Industrial alpinism

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In this article: Industrial mountaineering – the origins of the profession; the role of climbers-assemblers during the construction of the hydroelectric power station; characteristics of industrial mountaineering; pros and cons of promalp; how to choose industrial climbers; prices for the production of work at height.

Mountaineering and city peaks

With the constant increase in the height of buildings in cities, the building density is increasing, often not allowing the installation of scaffolding or a tower for repairs, without blocking the paths of passage and passage. In addition, the hiring of specialized lifting equipment capable of providing access to the facade of buildings and structures of considerable height is quite expensive, while its efficiency directly depends on the complexity of the architecture of the facility. And in such situations, industrial climbers are involved in facade work …

Industrial mountaineering – the origin of the profession

The need for high-rise works, during which it was impossible to use lifting special equipment, arose for the first time in the United States of America during the construction of a dam in Boulder Canyon, at the end of construction, named after the 31st US President Herbert Hoover. In the absence of experienced climbers, the work of gouging holes in the walls of the canyon with jackhammers, followed by placing explosives in them and detonating it, was entrusted to the miners. It is worth noting that they did not have much choice – the Great Depression and the resulting unemployment were raging in the country. As a result of the complete lack of any mountaineering experience and the necessary equipment, several miners in the process of work broke loose and died.

Mountaineering and city peaks Construction of a dam in Boulder Canyon

In the USSR, the first high-rise works with the involvement of professional climbers and rock climbers were carried out in besieged Leningrad – it was required to mask the dome of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in a short time (the total height of the building is 101.5 m, the height of the inner dome is 69 m) and the spire of the Peter and Paul Fortress (the total height of the building is 122, 5 m, spire height – 40 m). The gilded dome and the spire were excellent landmarks for the Nazi gunners, but it was not possible to install a camouflage net on these architectural objects from the inside – the existing passages turned out to be too narrow. Even for climbers, this event turned out to be extremely difficult – the surface of the dome and, in particular, the spire abounded with steep surfaces, they had to develop the technology of the rope method of work in a short time. And it was this first experience of successful high-altitude work that formed the basis of a new profession – industrial mountaineering..

Mountaineering and city peaks Climbers work on the spire of the Admiralty

In the postwar years, climbers were repeatedly involved in the construction of objects of national importance, including the Nurek, Toktogul and Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plants. It turned out that it is much easier to train a climber in construction professions than to overcome the natural fear of heights that professional builders have when performing work on plumb lines..

In modern Russia, industrial mountaineering, or, as it is also called, promalp, began to actively develop since the beginning of the 90s – there is a steady demand for the services of climbers. Split systems and satellite dishes, previously unattainable, appeared on the free sale, and it was frankly scary for ordinary installers to install them on high-rise buildings. The rapid development of the outdoor advertising market, with impressive banner banners on the facades of buildings, also required the participation of experienced climbers with the appropriate equipment..

Mountaineering and city peaks

Cleaning companies played an important role in the development of the industrial area – the facades of numerous office buildings, the number of which in large cities increased from year to year, needed annual washing and cleaning.

Under the pressure of the developing market of professions, in 2001, the Ministry of Labor of the Russian Federation, by a special decree, introduced the profession of “industrial climber” into the tariff and qualification reference book.

Features of industrial mountaineering

First of all, there is a deeply mistaken opinion that equates a promalp with the area of ​​some kind of extreme. If industrial climbers, being on vacation, go to mountain ranges in order to climb their peaks – here there is extreme, but when working on the facades of high-rise buildings this is not and cannot be.

Professional industrial mountaineering is not just about climbing equipment skills. This is far from enough – every employee of a company that provides industrial mountaineering services must be a master-all-rounder, equally proficient in the skills of a painter, installer, electrician, etc..

Each industrial climber is obliged to study the features of their implementation on the facade of a particular building before starting work, to know the technology of work that he has to perform.

Compliance with safety rules, prompalp techniques, fluency in the norms for the use of climbing equipment and its testing before use – this is not a complete list of requirements, the possession of which is mandatory for every industrial climber.

Mountaineering and city peaks

The scope of work, for the performance of which the specialists of the promalpa are involved, is quite wide. Most often, industrial climbers clean the roofs of houses from snow and massive icicles in the winter season, clean and wash facades, and wash windows in the spring months; in the summer they need to participate in decoration and painting work. Regardless of the current season – works on sealing joints between panels of reinforced concrete buildings, installation of metal structures for mobile operators and banners for advertising companies. In addition to the basic activities described, industrial climbers are attracted to open slammed entrance doors from the inside, lift large furniture and items that cannot be transported through the staircase into the apartment..

Consider the advantages and disadvantages of promalp. Positive characteristics are:

  • no need to hire lifts, erect scaffolding, as well as allocate space for the installation of any dimensional equipment;
  • no significant time is required to prepare for work;
  • work can be performed in conditions of difficult access to individual sections of the construction site;
  • the risks of damage to the existing facade finish and glazing area are reduced to almost zero;
  • there are no restrictions on the height of the work;
  • in the case of repair and finishing work at objects of special heights and located above the reservoir, there are no other methods of their production;
  • significant cost savings are achieved, since attraction of a mobile aerial platform to work would be expensive.

Negative characteristics:

  • employees of the promalpa company must have good physical shape, be psychologically stable;
  • performance of high-rise work is associated with great risk for performers;
  • the quality of work performed in conditions of high altitude may be lower than work of a similar volume and direction, performed at a low height from the ground;
  • the result of some types of high-rise work, due to their characteristics, cannot be verified. In this case, one has to fully rely on the professionalism of the performers, which means that they must be selected with special care..

Selection criteria for industrial climbers

The first sign of a professional in the field of promalp is the willingness to complete any task, regardless of its complexity, without resorting to subcontractors. In other words, a high-class performer not only declares his significant experience in the field of industrial mountaineering, but has all the necessary equipment and equipment. The wider the range of services provided by this company in the direction of “industrial mountaineering”, the fewer unjustified surcharges that increase tariffs for work in the evening and holidays, and the longer the guarantees for the services rendered, the more professional the company and its staff are..

Employees of a company providing industrial mountaineering services must have permission to perform high-altitude work, annually undergo state certification in specialized training centers for industrial mountaineering.

Let’s look at a couple of common situations that customers face. What could be easier, at first glance, than washing windows and removing efflorescence from the facade? For cleaning glass and smooth surfaces, microfiber sponges are used, clamped into holders, rubber squeegees and special chemicals, as well as a whole set of telescopic and swivel rods, scrapers and a special bucket design. The non-glazed part of the facade, which has a porous structure, requires a special approach – it is necessary to establish the nature of the contamination, select a specific chemical cleaner and use specialized equipment designed to deliver the cleaning solution to contaminated surfaces.

Mountaineering and city peaks

Installation of the banner on the wall of the building. Outwardly, this operation does not look particularly complicated – a metal frame, to which the banner canvas is attached through ready-made eyelets. However, if such a banner has an area of ​​several hundred square meters, and on the facade of the building, where it should be placed, the frame has yet to be mounted – this work is not easy. It is required to carefully and accurately install the frame on the sheer wall of the building, without making a mistake even once during the installation work, and then fix the banner canvas on it so that there is not a single sag or skew.

The cost of services for industrial mountaineering depends on the nature of the work performed, for example, a spring window cleaning will cost the customer from 50 to 70 rubles. per m2, snow removal of the roof and removal of icicles – from 50 rubles. per m2; sealing of interpanel seams – about 17,000 rubles. for a two-room apartment.

High-altitude work performed by experienced industrial climbers successfully working in this market segment contains additional advantages that are invisible at first glance: in addition to purchasing high-quality services, the customer can be sure of the complete safety of his company’s employees, visitors and bystanders at every stage of the work , i.e. no objects of various weights are guaranteed not to fall on people’s heads.

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