Pigeon Fouling Extreme Clean in Newbury
The Old Stirling Cables factory has long been a landmark in Newbury, West Berkshire but is soon destined to be luxury flats and houses on this once prosperous site. The factory has been closed for about 20 years but the offices and outbuildings have been used up until a few years ago. Pigeons soon moved in and took over the main factory, but as the population expanded moved into the offices as well.
Rapid Environmental Services were asked to propose a solution to clean up the pigeon fouling in both the main factory and the adjacent offices in readiness for surveyors to work safely around the site and to protect the offices in particular from further ingress by pigeons.
Hundreds of Pigeons had made this their home and the population has increased dramatically over the last few year, creating a massive problem with guano. Constant fouling has covered all surfaces making the whole area highly dangerous in terms of pathogens and rotting of the floors posing a major risk and health issue.
The challenges faced were:
- Displacement of a huge population of pigeons at all stages of breeding and nesting in both buildings (mostly in the factory which we left in situ)
- Using effective cleaning and decontamination methods to ensure such a large area could be cleaned and decontaminated
- Removing the waste created and disposing of this safely
- Installing bird netting and mesh in broken window frames in the office area to stop further ingress
- Working on top of a 2-storey high internal roof inside the factory which had been subject to 20 years of damp and rot – the actual floor integrity was unknown, so fall prevention methods had to be used at all times
We used two teams to tackle the problem – one team in the office area and one team in the factory.
The office team had to literally move every bit of office furniture from one area, clean it and stack it on the other side of the building. This laborious task allowed each item to be decontaminated and cleaned, containing the contamination at each stage. Once the furniture and equipment were cleaned, the walls and floors could then be cleaned and all carpets removed for disposal.
Once cleaned the temporary bird proofing was removed and permanent proofing was installed, checking to ensure no birds were trapped inside. Surprisingly, there were no chicks in this building to remove – even though we had our local wildlife rescue teams on standby to collect any chicks found.
In the factory, the floor was covered in up to 150mm thick of packed guano, all of which had to be shovelled and bagged by hand, then lowered down on ropes to the skip below. Starting at one edge, the team worked right across the building over a period of a few days. Each worker was secured to beams and other safe structures with fall prevention harnesses and fall arrestors in case the floor suddenly gave way.
Once the bulk guano had been removed, then a final clean and decontamination could take place, leaving the area completely free of pathogens. Everything was cleaned by hand – using jet washes was not an option due to uncontrolled run-off of waste water and the potential of pathogens getting into water courses.
Overall, 5.6 tonnes of bird excrement was removed for the site, each bag was roped down by hand and placed in a 40mt skip so as not to risk bags splitting and contaminating other areas of the site.
The cleaning process took 5 shifts for 2 teams to complete.
The structures were fully cleaned and decontaminated to allow surveyors to carry out their work. The office is completely bird free, but the factory could never be fully free of birds due to the many levels and holes on the 40mt tower. No birds were harmed in the cleaning of this structure.
The client feedback was very positive, particularly about our approach to dealing with this problem, our safety and methodology, satisfying all pre-requisites of the project.