Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online

Window cleaning at the world's tallest building

January 4, 2010

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — As the world''s tallest and arguably most impressive building, the Burj Khalifa has some unique requirements regarding cleaning and maintenance, notably to the windows that make the structure glisten to the Gods, according to the Gulf News.

To date, the 23,000 glass panels that make up the Burj Khalifa''s exterior have only been cleaned by rope access, but 18 building maintenance units (BMUs) with specified cleaning ranges have been installed that allow workers easy maneuverability to clean the building''s exterior, the story stated.

According to the story, under normal weather conditions, with all 18 BMUs in operation and 36 men manning the machines, the entire facade of the Burj Khalifa will take approximately two to three months to clean.

Theo van der Linde, operations manager at Cox Gomyl, manufacturer of the Burj Khalifa''s BMUs, said: "The cleaning cycle is influenced by weather conditions; if we have a dust storm the windows will need to be cleaned more often; if we have a lot of rain the cleaning will be much faster. The normal cleaning cycle is four cycles per annum, always starting from the top going down to prevent dirty water from falling on clean windows. Also, during the summer, the windows become very hot so once water is applied to the glass it evaporates immediately. The cleaning cycle should follow the shaded area of the building. The BMUs, which took almost a year to install, had to be designed to operate in extreme conditions. Factors that had to be taken into account were wind speeds, movement of the building and extremely tight tolerances. The cleaning cycle also had to be taken into account given the size of the building."

According to the article, Megarme, a rope cleaning specialist contractor, is currently trying to secure the facade cleaning and maintenance contract at the 160-story Burj Khalifa.

All cleaning and maintenance workers are fully trained to meet Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) requirements and are then assessed, registered to an appropriate skill level and qualification and required to refresh their training at least once every three years, the story noted.

Because of the extreme threat from the sun, the work is planned around the positioning of the sun by using the natural shade of surrounding buildings, the story added.

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