Rope Access Gutter Cleaning
- Project Duration:3 days
- Access Method:Rope Access
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Spectrum was approached by a school in Ilford that had been told by another contractor that the building’s guttering and other areas of the roof were inaccessible. As a result, the site had not had its gutters cleaned for several years. We were asked to put together a strategy for clearing the gutters on the three-storey Victorian building. In addition to designing an access strategy, we were also asked to clean the roof as well as the main and valley gutters.
Our team of IRATA trained abseilers cleaned this school's hard to reach valley gutters when other companies couldn't!
Other contractors had told the client that the gutters could not be reached at all without scaffolding, which is an expensive and time-consuming approach. As such, the site had not had its roofs and gutters cleared for some time, so it was at risk of water damage from blockages and build-up in the gutters and on the roof.
The project presented numerous logistical obstacles. In addition to the gutters being inaccessible via cherry picker, there was no safety system on or around the roof.
Moreover, the parapet and valley gutters were unreachable using a traditional vacuum pole system. This indicated that rope access was the best method for cleaning the gutter and roof. However, there were no suitable anchor points on the building.
Through our vast range of access techniques and our gutter vac, we effectively cleaned these valley gutters!
Given the obstacles to accessing the gutters and roof, this highly challenging project required specialist systems and equipment as well as trained operatives with accreditation from IRATA (International Rope Access Trade Association).
We used rope access in order to reach the areas that needed clearing. Gutter cleaning via abseiling is the safest and most effective way to access roofs and gutters on tall buildings, allowing operatives to reach practically any part of the structure. Since gutter cleaning using rope access requires no vehicles such as a cherry picker, it is a quick and cost-effective way to carry out cleaning and maintenance.
Abseiling requires anchor points on the building to secure both a main and a safety line. However, this Victorian property was not equipped with anchor points. Spectrum was able to bring in our own portable anchor points to secure the ropes on.
We are fully equipped with a range of portable anchors of different types and sizes. These can be secured to the building with no damage to the structure and used to secure the operatives’ abseiling ropes. Since we own our own portable anchors, our clients make substantial savings on rental fees for this equipment.
We combined these rope access techniques with our proprietary gutter vacuum pole system to maximise efficiency. We are equipped to design specialist solutions for unique, logistically challenging projects. Using 3D printing methods, we design and manufacture our own bespoke gutter-cleaning kits, and many of our innovations are patented.
In this case, we designed and built on-site a custom directional path around the difficult-to-access areas of the building. Combining abseiling access to the gutters with a bespoke vacuum pole system designed specifically for this building, we were able to service the roof and gutters in a fraction of the time it would have taken to erect scaffolding and complete the cleaning operation. We were therefore able to complete this highly complex project in three days and minimise disruption to the school.
During the gutter cleaning, our team was able to access the valley, parapet and main gutters for the first time in many years
We found an enormous amount of debris in the gutters and on the roof. This posed a threat to the fabric and aesthetics of the building, bringing the potential for leaks, structural issues and staining. We were able to remove over fifty bags of gutter debris from these areas. Judging from the amount of material, the building had not been successfully cleaned in over ten years. However, with our patented solutions and abseiling techniques, we were able to access all areas of the roof efficiently and cost-effectively.
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