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Suspended Scaffolding Applications
Scaffolding Applications

Many of Summit Anchor Co.'s products are ideal for use in suspended scaffold applications.  The most vital of these products are tie-back and safety line anchors.  Workers can tie their safety lines to anchors on the roof (see Roof and Wall Anchors) while rigging the suspended scaffolding to one of the following products:

  • Rigging sleeves allow workers to tie off suspension lines for scaffolding in locations where the worker needs to gain access through a unique building feature such as an overhang.  (See Rigging Sleeves)

  • Ground-rigged davits are used in pairs to tie off suspension lines for scaffolding in locations that are hard to reach or where building features are not designed to support the load of the suspended equipment.  Scaffolding must be rigged from the ground when tied to ground-rigged davits.  (See Davits)
  • Roof-rigged davits are also used in pairs to tie off suspension lines for scaffolding in locations that are hard to reach or where building features are not designed to support the load of the suspended equipment.  Roof-rigged davits are larger and heavier than ground-rigged davits and allow workers to launch scaffolding from the roof.  (See Davits)

  • Roof Cars are a permanently attached, motorized building system designed to provide for both horizontal and vertical movement of suspended scaffolding to working positions.  Summit Anchor Co. does not manufacture a roof car as part of our product line, but has chosen to team with some of the world's best manufacturers specializing in rooftop machinery to provide this solution where required.  Below we have provided some information about roof cars that you will find helpful if your building's height exceeds 300 feet, or it has special architectural features that make other access difficult.


Roof Cars

Roof cars are individually designed around unique building features to access the exterior (and, in some cases, the interior) of a building.  Powered equipment is required for use on new buildings over 300 feet in height, when rope descents are prohibited by the ANSI/IWCA I-14.1-2001 Window Cleaning Safety Standard. On some structures, use of a roof car system can reduce rigging time in the building maintenance cycle; therefore, building height is not the only factor to consider when choosing the best exterior fa├žade maintenance system for a particular building.  However, above 490 feet, a roof car is essentially required, as the hoist motors for the powered platform must be located on the roof, as shown in this photo.

Roof Car

How they work:

A man-rated platform is suspended by means of cables from a boom that is connected to a roof mounted carriage.  Powered roof cars have controls located inside the platform which allow the operator to position the platform directly above where it is to drop down along the building.  The operator can use the controls to perform various tasks, such as the following:

  • Ascend/Descend
  • Telescoping and/or Luffing the boom
  • Horizontal Drive (along the rooftop to access vertical drop locations)
  • Swivel/Tilt
  • Emergency (non-powered) descent

Typically, a roof car assembly is self contained and does not require building maintenance contractors to bring additional suspension equipment to the roof.  Roof car booms can be designed to clear terraces or lower roofs, eliminating the need for additional suspension equipment.  As this equipment is really a building system, it must be regularly maintained by factory-trained and approved technicians.  This maintenance usually requires a scheduled approach that usually involves a maintenance contract to ensure that all factory-required maintenance is completed as an ongoing practice.

Common roof car considerations:

Rooftop Support: Depending on roof surface and structure, roof cars may be mounted at a fixed point on the roof and swivel/telescope, or they may travel on runways or steel tracks.

Platform: Platform-mounted hoists may be used with a rooftop carriage (anchorage) up to 490 feet.  This is allowed, but not required, as wire rope weight, voltage drop to the hoists, fall protection, and platform stabilization issues may make roof-mounted hoists a more reliable option at heights below the 490 feet requirement.
Roof-mounted hoists are required above 490 feet.  This provides for a lighter weight platform gondola.  Controls are commonly hardwired to the rooftop hoists so workers are in full control of the platform functions.  As noted above, this system is commonly found to be more practicable on buildings below the 490 feet threshold as well.

Stabilization: To avoid dangerous swaying in the wind during operation, a stabilization system must be designed into the building facade, ensuring that the platform is engaged to the face of the building.  Commonly, this is either a continuous track mounted on the building face, where the platform can engage when travelling vertically, or an intermittent system of buttons that can be attached to the suspension cables at approximately every three floors of vertical travel.

Fall Protection:  Fall protection must be addressed in every roof car installation.  Various state, city, and other municipality regulations must be known and complied with.  Powered platforms commonly include either two wire ropes per hoist motor (requiring the operators to tie off to the platform structure), or single suspension ropes at each hoist motor and provision for independent safety lines rigged to anchors on the roof (See Summit Anchor Co. Roof and Wall Anchors).  Roof-mounted hoist systems are designed with anchorages and suspension ropes with sufficient strength to provide for fall protection, and users must be tied off to the platform structure.


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