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Why planning for facade access from the start is so important

Whether your building project is low complexity or a very ambitious architectural vision, it’s important to make plans for building maintenance solutions early in the design process.

Early planning means the building access solution can be much better integrated into the building and ensure it meets the maintenance needs as efficiently, cost-effectively and as safely as possible. Effective planning also offers the best possible opportunity to achieve a facade access solution that compliments the aesthetic of the building and is cost effective. Adding a building access system as an after thought tends to be much more limiting and costly.

As one of the only true end-to-end providers, CoxGomyl is uniquely placed to work with you and guide you to ensure all of your requirements are met. Building Maintenance Units installed as an afterthought can mean inferior solutions which don’t integrate with the building’s geometry and simply don’t perform as required. Making the necessary adjustments to the building to accommodate a BMU later, or even having to consider a complete replacement for BMU systems which prove not fit for purpose, ultimately means extra financial expense and disruptive building work which could have been avoided. We’ve listed some of the key questions to ask when consulting with a highly experienced specialist in the field such as CoxGomyl.

What needs does the Building Access system need to service?

The most obvious use for your Building Maintenance Unit is window and facade cleaning, but it is also important to look forward and, depending on the project, consider what other functionality your building might need from a Facade Access System. A complete building access solution might also need to provide for other maintenance tasks such as window or facade panel replacement, air conditioning and sprinkler installation or servicing, upkeep of vertical gardens or other architectural features, or it might need to include a material hoist capable of handling heavy loads. Consider the work typically carried out on the facade and the impact on cradle load capacity and frequency of use. It’s also important to consider the risks to the rental yield if the building can’t be maintained easily and regularly. The building owner has a duty to their tenants to ensure a clean and well maintained building.

What architectural challenges does the building present?

Consider the complexity of the building and its effect on the design of the building cradle. Is there limited roof space or is the roof space intended for other uses such as a garden? There are a number of solutions an experienced expert provider like CoxGomyl can suggest to overcome issues like this: tracks mounted on the gantry at roof level, a monorail system installed on the side of the building or hung from under a recess, or davit systems which can be dismantled and moved to access a different area of the building. Similarly, it’s important to consider features which will present challenges for safe and effective facade access, including curved or sloping surfaces, high gantries, overhangs, protrusions or recesses in the facade. Early consultation and planning with specialists like CoxGomyl will be key to navigating around these features to deliver effective and safe access.

planning for facade access

How will the Building Access System be integrated into the building?

Again, early planning and consultation is a huge benefit in achieving a solution which works with the building practically and aesthetically. If mullion guides or other restraints are part of the solution then these need to be considered early in the process as part of the design of the facade itself. Tracks can be produced to follow the lines and curves of the building and our engineers can work with architects to integrate the BMU into the building design to maintain architectural integrity. There are also a number of ways the visual impact of the BMU can be reduced, such as dedicated, concealed parking areas on the roof or on the side of the building.

Building Owners – What is the long term cost of the solution?

More and more, CoxGomyl are regularly being approached by building owners to replace inferior facade access systems or building maintenance units installed by other providers. Often during the building phase, some builders will consider the building access system as an after-thought and opt to select the cheapest solution on offer, which either doesn’t stand the test of time or doesn’t work well from day one, such as not covering the full area of the building for maintenance purposes. This ends up costing the building owner so much more (potentially even millions) in the long run when they have to replace a system later down the track. To avoid this, building owners must take care to ensure a well considered, fit for purpose solution has been selected from day one.

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