Challenging Buildings & Window Refurbishment

Rope access cleaning | Abseil window cleaning

Refurbishing and replacing commercial building windows – what you need to know

It is not unusual on tall, difficult to access or commercial buildings, that the refurbishment, maintenance and replacement of windows can be a real challenge. Many aluminium and steel windows in commercial buildings may be dated and damaged, in which case they will need replacing. We even find that in some older commercial buildings that the windows will have been manufactured to a higher standard when compared to some of their modern equivalents!

Without proper maintenance, everything from water ingress and defective seals to opening mechanisms such as locks and hinges failing, can occur. Once this happens, you could be looking at installing new replacement windows. Ultimately, whether you need to have your windows replaced due to damage or health and safety regulations, or you require your building’s windows to undergo thorough maintenance, it’s important to use experienced and IRATA qualified professionals due to the safety requirements and challenges involved.

Working at height

Working at height presents a number of challenges and requires extensive training. A lot of buildings may also have difficult to access areas where windows need maintaining. Health and Safety regulations state that anybody undertaking height work (high-level window replacement, refurbishment or cleaning) needs to be fully qualified and trained in order to reduce risk. Additionally, it’s essential that the project is planned individually and precisely so that when work gets underway, everyone from the workers themselves to the general public are not exposed to any risk.


Preparation involves undertaking a detailed risk assessment and method statement that are specific to the site. If the work is in a public place, then it may be necessary to obtain road closures. For busy offices, the work may even have to be completed outside of normal business hours.

Innovative solutions

When replacing or renovating windows in large and commercial buildings, clients will usually have a set budget for the work. Whilst the budget will usually cover the work, if the project proves to be particularly difficult, innovative solutions are required not only to get the work done, but also to stay within budget. Quite often firms get around problems by hiring in heavy, large and noisy ‘plant’ machinery rather than thinking about the problem logically. Whilst this may solve the problem, plant machinery is incredibly costly and may result in the project going over budget. In these instances, it’s a good idea to step back and think about the problem thoroughly before resorting to hiring plant machinery.

Rope access

Yet another challenge of working on large commercial buildings is rope access. Over the years, structures have become taller and increasingly difficult to access, all of which has made working with ropes increasingly challenging. That’s why glazing personnel employ IRATA rope access techniques in order to ensure the maintenance, inspection and replacement of windows at a high level is carried out in a manner that’s both controlled and safe. Experienced professionals are also required to have a supervisor on-site with a written and practised rescue plan which makes sure every operative is safe at all times.

If you have a large or commercial building that could do with window maintenance, it’s essential you use experienced and regulated professionals. The Glazing Face brings years of experience when it comes to working on glazed facades as well as difficult to access buildings. We always ensure all work is completed in accordance with all regulations and have the highest standards when it comes to safety, efficiency and ensuring the work is completed on budget.