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March/April 2008
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New Standard Provides Guidelines for Industrial Rope Access

Engineers, architects, contractors, and public and private facility owners have become increasingly aware of the advantages of using industrial rope access as a method for a wide range of inspection, testing, maintenance and repair applications. ASTM International Committee E06 on Performance of Buildings has now developed and approved E 2505, Practice for Industrial Rope Access, which describes the many different ways that industrial rope access can be used. The new standard, which provides a framework of practical and technical information for the safe and effective use of rope access, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E06.55 on Exterior Building Wall Systems.

Industrial rope access system

Industrial rope access system in use at the Air Force Memorial Foundation in Arlington, Va.

The term “industrial rope access” refers to the use of techniques whereby access is gained to structures, man-made or natural, by means of ropes suspended from the structures. Among the specific tasks for which industrial rope access can be used are inspections and surveys, material sampling, spall removal, emergency stabilization, and maintenance and repair, such as caulking, painting and rockfall netting.

According to Rehan Siddiqui, chief executive officer, Ropelink Ltd., and Subcommittee E06.55 member, industrial rope access systems are used in many kinds of projects that involve high or difficult access locations, including the following applications:

  • Building structures — low-, mid- and high-rise buildings, historic and ornate structures.
  • Transportation infrastructures — bridges, viaducts, aqueducts, railways, shafts, cuttings, embankments.
  • Space frames/antenna — radio telescopes, atria, masts.
  • Special structures — monuments, chimneys, lighthouses, roller coasters.
  • Geotechnical applications — cliffs, embankments, cuttings, slopes.
  • Industrial and offshore — refineries, nuclear, offshore installations.

Siddiqui says that participation from all interested parties is welcome in the ongoing development of E 2505. Potential revisions to the standard include developing sections on contracting methods such as working with drilling rigs, hand tools and handling materials.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Rehan Siddiqui, Ropelink Ltd., New York, N.Y.

Phone: 212/295-2122

ASTM Staff: Stephen Mawn

Phone: 610/832-9726