Hanging Out With Facades

This blog is about the events that prompted me to step out of my comfort zone and into the brilliant but scary world of industrial rope access. 

The AA don’t do BMU’s (Building Maintenance Units)

Earlier this year I was inspecting a facade in Auckland using a BMU. The BMU broke down and that little bucket was not going anywhere. Whilst waiting for the extension ladder to get us down (thankfully we were only a couple of storeys up when it broke down), I was talking with Sofy from Phase-1 and discussing the benefits of abseiling. By the time the extension ladder arrived, Sofy had convinced me that abseiling was safer and more efficient than using BMU’s and that I should definitely look into switching to on rope surveys.

Being part of the problem

Time and time again I see facade ‘repairs’ that are actually detrimental to the performance of the facade, Clients pay a lot of money for facade reports that tell them very little and surprise failures happen on facades even though abseilers clean the windows every month.

Facilities Managers do their best with the resources that are available to them and if they can’t get a consultant to abseil, they have to manage with the skill set of the people who can abseil. I came to realise that I was part of the problem and if I wanted facades to get better care, I needed to invest time and money in learning to abseil.

Fearless?… I’m a frayed knot

Industrial Rope Access Technicians are not the crazy, adrenaline junkie, risk taking individuals you may think. All of the Tech’s and Operators I’ve worked with are composed, level headed and have a huge amount of respect for the job.

Abseiling with the chaps at Phase-1 has taught me to embrace the fear you experience when abseiling. That fear keeps you focused and the training, checks and procedures keep you safe.

Phase 1 of my National Certificate in Industrial Rope Access is now complete and I’m working towards Phase 2. I’ve had some fantastic guidance, support and training over the past few months and would like to say a huge thank you to Phase-1, Extreme Edge Panmure, Vertical Horizonz and The Accounting Hub – You’ve all made it possible for me to turn a crazy idea into a real skill set that I’m already getting to put to good use.

by Victoria Richardson


Useful Links

Industrial Rope Access Association of New Zealand