Scared of heights?
Well, this is definitely not the job for you. The famous 540ft ‘Gherkin’ building in the City of London has to have its windows cleaned – from the very top. One of the necessary jobs at the Gherkin indeed, done by London window cleaners who clean all those outside windows. These brave souls use special ropes and harnesses and are like daredevils. You have to be unafraid of heights for sure to get this strange job in London!
The 40-story, pickle-shaped building in London, known affectionately as “the Gherkin,” provides an interesting challenge to window cleaners: the angled walls prevent the use of ordinary scaffolds or swing stages. London window cleaners must rappel from the top of the building down to a ring-shaped collar, where specially-fitted scaffolds can be deployed. The 744 windows on the Gherkin – an area equal to five soccer fields – take a team of nine men ten days to complete!
The construction of the building means that a specialist team of nine men have to abseil down the side of the building to do the windows on the highest section, before reaching a height where the more commonplace cleaners’ cradles can be used to finish off the 744 windows – 24,000 square metres of glass, the equivalent of five football pitches.
As mentioned before, it will take the team up to ten days to complete. Below level 35, the windows are cleaned by men in one or two cradles. Above that, a hydraulic cherry picker is used. External cleaning and maintenance below level 36 is achieved by a telescopic gib and cradle system whilst the top of the tower above level 36 is maintained by a Teupen unit cherry-picker on a powered trolley. Both units run round the tower on two parallel tracks.
Meal breaks by the london window cleaners are taken sitting on top of the 40-storey building. Interestingly, despite its high-tech interior, the work has to be done in the old-fashioned way: with a bucket of soapy water and a squeegee. It is indeed lucky for the Gherkin that we still have some london window cleaners left who know and are happy to ply their knowledge of the traditional old fashioned methods of window cleaning….Viva Gherkin washers!