When working with stainless steel assets, a lot of attention is put into getting the 'pre-install' aspects right. Design, specification, fabrication, and commissioning are all equally important, but how the stainless steel in these assets is cared for and maintained is just as critical for optimum life and performance.
ASSDA Member Kleanwell specialises in asset management through the provision of cleaning and maintenance programs. Their work focuses on products where stainless steel is predominant - lift and elevator cladding, facades, awnings, and ducts among many others.
Jessica Wehbe, Director of Strategic Relationships at Kleanwell, says there is a clear gap in awareness and communication between the pre- and post-installation stages, where contractors "do not know how to maintain their assets and the client at the end of the day is left scratching their head". Jessica strongly believes there is a need for "clear communication between all parties that are involved from the design, manufacturing and installation, and maintenance teams" at the very early stages. This presents opportunities to set strong specifications (properly aligned to desired maintenance budgets and plans) and expectations around future material performance.
The well-worn phrase "stainless steel is low maintenance, not NO maintenance" should be embedded as early as possible.
A recent project Kleanwell completed at Sydney Olympic Park involved major restoration works to 21 lift landing doors with 15 years of poor maintenance. The before and after images show a dramatic improvement, however, pit-like artefacts remain. A basic cleaning regime implemented post-commissioning would likely have resulted in better aesthetics and lower cost than the recent history shows.
According to ASSDA Technical Specialist Dr Graham Sussex, some useful things to remember are:
- If an adjacent window needs cleaning, clean the stainless steel as well.
- Regular planned washing preserves the stainless lustre.
- NEVER use abrasives or bleach when cleaning stainless steel.