Rope Access

Searched the above topic and google but came up with trade related jobs. Was wondering if anyone knows off general maintainene jobs(i.e cleaning,painting,shop fitting) etc and who to contact?

Cheers in advance, DS
Most (industrial) abseilers that I've come across are sport abseilers who have done the IRATA course, work for a while to build up the pennies for a long abseiling holiday, then come back to do the same again. With the exception of myself and a few colleagues who were "roped" into it (now all long past it), I've only met the odd bloke who had a trade or relevant experience before becoming a dope on a rope.

The prevalence of buildings that have been poorly designed (i.e. lack of adequate access to maintain the facade) or cheapskating on traditional access methods has allowed the cowboys a foothold in the building construction, maintenance and demolition industries. Over a period of time, abseilers have become experienced in what they do, but lack of training and supervision mean that they may not be particularly skilled. (You don't have to be skilled or knowledgable to be experienced, you merely have to have been doing it for a long time).

Having said that, some have learned from their mistakes and now have an inkling of what not to do, but truly good firms and individuals are few and far between. Look around and you'll see that many abseiling firms place the emphasis on gaining access to difficult places, rather than having the skills necessary once they get there.
I am an A2 plumber in the RE, currently doing SARA(Search and Rope Access) course at the moment so not sure what civvy qual if any I would get. Having had a background in plumbingmay be a help but have savage skill fade as I haven't touched it since I left Chatham and is highly unlikely I will use it at my current unit!!
The "industry standard" is an IRATA qualification. Level 1 means that you can hang on a rope that has been attached by someone more qualified. Level 2 means that you can attach ropes under the supervision of a Level 3 abseiler. Level 3 means that you can attach ropes without supervision.

Despite claims by IRATA, there is still no legal requirement to be IRATA trained - but they have pushed the myth so far that few clients will entertain anybody who doesn't have an IRATA qualification. This is where my lot came crashing down. We were trained by an equipment manufacturer and subsequently tried to follow the IRATA path. But IRATA produced a prerequisite for Levels 2 and 3 that you had to abseil (essentially) full-time to comply with the annual dangling time - so if you weren't on the tools, you'd have to hire in Level 3 abseilers to set up your ropes. In effect, that sounded the death knell for any meaningful supervision and handed carte blanche to the cowboys.

Industrial rope access is a two-rope technique - usually 10.5mm as a minimum - a descender (Petzl Stop) on one and a braking system (Petzl Shunt) on the other. Single rope methods are considered suicidal - though once off site, a lot of the abseilers will revert to their 8mm single rope sport. At least this was the case a few years ago - I don't know if sport abseiling has changed over time. I believe that RE abseilers were taught single rope 10mm with nothing more technical than a figure of eight around a carabiner.

I'll PM you a link to a couple of the firms that have been around longer than most. I'm not saying that they're the best, but they have had more time to get their act together. As they've been around more than 20 years, they've also got a bit of survivability - many firms are two-man bands that disappear on a regular basis, sometimes leaving their employees unpaid.
Cheers putees, much appreciated, we work with safety and working line, changing ropes, casualty drills etc.
Changing ropes is a Level 2 task. Rescue is also taught at Level 2. Traversing is Level 3. (IIRC)

We were taught by a manufacturer, but it counted for nought under IRATA - even though, 20 years ago, the IRATA instructors were self-taught and many didn't have a clue. I hope it's different now.

Vindictive? You fucking bet I am.


The offshore sector use RA Techs to do NDT inspections on rig structures. Two companies that spring to mind are Servtech and Highland Rope Access.
Irata is still used, I employed a number of ex mil sigs and RAF riggers in the telecoms industry to climb masts - installing antenna etc.

Could not tell you much about shop fronts etc
cloudbuster said:
The offshore sector use RA Techs to do NDT inspections on rig structures. Two companies that spring to mind are Servtech and Highland Rope Access.
Also CAN group do alot of that ndt work and general inspection stuff.

DSL aswell. Im working with a DSL crew at the moment. They're trying to persuade me to put myself through a rope access course and apply for a job with them. The lads are mainly platers and welders and the supervisor is a rigger.

Seriously considering doing it aswell. Drilling mentality is really starting to grate me. Employed from the neck to the deck.

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