If a building doesn’t have windows, it’s reasonable to assume it’s either underground or hiding something. From humble homes to towering high-rises, windows are a feature that buildings rarely go without. This scenario puts forth a fascinating question concerning logistics.
These buildings are tall. The glass is high up. Ladders aren’t going to work too well. You’re looking at a challenge because if you get something wrong, your crew is going to fall. There’s plenty of risks, and there can’t be that many people who are willing to take them.
How, exactly, does a large building get its windows cleaned?
The answer can vary. For example, back in the 50s, cleaning windows meant washing. Window cleaning Perth and elsewhere meant men would strap into leather harnesses and hook themselves to the sides of the structure. From there, they’d start washing the glass.
Usually, tiny ledges were the primary anchors. If one hook failed, it was possible to dangle from the other and stabilise from there. This changed when the glass curtain wall became a thing, changing how windows are treated about the building.
The way facades changed caused people to change how their windows got cleaned. Outside access became more important, and most architects allowed for rooftop access. From there, equipment would be fixed so the cleaning team could lower themselves level by level as they work.
Modern technology is also responsible for a few changes. Sophistication started coming into play, along with better features to improve safety. With the heights that these people work in, safety is one thing you don’t want to skimp out on.
Facade-access equipment came back as part of the standard gear. These were designed to allow crews to clean windows even without a flat-roofed structure. With the popularity of recesses and slopes, this became essential equipment.
The gear is usually built with two arms that act as supports. They help in washing windows, along with hoisting the crew when needed. Safety features are standard here, even if they’re not apparent.
Most buildings are only washed once or twice a year. The only exceptions are instances when there is some stain that needs cleaning now. For example, there’s the story of someone that managed to get several gallons of raspberry jam stuck on a high-rise window. That needed cleaning.
Some companies are employing window-cleaning robots. These are automated and take away the risk of the human crew falling to their doom. However, robots like these are pricey and aren’t readily available in most places.
Regarding what gets used to handle the physical element, not much has changed.
There are stronger cleaning products now, for those special stains. However, things like squeegees and rags remain the standard. Soapy water is usually the product of choice unless there’s something that requires a stronger chemical to break down a stain.
Elbow grease and effort are still typical. People still do the cleaning in most places. Automation and machines haven’t been rapid to invade this industry, at least.