Rope Access training provides a cost-effective solution to today’s commercial cleaning at height challenges. This article explores some of those challenges and explains why rope access is the solution.
Whatever the answer, the fact remains that with the construction of higher buildings came the inevitable problem of high-rise window cleaning. Let us look at just one simple example. If you have a two-story building and you need to clean the windows, you have a range of options from leaning out of the window and doing your best to using a ladder or an extended water feeder pole. If you have a ten story building then your options change.
For a start, the windows are likely to be fixed and even if they opened, asking staff to lean out and do the office window cleaning from the 9th floor is not recommended. Secondly, whilst some buildings incorporate a drop down platform system, many others do not. In those instances, your options could include letting the windows stay dirty or setting up scaffolding to clean the windows on an infrequent basis.
To combat this problem, architects have employed a range of solutions. These included automatic window washing devices. One early proposal involved every window in a building having a separate washing machine permanently attached to it! Other methods of cleaning windows in tall buildings involve the use of a cradle or mobile platform which is permanently attached to the building.
Whilst cradles can work for conventional buildings, architects are increasingly creating buildings with complex shapes and these can cause problems of access. The solution here is to use rope access techniques. Rope access works by suspending the worker from the top of the building using two separate ropes. Each rope is anchored to a separate tethering point. This means that even if one rope or tether should fail, the second rope is likely to hold and will prevent the technician from falling. The availability of the rope access technique has resulted in some architects designing buildings which can only be cleaned using rope access.
Of course, rope access work is not just used for the commercial cleaning of skyscraper windows. There are many other tall structures which require cleaning and rope access can help with these as well.
Let’s start with bridges. These can be very complex structures made up of a variety of materials. By their very nature, bridges need to be cleaned underneath as well as on the top and sides. Protruding ledges provide ideal nesting sites for birds which bring their own contribution to the general dirt brought by traffic, rail and the wind. Because the rope access method of tethering allows free movement around a structure it is an ideal solution for safe and cost-effective cleaning of bridges.
The increasing proliferation of wind turbines across the world has also brought a need for a rope access solution. Without it, power generators would have to rely on scaffolding or a mobile crane, thus increasing costs greatly. Dirt on wind turbine blades increases wind resistance and therefore cuts down on the amount of power generated. In addition, a build up of dirt can in time damage the turning mechanism making the turbine useless. Another challenge with wind turbines is the build up of ice on the blades in the winter. Because rope access technicians don’t require a lot of specialised equipment they can be deployed quickly and safely to undertake the turbine cleaning as soon as there is a calm spell of weather.
Finally, let us not forget all the other tall structures that require safe and cost effective commercial cleaning. These range from a microwave antenna to a satellite dish, from statues to oil platforms, or from permanent cranes in ship building yards to multi-story ships themselves. Anywhere where a tall structure requires commercial cleaning, rope access companies are standing by to help.