Consider for a moment that an historic building façade is crumbling, but the building is a high-rise facility located in a bustling urban environment. Or perhaps a long-span bridge constructed a few decades ago suddenly develops a problem on the underside of the bridge deck hovering over a rushing river. Or what if a sports venue requires a due diligence visual review of the structural steel roof trusses located hundreds of feet off the ground, yet portions of the trusses can’t be accessed via catwalks?
Engineers and building consultants often face significant challenges obtaining safe access to areas needing assessment, such as active industrial settings, specialty structures, exterior façades at height, and confined spaces. In each case, it would be greatly beneficial to have a skilled professional assess the conditions of concern from within arm’s length. So what are the options for accessing such challenging areas?
One of the primary methods utilizes suspended ropes in conjunction with accepted industrial rope access techniques. The Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) offers training and a certification program that enables engineers and other building professionals to safely get to those hard-to-reach places that preclude the use of traditional access methods such as man lifts, suspended scaffolding, or fixed ladders and catwalks.
Be it a routine evaluation of a building façade or an emergency response regarding a structure’s stability, rope access provides a safe, cost-effective, and efficient means of accessing structures for inspection, maintenance, and construction.