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Cleaning of Buildings

Designers Knowledge Base

Access for cleaning can be very hazardous if access equipment is unsuitable or inadequate. The specification of the correct access equipment for this purpose is crucial.


In specifying access equipment for cleaning purposes the designer should be aware of, and assess the risks from, the following principal hazards

Some principal hazards and risks

  • falling from height
  • objects and materials falling from height
  • health hazards caused by the use of hazardous materials or methods of application
  • hazards caused by collapse or failure of access equipment
  • hazards caused by adverse weather conditions
  • manual handling hazards caused by transporting, mixing and using heavy or bulky materials or substances


Consider the building location in relation to access problems, the protection of the general public or an exposed location. Consider the specific cleaning problems which may be associated with the structure's size, shape, facade and proximity to other buildings. Consider any special cleaning requirements in terms of the frequency of cleaning or materials to be used.

Possible design options to reduce hazards

  • consider the various types of access equipment that can reach all elevations of the building
  • do not specify materials and finishes that require aggressive cleaning materials
  • consider how cleaning may be reduced or eliminated
  • detail entry and exit points for cleaning material to avoid dangerous manoeuvres such as stepping over the edge of a building into a cradle
  • specify methods of dealing with waste products from cleaning operations
  • Ensure that secure points are provided everywhere for the attachment of personal protective equipment even when access equipment is provided