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While installing anchorage points for a rope access building maintenance approach based on abseiling might initially appear to be a cheaper option, it is essential to consider the functionality which will be required for complete long-term building maintenance. When fully assessing the cost effectiveness of a building maintenance strategy, the cost of the initial financial outlay is only one factor. A Building Maintenance Unit or a wider building access system often represents a much more intelligent investment in the appearance and viability of your building to ensure it is kept in pristine condition for many years into the future. Studies have found that the ongoing costs associated with cleaning can be significantly higher for rope access abseiling systems compared to a BMU system. Hiring abseil operators can be up to two or three times more expensive than the costs associated with BMU operators.

For some buildings of shorter heights and uniform shape, a basic rope access abseil system might provide acceptable coverage for straightforward regular window cleaning. A Building Maintenance Unit, however, can easily be deployed to conveniently provide for a much greater range of essential maintenance tasks which will always become necessary over the life cycle of any building. The BMU cradle itself clearly provides for a much greater capacity for carrying operators, tools and materials and, with the addition of features such as material hoists where needed, a BMU allows for quick, efficient and cost-effective repairs and replacement of windows and facade panels. Abseiling, by contrast, requires any tools and equipment to be carried in additional ‘pod bags’. Lighter individual tools are commonly tethered to the pod bag or to the operator themselves. Any heavier tools, however, will require an additional independent rigged line, assuming that their size or weight does not exceed what this line-based approach is capable of safely handling.

In common with any highly engineered machine or installation, a BMU system will require a program of appropriate maintenance and upkeep to ensure that it continues to perform at optimum levels of safety and efficiency over its lifetime. Rope access abseiling systems, however, are not exempt from ongoing costs and regular inspection and certification of anchorage points is also required.
Safety is also a prominent issue that building owners and architects should take into account. The risks associated with abseiling far outweigh those of deploying a building maintenance system to conduct cleaning cycles on a building, particularly where structurally complex forms come into play. The use of a BMU is a sure way to prevent accidents, mitigate risk, and preserve the safety of machine operators, those inside buildings and the general public.  CoxGomyl building maintenance units rely on precision engineering, stringently tested safety devices and specially trained operators to safely and efficiently complete all maintenance tasks.

In terms of cleaning cycles, a well-designed BMU system which has been carefully selected to meet the specific needs of a building is generally quicker then abseiling operators in completing cleaning of any given facade section. It might be argued that a rope access system offers a degree of flexibility in that additional abseil operators can be hired on an ad hoc basis to address specific short term cleaning needs. This flexibility is limited, however, by the availability of anchor points for abseil operators to work simultaneously and, in addition, hiring more abseil operators also attracts significant extra costs. A highly experienced, industry leading provider of facade access solutions such as CoxGomyl can work with you to develop a complete facade access solution which anticipates the varying requirements for each facade section and delivers appropriately tailored cleaning cycles with greater frequency of cleaning where required. This provides for consistent upkeep and maintenance of the facade with predictable outcomes and improved budget control.

Bearing in mind all of the above considerations, many building owners and managers who have previously relied on rope access are turning to CoxGomyl to leverage the benefits of their expertise and innovation in the design and manufacture of complete facade access solutions. Contact us to discuss how our experienced team with a worldwide presence can help you.

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