News

News

17 May 2009

Guide to Stone Cleaning published


As the trade association for the natural stone industry in the UK, Stone Federation has produced a Guide to Best Practice on the Cleaning of Internal and External Masonry Surfaces to set a recognised standard of best practice for the industry. This document outlines the benefits and gives guidance on stone cleaning.

 The cleaning of a building is no simple matter and there are special considerations which call for a high degree of expertise in all elements and at all stages of stone cleaning. Specialised knowledge is necessary for the correct specification to be given for each building.

In the past, it was smoke emissions for the burning of coal that caused the soiling of buildings. Today it is vehicle exhausts and acid rain that are mainly responsible. Many studies have shown there are advantages for cleaning buildings on a regular basis.

This guide is concerned with the cleaning of natural stone, much of which forms the architectural heritage of the country.

Stone is one of the most durable of all building materials and compares favourably with others from an economic as well as an aesthetic point of view, especially when maintenance and whole life costs are taken into account.

Nevertheless, proper maintenance is essential and if this is carried out periodically with suitable skill and understanding, the greater will be the environmental and practical advantages in the preservation of the structure.

What must be stressed, however, is that in the wrong hands and by the use of the wrong processes for the materials in question, much harm can be caused, with unsightly effects resulting, some of which may not become apparent for months after the cleaning has been completed and which will be difficult, if not impossible, to remedy.

And it should be remembered that while this new Guide aims to give advice, it is not definitive. Variables exist with every project and no two projects are the same. This is why it is imperative to involve a member of Stone Federation at an early stage when the cleaning of a stone building is being considered.

It is essential that cleaning should be carried out by fully trained operatives in order to avoid any damage being caused by an inappropriate cleaning method or an incompetent operative. Remember decay can often take place around an open joint or cracked stone which cannot be seen when obscured by dirt or heavy soiling.

This Guide relates to natural stone, however, Stone Federation members who carry our stone cleaning are also knowledgeable in cleaning brickwork, concrete, terracotta and other materials and they are also covered in this Guide.

This is just the latest good practice guide from Stone Federation Great Britain. Please visit our publications section for a complete list.

 

Members' News

Stone Federation would like to congratulate former Stone Federation President, Peter Harrison for being the recipient of the stone industry's highest award, the Duke of Gloucester Gold Medal.


Peter was presented with his medal by the Duke of Gloucester himself at Worshipful Company of Masons' Master's Banquet in London's Mansion House.


The Medal, which was introduced in 2010, is awarded every two years, to honour an individual in the craft of stonemasonry or the natural stone industry whose work is of considerable merit and who is acknowledged by his or her peers for the excellence of their contribution.


The idea for recognition for those in stonemasonry was originally mooted in the 1980s when it was noted that stonemasonry did not have any kind of recognition or a supreme accolade.

 

His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester, who trained as an architect and has an affinity for stonemasonry, also felt that some form of recognition should be created and was instrumental in developing the concept of a recognition for stonemasonry befitting the millennia-old craft.

Stone Federation are a member of EuroRoc, an organisation made up of the various European Federations for the dimensional stone industry.  The aim of the group is to coordinate questions of common interest and find solutions while promoting the use of dimensional natural stone.

 

The Federation's EuroRoc representative, Michael Poultney of Albion Stone along with Peter Harrison of Harrison Goldman, attended the latest meeting held at the Verona Stone Show in October.

 

There were a range of topics discussed, but shown are four discussions points that will be of particular interest to members.

 

1. Ethical Sourcing - There are various different degrees of controls of ethical sourcing across Europe and some is at a very local level.  It was accepted that the EU should be encouraging stones from ethical sources but there was some scepticism that a system with a high degree of certainty could be found in the short term.  It was agreed that the starting point should be to pool all the experiences from the differing methods currently being used by different, Countries, companies and organisations.

2. Geographical Protection - There was considerable support from across the EU and the robust comments from the UK were considered positive.  It is back with the European Parliament on what could be a long journey to possible implementation.  

3. Reporting Figures - There was concerns that the code numbers used for reporting production, imports and exports are not recording the dimensional stone figure accurately.  It was suggested that these should be related to the harmonised Product Standards (BS EN). Michael Poultney has been in dialogue with BGS and Eric Bignell at the Natural Stone Specialist magazine about the topic earlier in the month. Euroroc will progress the matter with the relevant authorities.

4. Silica Dust - There was a mixed response about the danger of the implementation of the dust regulations and the prospects of reducing the code.  It was agreed that the experiences from the implementation from national authorities will be requested.

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With the island of Portland, from which the famous Portland limestone comes, being just off the Dorset coast from Weymouth, there could not have been a more appropriate material to use for a sculpture of the Olympic rings that has now been installed in the town that is hosting the Olympic sailing events. 

Burlington Stone has acquired the rights to quarry at Petts Quarry on Kirkstone Pass and Brathay Quarry near Ambleside following the regrettable demise of Kirkstone Quarries Ltd.

This new monument, costing £5 million, will commemorate the 55, 573 crew members of the RAF's Bobmer Command who were killed between 1939 and 1945.  The average age of those who lost their lives was just 22.

Albion Stone has recently purchased a new ‘JCB Fantini’, tractor mounted stone saw which will be used to increase efficiency in the Quarry & Mine.  This is the first machine of its type to be imported into any UK stone extraction operation. 

 

TV presenter, journalist and former conservative politician and Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo made a fascinating tour of local natural stone producer, Burlington Stone of Kirkby-in-Furness, shown on 26th January on BBC2 at 6.30pm, as part of series three of the BBC’s popular travel documentary, Great British Railway Journeys.

 

A £500,000 investment into an innovative new roof for Albion Stone’s Factory is set to save thousands of pounds a year on their electricity bills.

Albion Stone supplied over 3m³ of Jordans Basebed and Jordans Whitbed in the form of treads risers, paving and memorial stones.

Taking centre stage on The Marshalls Garden That Kids Really Want! at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May the company utilised its own indigenous natural Yorkstone block to create two striking central features in this amazing organic playground.