We have completed the removal of over 4 ton of cast iron rainwater downpipes from an office complex in central Birmingham. The issue with the downpipes was their age, over 50 years old and the condition of the downpipes. These downpipes were in places rotten and in great danger of falling from the building if they had been left. The building owners were worried that any more adverse weather and strong winds and ice over the winter would have only added to the risk that these downpipes could fall.
Each 1.5 metre section of downpipe weighed over 40kg and initially the client had instructed the removal of the downpipes using MEWP's (Mobile Elevated Work Platfrom) but this proved unsuccessful as the weight of the downpipes was a real problem for the MEWP operators to handle.
We surveyed the job and decided that using rope access and lifting and rigging techniques, we would be able to complete the task safely. Initially rope access anchor points were installed for all rope access technicians, these were then load tested. Separate anchors for lifting equipment were also installed and load tested.
Using the skills of our rope access level 3 site supervisor we were able to use specialist rope access equipment including Petzl Mini and Petzl Micro Traction pulleys to secure and lift each individual section of downpipe from the building. The downpipes were then lowered to the ground without any downpipes falling or swinging into the glazed facade of the office building.
Happy rope access technician! Job done
Once each vertical section of downpipe was removed, which was over 40m high, new plastic downpipes were installed on the building. Again this was completed by our rope access team who efficiently installed the new pipes in a fraction of the time that it would have taken using a MEWP. Both vertical and horizontal sections of downpipe have now been removed and re-installed protecting the building and eliminating the risk of materials falling from height.