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Clean Building Envelope


What aresome of the popular façade access systems in India?

In today’s day and age, façade access systems have become technologically superior. When we started out, what was available in India was portab

le access system which needed to be moved manually, but now there are motorised systems available. These systems can vary from aluminum tracks to steel tracks and trolleys without reach from the building ranging from 2m to 15m. Most of the trolleys that a

re manufactured in India have access upto 8m to 9m. Access systems above that and all specialised equipments are still imported. We import these from German company, Manntech, one of the oldest companies to manufacture these trolleys. Then there are also g

round systems like Ariel platforms or cherry pickers as they are sometimes called, which are also imported. Specialised trolleys developed by Manntech are the latest Introduction in the façade cleaning segment.

How relevant is Spiderman in tall structures?

Spiderman is rope access or abseiling in French that means coming down the mountain. India is the 7th country in the world to use this system. The syste

m started in France and basically includes mountaineering equipment and rope with inbuilt system of secondary safety rope. The rope needs to be installed with safety anchor at the top of the building for safety. Additionally, these ropes and equipment need to be regularly checked and logged. Spiderman is mostly used in small projects that need economical maintenance solutions. It is also used in buildings where access through any other system is not possible. In certain areas and locations it is still being used. But this technology is meant only for cleaning of the facade. For other maintenances like glass checking, glass replacement and mastic filling, alternate façade access systems are needed. Also, for structures above 80m we would not recommend spiderman. The taller structures require complete equipment.

What are the safety issues?

In tall buildings, if a worker is hanging from 30th floor, the equipment needs to be in a perfect condition, therefore, equipment checking needs to be stringent. The rope usage is logged every hour and logs are checked once a week. After completing1000 hours of usage, rope is discarded & cut up in pieces and sold to ensure it is not reused by anyone. In addition, safety locks & descender units are logged and brought once a month for a check up in the office. Moreover, cleaning agents used are also neutral solutions that are not harmful while handling or breathing in by the workers. The workers, at the time of hiring, go through complete medical check up to detect ailments like vertigo and high blood pressure to ensure their safety.

How an efficient maintenance, increase the performance of a building facade?

The kinds of glass facades being constructed in India are extremely expensive as they use high performance glazing. Bird droppings, cement splats and high levels of dust make proper maintenance necessary. In addition, rains in India are acidic, which damage and corrode the glass. Rainbow effect on the glass indicates the glass has been damaged. Also, mastic filling along the glass edges too needs repairing from time to time; so it’s not just the glass but the entire façade system that needs maintenance. A customised façade maintenance system, can in fact double the life of a building envelope.

What are the future trends you see in the façade cleaning service industry?

Maintenance of facades in India is very critical with very high dust levels. While buildings in Europe are cleaned once in six months, in India it’s done on an average once a month. With growing number of tall buildings being constructed across the country, increased usage of façade access system is inevitable. Particularly in case of glass facades, you need to have systems in place for regular maintenance as one cannot access glass from inside the building and have to be maintained from outside. With large multinationals making entry into India and greater number of people are being exposed to global practices, there is a demand for international standard buildings and proper maintenance forms an integral part of the building lifecycle. The good thing is, façade consultants and architects are now recommending façade maintenance system to be finalised earlier on during the life cycle of a project.Few leading architects consult façade access companies like us while designing the building and the trend will continue to grow.

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