Anchor points are an essential element for rope access facade maintenance and cleaning services on multi-storey buildings. This guide provides everything you need to know when considering the addition of rope access anchor points to your building for facade management.
What are Rope Access Anchor Points?
Anchor Points serve as a fixed point where the safety lines that rope access technicians use to ‘abseil’ the facade of a building are attached. They must be designed and tested to meet Australian Standards and certified by a height safety technician to be fit for purpose.
Australian Standards dictate that specialised abseil-rated anchors are used for rope access work for safety compliance. Abseil anchor points are available in a variety of designs that make them suitable for a range of surfaces and mounting scenarios.
Anchor points are sturdily mounted to the roof deck of multi-storey buildings to provide facade access to rope access technicians for services including; Facade inspections, high-rise window cleaning, facade maintenance and repair works, and facade painting and restoration.
Installing Roof Anchor Points
The installation of roof anchor points is a critical process, requiring precision and adherence to Australian Standards as well as codes of practice from the Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Working At Heights Association (WAHA), both of which Anchor Safe Rope Access is a proud member.
Anchor Safe Rope Access are in a unique position in the rope access industry thanks to our ties with our parent company, Anchor Safe. This means we can lean on the unmatched expertise of the Anchor Safe team for the installation, certification, and maintenance of all our abseil anchor points. The result is guaranteed safety for our rope access technicians and peace of mind for our clients that their systems meet all requirements.
Installation Process Overview
Assessment: The first step involves thoroughly assessing the roof structure to determine the most suitable type of anchor point and its optimal placement. This ensures maximum coverage and safety for rope access technicians.
Selection of Anchor Points: Based on the assessment, the appropriate design and type of abseil-rated anchor points are selected. Anchor Safe offers a variety of designs to suit different roof structures and surfaces.
Installation: Anchor Safe’s certified height safety technicians carry out the installation. They ensure that each anchor point is securely mounted to the roof deck, providing a reliable attachment point for facade access.
Testing and Certification: Post-installation, each anchor point undergoes rigorous testing to ensure it meets the required load-bearing standards. Once certified, they are tagged and ready for use in rope access work.
What if my Building Has Existing Anchor Points?
If your building already has roof anchor points installed we will assess them to ensure they meet the stringent safety and compliance requirements necessary for our team to use them safely. We will also ensure their placement and the number and types of anchors present will provide our team with what they need.
If your anchor points pass our compliance check, this means you can avoid the cost of installing new ones. However, regular maintenance and recertification costs will still apply to ensure ongoing compliance and safety.
In cases where existing anchor points don’t meet the necessary standards:
- Additional Anchors: We may need to install extra anchors for access and coverage.
- Partial Replacement: Some anchor points may need to be replaced or upgraded.
- Full Replacement: In certain situations, a complete overhaul of the existing system might be required to ensure compliance and safety.
Maintenance of Roof Anchor Points
Once anchor points are installed, routine maintenance is crucial for ensuring ongoing safety and compliance with Australian standards and work safety laws. Annual recertification is required by law. These measures help in identifying potential issues before they escalate, ensuring that our technicians can perform their work safely and reliably. We leverage the expertise of Anchor Safe to maintain these systems to the highest standards professionally.
Inspections: Annual inspections by a certified height safety technician are conducted to assess the condition of the anchor points. This includes checking for any signs of wear, corrosion, or damage.
Testing: Load testing is performed to ensure that each anchor point can still bear the required loads safely.
Repairs and Replacements: If any issues are identified during inspections or testing, immediate repairs or replacements are made to restore the anchor points to their optimal condition.
Tagging: All anchor points must have a valid certification tag to be used in any form of height safety or access system
Online Asset Management Tool
The Anchor Safe team have designed and developed an integrated compliance app, that monitors height safety assets in real-time. The app makes managing anchor points and any other height safety systems convenient, more transparent and highly efficient, providing instant visibility of registers and timely reminders for events such as recertification.
Cost Breakdown and Considerations
Cost of installing an anchor point system for rope access
The initial investment will vary from building to building based on;
- Building size: The number of anchor points required to ensure our technicians can safely and efficiently access all areas of the building’s facade.
- Type of anchor: The type of anchor used will depend on the specifics of the building, its construction and the materials we are mounting the anchors to.
- Access: How difficult it will be for the technicians to access the working area and what safety provisions must be incorporated to maintain our crew’s safety whilst installing the anchor points.
The installation of anchor points to create a rope access system for your building requires an investment in your building. Like all good investments, it will pay for itself and provide strong returns in the form of money saved for many years to come.
For a free assessment and quote contact our friendly team
Annual recertification and maintenance costs
After installation, the ongoing costs are relatively minimal, especially when compared to other access methods.
Comparing Costs with Scaffolding and Mechanical Lifts
The real value of investing in roof anchor points becomes evident when compared to the costs of alternative access methods like scaffolding or mechanical lifts:
Scaffolding: The recurring costs of erecting, dismantling, and renting scaffolding can be substantial. There’s also the added inconvenience and time consumption, which can disrupt business operations. See our Rope Access vs. Scaffolding article for more information.
Mechanical Lifts: While useful for certain tasks, mechanical lifts often come with high rental costs, operational challenges, and limitations in reach and mobility.
Time & Efficiency: Once the anchor point system is installed, rope technicians can access your entire facade with unmatched efficiency. This means they complete their work in far less time.
Over time, the investment in rope access anchor points proves to be far more economical. Not only do they offer a safer, more reliable means of access, but they also enhance the efficiency of maintenance tasks. The reduced need for external equipment rental and the ability to conduct maintenance more swiftly translate into significant cost savings.
Anchor points are a key piece of equipment that enables our rope access technicians to efficiently and safely access the facades of tall buildings. As a safety device that the lives of rope access technicians rely on, the installation, use and certification of abseil anchor points are strictly regulated.
The installation cost of abseil anchors for rope access is a smart investment that will generate the building large cost savings over the life of the systems. While annual recertification and maintenance costs are a factor that must be considered, these costs are minimal in comparison to ongoing hire costs for other access methods such as scaffold and mechanical lifts.
Backed by Australia’s leader in height safety systems and compliance certification, Anchor Safe Rope Access is unmatched in our ability to ensure our clients have safe, reliable and cost-effective anchors installed on their buildings.
Brad Love is a veteran of the rope access painting and decorating industry, with over 47 years of experience under his belt. Brad is the Service Design and Estimator at Anchor Safe Rope Access and a trusted voice in the painting and decorating community.