Bitumen Removal Using Dry Ice Blasting for ENGIE Regeneration

Thursday 15th February 2024

Ellen Warren

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ENGIE embarked on a £5.7 million renovation project in 2020 aimed at delivering a new roof to the Grade II listed Smithfield Poultry Market in London. The building, constructed in 1953, was in a state of disrepair, requiring the removal and replacement of the original copper roof.

Our team at ICE Cleaning was hired in 2021 to facilitate the removal of bitumen, an essential step in the renovation process.

The Challenge

We conducted the delicate task of bitumen removal using a specialised technique known as dry ice blasting. Bitumen – also referred to as tar or asphalt – was a popular choice of flooring, damp proofing, and waterproofing in the UK since the late 1800s.

It was applied to the roof of the Smithfield Poultry Market upon construction, making it a source of air pollution and difficult to remove.

Dry ice blasting is a non-destructive cleaning method, favoured for industrial and commercial applications. It works by using dry ice pellets as the primary cleaning media to effectively remove hazardous substances adhered to surfaces, including bitumen.

Solution: Bitumen Removal Using Dry Ice Blasting

First, a comprehensive assessment of the bitumen-affected areas was conducted to evaluate the extent of the application and determine the most suitable remediation approach.

By employing state-of-the-art dry ice blasting equipment, we effectively removed bitumen from the surfaces of the building. Dry ice pellets were propelled by compressed air with precision, effectively dislodging the bitumen without causing damage to the underlying structure.

Unlike abrasive methods such as sandblasting, dry ice blasting ensured the integrity of the building's surfaces remained intact throughout the cleaning process. This gentle approach preserved the historic fabric of the Smithfield Poultry Market, aligning with the project's conservation objectives.

Dry ice blasting also eliminated the need for harsh chemicals, making it an environmentally friendly and sustainable solution. Additionally, the treatment produced minimal waste, reducing environmental impact, and streamlining the cleanup process.

Given the scale of the project and the meticulous nature of dry ice blasting, the removal of bitumen required weeks of dedicated labour to ensure thoroughness and precision.


ICE Cleaning's expertise in dry ice blasting facilitated the successful removal of bitumen, a critical milestone in ENGIE's renovation project.

By employing this advanced cleaning method, the historic integrity of the Grade II listed Smithfield Poultry Market was preserved, aligning with the project's conservation goals.

Our commitment to non-destructive cleaning methods, environmental sustainability, and attention to detail highlights our reputation as leaders in specialised cleaning solutions for heritage buildings and industrial facilities alike.

By using dry ice blasting technology, ICE Cleaning contributed to the successful conclusion of ENGIE's renovation project at the Smithfield Poultry Market in December 2023.

Reilly Peters

Reilly Peters

Business Development Manager

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