When your building needs a safety inspection, there are a number of ways to carry it out. If there are areas that are hard to reach, then it may require scaffolding or a cherry picker, but both of these have their limitations. In particular, scaffold erection is a costly and time-consuming operation and while it will get someone up to where they need to be, the scaffolding may of itself obstruct the view. Cherry pickers, of course, have a limit as to how high they can go.
A safety inspection needs to be accurate, and making estimates from ground level is not a good idea, although people do sometimes do this. How do you know that the estimate is accurate, unless someone has been up close and personal?
The straightforward answer to those places that are hard to reach is rope access. This way you can trust the results and make estimates that you know without doubt are accurate. Rope access is very similar to rock climbing and caving, and allows a technician to reach areas that other methods don’t allow for. This is an extremely safe method of accessing difficult places because the technicians are anchored to an eyebolt at the top of the building. In fact, they are anchored to two eyebolts, one of which is a work positioning eyebolt and the other a fall safety eyebolt.
Furthermore, there will always be at least two technicians in the same area, so in the event of any problems they will be able to reach each other. In any event, the International Rope Access Trade Association requires that every technician is fully trained and certified. The industrial rope access industry actually has a lower record of incidents than any other sector of the construction industry.
Another place that may need access is actually inside the building, and that is when you need to inspect a lift shaft. Rope access works just as well here too. A building safety report needs to cover every aspect, and technicians working this way can see everything up close and carry out any tests that may be needed to check the integrity of the building. Every last square inch can be checked, rather than making assumptions based on partial observation.
Of course, if repairs are needed to a building, the quotes that you will get from contractors are based on the safety inspection. Provided that you have an accurate report, then the quotes should also be accurate. However, this is where big problems can arise if the safety report turns out to be inaccurate. Your contractor comes in and starts the work, but then finds there are problems which have not been foreseen simply because the report was inaccurate.
Now the contract is stalled while you decode what to do. Quite obviously, the contractor is going to make an additional quote to cover the extra work, and this means that the overall cost is only going one way. Now there is going to be another problem because you are quite naturally over budget. If the budget cannot be increased, it may mean delaying the work until the extra cost can be allowed for, or it may mean sacrificing quality in order to get a fix. Either way, this is not a situation that anyone wants to get into, and it could have been completely avoided if the original inspection had been accurate.
Rope access is not only the very best way of ensuring an accurate safety inspection report, but it is also less costly than erecting scaffolding, which might (a) produce an inaccurate report because part of the scaffolding obscures some areas to be inspected or (b) find that there are actually no problems (even though you don’t know that is accurate) and that there is no need to carry out any work.
Rope access is ultimately the only way of physically seeing everything up close and testing it so that you KNOW without doubt the exact condition of your building and whether or not you need to have any work carried out. Since it is also going to cost less than having a scaffold erected it just makes sense to go down that road rather than any alternative.
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