Window Cleaning Of High-Rise Buildings Is a different Ball Game Altogether

When we think of window cleaning the tendency is to think of the man who comes to the house once a month to clean the windows, or the window cleaner working on the store front in the high street early in the morning. This is not quite the same thing as those who clean the windows of buildings hundreds of feet high. When we think of window cleaning we have a tendency to think of the man who comes to our house once a month with a pair of ladders, a bucket, a scraper, and cloth, and cleans the windows back and front in a half hour or so and is gone. Certainly, there are some of those fellows still around, but window cleaning has come into the 21st century with the invention of the water-fed pole.

No longer do window cleaners have to climb up ladders to do their work: they can use a water-fed pole which enables them to clean windows up to a possible six storeys high, although the pole does start to wobble a bit at that height.

However, cleaning the windows of the average family home is not quite the same as cleaning the windows of a commercial building which may be as tall as The NatWest Tower In London at just over 600 feet high. Even that is dwarfed by The Shard which - wait for it – tops out at just over 1000 feet! Cleaning those windows is a completely different job and is a job for a specialist window cleaning company that has the expertise to work at those sorts of heights.

There are several companies that actually undertake commercial window cleaning nationwide because of their experience and knowledge, combined with window cleaners with the nerve to hang outside buildings like that. These guys are more accurately described as window technicians, because arguably the actual cleaning of the windows is the simplest part of the process.

Working outside on high-rise buildings has its’ rewards, but it also has its’ difficulties. One of the major problems is wind. If you are using rope access and a platform it can become something of a problem in a wind of 15 miles an hour. When it gets to 25 miles an hour, it is time to pack up for the day - or at least until the wind dies down again.

Then there is the problem of a possible breakdown in the equipment. Back in November 2014 two window cleaners, Juan Lopez and Juan Lizama, were working on the World Trade Centre in Lower Manhattan, New York City, and were on the 68th floor when a cable came loose on their platform flipping it from horizontal to nearly vertical. They clung on for an hour and a half before being rescued by the fire service. High-rise window cleaning can be a scary business. In fact, one technician says that if he doesn’t feel scared he could make mistakes – and it is necessary always to be wide awake. Of course, all window cleaners begin the day by checking over their equipment to ensure that it is all in working order.

Despite that, the incidence of fatalities is very rare. According to the International Window Cleaning Association (yes, there really is one), figures for 2010 to 2014 record only one fatality each year among high-rise window cleaners.

Strangely enough, most window cleaners working at height don’t look down, but not because they are afraid of the height per se, but because they don’t have the time to watch pedestrians far below. As one says, the platform is his office and his job is cleaning windows, not watching the world go by. However, they are not in an office, but outside in the open air which is what many enjoy, and get peace and quiet by being far away from what is going on down below.

High rise window cleaners are more skilled than many people might think. They may consider that window cleaners are unskilled workers, but one window cleaner says that the job is a cross between rock climbing and an art form.

Of course, high-rise window cleaners have to be fully trained and certified to undertake window cleaning nationwide on high-rise buildings. Many companies are associated with IRATA, the International Rope Access Trade Association, which oversees their workers and certifies them. It is not just the window cleaners themselves who can be in danger, but anyone walking hundreds of feet below should a worker drop a piece of equipment, so they have to have thorough training before they can take on the job.

By: Frazer Venters

Isis Property Services undertakes window cleaning nationwide and is qualified to work at any sort of height with rope access and platforms.

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Article Tags: window cleaning nationwide , commercial window cleaning nationwide

Submitted On Oct 04, 2018. Viewed 65 times.

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