Extreme tall building cleaning: The challenges of cleaning the tallest buildings in the world

From dangerous equipment to hostile conditions, tall building cleaning is most definitely an art form. Actually, more of a carefully calculated and planned strategic operation.

Buildings around the world are becoming taller as each nation seeks to out-build their neighbours and cram more living and working space into prime real estate.

The trouble is, the higher you go, the more difficult the cleaning and maintenance. It doesn’t matter how tall your building is, cleaning windows at height has its challenges. Here are a few of the challenges of cleaning some of the world’s tallest buildings:

High access cleaning at One World Trade Centre in New York.

The 9th tallest building in the world, One World Trade Centre stands 541.3m tall. Built in 2014, this building houses offices set across 94 different floors, many with dramatic views over the bustling city of New York.

According to a New York Real Estate newspaper, shortly after completion, tall building cleaning specialists across the city refused to clean One World Trade Centre for over a year as cable malfunctions and track issues created concern among the window cleaning community. The replacement of the essential rigs was demanded to keep window cleaners safe whilst cleaning the tallest tower in the US.

Goldin Finance 117 where high level cleaning will bring new challenges in Tianjin

Goldin Finance in Tianjin will be home to 128 floors of offices and hotels. Due to be completed in 2020, Goldin Finance 117 will stand on the skyline beside the 11th tallest building in the world, Tianjin CTF Finance Centre, also due to be completed this year. These two additions to the Tianjin skyline will certainly keep tall building cleaning teams busy. CoxGomyl has been commissioned to create a range of Building Maintenance Units (BMUs) fitted with telescopic masts and jibs, monorails and work platforms for routine glass maintenance and replacement.

Window cleaning at height on the 4th highest tower in the world.

The Shanghai Tower in China reaches 632m into the sky over Shanghai. Built in 2015 the tower is packed with 128 floors of office space. With that many floors to cover, the elevators in this impressive feat of architecture travel at 20.5 metres per second.

Finding tall building cleaning teams to clean these skyscrapers is a challenge in itself. Tall building cleaning workers must obtain a licence for working at height and cannot have high blood pressure or suffer from vertigo. They cannot take items that could fall with them onto the cleaning cradles to protect people beneath, so all phones and wrist watches have to be left behind and, the second a strong wind gets up, all work has to be postponed.

Cleaning windows at the Burj

Then there’s the Burj Khalifa, Dubai. Currently the tallest completed skyscraper in the world but soon to come in second to the Jeddah tower. The Burj Khalifa is a sight to behold. Currently the tallest (completed) building in the world, it’s held this title since 2010. It stretches 828m into the Dubai skyline, yet still can’t be seen from the whole of Dubai. Its 163 floors combine hotel, residential and office space and, for a (not so small) fee, visitors can travel to the top of the tower for some rather spectacular sights.

When it was first built, it was anticipated that it would take tall building cleaning teams of 36 people 3 whole months to clean it. These teams will man specially built machines that run along tracks attached to the outside of the building.

However, the extreme Arabian temperatures, sand storms and winds pose their own problems, with window cleaning teams having to carry electrolyte packs and work only in the shade, harnessed to metal cages. I’m sure that, providing you’re not afraid of heights, it’s worth it for the views though!

Whether you’re looking for tall building cleaning services  for a skyscraper, or simply an 11-storey building, all tall building cleaning has its challenges.

When you call in the tall building cleaning specialists at Rainbow, we understand the likely challenges and the importance of keeping our teams, and passers by safe. We have the right access equipment that we keep maintained, whether that’s a pole reach system or an elevated platform. We don’t just clean glass either, we’ll clean any high up areas inside, or out. For more information on our tall building cleaning, contact us today on

01623 422488.’ Rainbow International http://www.rainbow-int.co.uk/

27/08/19