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high rise pressure washing via a window cleaners bosuns chair

this article is designed to give you "insights" into how i rigged and performed this work so, you can attract high rise pressure washing jobs into your window cleaning business!

high rise pressure washing via a window cleaners bosuns chair. andy engstrom

if you're not already trained to perform rope descents using (rds) rope descent systems, get training first before attempting to do this work.

check out: for all the details on how to get trained in high rise window cleaning.

recently, i've had the privilege of rigging and cleaning the exterior surfaces of a 9 story building. normally, i'd rappel and clean the windows at this account twice a year. this time the property manager wanted to add-on pressure washing to the contract.

exterior building surfaces get dirty and a variety of cleaning processes are needed. your window cleaning business can provide these services (window cleaning, vinyl siding cleaning, awning cleaning, roof moss cleaning, screen cleaning, gutter cleaning) and more...

... and that means more profit potential from each of your customers as times goes on!

rigging a high rise pressure washing job:

let me start out by showing you what the components are, and what equipment you'll need to perform this work.

#1: the rolling roof scaffolding rig

window cleaning scaffolding rig( pictured left) is my mio corporation rolling roof scaffolding rig. this is the type of window cleaning scaffolding you'll need to use to rig and rappel down the side of buildings. this rig is designed specifically for "bosuns chair" work which allows one worker to rappel on two ropes.

one rope is the main descending line and the other is a 'back-up' fall arrest line.

for pressure washing, i've added two 50 foot sections of pressure washing hose and spray gun to bring down the side of the building. that's the 'blue' colored hose shown in this picture.

#2: tie back clamp:

tie back clamp for high rise window cleaningthe tie-back clamp is a secondary safety device to secure your roof rig to the building's roof top when 'roof anchors' are not present. roof anchors are 5000 pound test rated by a certified engineer; tie back clamps are the alternative when buildings are not equipped with test rated anchors.

the tie back clamp is positioned around the 'parapet wall' and should be close to a direct line from the 'line of descent'.

you'll reposition your tie back clamp as needed during the course of rigging descents.

#3: pressure washer:

to clean this 9 story building i needed 100 feet of hose. i joined two 50 foot sections together to make up the total sum.

as shown in the picture (below), duct tape was added to the hose joints for extra safety. i had a horrible mishap when testing the length of hose needed for this job. i clicked the two 50 foot sections together and ran them over the edge of the building. as the hose was about to the ground, the two sections un-hooked from eachother. the bottom section fell to the glass awning and then, to the ground. phew! i'm glad no one got hurt! mishaps happen... this was one of the biggest screw-ups i've had in the last 18 years as a window cleaning business owner. i'm sharing this story with you so, you don't repeat the same mistake i did.

pressure washer, pressure washer hose

i found the pressure washer's 40 degree spray tip was not strong enough to cut through the building's green/black grime; instead a 25 degree tip was used.

the pressure washer was run at full-pressure to maximize the cleaning process. if you find this amount of pressure is damaging the building surface, be prepared to dial the pressure back to a safe level.

before during and after pressure washing

this work requires two people. one person rappels and cleans the building, while the second person feeds the pressure washer hosing down to the rappeller, maintains the pressure washer, and moves the rig horizontally across the roof top.

horizontal movement can be unsafe. (please follow these guidlines provided by the iwca/ansi i-14 window cleaning safety standards)

horizontal movement:

horizontal movement can be used by meeting these requirements.

  1. the transportable device is designed to be rolled under load without disassembly and reassembly
  2. it maintains an over turning stability of at least a 4:1 ratio
  3. the tie back anchorage and the safety line anchorage are independent of each other and have been specifically designed for such movement and repositioning under load
  4. a method is used to protect the suspension lines and life lines from abrading horizontally across the roof edge, parapet wall or other building feature
  5. employees moving transportable devices shall be tied off with a personal fall protection system in accordance with industry standards

if these requirements can not be met, do not use horizontal movement. along with improper rigging practices, horizontal movement has been the leading cause of window cleaning accidents.

high rise pressure washing via a window cleaners bosuns chair. andy engstrom

(pictured above), you'll notice i've had a pressure washer wand modified for bosuns' chair work. the standard 3 foot pressure washer wand length is too long for bosuns' chair work because of the close proximity to you and the building. i went to a plumbing store and had them cut and thread a 1 foot pipe to attach to the handle and nozzle. it worked perfect for this job site.

safety glasses and ear plugs are needed for personal safety to reduce high frequency noise and to guard against projectiles piercing eyes.

the information in this article is a simple overview of high rise pressure washing and rigging via a bosuns chair and roof rigger. if you're not already trained to perform rope descents using (rds) rope descent systems, get training first before attempting to do this work.

high rise window cleaning instruction

check out: for all the details on how to get trained in high rise window cleaning.


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