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Historic Roof Inspection - Abseiling

Our client asked us to inspect the roof of their building, a celebrated architectural landmark, for damage and maintenance issues. While access to the roof posed a set of complicated logistical challenges, Spectrum’s unique competencies in rope access for non-standard constructions allowed us to fully survey the roof and put together a long-term plan for maintenance, repairs and monitoring.

Protecting our client's properties through the use of our abseiling expertise and innovative spirit. 

The Project

Historic Roof Inspection


  • Location:Oxfordshire
  • Client:Property Manager
  • Project Duration:1 day
  • Subtrate:Roof
  • Access Method:Abseiling

The Site

The site is a historic and very beautiful old building. It's age though, requires specialist knowledge to prevent irreversible damage.

The Logistics

Our team was faced with several logistical issues which required careful consideration and planning. This historic building’s pitched roofs were obviously going to be very difficult to access, with the client admitting that even they did not know the best way to get on the roof.

One option was scaffolding, but there were several obstacles to using this method. The building is very old and beautiful, so everyone involved was keen to avoid erecting large, unsightly scaffolding around it for the prolonged period of time required to address all the repairs. Secondly, scaffolding would have significantly restricted the residents’ natural light.

 This left the option of rope access via abseiling – but, again, there was a problem. The building was not equipped with anchor points, leaving us nowhere to secure our ropes.

These logistical issues presented a unique challenge to our team. However, using our industry-leading expertise in rope access and some innovative thinking, we were able to access the roof and complete the repairs with minimal disruption.

+plus point

Our team of IRATA qualified abseilers were able to utilise a drone to undergo leak detention work on this historic building. 

Historic Roof Inspection
Case Study

Innovative Abseiling Solutions

Our client contracted us to inspect the building before planning and executing a programme of repairs. We held an initial consultation to assess the situation and put together a roof maintenance schedule for future works. We then had to create an access plan for the roof. Faced with various logistical challenges, our abseiling team had to think creatively. The unique layout of the building would have made it difficult for most contractors to gain access to the roof even using abseiling.

However, Spectrum has an innovative set of abseiling techniques and equipment which made it safe and simple for us to get on the roof. In this case, we tied a strong fishing line to a drone, which we then flew up and over the building. The drone provided access to the far side of the roof, which could not be approached otherwise. We then attached a rope to the fishing line so that the drone could pull it over onto the other side of the roof.

Once the lines had been secured with our portable anchor points, our abseilers were able to gain rope access to the roof and make their inspections. Our team are highly trained professionals who have worked extensively with IRATA (the International Rope Access Trade Association). IRATA training is the gold standard in industrial rope access, giving our specialists market-leading skills in abseiling for maintenance and repairs.

Once our operatives were up on the roof, they were able to identify several maintenance and repair issues. We carried out crucial repairs and laid out a plan to attend every six months for a period of five to ten days at a time in order to inspect and maintain the building.

+plus point
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Bespoke Solutions

With minimal fuss and expenditure, our specialists gained access to the roof of the building despite several logistical challenges. We diagnosed and addressed various structural issues, preventing our clients from suffering further expense or damage to the property.

Moreover, we used our bespoke access plan and knowledge of this non-standard building to continue inspecting and maintaining the property, preventing further problems from arising in future.

Given the complex logistical challenges presented by this historic building, the client was understandably concerned that accessing, inspecting and repairing the roof would be costly, difficult and dangerous. Moreover, the prospect of erecting scaffolding did not present good value to the customer, and it would inconvenience residents as well as creating an eyesore

However, Spectrum was able to use a variety of techniques and technologies to complete the job quickly and cost-effectively. Our approach to abseiling, particularly the inventive use of the drone and fishing line to position our ropes, dispensed with the need for bulky, expensive scaffolding, allowing us to access the roof nimbly and with minimal infrastructure.

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