There is nothing special about cleaning hard to reach windows with a pole system, and this looks pretty typical until you look closer.
(see the full size image below)
This is in the new and very beautiful Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. I transited through the airport on my way from Kuala Lumpur where I delivered a public Strategic FM workshop, to Muscat, Oman where I delivered the same course in-house.
But when you see the full scene below, you can see that this is a pretty extreme window cleaning situation. Not only is he using a pole horizontally, he is on a purpose-built scaffold just to get him high enough.
At least he is in a harness and strapped in. Notice the small safety zone below the window cleaner. Probably just in case he drops the pole. I saw him pause and shake his hand many times, probably from fatigue caused by holding the pole horizontally. After using the scrubber, which was very awkward to get in his wash water, he repeated this with the squeegee head. I’m impressed with what he was able to do, frankly.
Unfortunately, this is a common issue Facility Managers face after a beautiful building is designed and built. While features like this elevated glass room is nice, the need for cleaning and maintenance are often overlooked and cause increased expense or headaches. Sometimes, advance thought can mitigate the problems, but often there is little discussion between the architects, engineers and Facilities department.
What examples and experiences do you have? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Read my follow-up article about how an FM worked with an Architect. (Yes, it can happen!)