National challenges – “The greatest challenge by far is that there is no window cleaning culture in Italy. Education as a window cleaner is not a state-recognised profession, nor is there an understanding of why windows need to be cleaned on a regular basis”, says Francesco Favole of Unger Italy.
This makes the work of professionals even more difficult when residential, commercial and industrial buildings need to be cleaned following long periods of soil accumulation. The windows are often subjected to lime deposits and oxidation stains. Cleaning such seriously soiled windows requires special tools and special technical knowledge. “Windows can often only be accessed with costly aids”, explains Favole. Many customers therefore prefer to leave their windows dirty.
A further key issue, particularly in the industrial sector, is the low quality of window frames and construction material. Colours quickly fade and soil the window with traces of lime.
Cleaning methods – Italy is still a developing country in terms of pure water cleaning. Only a fraction of its window cleaning operations make use of pure water systems. 95 per cent of all professionals still work with washers, squeegees, spray and rags.
Rules and regulations – Up until a few years ago, anyone could theoretically rent a lifting platform and clean windows at height. “This is no longer possible today. Now permits are required in order to use a lifting platform and to work at height”, explains Favole. There is a trend towards waterfed pole systems.
National challenges – The greatest challenge among France’s window cleaning professionals is attaining free access to windows. Here windows are often at height. “And windows in France are often installed with window glazing. The outer surface of these windows can only be cleaned from the outside,” says Guillaume Ferradou of Unger France.
Cleaning methods – The classic window cleaning methods with washer, squeegee and cloth continue to be the most widespread in France. Yet pure
water cleaning is gaining ground.
Rules and regulations – For safety reasons there are laws in place in France that govern working at height when it comes to window cleaning. And professionals require a special license to operate and work on lifting platforms.
National challenges – One of the greatest challenges for Scandinavian window cleaners is the architecture of modern buildings. “Buildings are becoming higher and higher. This of course makes access to windows even more difficult. Architects are no window cleaners,” says Henrik Thögersen of Unger Scandinavia. The climatic situation in northern countries provides for further difficulties. “We have long and cold winters in Sweden and Norway. During these periods, window cleaning often comes to a complete standstill,” explains Thögersen.
Cleaning method – Pure water in Scandinavian countries has not played a role up to now. The main method is the traditional one of washer and scraper.
Rules and regulations – As in many European countries, Scandinavia also has laws on working at height.
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Pure water systems have not yet greatly prevailed in the Asia-Pacific region. Whereas the demand for such systems is rising in Australia and New Zealand, pure water technology has hardly been established in the other countries, such as China and south-east Asia, if at all.
National challenges – The Asia- Pacific region is very diverse. Each country has its own climate-based challenges. Window cleaning operations in Australia and New Zealand for instance, have to deal with problems pertaining to water hardness and fierce competition. Windows in Japan and Korea are often in the direct vicinity of electrical connections. This makes the use of waterfed poles difficult. These countries are also faced with extreme weather conditions – hot summers and long cold winters. This makes window cleaning additionally difficult. In the south-east Asian regions, windows are generally cleaned very rarely. Pure water systems often reach their limits in the face of such greatly soiled windows. Here, a conventional basic cleaning has to be performed first.
Cleaning methods – Pure water systems have not yet greatly prevailed in the Asia-Pacific region. Whereas the demand for such systems is rising in Australia and New Zealand, pure water technology has hardly been established in the other countries, such as China and south-east Asia, if at all. Here windows are exclusively cleaned using conventional methods. Targeted training concepts are therefore needed in order to educate window cleaning companies about modern pure water systems.
Rules and regulations – As different as the countries are, the governing national laws pertaining to window cleaning are just as diverse. For instance, some are concerned with the use of suspension systems. For instance, these are entirely forbidden in Singapore. And there are great regional differences in terms of legislation in Australia and New Zealand. – Ungerglobal.com