Cleaning : Stonehealth

Jos/Torc company Stonehealth to introduce Nebspray.

A list of buildings cleaned using the Jos / Torc gentle swirling vortex cleaning system that Stonehealth introduced to the market nearly 20 years ago reads almost like a Pevsner guide to architecture.

Jos and its successor, Torc, have been used on cathedrals (Canterbury, Salisbury, Exeter, Peterborough, Lincoln, Hereford, Chester and others), Westminster Abbey, Harrods Store, various Oxford and Cambridge colleges, the Albert Memorial, royal palaces, St Pancras railway station, the church of St Martin in the Fields, The French Embassy, the Tower of London, Lancaster House, Kings Cross Station… an incredible collection of the most historically important and sensitive buildings not only in the UK and Ireland, but increasingly also overseas, especially in the USA and Canada.

A notable recent project for Torc in America was cleaning one of the world’s largest Masonic temples (see picture below) in Philadelphia. To support customers in the Americas, Stonehealth are now planning to set up a Stonehealth company there. 

Since the original Jos system was introduced it has been developed by Stonehealth into the more efficient Torc system, although that still uses the same cleaning principle. 

Stonehealth emphasise that Torc is not a typical abrasive cleaning system. It can be sensitively controlled to meet the most exacting conservation demands, removing dirt but leaving a patina in keeping with the historic heritage of buildings cleaned with the system. It is why it has found such favour in the conservation sector.

As well as Jos and Torc, Stonehealth have introduced into the UK conservation and restoration market the Doff cleaning system, which uses super-heated water in a highly controllable, sensitive manner for removing particularly stubborn dirt and paint. Later came Clean-Film, a latex-based dry method for internal cleaning that can be carried out while the building is still in use.

Stonehealth are currently restructuring, with Sue Bilney, previously Office Administrator, being promoted to General Manager with overall responsibility for the company’s offices and workshop in Dursley, Gloucestershire. Newly joined is Phil Ellis, who has taken up the role of Technical Executive with special responsibility for new product development.

Stonehealth were always known for their innovative ideas and developments and have now recovered that drive, they say, and are developing more new products. 

One such development is a flexible modular nebulous spray system that will be known as Nebspray. While Torc, when used correctly by trained operatives, is a exceptionally gentle and effective method of cleaning without damage, Nebspray will give the market an additional cleaning option. They say there are other ideas in the pipeline that will be launched in due course.

Stonehealth have developed a reputation for assisting both their contractor customers and specifiers, and while they do not carry out the actual cleaning, they are frequently commissioned to carry out feasibility studies and assist in the preparation of specifications.

The Stonehealth Approved List of contractors has gone some way towards improving standards of cleaning buildings. Specifiers increasingly want contractors and particularly their operatives checked out before a contract is awarded. They want evidence of training and competence in operator abilities. To assist, Stonehealth are reviewing the procedures and maintenance of their Approved List. A sample of responsible contractors has indicated their approval of a further tightening up of the Approved List, including a regular review of each operative’s competence.

Stonehealth do not derive any financial benefit from the maintenance of the Approved List. Neither do they receive or desire any royalty or commission from contractors who work is referred to, as the company wish to maintain an impartial position.