A window on Lusaka’s hotel industry

Precision rigging and high-rise skills are put to the test in a glass-replacement operation 

Once the tower cranes have been dismantled and the scaffolding removed from a high-rise development, fixing any snagging issues poses a major headache. This was the scenario that confronted management at Lusaka’s Hilton Garden Inn, the hotel having recently formed part of the redevelopment of the city’s mixed-use Society Business Park.

With 15 large windows in the building in need of removal and replacement, management called on the specialist rope-access skills of Johannesburg-based Skyriders to carry out the mission. The challenge posed by the project was not only that the windows were in varied locations, but that access was a major factor in terms of safety and risk.

Skyriders was already familiar with the Hilton Garden Inn, as it had helped to waterproof sections of the building a year before, according to marketing manager, Mike Zinn. Then, areas that had required attention lacked any straight vertical or horizontal surface, which made traditional access almost impossible. In order to enhance safety while working at height, temporary rigging set-ups were erected.

The company’s latest scope of work focused solely on window replacement. “There was really no other equally safe or cost-effective means other than rope access to carry out this project,” Zinn says. A six-person technical team was dispatched to site to investigate the optimal method of removing the damaged windows and replacing them. This involved measuring the glass and cutting it to size on site.

“We had to be extremely precise, both in preparing the new windows and fitting them, which required precision rigging on the part of our team. This was really a showcase project for the skill and dedication of all of our team members,” Zinn maintains.

The job went off without a hitch – and now the Hilton Garden Inn has its new windows, and the technical team has its feet safely on the ground!

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