Project Overview :

The iconic Northcote House is an outstanding grade II listed neo-Georgian mansion with traditional rendered façades. The property is located in the Sunningdale area, in close proximity to Ascot, this former site of the National School of Government is now being re-developed as part of larger development of the surrounding grounds.

We were instructed to carry out paint and render removal testing to the main house, terrace, and lower ground areas. The objective of this condition surveying and testing was to identify and record the condition and most efficient removal methods to each of these façade elements, to best understand and calculate the true value of removal, repair, and redecoration project.

This testing ultimately helps to ensure accurate costs and programme planning. A full waste removal process was also undertaken to ensure safe, effective, and environmentally friendly removal and disposal of the paint, as well as any softeners used. Every process was considered and highlighted at the outset, ensuring that the correct results were achieved, to allow smooth delivery of the project.

What did we work on?

  • Application of paint softeners and new coatings, allowing the correct time to cure. Each elevation and area of the building required a unique approach due to weather, moisture levels and temperature changes
  • Understanding the overall number of layers of coating on each elevation, at high and low level.
  • A variety of paint removal testing to determine the most successful removal solution, understand the true risks, and evaluate the room for saving through more effective removal delivery.
  • Removal of loose or flaking paint and render.


  • Application outside of a range of 5 and 25 degrees can lead to drying too quickly or moisture within the render freezing, which will see the render fail, crack, and potentially delaminate and become health and safety risk.
  • A programme which drives faster coating removal from the surface could potentially create environmental and human risks as the site and building specific waste management systems do not have the capacity to effectively capture, separate waste or breakout the waste where required. With water or steam used as a paint removal method, specific water flows need to be managed to work in line with the waste management capacity plans.


  • Hammer/tap/resonance testing.
  • Use of appropriate techniques, hand, and power tools for render removal.
  • Using ‘Super-Heated Steam’ at 130-150 degrees temperature, work methodically and horizontally across the coating surface, heating the coating to break down the bonds between the outer layers and primer.
  • Application of various paint softeners to each location.
  • Varied dwell times with each paint softener, to maximise efficiency.