Skyriders Access Specialists showcased the flexibility of its rope-access solutions at a recent waterproofing contract on a 19-storey hotel building, in Lusaka, Zambia, for a major hotel group.

The initial scope of work was to assist the primary contractor with waterproofing on a couple of problem areas in the building, a one- or two-day undertaking at best. However, it quickly turned into a seven-week project, running from February to March, due to having to deal with the consequences of substantial waterproofing challenges on the exterior façades.

While minimal gaps in the building’s façade could simply be filled with silicon sealant, this was not a viable option for the larger gaps. Flashing was therefore selected as the best waterproofing material, as it prevents water ingress from joints, as well as forming a weather-resistant barrier system.

In addition, the building areas that required attention lacked any straight vertical or horizontal surface, which made traditional access almost impossible. Therefore, a quick and simple rope-access solution was opted for as the most cost-effective maintenance method, notes Mike Zinn, Skyriders marketing manager.

In order to enhance safety while working-at-height during this project, temporary rigging set-ups were erected to allow for sufficient deviation to access the areas that required attention. Another logistical challenge posed by this project was the actual supply chain of the waterproofing material itself, sourced from another subcontractor.

“We also had to deal with extended periods of rain that, while helpful in aiding the team to identify where the leaks were in the building, also rendered working conditions too slippery to be safe for a couple of days,” Zinn adds.

“The fact that we are able to offer our specialist rope-access services into the rest of Africa via our South African home base adds to our cost-competitiveness, as we are able to take advantage of any exchange-rate fluctuations, and pass these onto our African customers directly,” Zinn concludes.

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