Rope access: what is it and why you need it

silhouette rope access (abseil) cleaning

For the effective and controlled glazing and cleaning of buildings, it has always been a challenge to ensure proper care for structures without disruption. In many cases, scaffolding won’t work – especially on more complex buildings and structures where specific window cleaning or work is required. But that’s where rope access comes in – the ideal solution to carrying out work on buildings with minimum fuss, and cost-effective expertise.

What is rope access?

Rope access is an alternative to other forms of access to buildings for maintenance works and conservation. As the name suggests, this method of accessing structures is carried out using ropes, as opposed to utilising more time-intensive and invasive techniques such as scaffolding. Safe, efficient and with excellent results, it allows for convenient and practical management on just about any building, from modern office blocks to centuries-old architecture.

Typically, rope access is achieved through the use of high-quality, compliant ropes and harnesses, which are effectively tied securely on the roof or top level of a building using specifically designed technology. To use rope access on jobs, every company is required to be compliant with IRATA (International Rope Access Trade Association) qualifications and training, allowing for proper risk assessment and productive working from a height.

Overall, rope access provides a safe, cost-effective and highly efficient way for workers to access various parts of buildings for works including cleaning, repairs or even aesthetic fixes without disrupting the building as a whole. It offers a practical way to access even the most difficult or complicated areas on-premises with ease.

Why use rope access?

glass replacement - River Thames at Tower View

The most prominent of these advantages is the lack of disruption that rope access causes in comparison to cranes or scaffolding. Because minimal setup is required, and less impact on in-use properties is possible, rope access is the ideal choice for occupied buildings, offices and structures. But beyond the physical ability to use a structure under maintenance, there are several other reasons why rope access is the better choice for particular structures.

See how our team used abseiling for a glass replacement job which was right on the River Thames.

Because of the fewer requirements for rope access, choosing this option for building maintenance is also less costly than other options available. This cost-effectiveness is in part, thanks to the efficiency that rope access allows for workers. As well as the flexibility to move around the site without waiting for a scaffold to be built or a crane to move into place. Like scaffolding and crane use, rope access requires good weather conditions to be useable, but it has the bonus of a quick setup and flexibility in scheduling.

It is a highly versatile solution that’s suitable for a wide range of different situations and specific requirements. For carrying out repairs, cleaning and maintenance at height, this technique offers the swiftest and most effective solution, without the need for extensive planning or hiring expensive equipment before work can be carried out.

Who is rope access for?

Rope access is suitable for buildings of all shapes and sizes, though it is most effective when it comes to high-rise buildings such as office blocks where the expense of using scaffolding or other access methods would be extremely high. Because of its flexibility and manoeuvrability compared to other forms of access, rope access is also the perfect choice for spot maintenance or cleaning of specific areas. There is no one structure that it is specially designed for, making it a versatile option for anything from churches and buildings that are hundreds of years old to modern public services and office structures.

For commercial properties, one window leak can lead to weeks of maintenance when you choose to employ a company that uses traditional methods. But by working with a team that uses rope access, that glazing work can be completed in next to no time, ensuring less damage and no waiting around. For even complex structures, with lips, edges or architectural designs, rope access allows for quick and convenient management or even the least accessible areas on your building.

We’re fully trained to complete fast, practical work using rope access for abseiling to ensure a swift solution to any issue. Contact us today to find out more about our services.