Facade cleaning in general is a high-intensity task. From managing equipment, to health and safety of the cleaning staff, to maintaining schedules impeccably and ensuring that users of the facility are not inconvenienced in any way - a lot has to be considered before, during and after the cleaning is done.
And when you add to that an entire living world - the circumstances and steps change drastically. We are talking about Green Planet - an indoor rainforest biome at Citywalk Dubai developed by Meraas - which houses more than 3,000 species of plants and animals. It is considered one of Dubai’s leading ‘edutainment’ destinations, which centers on the world’s largest man-made and life-sustaining indoor tree. And obviously a complex project of this nature brings with it many challenges and requires a specialized rope access team to carry out cleaning works to the highest of standards and within the designated timeframes.
The annual contract to clean this facility was bagged for the second time by Isnaad. Isnaad is a subsidiary of Imdaad that delivers a comprehensive range of soft FM, manpower supply, and specialized cleaning services and has established itself as a go-to service provider in the UAE. The contract covers the cleaning of both the external and internal façades of the popular attraction. And was given due to Isnaad’s commitment to health and safety, quality, efficiency and the use of eco-friendly products.
One of the key challenges that Isnaad’s team faced was the intricate design of the biodome, which is home to an indoor rainforest that spans multiple levels. The complex architectural design features external areas with multiple façades, including external and internal vertical cladding, internal vertical glass, and sloped cladding. There are also several roof cladding areas wedged between the internal vertical glass and internal vertical cladding, together with some hard-to-reach areas within the fabric walls and roof areas that had not been cleaned since the Green Planet first opened in 2016.
Another important factor was that work could only be carried out at night, outside of commercial hours. In addition, the cleaning teams had to adhere to strict animal habitat hours, which restricted technicians from using any type of lighting during the cleaning process as animals were sleeping. This created major challenges in terms of maintaining the quality of cleaning standards without disturbing any of the animals.
Likewise, internal cleaning can only be carried out after natural light enters the biodome and before commercial hours, restricting cleaning operations to just 2.5 hours per shift. The team also has to deal with a range of birds flying freely around the biodome, animals entering the work areas and horticulture works being carried out at the same time. “The client’s expectations are high, as the team is required to complete two full cycles every month, together with spot cleaning on a daily basis, within these limited working hours,” says
Green Planet’s intricate and unique architectural design has posed major challenges to cleaning operatives in the past. Since previous contractors were unable to access all areas of the building and its fabrics, the work was never fully completed. Isnaad’s highly experienced staff were able to overcome these challenges via the deployment of a complex level of Benjamin Wessendorf, Business Head, Isnaad.
rigging usually only found on offshore platforms. Due to the highly specialized nature of the techniques and equipment deployed, Isnaad was the natural choice for this project on account of its vast experience, exceptional quality of work, and ability to mobilize all necessary resources.
Despite these challenges, the team was able to access and clean all areas of the façades and ensure 100% successful completion using only a rope access system, thereby causing minimal disturbance to the plants, animals and birds that live in the environment. In addition, Isnaad has been able to clean the building using less manpower and is capable of achieving more than two cycles within a month-long period, as stipulated in the contract.
The contract for the project stipulates a minimum of two full cycles per month, as well as the daily spot-cleaning of areas soiled by bird droppings, and horticulture works, which encompass planting, adding soil, fertilizing, and plant trimming. This also involves the watering of plants above level 5 a minimum of three times per week, which only Isnaad’s team can access. All of these activities must be completed each month within the limited working hours available.
Much consideration was given to the complexity, challenges, and importance of the project while designing the implementation plan. Each team member involved also received additional training tailored to the unique needs of the project. As a result, Isnaad has not only been able to meet the KPIs, but also enhance the experience for visitors to Green Planet by introducing a new level of service excellence to the biodome.
Products and technologies used
Isnaad’s strong focus on adopting the latest innovative technologies is one of the key factors behind its enduring success. The company uses a rope access system and expert-level rigging for cleaning both the internal and external façades at Green Planet. The company has demonstrated that it has the capabilities to reach places that other companies were not able to work.
Considering the unique nature of the project, the company places a special emphasis on ensuring that all products used as part of the cleaning process are environmentally friendly, Dubai Municipality approved and must be biodegradable and therefore not harmful to any of the bird, animals, and plants or their habitats.
Training programme and safety measures
All of Isnaad’s professional cleaning technicians have undergone rigorous training in cleaning various types of surfaces with different methods, usage of chemicals, and rigging techniques in strict accordance with IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) standards. In addition, its certified technicians have received project-specific training on animal welfare and hands-on instruction on how to deal with the various animals they encounter in the workspace.
Moreover, safety has always been a top priority for Isnaad. The company adheres to the strictest international safety standards across its operations at Green Planet to safeguard not only its people and equipment, but also the habitat itself and the animals that dwell within the biodome. The team follows IRATA and other international standards to ensure flawless and guaranteed safety in the project area at all times.
The Green Planet project was awarded to Isnaad on the basis of an annual maintenance contract, which was renewed for the second time in 2020.