Rope Access/RDS


Professional Rope Access (PRA) and Rope Descent System (RDS) are probably the oldest height access methods. Developed by professional climbers, RA allows professionals to quickly and safely reach even the most difficult areas of any structure or building façade. Generally, a two-rope system is employed: a work line supports the worker and the safety line provides back-up fall protection.


By using professional equipment and a system of ropes and harnesses, professional certified rope access specialists are able to get to hard-to-reach areas. It allows for work at heights and in confined spaces to be completed quickly, safely and cost-effectively.

As rope access requires less equipment – the set-up time and cost is brought to a minimum, reducing costs and allowing ongoing operations to continue during work.

Professional Rope Access is a highly skilled occupation with safety being of paramount importance. Certification is done in few different skill levels and each level requires hundreds of hours of training and experience under supervision. For comparison, to obtain a Competent Person Certificate (CP Certificate) and be allowed to work on suspended scaffold takes only a 16 hours class (2 days), of which practice takes less than 1 hour! BMU use doesnt even require CP Certificate only few hours unit familiarization!


RDS is by far the most preferred access method of vast majority of window cleaners in the USA. It has all of the same safety factors as suspended scaffold if used in proper weather conditions (no wind). There are no legal restrictions for use of this method for any window cleaning operations at heights up to 300 anywhere in the USA, with an exception of NY and California. In NY, the use of RDS is allowed only on elevations up to 75 (strangely enough restriction applies for window cleaning work only and if you are painting the same facade wall from RDS – it’s perfectly legal!)

The rule is dated October 1, 1967. It’s 21st century outside and safety equipment for rope access is made with the use of aerospace technologies, yet the rule from 1967 was never revised nor updated.

See more details here.

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While being one of the oldest professional window cleaning methods, rope access is still highly demanded. The simple approach to reaching heights has survived the test of time and developed into something window cleaners of the 21st centuries learn to work with. At Big Apple Window Cleaning, we use numerous height access methods to keep your commercial buildings clean. Even though aerial platforms, Read more...
scaffolding, aerial lifts, and other technologies can help us do our job better, sometimes rope descent systems (RDS) are the best tools for the job. Our teams receive special training to provide professional window cleaning using rope access. Rope decent systems are moderately priced and can be used virtually anywhere. Some downsides exist to using RDS on high-rise buildings. They include low access precision and longer time to complete the job. However, highly experienced window cleaning professionals manage to work with RDS without undermining the quality of their work. When working with rope access, we need to consider weather conditions. Strong winds are a contraindication for window cleaning using ropes. We do everything possible to keep our teams safe. However, even the most experienced window cleaners can’t do their job hanging from a rope and battling a strong wind. The rope access method allows us to work with buildings, where BMUs aren’t installed and aerial platforms and lifts don’t have good access to. Rope access method is highly environmentally friendly, allowing us to leave a smaller carbon footprint. The versatility of the rope access method deserves special attention. RDS can be used to reach the hardest-to-reach objects in many environments. Rope access systems are easy and fast to install while requiring the least investment. At Big Apple Window Cleaning, we try hard to accommodate our clients’ wishes. That’s why we take advantage of all the height access methods available for professional window cleaning. Besides keeping your windows clean, we can use RDS for minor façade repairs and similar jobs. We pride ourselves on paying the utmost attention to safety. We are fully insured with a 10 million dollar general liability, auto, disability, and workers compensation insurance. Less..

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