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Building and maintenance works, the rope access approach

Whether it is high-rise buildings, confined spaces or industrial facilities, rope access allows technicians to access the inaccessible, safely and quickly – to conduct work which may include inspections, maintenance, service and repair. Rope access is a work positioning method developed from rock climbing and caving techniques recognised for its exceptional safety record. Industrial rope access utilises a twin-rope system, a main working rope that supports the worker and a secondary safety rope that provides back-up fall protection, enabling access to otherwise ‘impossible’ locations. The benefits of the rope access approach include:

  • Substantial cost savings, a high proportion of any maintenance works is labour cost, using rope access techniques in combination with installed or portable access systems reduce maintenance tasks by 20-30%.
  • Allows the performance of maintenance tasks at any time, with minimal impact on surrounding areas and regular day-to-day operations.
  • Rope access and abseiling enable technicians to reach difficult locations quickly and safely to conduct cleaning, service and repair work.
  • A proven method for achieving a safe work position, either at height or in hard to reach areas, removes the expense and time-consuming installation of scaffolding, cradles or elevated work platforms.

Rope Access Case Study: Port Jackson Towers

The challenges

The real-world concerns confronted by strata committees managing their building mandatory capital works programmes in a compliant, safe and efficient manner can be challenging. Engaged by Port Jackson Towers in Milsons Point, RIGCOM reviewed their individual needs to provide a tailored, cost-effective means of access on a complicated facade to enable the committee to effectively manage maintenance projects identified in their 10-year capital works programme.

The solution

Initially, RIGCOM were invited to the site to comment on the condition of the building’s external surfaces and suggest areas where there may be a need to complete works of an immediate or future facade maintenance tasks. Additionally, RIGCOM provided an overview of the recommended access options available to complete any works required, or to attend to any additional maintenance works in the future.

Installing an access rail system was considered the optimal solution to perform maintenance tasks whilst minimising the impact on residents. It was also considered the most appropriate solution as installation of a retro-fitted BMU was cost prohibitive and unsuitable for the structure.

After consultation and assessment, a non-invasive access system was designed for use on an upcoming painting project and future maintenance and cleaning that:

  • Did not require tradespeople to enter occupants premises.
  • Blended into the facade.
  • Did not interfere with the residents’ views.

The outcome

Based on the quality of its service offering and utilising the skills gained with over 10-years of industry experience, RIGCOM successfully designed and installed a customised rail and trolley access system to the balcony spandrels following the contour of the facade that:

  • Provides minimal visual impact for residents;
  • Is aesthetically pleasing;
  • Remains a practical, safe and compliant permanent facade access solution;
  • Allows access to the entire building’s facade.

The installation took place using rope access techniques and strict height safety protocols by RIGCOM’s highly qualified trade skilled technicians, that included:

  • Using proprietary artificial high direction apparatus, the RoofJockey™, that allowed technicians to:
    • Keep ropes off the glass balustrades;
    • Position themselves to install the systems with minimal disruption to residents;
    • Ensure the protection of all surrounding surfaces.
  • Working alongside system manufacturers and their R&D teams, RIGCOM ensured all customised components were thoroughly tested, compliant to relevant standards and fit for purpose.

My sincere thanks to the team at RIGCOM for a fantastic job. Your excellent work and expertise was invaluable and certainly made the process run smoothly.

We are delighted with the system you have installed and the professional way you conducted your work. From the initial concept design and tendering stages; through to the mobilisation and installation phases of the project. You’ve helped to set our building up for the future.

Your installation teams did an outstanding job, were very professional and courteous at all times and went out of their way to minimise any disruption to the unit holders.

On behalf of the committee and all Port Jackson Towers lot holders – a big thanks for a great job!


RIGCOM rope access services

With specialised rope access skills and techniques, RIGCOM’s technicians are qualified to undertake a diverse range of trades, including; electrical, plumbing, concreting, rigging, mechanical, engineering, welding, painting, waterproofing and telecommunications.

In Australia, rope access has been recognised as a safe means of access and works for over 30 years. RIGCOM adheres to the most stringent of local and international guidelines, and our rope access techniques comply with:

  • Workplace Health and Safety Act 2011
  • ICOP (International Code of Practice)
  • Prevention of Falls at Workplaces
  • Training, Assessment and Certification Scheme (TACS)
  • ISO 22846 Personal equipment for protection against falls – Rope Access Systems
  • Selection, Use & Maintenance (1997) Code of Practice
  • AS/NZS1891.4 Industrial Fall Arrest Systems

In addition, RIGCOM technicians are licensed and work under the strict guidelines of the International Rope Access Trades Association (IRATA), and they are required to maintain certification and progress their skill sets. Through the IRATA program, each technician must log a minimum of 3,000 working hours on rope, with an average of 5,000 hours per technician up to the highest level of proficiency (IRATA L3). Technicians are assessed by an independent, externally approved trainer.

As the leading provider of technical services and engineered solutions at height, RIGCOM is skilled at maintaining, servicing and repairing difficult to reach infrastructure, from designing, installing and inspecting height safety systems, providing rope access services, or custom-fabricating equipment – to keep your workers safe at height.

Looking for a professional rope access solution? Learn more about our services, or contact us today to discover more about the RIGCOM difference and what we can do for you.