Wellington building cleaners develop high-rise washing machine

Wellington building cleaners are taking their craft to the next level.

Summit Building Wash has developed a machine that does the job safer, faster, cheaper and more sustainably.

They've created a machine with rolling brushes like those used in car washes - but this one's for high rises.

High-rise buildings getting the extra special treatment. A Wellington-based company wants to clean up the maintenance market.

"The idea of having abseilers, having people hanging off the side of buildings to wash buildings - I thought there must be a better way of doing it," says Summit Building Wash founder Ray Tomlinson.

The prototype has been five years in the making. It uses rotating brushes as it's moved up and down by a winch system which is powered by rechargeable batteries.

"We're able to wash a building the size of this airport building in a day. Normally that would take nine abseilers to do what we can do in one day. You're getting a far superior wash," Tomlinson says.

It's currently being trialled on the nine-storey Wellington Airport carpark.

"It's reduced water usage by about 85 percent and there's no need to use chemicals for this cleaning method so it's just a big brush scrubbing the building," says Wellington Airport facilities assistant manager Simon Hart.

Callaghan Innovation provided $120,000 in R&D funding through WellingtonNZ to develop the project further.

"It's really an entrepreneur coming together with design engineers and fabricators and creating an innovation that's got the potential to transform the whole industry," says WellingtonNZ workforce and business growth manager Matt Carrere.

There's hope it will do just that. The prototype will continue washing buildings in the capital and Auckland before the finalised machine goes to market early next year.

"Places like the States and Europe, there're massive buildings that are square glass boxes and this is ideally suited," Tomlinson says.

Kiwi ingenuity - hoping to wash people's dirty building problems away.