Rope access window cleaning is a method used to clean the windows of tall buildings. Cleaning the windows of tall commercial buildings requires different equipment and considerations than those used for typical residential premises. The method involves the use of ropes, harnesses, and pulleys to enable the cleaner to access the facade of the building. This is why rope access window cleaning is often called abseiling window cleaning by some people. It is one of the safest and most efficient methods available for reaching glass on tall buildings.
Building types that use rope access window cleaning
The rope access method is common on many types of tall buildings. These include both tall commercial and residential tower blocks. Office workers in the City of London and Canary Wharf will see rope access window cleaning on a regular basis. But other buildings, such as apartment blocks, churches, hospitals, and large shopping centres also deploy rope access window cleaning.
Due to the nature of rope access window cleaning, specialist equipment is required to meet safety regulations and to ensure effective cleaning. Operatives using the method require a harness, and a pulley-like gadget to enable them to descend and ascend on the building, and a secondary safety gadget as a backup. Due to the nature of the work, a hard hat is required to prevent dangerous knocks to the head.
Qualifications and training
It is the IRATA (Industrial Rope Access Trade Association) that is the recognised qualification board for rope access window cleaning. The organisation provides multiple courses, ranging from ‘Level One’ to ‘Level Three’. Level Three is the most intense course and qualifies the person to take full responsibility for rope access methods while on-site. It also enables the person to oversee rope access training. Window cleaning teams should be as qualified as possible, and at least one ‘Level Three’ qualified person available at all times during work hours.
Health and safety considerations
Health and safety is the foremost consideration for any contractor or organisation considering rope access window cleaning. Experience is crucial and knowledgeable, qualified and skilled operatives will minimise safety concerns as much as possible. Best practice is described in the publication of British Standards, namely: BS 22846: 2012. The documentation states that rope access methods should only be used if there is no feasible and safer alternative. The HSE and IRATA recommends all teams using rope access methods should perform a detailed risk assessment prior to work. This will mitigate most foreseeable safety concerns and provide guidance should something go wrong. The government’s ‘Safe Contractor’ scheme is also beneficial to health and safety.
There are a number of alternative methods for cleaning the windows of tall buildings. Scaffolding is one option, but this can be cumbersome and impractical for some premises, especially skyscrapers and tall office blocks. Scaffolding is also costly to implement on a large scale and has a poor safety record compared to rope access. Mobile platforms with a mechanical lift is another method. These systems typically cover between 45 and 60 metres in height. This limits access to very tall buildings. There is also additional cost for mobile platforms. Suspended cradles and window cleaning robots can also be considered, but they require regular servicing and maintenance to perform at optimum levels.
Arrange Rope Access Cleaning Services Today
If you are searching for window cleaners for tall buildings, rope access window cleaning is likely the most affordable and safest option.
Visit ACS Cleaning for rope access services for industrial and commercial premises.