specialist equipment and expert know-how, and will be able to safely remove dirt and debris from your inspection chamber to leave the space in good working order.

Our services

Drain maintenance is an important part of the work we do. Our expert team combines experience and innovation to offer a wide range of essential services that will help to keep your drains and inspection chambers clean and clear.

A survey is the first stage of any drain maintenance programme. A thorough drain survey gives our team the chance to assess the condition of the drains and check for any damage or blockages in the system. The architecture of inspection chambers allows our operatives to access every section of pipe in the system. This is important as all parts of the drain need to be checked for potential faults.

If any damage is uncovered during the drain survey, our team can carry out the necessary drain repairs. These repairs can help to get your drains flowing again quickly and efficiently, and minimise disruption to your system.

Blockages can be unclogged and removed from the drainage system using drain jetting and drain steam cleaning. These effective techniques quickly unblock clogged drains and work to prevent blockages from re-forming in the future.

In some cases, drain jetting and drain steam cleaning are used even when a pipe isn’t fully blocked. Removing partial blockages before they become more serious can help to prevent damage to the system and minimise disruption to the people using the building and the surrounding area.

Properly maintaining and cleaning manholes and inspection chambers is an essential part of drain maintenance. To find out more about the services we offer, or to talk to a member of our team about your requirements, give us a call today.

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Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 3 3 - 3 reasons why we would recommend against painting silicone render

3 reasons why we would recommend against painting silicone render

Many people assume that the final stage of decorating the façade of a building is painting. Painting a property gives it a bright, clean finish and helps to hide any imperfections or blemishes in the external surface. However, when you’re dealing with a building that’s been finished with silicone render, painting is the last thing you want to do.

While a fresh coat of paint might look good initially, in the long term it could result in a number of maintenance issues and cause your property to look tired and uncared for before its time. Avoiding paint, and using other more appropriate finishes on your building, will help to ensure the façade looks good for as long as possible.

If you’re still considering giving your silicone rendered building a coat of paint, take a look at the top three reasons why we’d recommend against it.

1. Painted properties need to be repainted

One of the main reasons we believe painting a silicone rendered building is a bad idea is that, once painted, properties need to be repainted. This will need to be done on a regular basis to keep them looking good. Exposure to wind, rain and sun can quickly take its toll on paint, causing it to crack, peel and discolour over time. Unless painted buildings undergo regular maintenance, they’re likely to look old, worn and tired within a few years.

Painting large domestic and commercial buildings can be time-consuming and expensive. In most cases, scaffolding will need to be erected and, in instances when access is particularly difficult, cherry pickers and other heavy machinery may be required. This can cause a lot of disruption for the residents or tenants using the building and prove expensive for the property owners.

By not using paint in the first place, property owners can avoid these ongoing maintenance issues. In the long run, this can help them to save a considerable amount of time and money and keep disruption to a minimum for their tenants.

In many cases, modern render can have colour added to it before it’s applied to a building. Manufacturer K-Rend offers a great range of coloured silicone render that’s suitable for use on buildings of all types. Not only is coloured render more convenient, it’s also easier to maintain and easier to clean.

Unlike paint, which only covers the surface of render, through-colouring ensures the render is the same tone inside and out. This means that when the surface is cleaned and algae, fungi and other contaminants removed, the render will look as good as new. What’s more, as cleaning, unlike painting, can often be done without scaffolding, cherry pickers and other heavy machinery, it’s a quicker and cheaper way to maintain a building.

2. Algae and fungi need to be killed

It’s very common for algae and fungus to appear on the surface of a silicone rendered building after a few years. This growth is caused by spores landing on the façade of the building and is something that occurs naturally over time.

When algae and fungus grow on the exterior surface of a building, they cause discolouration. Generally green, red or black in colour, this discolouration can make a building look uncared for and in need of a bit of TLC.

In many cases, contractors who don’t know a lot about silicone render will suggest painting over the patches of algae and fungus. While this might look good in the short term, it’s not a great option as biological growth will compromise the paint if it’s not killed and removed before work begins.

If algae and fungi are simply painted over, you can expect to see discolouration appear again within 6-12 months. As the algae and fungi regrow, they’ll cause the paint to peel and crack. This paint will then need to be removed using chemicals and the surface steam cleaned before it can be repainted or re-rendered.

The best way to restore silicone render to its former glory is to clean it rather than paint it. Our patented system allows modern silicone render to be cleaned quickly and easily. As we 3D print our own specialist equipment, we’re able to tackle jobs of all shapes and sizes and reach parts of a property that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Our unique system allows us to work both from the ground and via rope access. This minimises the need for scaffolding and cherry pickers, reduces disruption and ensures the job is completed as quickly as possible.

Before we begin cleaning a building, we carry out a thorough survey on the property. This gives us the chance to check for cracks, leaks, blocked pipes and other issues that can cause serious damage to a building. If we find any defects, we report them to the housing association or facilities manager so they can be properly dealt with.

3. Render needs to breathe

Last but definitely not least, silicone render needs to breathe. If it’s covered with impermeable paint it can prevent air passing between the inside and outside of the render and lead to serious issues. Moisture can build up in the render, causing the paint to bubble, crack and peel. This can have a big impact on the look of the building.

Painting a rendered property can also cause damp to build up in the walls. Over time, this damp can enter the homes and offices inside the property and cause a number of aesthetic and structural issues.

If you manage a rendered building, or if you’re surveying property that’s been finished with silicone render, it’s important to seek out expert advice before having it painted or cleaned. Getting the help of experienced contractors will ensure your property is well cared for, and unnecessary maintenance is kept to a minimum. We’re always happy to answer questions on the cleaning and maintenance of rendered buildings. Get in touch with a member of our expert team to find out more.

MAIN BLOG BANNER  - Why is there red and green algae on your render?

Why is there red and green algae on your render?

Why is there red and green algae on your render?

When it first became a popular building material, render was thought to be maintenance-free. Architects and property owners believed that, once applied, render wouldn’t discolour, require cleaning or change its appearance over the years. However, now that many rendered buildings are beginning to age, we can see that this isn’t the case.

Over time, algae can begin to grow on rendered facades. As it spreads, algae will discolour the surface of render and leave rendered buildings looking old, tired and in need of TLC. Understanding how and why algae grows, and how it can impact a render façade, will help property owners to properly maintain their buildings and ensure rendered facades look as good as possible.

What causes algae growth?

Algae is a natural organism that grows on more or less all external surfaces. Over recent years, it’s become a lot more common to see algae growth on both domestic and commercial premises.

One of the main things that’s caused this increase in growth is the Clean Air Act. By reducing pollution, and making the air in our towns and cities cleaner, the act has caused an increase in airborne algae spores and therefore an increase in algae growth.

Our slowly warming climate has also had an impact on the growth of algae on external surfaces. In addition, poor detailing on the external façades of buildings has also encouraged growth of algae. This is something that makes some properties a lot more prone to algae than others.


The first stage of algae growth is colonisation. Algae spores are spread by the wind. In moist, humid conditions, these spores will begin to grow as soon as they land on a suitable surface. Many types of algae find rendered buildings an ideal environment. The pores in the surface of the render give the algae something to hold onto while the moisture in the atmosphere allows it to thrive.

In general, surveyors find that buildings experience most algae growth on their northern facades. This is because the north face of property gets the least sun and so is more likely to remain damp. However, properties that have poor drainage, or ongoing leaks, can experience high levels of algae growth in other areas. Once algae takes hold, it can quickly spread over the external surface of a building, especially during the wet, winter months.

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How algae can damage a rendered property

Algae growth won’t have a big impact on the core structure of a building and is unlikely to cause serious maintenance issues. However, it will have an effect on the aesthetic appearance of a property and can leave façades looking discoloured, tired and uncared for. If left untreated, algae can spread to cover large areas of a rendered façade, significantly altering the look of a property. This can make a property look older than it should and can give residents and passersby the impression that the maintenance of the building is not up scratch.

Types of algae

There are three types of algae that commonly grow on rendered surfaces: red algae, green algae and black algae. Green algae is the most common type and can often be removed with gentle washing. Red algae is common in Northern Ireland and Scotland and is something we’re seeing more in England as the climate becomes warmer and wetter. Black algae, though less common, is very difficult to remove and getting rid of it generally requires cleaning and the application of biocide.

red algae - Why is there red and green algae on your render?

green algae - Why is there red and green algae on your render?

black algae - Why is there red and green algae on your render?

Cleaning and removal

All types of modern render, including high quality products from manufacturers including K-Rend and Weber Saint-Gobain, require regular cleaning to remove algae and prevent regrowth. Our pioneering render care system allows property owners to restore their buildings to their original aesthetic appearance while preventing quick regrowth of algae.

Spectrum’s render cleaning process is made up of four steps. First, we prepare the area due to be cleaned. This involves assessing the current condition of the render, carrying out a thorough survey on the property and ensuring our operatives, and anyone else using the site, are kept safe throughout the clean.

The next stage involves applying a specially-selected biocide to the surface of the render. This kills any algae present on the render and helps to kickstart the cleaning process. We then use pressurised steam, heated to 150 degrees to gently remove algae and discolouration from the external façade of the building. This is a much better option than jet washing which can damage the surface of the render. If there are any stains remaining following the steam clean, we use targeted treatment to remove them from the surface. Finally, we apply a final coat of biocide to prevent the algae growing back for as long as possible

This staged process allows Spectrum to thoroughly remove the algae from the surface of a rendered building. On completion, properties that have undergone a thorough clean are restored to their original aesthetic appearance and are protected from future algae growth.

To help our operatives get to every corner of a building, and to keep access costs as low as possible, we design and 3D print our own specialist equipment. This allows our operatives to work from ropes instead of cherry pickers and scaffolding, something that can dramatically reduce costs and ensure the clean is completed as quickly as possible.

Regularly removing algae from the surface of a rendered building helps to keep the façade looking as good as possible. What’s more, regular maintenance allows property owners to monitor the condition of their properties and address any issues – like leaks, poor drainage or cracked pipes – that may be contributing to the rapid growth of algae.

Find out more, and learn about the pioneering render cleaning services Spectrum offers, by exploring our site or getting in touch with a member of our team.

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Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 7 - How will Spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19

How will Spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19

How will spectrum be helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19/Coronavirus?

Spectrum will be helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a number of ways. The World Health Organisation has published a number of technical guidance documents on specific topics, including infection prevention and control (IPC). These documents are available at https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus2019/technical-guidance/infection-prevention-and-control. 

To keep you updated with the latest facts, we have summarised some key points for our industry from World Health Organisation Publications.


COVID-19 transmission

There are two main routes of transmission of the COVID-19 virus: respiratory and contact. Respiratory droplets are generated when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Any person who is in close contact with someone who has respiratory symptoms (for example, sneezing, coughing) is at risk of being exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets (1). Droplets may also land on surfaces where the virus could remain viable; thus, the immediate environment of an infected individual can serve as a source of transmission (known as contact transmission).(5).


The provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions is essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 outbreak. Ensuring good and consistently applied WASH and waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces and health care facilities will further help to prevent human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The World Health Organisation has shared the below as the most important information (1).


Frequent and proper hand hygiene is one of the most critical measures that can be used to prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. WASH practitioners should work to enable more frequent and regular hand hygiene by improving facilities and using proven behaviour change techniques.


WHO guidance on the safe management of drinking-water and sanitation services applies to the COVID-19 outbreak. Extra measures are not needed. In particular, disinfection will facilitate more rapid die-off of the COVID-19 virus.


Many co-benefits will be realized by safely managing water and sanitation services and applying good hygiene practices. Such efforts will prevent many other infectious diseases, which cause millions of deaths each year.


Can Covid-19 spread through drinking-water or sewage?


Currently, there is no evidence about the survival of the COVID-19 virus in drinking-water or sewage. The morphology and chemical structure of the COVID-19 virus are similar to those of other surrogate human coronaviruses for which there are data about both survival in the environment and effective inactivation measures.

While persistence in drinking-water is possible, there is no current evidence from surrogate human coronaviruses that they are present in surface or groundwater sources or transmitted through contaminated drinking-water.

The COVID-19 virus is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine. While there is no evidence to date about survival of the COVID-19 virus in water or sewage, the virus is likely to become inactivated significantly faster than non-enveloped human enteric viruses with known waterborne transmission.


The COVID-19 virus has so far not been detected in drinking-water supplies and based on current evidence, the risk to water supplies is low (3). however, as the virus is still so new, it is important that we take appropriate methods to slow down and prevent any chance of the virus spreading.


How do you effectively clean to prevent the spread of Covid-19?

Other human coronaviruses have been shown to be sensitive to chlorination and disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light (6). As enveloped viruses are surrounded by a lipid host cell membrane, which is not robust, the COVID-19 virus is likely to be more sensitive to chlorine and other oxidant disinfection processes than many other viruses, such as coxsackieviruses, which have a protein coat.


For effective centralized disinfection, there should be a residual concentration of free chlorine of ≥0.5 mg/L after at least 30 minutes of contact time at pH < 8.0 (4). A chlorine residual should be maintained throughout the distribution system.


Heat, high or low pH, sunlight and common disinfectants (such as chlorine) all facilitate die off.


Can Covid-19 survive on surfaces?


Yes, however, it is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems likely to behave like other coronaviruses. A recent review of the survival of human coronaviruses on surfaces found large variability, ranging from 2 hours to 9 days (2).


The survival time can depend on a number of factors (1);

  • Type of Surface.
  • Relative humidity.
  • Specific Strain of Virus.


The same review also found that effective inactivation could be achieved within 1 minute using common disinfectants, such as 70% ethanol or sodium hypochlorite.


What can businesses do to help prevent the spread of Covid-19?


We are providing disinfecting and cleaning services to help prevent the spread of this virus. We wanted to ensure that our clients and customers felt informed with enough fact to be able to make decisions to support the prevention of this virus rather than sharing fear-based headlines.


  1. Frequent and proper hand hygiene is one of the most critical measures that can be used to prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus
  2. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus and therefore is surrounded by a lipid host cell membrane, which is not robust. This means that exposure to chlorine and oxidant disinfection processes will be effective. Washing down public areas with the correct chemicals will help to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.
  3. The lipid host cell membrane of COVID-19 is also sensitive to extreme temperatures. High-temperature steam and boiling water is also a very effective way of reducing the risk of contact transmission.
  4. Download the World Health Organisation documentation on getting your workplace ready for Covid-19.
  5. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=359a81e7_6



What cleaning and disinfecting services are Spectrum offering prevent the spread of COVID-19?


Spectrum will be offering exterior cleaning and sanitation services to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have been inundated with queries, but if you do need support, please do not hesitate to contact us on hello@spectrumss.co.uk or 020 3551 6206. We have additional measures in place to support the increased demand.

We believe it is important that you do take responsibility for your public areas. Cleaning and disinfecting will be one of the major ways to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The health and well-being of our staff and partners is 100% at the forefront of our actions, and in addition to this, we will be following and communicating the current government advice.




  1. WHO/2019-NcOV/IPC_WASH/2020.1
  2. Kampf G, Todt D, Pfaender S, Steinmann E. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents. J Hosp Infect. 2020;104(3):246−51. doi:10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022.
  3. Chen N, Zhou M, Dong X, Qu J, Gong F, Han Y, et al. Epidemiological and clinical characteristics of 99 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan, China: a descriptive study. Lancet. 2020;395:507–13. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30211-7.
  4. Guidelines for drinking-water quality, fourth edition, incorporating the first addendum. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2017 (http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/254637/1/9789241549950- eng.pdf, accessed 3 March 2020).
  5. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2020 (https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public, accessed 3 March 2020).
  6. SARS-CoV-2 − water and sanitation. Adelaide: Water Research Australia; 2020 (http://www.waterra.com.au/_r9544/media/system/attrib/file/2199/WaterRA_FS_Coronavirus_V10.p df, accessed 3 March 2020).



Additional useful information:










Website Blog Banner 17.02.20 4 1 - Why does render crack?

Why does render crack?

Why does render crack?


Render has been used to protect the exterior of properties and improve their aesthetic appearance for generations. Over the years, render has been made from a variety of materials, all of which have been selected for their particular protective qualities.


A lot of the time, render is used to cover up irregular surfaces or cheap building materials like breeze blocks. It is less commonly used to cover high quality materials like brick and stone. Using render to cover less aesthetically-pleasing materials can help builders to achieve a great finish on a low budget. However, it can also create a number of issues if the materials or the render aren’t used properly.


If the render on your building is beginning to crack, identifying the underlying issue will help you to resolve the problem, protect your property and prevent the cracks from reappearing in the future. Keep reading to find out more.


The problem with cracks


While you may not think minor cracks on the façade of your rendered property are too serious, they’re often an indicator of an underlying issue. If this isn’t rectified, it could result in serious structural damage and ongoing issues. Fixing cracks, and finding the problems that caused them in the first place, will help you to keep your property in the best condition possible.


Structural issues


Cracks that appear in exterior render can be caused by underlying structural issues. After all, if the building itself is subsiding, or if joints, corners and other potential weak spots aren’t 100% solid, the resulting movements will inevitably cause the render to crack. If you suspect this might be the cause of the cracks in your render, you’ll need to call a structural engineer in to take a closer look. Once the structural problem is correctly resolved, you shouldn’t have any more issues with the render.


The render dried out too quickly


If the water evaporates from the render too quickly when it’s first applied, there may not be enough time for the render to properly bond. This can result in a blotchy and uneven appearance and cracks can occur.


This issue is most common with dry-mix renders. To prevent it affecting your property, make sure render is applied in moderate temperatures. If you think the render is drying too quickly, simply splash it with water to slow it down.




Wind, rain and extremes of heat and cold can really take their toll on external render. Like all building materials, render has a lifespan, so if the render on your building is getting old, the cracks could be down to weathering.


Sand and cement renders are particularly prone to weathering as they’re less elastic – and so less forgiving – than many modern renders. Luckily, a lot of render now comes with added polymers. These help to make the render more pliable and more waterproof, two things that can help to minimise the effects of weathering.


Rising damp


Rising damp can have a serious impact on the structure of a building. It occurs when water travels from the bottom of a building upwards via capillary action. As it goes, it can cause walls to bulge, floorboards to warp and render to crack.


If this is the underlying issue at your property, you’ll probably notice other signs of damp alongside your cracked render. If you’re unsure if this is the problem, ask a surveyor to cast their professional eye over the building. There are a number of ways of treating rising damp. Your surveyor should be able to recommend the most appropriate option for your property.


Incorrect application


Render that has been applied incorrectly is a lot more likely to crack. One of the most common mistakes is missing fibreglass mesh. When render is applied correctly, fibreglass mesh is embedded in the basecoat layer. The mesh is applied in overlapping strips. This reinforces the entire surface of the basecoat and increases its tensile strength.


When this layer is done properly, it minimises any movements in the structure of the building. This goes a long way to eliminating cracks and ensuring a smooth, even finish.


In other cases, cracks may appear when the incorrect render has been chosen for the property. This is especially common when sand and cement render is applied to high performance block work. These high quality blocks are more elastic than sand and cement and so, when the blockwork shifts slightly, the render cracks.


This problem is difficult to rectify once the render has been applied. However, it can be avoided by checking which materials have been used for the substrate before the work begins. Choosing the right render for the substrate can make a big difference to its longevity and help to avoid future maintenance issues.


Maintaining modern render


In order to prevent cracks, discolouration and blotches appearing on the surface of a rendered building, the render needs to be properly maintained. This involves regularly treating the surface of the render to remove mould and algae and checking the render for faults and imperfections.


Spectrum has developed a patented render cleaning process that quickly and effectively removes stains, kills algae and returns render to its original aesthetic condition. Carried out using superheated steam and specially selected biocides, the process is incredibly efficient and can transform the look of a building finished with modern render.


Before we begin the cleaning process, our team carries out detailed building surveys. This gives us the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the property for existing cracks and faults. These are then reported to the property owner so they can be rectified before they cause more serious issues. The survey also allows us to properly identify the type of render that’s been used on the property. We can then select the correct cleaning process for the project.


If you’d like to learn more about the services we offer, or speak to us about a render cleaning project of your own, get in touch today or take a look around our site.maxresdefault 1024x576 - Why does render crack? shutterstock 1162311658 - Why does render crack?