Scaling great heights to keep Changi’s facade clean

November 2023

By Sharon Chia



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As a key aviation hub and national infrastructure, it is important for Changi Airport and Jewel Changi Airport to maintain their interiors and exterior facade in tiptop condition. In this Changi Journeys story, we take an exclusive behind-the-scenes look to understand the meticulous planning of the cleaning process to ensure that these iconic structures continue to shine.


Ensuring smooth operations and passenger flow

The Facilities Management (FM) team at Changi Airport works closely with their appointed vendor to coordinate the façade cleaning schedule, to ensure that no part of the airport is missed out. Cleaning the exterior façade takes place every three months, and different locations present different complexities, which the FM team needs to plan for. 

Careful planning and coordination is required, to ensure no disruptions to activities at the airside. 


For example, when it comes to the airside-facing façade, cleaners need a boom lift to reach the full height of the façade. Coordination, checks and approvals are needed from Changi Airport’s airside team, to ensure that the cleaning can be carried out without impacting any airside operations. This means planning for temporary road closures and traffic diversions at the location. Sometimes, the nearby passenger loading bridge also needs to be closed, to ensure that no aircraft will be parked nearby during the cleaning session. 

When cleaning the exterior of a special location such as Changi’s Butterfly Garden, which has a partial wire mesh façade, the FM team also needs to consider the cleanliness inside the garden


At iconic attractions such as the Butterfly Garden in Terminal 3 which has a partial wire mesh facade, the FM team also needs to consider the cleanliness inside the garden, as during the cleaning of the exterior, dust may have settled on the plants and flowers in the garden’s interior. Hence as part of the planning, the interior of the Butterfly Garden will also need to be cleaned as well.

Water and mild soap is used for all the façade cleaning at Changi, primarily addressing dust and water stains caused by rain. 


Upkeeping Jewel’s world-renowned dome exterior

Cleaners using a water jet, dry scrubber and mild detergent to clean Jewel’s exterior façade. 


Façade cleaning works at Jewel is carried out periodically and coordinated by Jewel’s FM team. The iconic Jewel dome exterior is largely divided into four quadrants, with each quadrant undergoing a comprehensive cleaning process, typically spanning two to three weeks. 

Unlike Changi Airport’s façade which is mainly glass, the facade of Jewel’s dome exterior comprises three different types of materials – perforated panels, aluminium, and glass. In particular, the perforated panels used near exhaust systems require extra attention during cleaning, due to grease accumulation. The top of the HSBC Rain Vortex also requires regular cleaning, which includes the removal of algae from the outer ring.

To reach the top of Jewel, the cleaners need to scale the full height of the building - about 40 metres.


Due to the dome shape of Jewel’s structure, instead of a boom lift, the cleaning crew needs to perform their tasks while suspended on an abseil, with the highest point at the top of Jewel reaching about 40 metres. These specialised workers are Rope Access certified by the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA). 

To ensure the safety of the cleaners at both Changi Airport and Jewel, weather patterns are closely monitored and cleaning operations will be scheduled to avoid days with adverse weather conditions.

Without a doubt, keeping Changi Airport and Jewel clean is part of delivering a pleasant and delightful experience to passengers and visitors alike, as well as to ensure that these iconic landmarks continue to dazzle under the Singapore sky.

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