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Case Study – Footscray Plaza Shopping Centre Graffiti Removal

Posted 21 Nov by

Customer – Footscray Plaza

Suburb – Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria

Property Type – Shopping centre

Property Description – Footscray Plaza is a nine-floor, multi-residential, mixed-use, and retail development in Melbourne’s inner-west.

Reason for Call out – Graffiti vandalism over five floors of the shopping plaza.

Initial assessment – We were called in to the shopping centre in Melbourne’s inner west due to graffiti vandalism. Upon arriving the property manager showed us where the graffiti damage had occurred. It was pretty surprising to see the murals extended up to five storeys – from the ground floor parking lot to the balconies of some of the apartments above. There was definitely some risk involved by climbing the building’s external steel beam structure and tagging the alucobond facade of the building.

It was pretty obvious to tell from the type of spray paint used, and the extent of the damage that this was most likely caused by someone who knew what they were doing, and not simply an amateur out to to post a few tags and make a statement. The murals had been painted a couple of months before we were called, which makes removal more challenging. The problem with this is that when the paint is exposed to the sun for a long time, it essentially gets ‘baked on’ and is more difficult to remove. The external cladding also had a plastic-like surface, which was a concern as often chemicals used to remove paint can often result in an unwanted chemical reaction. It became obvious that what was thought to be a relatively straight forward job, turned into a big one once we realised the severity of the vandalism.

Description of work performed – At first we tried the high pressure water gun, but due to the fact that the paint had set hard in the sun, it was a slow and tedious process. As an alternative, we gave the client the option of performing a “trial patch” using graffiti cleaner. This is essentially a spray-on chemical specifically designed to remove graffiti. We apply the product onto the affected area, leave it on for about 10 minutes, after which the paint can be removed using a wet rag and lots of scrubbing.

The client agreed to the trial, and we worked on a small test patch, which worked well. We quoted on the cost of cleaning the façade compared to repainting it, and the graffiti cleaning option, using chemicals with hand cleaning, was more cost-effective for the client, so he gave us the go-ahead.

One of the challenges was to prevent the paint from dripping further down the façade as it diluted. To avoid this happening, we added a water pressure spray to the process.

Areas of property treated – The external cladding over five floors was treated with graffiti removal spray and then scrubbed off by hand using rags and a water pressure machine.

Considerations – The spray paint, along with the chemicals needed to remove it, are toxic. We made sure our team wore protective clothing, respirators, and goggles. They also needed to use ropes to access the damaged areas, which meant they had to take special care not to expose the protective ropes to the chemicals. Long-term chemical exposure to the harness and other items can lead to deterioration if they are not properly cleaned when a job is completed.

To protect residents of the building and the public, an exclusion zone was set out in the car park below to ensure safety for everyone.

Preventative recommendations – Unfortunately, Footscray is a high-risk area for graffiti vandalism. We suggested that the building be treated with an anti-graffiti product. If the building is vandalised in the future, removal, along with the cleaning process, would be much easier. We also talked about the importance of removing graffiti as soon as it occurs, rather than waiting a couple of months, which worsens the problem. As an extra measure, we also recommended they review their security measures, including building monitoring systems and cameras.

Customer feedback/thoughts – The client was pleased with the solution we offered them, which was both effective and affordable. It also enabled them to avoid having to repaint the building.

Duration – Although it was a big job, in the end, it only took a team of two from Off Your Wall three days to complete.

Summary – We work with our clients to offer the best cost-effective solution for graffiti damage, as well as providing long-term solutions to lower the risk of being hit by vandals. We also offer wall treatments that protect the façade or walls of a property from spray paint, so it to be removed with ease if vandals hit it again.

End result below upon completion.

Have graffiti vandals hit your building?

Off Your Wall works all across Melbourne, removing graffiti tags or murals placed on residential and commercial buildings by vandals. Our cleaners are trained in the latest and safest paint cleaning techniques, putting the safety of your family or clients first. We adhere to strict safety regulations, are fully licensed and insured, giving you peace of mind knowing that we are fully covered for work-cover and public liability.

Punctuality, efficiency, and quality workmanship are part of Off Your Wall’s values. We look forward to discussing with you how we can help solve your graffiti problem today and put in place precautions to prevent damage occurring in the future.

Contact our experts at Off Your Wall for more information about our graffiti cleaning service.