ASWS addresses lead paint issues during Dover Street contract





As an acknowledged specialist in dealing with the presence of lead paint, as well as the restoration of all types of metal windows, Associated Steel Window Services (ASWS) has carried out a detailed contract on behalf of Collins Construction during the refurbishment of 35 Dover Street in London.

The London-based company was selected to carry out the painstaking work, which required multiple applications of a non-toxic poultice strip, as the result of its previous involvement with the main contractor on other high profile projects.  ASWS’s team of highly trained operatives was involved across four of the five storeys to the  former ‘Empress Club’ and  office building, striping and restoring a total of 36 large steel windows and screens.
The use of lead paint was banned 30 years ago on health grounds, which means its presence is almost always masked by later coats of modern gloss paint; but trying to remove the build up by sanding or heat risks exposing workers to inhaling the harmful heavy metal. ASWS can offer other methods of paint removal, but chemical stripping was the best option for Dover Street, to take the frames back to bear metal for repairs to commence.

Director of ASWS, Kris Bennell, commented: “The options for on-site paint removal are limited, but they do include grit blasting which can be noisy, has to be tented, and requires the provision of cleaning and changing facilities allocated just to the operatives involved. The second alternative is using hand-held chipping and scraping tools, which still generate significant vibration and dust hazards; or there is the poultice chemical removal.”
Kris continues, “At Dover Street we applied between five and seven coats of the epoxy paste to the windows – some of which were quite large – and this has to remain for 24 to 72 hours before being scraped off.  Not only is the paint retained within the ‘poultice’, but the lead is neutralised and converted into a manageable form, which is bagged and removed by an approved waste management company.  The actual repairs involved replacing broken hinges and some corroded frame sections and the overhaul and the fitting of new single glazing into the very shallow, 3mm upstands. We also undertook the full redecoration of the windows.”  
ASWS can provide a full range of services for the repair or replica replacement of metal windows - from the early wrought iron and traditional Medium Universal section, through to mid and late century aluminium curtain walling. Options include the addition of draught-striping and a switch from single to double-glazing for improved energy performance, as well as the replacement or polishing of all ironmongery.    
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