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Conservation: An overnight success

18 March 2013
The walls after cleaning with super-heated water.

Londoners may have noticed that the wall in front of St Pancras railway station is no longer dull and drab, but bright red sandstone and brick. 

London Underground contracted AGS Renovations to clean this flagship station in preparation for the 2012 Olympics.

The English Heritage listed structure posed various challenges due to its delicate substrate and limited methods of working.

The transformation was carried out in the early hours of the mornings – between 1am and 4.30 – to minimise disruption. It took eight weeks to complete the project.

Although there are fewer people and vehicles out in the early hours of the morning it is still surprisingly busy and some of the people that were out and about enjoying themselves had to be dissuaded from trying to help out. 

The project included work on the walls at the front of the Renaissance Hotel (previously known as St Pancras Chambers). Using mobile-access platforms and Stonehealth’s Torc gentle abrasive and Doff superheated water systems, AGS gently removed years of street grime, water-ingress marks, calcification and carbon deposits.

Initially, as agreed with English Heritage, the whole project was going to be carried out using the Doff system. However, there was a lot of carbon and calcification build-up on the stone arches that Stonehealth’s Torc system was more suitable for. 

AGS Renovations worked in partnership with Tim Crowe of Stonehealth, who visited the site throughout the project and worked along with English Heritage to determine the best solutions for cleaning without damaging the substrate. 

The client was so happy with the work that further work was added to the scope, including cleaning additional areas of the Renaissance hotel.

AGS Renovations has been using the specialist cleaning systems from Stonehealth for more than a year, after making the decision to move away from strong chemicals where possible.

John Brown, Operation Manager for AGS, told NSS: “As part of our ISO14001 commitment, we want to provide solutions that are better for the environment and safer for our staff, without compromising quality. I think we really achieved that with this project. I’m looking forward to our next challenge!”

AGS renovations is part of the AGS One group, which provides a wide range of services, including supply of safety critical and temporary staff within the rail and other environments.


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