What Does High-Rise Window Cleaning Actually Involve?

High-Rise Window Cleaning

Picture for a moment that you are on vacation. You are lounging in a chair in your hotel room and gazing out the window, enjoying the view. Suddenly, from nowhere, a man appears outside the glass window! By instinct, you want to yell out but before you do, you realize that much to your relief you are not looking at an assassin or a burglar. In fact, it’s simply the window cleaner!

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Window washing is a task that is both tiring and takes up a lot of time, and whether you like it or not, it should be done on a regular basis. At home, it may be pretty easy to wash the windows, however, when you are hanging hundreds of meters from the ground, it becomes a little more challenging, to say the least.

So how is one of the most dangerous jobs worldwide – skyscraper window cleaning – actually done? Let’s take a closer look.

The Equipment

Since big heights are involved for window cleaners, a large array of equipment is required. Typically, the window cleaner will need a protector for the rope, a rope for safety, a descent mechanism, a rope-grabbing tool, as well as lanyard and suction caps. These tools serve as protection from any incidents, but also help the cleaner to clean the facade of the building at a quick and efficient speed.

The worker, when cleaning a buildings’ facade is attached to an anchor which is mounted to the roof. This means that as the workers descend they can clean the windows as they move in a vertical fashion. You may have noticed that the descent of a window cleaner is not a smooth one, they go down a floor at a time, in fact, it seems like they are ‘dropping’ through one floor after another. Every single drop will be different depending on the building.

In the past, cleaners would stand on the window ledge and hold onto the frame as they cleaned the windows. Can you imagine it? Needless to say, this was not a safe way to clean windows of tall buildings, hence leather belts became the norm. These belts were attached to anchor bolts which kept the worker safe when in the air. After this, scaffolds were introduced which gave even more safety, as well more convenience.

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These days, different ways exist to clean windows and much depends on the requirements of the actual building. The working mechanism used depends on the work that needs to be carried out. The most common mechanisms are: Bosun’s chair, a boom, a carriage and a portable davit.

‘Bosun’s chair’ is used for a single cleaner. It allows access to tight areas and keeps the cleaner safe in a seated position. When the cleaning work will take some time, this choice is an ideal one.

‘Boom’ is the most common and the oldest mechanism. It uses a scaffold which can carry multiple cleaners at the one time and hence allows for group work to take place. This is a permanent system as in it is fixed to the building’s roof and is used when it is needed.

In contrast to this, ‘Carriage’ is another choice which is becoming more and more popular. The carriage is mounted to a rail on the roof and can be moved both left and right. Similar to ‘Boom’, it can hold multiple cleaners but has a movement advantage over ‘Boom’.

Finally, a ‘portable davit’ is the most inexpensive mechanism of these options; it allows access to multiple areas and also carries a group of washers.

The Challenges That Come With High-Rise Window Cleaning

It is more than obvious that cleaning skyscrapers is, of course, unlike cleaning the widows of your home or a single room. It only takes a piece of cloth and some water to clean a window in your home and hardly needs any preparation. On the other hand, when you are doing the exact same task but on the 100th floor of a building that is over half a kilometre above the ground, let’s just say it feels a little different up there!

In addition, environmental conditions at these heights can be very different. For example, wind can be fine if you are cleaning your windows on a nice, sunny day, in fact, it can feel rather refreshing. When you are on the side of a skyscraper, you usually feel winds at a higher speed which means it is vital for cleaners to carry all the necessary equipment to keep them safe from harm while they carry out the cleaning. Bugs can also be a risk and tend to thrive at high altitudes; they can annoy workers and be quite the nuisance which isn’t good when you are 100 stories up!

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It is very clear that window cleaning is not an easy job. It is actually viewed as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Regardless of all the safety measures, it ultimately can come down to having a cool-head as you hang hundreds of meters above the ground, ensuring that those tall and impressive buildings look amazing in the sunshine!  All good reasons why you should leave the window cleaning to the professionals.  Contact Excel Projects today for a quote,  your friends in high places!