UAE rope access companies are finding new business avenues
Building and asset owners are getting a bit more creative by installing LED façade lighting, this has opened new avenues for companies such as Grako
Rope access companies in the UAE are finding new sources of business stemming from a need that’s arising out of the demanding property sector. Developers are looking at making their buildings and tower blocks attractive by installing LED lights in different shapes and forms on its façades.
The biggest example of this new trend is encapsulated by Burj Khalifa’s magnificent looking LED set up that was launched with a bang on New Year’s Eve this year. Dubai-based rope access specialists Grako were involved in that project, and the company’s managing partner Alain El Tawil shed some light on this developing trend.
“There is a big demand in external lighting of buildings. And recently, a lot of companies coming from different parts of the world and we are getting a lot of enquiries. The most recent one has been from Philips Lighting… We are working on the Abu Dhabi Gate Towers at the moment [to install Led lighting there],” Al Tawil says indicating that the firm is getting into more technical projects than ever before.
He says that rope access is a useful means to work on buildings and while it has been a successful tool in cleaning façades, the demand for technical work has been on the rise. “You need technicians to do drilling, bolting, cabling and installations. And the system is a complex one, it’s not a simple LED strip that you install domestically,” he says.
The company has also been involved with other projects such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza in Abu Dhabi. “We have also done some work at the Etihad Towers in the capital,” El Tawil says adding that the company’s first LED installation was six years ago. “Back then it was an all-new concept, and not all people were interested in doing it because there is a cost implication involved. However, once stakeholders started seeing it on buildings and the impact it creates on the asset value, albeit visual, the trend started changing.
“There’s so many different things you can do with lighting and LEDs and you can see the Burj Khalifa as a perfect use case scenarios to show their support for various different causes and events around the globe,” he says.
The addition of the lighting mechanisms on building façades has resulted in a change of Grako’s standard operating procedures when it comes to cleaning. “Now there is an additional item on to the building so it creates a few challenges — the ropes coming in contact with the LED systems and ensuring we don’t damage them while working at heights,” he says.
El Tawil adds that isn’t any room for system failures. “Down time is not tolerated by any client. And while we were predominantly involved in doing soft services from rope access systems, we have seen an increase in the technical side of operations with the maintenance of LED light system on the rise,” El Tawil concludes.