Yeah, I was thinking that. I was just done talking to the client and quickly threw this thread up because I didn't have time for a detailed explanation.
More specifically, their whole ceiling is full of I-Beams, metal trellises, ducting, cables, conduits, all painted black, about 14-16 feet up. Their lighting is suspended on cables hanging from the ceiling. There is white dust everywhere, in all the nooks and crannies, and we're talking about 20,000 square feet of hallways and offices, if not more. Even their walls have a fine white dust when you wipe your hand.
I initially told the manager that I am not equipped to handle a job that size. Far more equipment than I have would be needed, not to mention probably 30 people, and they would want it all done within a day. He's begging me to give them a quote, that they will give me 3 or 4 days if required. I told him that getting the whole ceiling clean would be the problem, that it is very labor intensive if they want every speck of dust gone.
He said that the ceiling shouldn't be a problem, I can just use a blower. Common sense tells me that freshly painted surfaces often trap dust, especially if it is tacky.
So which is it, easy breezy with a blower, or a pain in the @#$!#$???
Listen to Shane without vacuums you can not do that job. If you use a blower you will just move the dust from one wall to the other never ever use blowers. you can sweep the walls if you wrap your brooms with micro fiber towels. Don't use any wet towels if you are working on flat paint you'll make a mess. Good luck.
I like the microfiber towel idea. I was worried that I was going to ruin their freshly painted walls with washing.
The problem with blowing is that a lot of that dust will remain suspended in the air and it will resettle days after I'm done cleaning, after which they'll come back saying the job wasn't done right. A friend who is in asbestos removal said that ideally I need air moving machines with HEPA filters, and work in sections using plastic, to thoroughly filter the air if I am thinking of blowing the dust off. Given the industry he's in, I can see where that is standard practice.
Another idea is to see if we can blow the dust right after they're done with construction, and wait 2 or 3 days before moving in to do the cleaning. Yes, we'd still need vacuums, but the dust on the ceiling wouldn't be as bad. I just wonder how long gypsum dust hangs in the air, especially with air conditioning blowing it around.
My asbestos friend also said that I might be inviting some kind of liability with people that have dust allergies if I don't filter the air completely. I should probably start with doing construction or remodel cleaning with homes and small offices first. I'd hate to pay for all that labor only to find that it wasn't done right and I'm either forced to pay for more labor to do it all again, or not get paid at all.
As the saying goes, if you're not the shark, you're the one getting eaten.
Blowing would be a bad idea for another reason. You could possibly force dust into the air ducts that will be blown back into the building once the final cleaning is complete. Which will cause you to have to redo a portion of the cleaning and further delayed payment.
As Shane said, vaccum, vaccum and vaccum. Backpack with 20" hard floor attachments are the way to go. If it is very dusty, be aware that you will have to empty out the vaccums frequently and that your crew empty them outside in a trash can away from any entrance doors or open windows. With the hard floor attachment, you can also vacuum the ceiling tiles.
You have to vac and use towels to wipe it clean but a air comprsser to get in the hard to reach areas works great, Also are they going to have a lift for you or is it all ladder work. Also having someone get up in the ceiling and go over your work with a fine tooth comb is very rare, I have had this happen once and we have done alot of these services.
It's funny, but we just visited a home yesterday that had extensive remodeling done to it less than 2 months ago. The job was complete, with people moved in and everything, but they said the place gets dusty frequently. The ladies cleaned everything, I did their carpets, and today they called me saying nothing was done because the blinds, the shelves, the toilets, everything was still dusty. The lady flat out yelled at me and had a bunch of expletives to say about our service.
Now I realize that the remodeling was likely followed by a bad post-construction cleanup job. That it's necessary to trap every bit of dust instead of blowing it around. As for the woman who yelled at me... no big loss there. I tried to explain the cause of their dust problem, if nothing else, for the sake of their health, but you can probably imagine how well that went over.
I appreciate all the help. You guys are awesome. You've saved me lots of headaches, not to mention labor cost and time. So would it be considered routine to use a big air mover and filter as much as possible from the air as well?
I was researching construction clean up years ago. Scraping mortar off the windows will be a pain. I'm glad I passed on that. I thought I was ready to roll until I was told I need workmans comp insurance.