Now more than ever facade access and maintenance equipment plays an increasingly important role in the design of building envelopes and their safe and efficient future maintenance.
As the quest grows to develop more individual and impressive buildings, increasing emphasis is being placed on the buildings’ facades both internally and externally with respect to the detail, quality and proportion of overall budget attributable to this aspect. Safe, economical and effective maintenance of the facade is of prime concern to all parties involved in designing and delivering a new building.
Client expectations of ever more prestigious and intricate building profiles has led to a significant increase in the technical expertise necessary to provide appropriate designs for the access equipment. Off-the-shelf equipment may not be appropriate and the designer now requires a comprehensive knowledge of the real capability of companies in the field and the ingenuity to develop appropriate cost-effective solutions incorporating the latest requirements of all the associated Health and Safety legislation.
Even for lower budget projects a comprehensive access design is still important to ensure a satisfactory solution which will minimise long term building maintenance costs. The provision of a permanent system, temporary system or combination of both is a very important design consideration in the overall building budget as well as the ongoing maintenance cost of the building. A well thought out cleaning strategy with a cleaning time analysis is usually an ideal way to ensure that all access requirements and their commercial impact have been considered.
When it comes to refurbishment and retro-fitting facade access equipment, the full scope of options and their impact upon the existing building structure must be fully assessed and considered to arrive at an optimal solution. Many existing installations may require a survey or audit to review the equipment in the light of changes in codes, standards, legislation and new requirements concerning the need to assess risk and ensure safe working procedures are adopted.
The very wide range of requirements for building access systems highlights the need for totally impartial and independent expertise to identify and resolve the client’s and the building designer’s specific requirements. The optimum access solution can sometimes require a degree of technical innovation and an element of creativity. One thing is certain and that is the design process can no longer be relegated to advice from suppliers, which, by the very nature if its source, is restricted by their own specific knowledge, capabilities and equipment.