Neath and Port Talbot Council are a local council responsible for organising the cleaning works, in collaboration with Welsh Heritage (CADW) who are responsible for the historic environment service across the whole of Wales. The Council and CADW, were assigned to finding a safe and sympathetic method for cleaning and removing the graffiti from the heritage site.
This historically significant location, known as the Riverside Works at Neath Abbey. The cleaning and graffiti removal works had to be careful coordinated and scheduled consent was required to be obtained to restore the site. Alongside this, we had to gain approvals from the Neath and Port Talbot’s street care department. We worked closely with CADW to help them understand the benefits of blasting soda, providing video footage and proof that blasting soda is a safe and sympathetic solution for removing graffiti from listed buildings. It was the method used to clean the Statue of Liberty.
Our blasting soda service was approved to be used to restore the Riverside Works’ site aesthetic appeal and remove the graffiti using blasting soda. Here we will explain our approach of using blasting soda to remove graffiti, the solution implemented and the positive outcome achieved.
Neath and Port Talbot Council, along with CADW needed a solution to remove the graffiti at Riverside Works. As the council-owned land was a heritage site, obtaining scheduled monument consent and involving Welsh Heritage. CADW were the governing body responsible for the historic preservation in Wales, which was crucial.
The first challenge we needed to address for this project is the material of the listed building. Neath Abbey Iron Works is made from delicate stone. Alongside this, we had to conduct comprehensive work specifications and risk assessments that needed to be approved by CADW and Neath and Port Talbot Council. We had to be mindful of the public visiting the Riverside Works and take this into account when conducting our work. The project required the use of our specialised blasting soda equipment to ensure that the building’s facade was restored safely and effectively.
APT were called in to provide heritage building restoration, stone cleaning and graffiti removal to the historic building in Neath. We were invited to submit a quotation for the facade cleaning and graffiti removal in South Wales. Our unique blasting soda method for graffiti removal allowed and our experience of cleaning historic buildings allowed us to be selected to complete the project.
We presented blasting soda, which is a unique and specialised cleaning technique used to remove unwanted paint, coatings, dirt, grime, and other contaminants from various surfaces. It involves the use of compressed air and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) particles, which are propelled at high speed onto the surface being cleaned.
The sodium bicarbonate particles used in soda blasting are non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and water-soluble, making it a safe and sustainable cleaning method. The particles are gentle enough to clean delicate surfaces like wood, fiberglass, and certain metals without causing abrasion or surface erosion. This makes soda blasting particularly suitable for sensitive applications, such as graffiti removal from historic structures or the restoration of delicate stone surface.
During our 30 years of historic building restoration, we have worked with several of the leading conservation architects who have been impressed with blasting soda for graffiti removal. Upon consultation with Cadw, sodablasting was accepted as the appropriate method for graffiti removal at Riverside Works. This decision was based on its effectiveness in eliminating graffiti without causing harm to the underlying historic structure or material.
Neath and Portalbot, in collaboration with CADW, developed a detailed plan for the soda blasting process, ensuring that all necessary precautions were taken to protect the heritage site during the cleaning operation. Our accredited and specialist technicians then performed soda blasting to clean and stone surfaces and remove graffiti.
The implementation of sodablasting as the chosen solution yielded positive outcomes:
Scheduled Monument Consent: Cadw granted the required scheduled monument consent, validating the approach and ensuring compliance with heritage preservation regulations.
Graffiti Removal: Neath and Portalbot’s streetcare department successfully attended the site and utilized sodablasting techniques to remove the graffiti, restoring the aesthetic appeal of Riverside Works.
Preservation of Heritage: By employing a gentle and precise cleaning method like sodablasting, the underlying historic structure and materials were safeguarded from any potential damage.
Stakeholder Satisfaction: The group managing Riverside Works expressed their satisfaction with the graffiti removal process, as the site’s heritage significance remained intact while achieving a clean and graffiti-free appearance.
“We Commissioned APT to undertake graffiti removal on heritage structures in Neath Port Talbot as we knew they had experience of undertaking this specialised work. They worked with us to arrange convenient times for access to sites and in ensuring the conditions for Scheduled Monument consent were adhered to. We were very pleased with the end results.”
Community Heritage Officer – Neath & Port Talbot Council
If you’re a business or individual seeking graffiti removal for sensitive surfaces or even listed buildings, we will always put forward blasting soda as the ideal cleaning method. We operate nationwide, covering all areas of Wales, Gloucester, Herefordshire, South West of England, Birmingham, all the way to Leeds. Our team of dedicated experts are happy to discuss your heritage cleaning requirements. Contact us today to discuss your projects and provide a site survey.