The job of cleaning both the outside and inside of tall and even the tallest buildings in the world sounds daring and sends shivers down many people’s spines. In Dubai, cleaning the windows of the world’s tallest building offers a different challenge in itself. First, they are suspended 60 metres above the next platform, which 600 metres above the ground. Factors like gravity and wind come into play while cleaning the windows.
For instance, dropping cleaning equipment could be devastating for people on the ground; therefore, they should be carefully strapped to the safety lines or their bodies. The force of gravity works in only one direction, which makes it predictable, unlike wind, which could change direction every few minutes. But in contrast, tall buildings such as these are in danger of being sucked over rather than being blown over by vortices created behind the building that create low-pressure areas. Burj Khalifa has adopted an aerodynamic design that prevents the vortices from forming. It takes 3 months to clean the 24000 windows, and you have to start again as soon as you finish because of the dust build-up.
This is also the case in cleaning the tallest skyscrapers in London. Window cleaners are out there almost daily, and as soon as they clean a section and get round, it’s dirty again. The weather is also an essential element in window cleaning. In the summer it’s quite beautiful, but in the winter it could be a bit chilly, but nothing beats the views from the 45th floor. Cleaning the building is done from the top downwards; however, from time to time, it goes across depending on the situation, the winds to get all the windows completed in time. The building houses the model maker of the architectural team that designed the building and a group of chefs that have been in the building long enough that it has become part of them. But even after this, some haven’t gotten over their fear of heights and get past the third floor. The environment of peace and quiet together and the occasional waves they get from people inside the building is a satisfying enough reward for them.
Working at dizzying heights requires you to strike a balance between the fear and respect for the height, especially for the window cleaners in New York who like to be referred to like that and not window washers. The respect for the height is emphasized by using the correct safety equipment, which is well maintained to ensure that it won’t be your last wash. Proper safety equipment is backed up by anchor hooks outside of the windows that facilitate the clipping of the safety belt. They can be found in pre-war buildings or those that have been appropriately renovated. Sometimes they use door frames as anchors that break their fall in case they slip. They usually use water, ammonia, and a tiny bit of dish-washing liquid for lubrication for window cleaning.