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FAQs

What is conservation cleaning?

Conservation cleaning is all about removing damaging and disfiguring dust – but doing it in the right way, with the right equipment and at the right interval. Getting all that right means we won’t lose any of the object itself and the historic information associated with it during the process. Please see our services page for more information.

What areas of the UK do you cover?

We are based near Kendal so are particularly well placed to work across the North of England and Scotland, including the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. However, we’re happy to travel for work further afield. It’s always worth getting in touch for a chat.

What happens after I contact you?

We will ask you for details of the work. If we do not know the site or collection, we prefer to make a site visit first. If that is not practical then we will ask for photographs and more information about access and special requirements. We will send you a proposal and estimate for the work, usually calculated on an hourly or a whole-project basis and we’re always happy to talk and answer questions.

What do I need to do before you arrive?

Whenever reasonably possible we will make a site visit first and discuss what needs to be done and how we can achieve it together. For example, we might agree that you will move certain items before we arrive, arrange changes to a visitor route or make sure pets are kept in a safe place.

Do you bring the cleaning materials or do I need to provide them?

We have specialised cleaning equipment and will bring everything with us. All we need from you is access to power and running water. We only use conservation-approved, inert materials and our equipment is designed or modified to prevent damage during cleaning.

Do you clean things where they are or do you take them away?

We will clean things in situ, or in an appropriate space on your premises.

How many cleaners will come to do the work? Will I meet them first?

Angela and Margaret will usually work together on any project and at least one of us will always be there. You’ll usually meet us before we begin work. If we need to bring in other suitably qualified people to help with a larger project then we will discuss that with you in advance.

How do you go about cleaning a whole room?

Our approach for a whole room is a top to bottom clean, dealing with every surface and object unless there is a conservation reason not to or we have agreed otherwise with you. We treat each object individually in order to apply the most appropriate cleaning method.

How long does it take?

This can be hard to estimate precisely as it could depend, for example, on how bonded the dust is with the object or whether we discover something unexpected during our work. We will give you an estimate based on our initial assessment and will review progress regularly and let you know if there are likely to be changes to the time taken.

How much will it cost?

Each job is different depending on the needs of the client and the object. We will give you a quote based on an hourly, daily or whole project basis and will take into account the complexity of the work and nature of the objects involved. For a long term project, or one where unknown factors make it impossible to estimate time precisely, we will agree with you the most appropriate way of managing costs.

Are you willing to clean just one object?

Yes, we’re happy to help with one object or a whole project. Just get in touch and we can talk about it.

What won’t you clean?

If we believe that cleaning a particular object could lead to damage, we will not do it. This could be because we believe that it is not stable enough for even gentle cleaning, or because it requires specialist help beyond the scope of our expertise. If this is the case, we will let you know and will help you find the appropriate specialist conservator. If we believe an object contains a harmful substance, which is already hazardous, or which could become dangerous as a result of disturbance during cleaning (e.g. asbestos), we will let you know and help you find someone who can deal with the issue.

The things in my house are not very old but they are very delicate. Can you still help?

Your possessions are precious to you and are the historic collections of the future. We treat everything in the same careful way regardless of age and monetary value.

Will you make my old object look new again?

It is important that, when cleaning, we do not remove evidence of past use or the patina that comes with age. Anything we clean will look much better and be better protected from long term damage, but conservation cleaning is not about making things look new.

What about insurance?

We have professional indemnity and pubic liability insurance. Certificates are available on request. All work is subject to our standard terms and conditions which you can find under the last question on this page.

What do you do if you discover damage?

We check condition before we start cleaning and will notify you of any concerns or damage that we come across during our work. If you are aware of any damage or issues affecting your objects please let us know. We are not conservators but have good relationships with a number of conservators and can help you find appropriate help.

What about safety?

We’re serious about this and will complete a risk assessment before we start work. We work within HSE guidelines and have first aid, fire safety and health and safety training. We’ll also ask you to tell us if you are aware of any dangerous materials in your collection (e.g. asbestos, mercury, radioactive materials).

How do you protect my collection from damage while you are cleaning it?

We minimise risk by only moving what is necessary. Items that need moving will be packed in crates and moved to a safe location agreed by you. This means we can move more quickly and safely around the room. We pad work surfaces and use beanbags as required to support objects when cleaning. We do all the work ourselves or with trained and supervised assistants. There will always be two of us working together to facilitate safe object handling.

What are your green credentials?

We prolong the life of existing objects and interiors in an environmentally sustainable way. We re-use and recycle and use natural materials wherever possible and the cleaning substances we use are gentle on objects and on the environment.

What is preventive conservation?

Preventive conservation is about the simple things we can do to prevent damage happening to historic objects. Even a small change in how you treat them or what you do with the environment around them can make a big difference.

What are your terms and conditions?

TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT 1. Our Appointment These Terms of Engagement set out the general terms on which we provide our Services to you. When you engage us to work on a new project, we will normally send you an Engagement Letter confirming your instructions to us and the scope of our work for you. The terms of the Engagement Letter and these Terms of Engagement will together form the agreement between us. 2. Communication For the sake of convenience, we are happy to communicate with you using normal, non-encrypted email. This form of email is not secure and there is a risk to you if we communicate confidential information to you in this way. We cannot accept liability for any communication which is intercepted or otherwise falls into the hands of those other than the intended recipient. We will assume that we have your consent to communicate with you by this method, unless you advise us otherwise. 3. Fees Our charging method will be set out in the Engagement Letter but will usually be based on a total project fee or hourly rates. In setting our fees, we take into account: • the nature, complexity and implications of the work • the nature of the objects involved and ease of access Estimates we give are a guide to assist you in budgeting, but should not be seen as a definitive quotation unless this is specifically agreed in writing. We reserve the right to increase our agreed hourly rate but will not do so without prior notification and discussion with you. Depending on the nature of the project and materials and equipment involved, we may require a deposit of 25%, payable on acceptance of the estimate. We will confirm this in the Engagement Letter. In the event that the prices of materials or other services increase during the period between your acceptance of our estimate and the completion of the project, we will inform you of the increase and the difference it will make to the final fee. 4. Billing We will agree with you in advance whether fees will be invoiced either on a monthly basis or at the end of a project. Where our work involves purchasing materials, we will invoice you in advance for an interim payment of 25% of the estimated value of the work. You must pay the bill within 14 days from any invoice date. 5. Payment Our invoices are payable no later than 14 days from the invoice date unless we have agreed with you otherwise in writing. We may change these payment terms at any time by giving at least 30 days notice in writing. If an account is not paid in full within that period we may charge you interest on any amount outstanding from the date of the invoice until the date the bill is paid at 8% above Lloyds Bank PLC base rate per annum. Where an account is overdue we are entitled to cease working for you. 6. Confidentiality and Disclosure All information regarding your affairs will be kept confidential at all times unless you instruct us to disclose information or we are compelled to disclose it by law. Our advice and services are provided to you only and are specific to your project. They may not be relevant to other projects so you may not disclose them to anyone else without our prior written consent. 7. Data Protection Act 1998 As a controller of personal data we are under an obligation to comply with data protection law set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and any other regulations made under that Act. By giving us your personal information you consent to us processing and storing your information so that we may provide you with conservation cleaning services and generally administer and take care of our relationship with you. We will not share your personal data with any third parties for any reasons without your prior consent. 8. Documentation Recording condition is an essential part of our work. We will take photographs for condition monitoring purposes but will keep them confidentially and will only share them in accordance with your wishes as indicated on page 1 of the Engagement Letter. 9. Termination and cancellation Save as otherwise provided for in the Engagement Letter, you may terminate our engagement at any time with reasonable notice. To do so you should notify us in writing. We reserve the right to terminate our engagement by you which we will confirm in writing. All fees up to the date of termination will be charged and become due. You must give us at least 24 hours notice if it is no longer convenient for us to attend on a particular day or at a particular time. We will not invoice for cancelled visits provided such notice is given. If less than 24 hours notice is given, we reserve the right to invoice you at our normal rate. In the event that you cancel the engagement after we have already incurred non-refundable costs such as accommodation or purchase of specific materials, we will invoice you for those costs. 10. Insurance and Liability We have professional indemnity and public and products liability insurance in place. Copies of certificates are available on request. In the event that you require us to raise our level of cover for your project, we reserve the right to charge you for the cost of the upgraded cover. We will ensure that the Services are rendered with all reasonable care and skill and to a reasonable standard which is commensurate with best trade practice. We are not responsible for damage as a result of inherent vice in an object, or other reasons over which we have no control and or of which you have not made us aware. It is your duty to notify us before we start work of inherent vice in any object or of specific handling requirements not evident from visual inspection. Under no circumstances will we be responsible for damage which results from force majeure or the work or actions of third parties over whom we have no control. Under no circumstances will we be responsible for damage which results from the work or actions of third parties using our cleaning techniques without our direct supervision or approval and without appropriate training and experience. 11. Independent Services When we are asked to recommend the services of a third party (such as a conservator or consultant) we shall always do so in good faith. However, no warranty is given in respect of the standing, ability or the quality of the services of a third party. We do not accept liability for that third party’s services and you will have a contract with that third party, but not with us in respect of that third party’s goods or services. You will be responsible for the fees and expenses of that third party. 12. Excluded Advice and Services Our specialism is preventive conservation. We are not conservators and will advise you if we believe you need specialist advice beyond the scope of our Services. 13. Force Majeure We shall not be liable to you if we are unable to perform our Services as a result of any cause beyond our reasonable control. In the event of any such occurrence affecting us we shall notify you as soon as reasonably practicable. 14. Application of these terms and amendments These Terms of Engagement supersede any earlier terms of business we may have agreed with you and, in the absence of express agreement to the contrary, will apply to the services referred to in any retainer letter accompanying these Terms of Engagement and all subsequent services we provide to you. 15. Rights of Third Parties Our agreement with you is personal as between you and us and is not intended to confer any rights of enforcement on any third parties pursuant to the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999. 16. Governing Law and Jurisdiction This agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.
The parties irrevocably agree that the Courts of England and Wales shall have exclusive jurisdiction to settle any dispute or claim that arises out of or in connection with this agreement or its subject matter or formation (including non-contractual disputes or claims). 17. Consents If any consents, licenses or other permissions are needed from any third parties such as lenders, landlords or similar, it is your responsibility to obtain these in advance. It is your responsibility to notify us of the specific terms of any loan agreements or bequests that could have a bearing on our Services. 18. Access and facilities You will ensure we can access the property at the agreed times to carry out our work. If, through no fault of our own, we cannot access the property within the agreed times, we reserve the right to payment for time spent waiting for access. You will ensure that we have access to electrical outlets, toilets and a supply of running water. We will discuss with you in advance the requirements for moving heavy items or creating access. If we cannot gain access because of your failure to carry this out we reserve the right to invoice you for time spent waiting for access. 19. Health and Safety Our Services are carried out within the terms of our own risk assessments and with reference to the relevant Health and Safety legislation. If you or any third parties for whom you are responsible access our work area during the course of our Services you must observe all relevant health and safety regulations. HOG & FITCH CONSERVATION CLEANING AND COLLECT