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Rapid ESL were called to look at a project in Chineham, Basingstoke at one of the corporate style office buildings that had been empty for some time. The pigeons had taken full advantage of this fact and had moved in.

The main issue was the 4 fire escapes, one in each corner of the building. Basically, these metal framed structures have an external cladding made from wood, which offers an ideal habitat and lots of ledges for pigeons to roost on. Furthermore, they provided vital shelter and so attracted an enormous number of birds from the surrounding areas including the town centre.

These 4 and 5 storey structures had metal stairs which were plastered in pigeon fouling, rendering them highly dangerous in terms of slip and trip hazards. The other issue was that birds were also perching on the louvered sun screens and fouling down the building façade and glass all-round the building, so this also had to be protected from further issues.

Before this building can be re-let, everything had to be cleaned and proofed against further ingress and potential areas of fouling.

Our solution was to clean off the stairwells, decontaminating and making it clean inside the fire escapes, install weld mesh to prevent further ingress down to head height, then install netting and zippers at the bottom section for access as a temporary measure until the building was let, installing bird gel the ledges and louvers and the building rooftop edge to prevent roosting.

Weld mesh was used in the fire escape as this would provide a permanent solution once the building is reoccupied, vandals have been breaking into the building using the fire escape so by putting this metal barrier in, it would also deter this activity.

At the rear of the building, we needed to build a framework and install weld mesh including a gateway to allow access onto the rooftop, thus stop pigeons gaining access into the stairwell.

There were a few logistical issues with access on this building, the front of the building had a large water feature, one side had no access except a foot path, one had sloping landscaped gardens and at the rear of the building several outbuildings prevented close access so normal machines were out of the question.

We used a huge extendable boom cherry picker with an impressive 22mt outreach to do 3 sides of the building and a small spider track mounted machine to do the far side of the building. Whilst access from the rooftop would have made things easier, the Latchway System on the roof was untested and had been deployed at some point so this was not a safe working option.

We split into 3 teams and the cleaning team got cracking on the guano removal and decontamination, the meshing team started installing the mesh on the fire escapes and the other team set about building the framework on the roof section. The bird gel would be started once the meshing was completed.

As with all projects, issues do crop up, but none can be more frustrating than machine issues. Firstly, the small spider machine developed a micro switch fault and became inoperable, shortly followed by a main hydraulic line failure on the big MEWP, depositing hydraulic oil all over the car park area. Luckily our MEWP providers are highly responsive to these issues and engineers were soon on site fixing the issues – but it all adds delays to the project and at such an early stage it really is a problem.

Once all the machines are back in operation, we could proceed, but it still left us with a clean-up of the oil – none of which was foreseen or allowed for but that’s the nature of this type of project so we just have to get it done.

Time was a major factor on this project – we had basically 1 week to complete everything as this is a dark site and no personnel are present, meaning that the site manager was only available for 1 week to open the security barriers. Any delay had to be absorbed within the timeframe of the project.

Our teams do respond to pressure situations, so time was soon made up and we were back on schedule. The meshing went according to plan and soon all the fire escapes were protected. The big machine was then used to deploy the first of 9000 Bye Bird gel pots around the building on 2 ledges and the roof edge.

Meanwhile, the rooftop framework was completed and cleaning was almost finished, allowing this team to then move to cleaning up the car park. The Bird Gel installation was also on track despite the unusual positions the MEWP driver had to manoeuvre into – all our guys are fully trained in all MEWP types so enjoy the challenge of difficult driving. The little Spider MEWP had done its part and was off hired and removed from site.

This project was completed with 2 hours to spare, the weld mesh looked great and added to the overall appearance of the building, the bird gel was deployed preventing further roosting and the fire escapes were spotlessly clean. The client was very happy with our approach to managing this project, our site safety and expert driving of machines, so another successful bird prevention project was completed and signed off.