Access is an integral part of inspection, maintenance, and repair of building facades and structures. The criteria for selection of access to building facades is widely varied and, in part, depends on the characteristics of the building (roof, height, set backs, overhangs, etc.), site constraints (traffic, sidewalk, etc.), and economics (time and money).
Some of the most traditional means of access to building facades include boom truck, man lift, swing staging, aerial platform, and scaffolding. Advantages and disadvantages of each type of access should be considered in the selection process. Depending on the complexity of the project, one or more of these types of access may be selected to meet project demands. One technique, which is widely used in Europe and now gaining acceptance in the United States, is Industrial Rope Access (Rope Access). This technique is often a supplementary means of access, and not necessarily a substitute for the traditional means of access to building facades and structures.
This paper presents a general overview on the past, present and future of this technique for inspection, maintenance, and repair of building facades and structures.