Category Archives: The Inspections Department

It’s Spring!

Well, we are a couple of weeks into spring and in both our personal and professional lives we look forward to spring cleaning.  Maybe not look forward to it, but it is inevitable that cob webs need to be swept away, lawns need to be fertilized and windows need to be cleaned.

Most of our clients are on an annual roof anchor inspection program where we proactively book the inspection so that there is no delay in getting their windows cleaned.

However, we do get the odd emergency call for an anchor inspection because the sirentenants of a residential or commercial building are continually asking “When are we getting the windows washed?”

Thankfully, we have a team of inspection professionals across North America who can be on your facility often, within days of receiving such a call.

While we do our best to spread these annual inspections throughout the year, spring is our busiest season.

Our sales team of Beverly Bean and newly hired, Brian Barks, can provide you with a proposal to have your roof anchors, roof davits, monorail or fall protection systems inspected in a timely fashion.  With our electronic report writing system and customer portal, you can have the system approved for use and have access to your reports and roof anchor drawings with little or no effort on your part.

If you are not part of the growing number of clients who are enjoying the benefit of the Customer Portal, please contact us to see how you can gain access to all of your roof anchor inspection documents and rigging drawings.  You can access this portal from any device and download and share with your window cleaning contractors or with any compliance officials who may visit your site to check your documentation.

Everything that our team at Pro-Bel has come up with, that is available to any of our clients, is to ensure you have easy access to all of your inspection documents at all times.

The two most important documents that your professional window cleaner will want to see are the inspection report and the rigging drawings which show the roof anchor locations, roof anchor details and any notes with respect to restricted areas and rigging diagrams.

If you do not have access to your up to date inspection report or rigging drawings, documentsplease contact Pro-Bel to provide you with both.  If you do not have rigging drawings, our technicians can perform an initial inspection and identify existing roof anchors or roof davits, complete a take off and provide rigging advice and ultimately approve the equipment for use.

 

So, as we look forward to longer, warmer days, we are also reminded of some of those “chores” that must be done.  Pro-Bel can assist you in checking at least one item off of your long list of to do items.  This will ensure that you get your windows washed in a timely fashion and when your tenants look out their home or office windows, they do so with a smile.

To our existing clients, thank you for the opportunity to serve you, and to new clients, we look forward to working with you.

To book a new inspection please contact Brian Barks at brianb@pro-bel.ca or existing clients with questions please contact Account Manager Beverly Bean at beverlyb@pro-bel.ca.  Load testing or maintenance should be directed to Michael Gardner at michaelg@pro-bel.ca.  Of course you can call us direct at 800-461-0575.

As always, if you have any comments, complaints, or questions, feel free to contact me direct and I will do my best to ensure that your concerns or questions are answered quickly and to your complete satisfaction.

Yours in safety,

 

Brent La Porte

 

 

Equipment on Terraces

As architects continue to imagine and design complex projects; it is becoming increasingly common that fall arrest and tie-back equipment are located on terraces of buildings.

As the condominium market is still as competitive as ever; builders and developers are coming up with special features and incentives to lure buyers.  Items like barbecues, bars, built in kitchens, gardens, lounges, hot tubs, patio furniture, and even pools are frequently being included on terraces of buildings.  While these are great selling features for buyers, they do create complications when designing window washing and fall protection systems.

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These condominiums are so lucrative that every detail is considered.  Therefore, as much of the buildings equipment is hidden as possible in common areas and private terraces (to not disrupt the aesthetics).  This usually means on terraces that our equipment is recessed under some sort of removable paver stones.  This regularly causes two major problems:

1)      the paver stones over the recessed equipment are not actually removable
2)      items are placed over top the recessed equipment

If it is planned accordingly there is a simple solution for problem “1)” as there are covers and inserts that can be manufactured and installed in paver stones that allow for them to be (rather easily) removed whenever recessed equipment (underneath them) require access.

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If the design of the window washing and fall protection system is provided to the architect then the architect can review to ensure there are no disruptions.

What should the architect review?

1)      They should ensure that no items (the special feature and incentives mentioned above or any others) are placed over top the recessed equipment.
2)      They should confirm items that are in line with the point of suspension (perpendicular from the parapet to the equipment) will not interfere with the rigging lines.

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This is where problem “2)” can become complicated.  The architect and equipment manufacturer have communicated and reviewed all of the areas but then a tenant installs a deck and built in kitchen on their terrace (usually without contacting the condominium corporation).  This makes accessing the recessed equipment nearly impossible which may mean a drop of windows cannot be washed or a section of the building façade cannot be maintained.

While usually a worker can move some items like small barbecues or potted plants, some items like large barbecues or large planter boxes simply cannot be moved.  A worker in some cases may not even want to move anything because they are concerned about damaging the property.

It must be stressed to tenants the importance of communicating any additions and modifications to their terrace that they are making.  The tenant should notify the condominium corporation and then the condominium corporation should contact the window washing and fall protection system manufacturer.  Also, the condominium corporation should notify tenants when the equipment is going to be inspected or used so that the tenant can remove any items that are over the recessed equipment.

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The Inspections Department

The Inspections Department is an integral part of our company.  Fall arrest and tie-back anchors (for window washing systems and fall protection equipment) are required to be inspected annually in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and the Department/Ministry of Labour.

Our mission in this Department is two-fold:

  • To develop first hand experience and maintain an expert team of Inspectors in this highly specialized field; thereby ensuring smooth information exchange that may affect liability or safety on buildings.
  • The Department must report on safety issues that may affect safety of the professional high-rise worker and the public.

In order to meet this mission statement the Department pro-actively promotes annual inspection programs which include:

  • Deficiency inspections,
  • Compliance inspections, and
  • Rigging inspections;

There are all supported by the Department/Ministry of Labour’s (DOL/MOL) input through their site inspections and published guidelines.  This collaborative involvement allows the agency (DOL/MOL) and all contractors using the equipment to work more harmoniously, in a safe manner.

The Inspections Department consists of dozens of professionals including trained inspectors, compliance specialists, testing technicians and professional engineers.  The Department also upgrades existing systems if needed, working closely with system designers and the operational teams as needed.

It also calls on the expertise of almost 150 skilled members of various Departments which may include AutoCAD designers, manufacturing and installation as required on a job-to-job basis.

Besides the general staff listed above, this Department includes and relies on five other major components:

1) Chief Executive Officer (CEO): responsible for formulating policy and providing the Inspections Department with first hand compliance information.  This executive direction is derived from the CEO’s experience dealing with the DOL/MOL; personally guiding the removal of Stop Work Orders (SWO) on buildings.  In addition to direct supervision, the CEO provides overall executive direction and broad administrative supervision for this Department.

2) Compliance Specialist (CS): reviews, routes, and tracks hazardous or potentially hazardous safety and structural conditions.  The CS’s staff is on call to respond to SWO’s or other safety and rigging issues or emergencies.  They can flag system conditions normally sited by DOL/MOL Inspectors or other sources, such as building inspections or technical auditors.  The CS evaluates all conditions; including review of site conditions, drawings, inspectors’ reports and photographs of the roof and conditions.  Subsequently, a “flag report packet” may be created; describing the type of upgrade or repair that may be needed (which may also include changes to the certified drawings or may need a DOL/MOL response report for removal, review and approval).

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3) In-House Maintenance Technicians & Skilled Installation Personnel: perform repairs to address flagged conditions.  Flagged repairs may include structural or other safety issues such as the repair of roof anchors, davit arms, safety tethers or locks, or other components damaged by corrosion or accident impact.   The maintenance and installation staff will perform the required corrective repair that will help to rehabilitate worn or defective components whose failure could affect long term service (such as heat shrink, mastic, cap flashings or remedial rust repair work).

4) Professional Engineering and Design Group: provides technical expertise related to normal engineering practices and principals; including reviewing the structure, preparing calculations and writing job specific test prescriptions.  The team also supplies invaluable engineering declarations for unsafe conditions that may affect the system.  The Professional Engineering Group member will make recommendations for immediate remediation, thereby assisting the CS in facilitating a proper solution.  The Professional Engineering group also provides technical expertise related to the procurement and development of system design and product development, supporting various areas of the division, including supervision of installation and inspection services.

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5) Administration Management & Invoicing Group: provides essential administrative and inspection process support, including tracking of each activity within the division.  The Senior Administration and Finance Group oversees and administers all administrative functions for the division, acting as liaison with the inspectors and technicians including, but not limited to:

  • Reviewing reports for completeness to ensure compliance and functionality is clear
  • Reviewing lists of equipment to ensure they match  drawings for quality control purposes
  • Tracking documents and publishing control documents to our web-based customer portal
  • Monitoring staff and supervising repairs flagged by inspectors or compliance specialists
  • Scheduling work performed by Pro-Bel installers or other contractors and producing mandated modification and repair reports on all activities
  • Managing the status of each warranty claim and ensuring products are tracked and replaced through our Pro-Bel case system
  • Ensuring all on-site inspections are preformed on time and that the field conditions are recorded

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The Inspections Department management takes a pro-active approach in the educating of Building Owners and Property Managers, as well as the training of workers and contractors in the use of equipment to work safely on roofs.

This professional Inspections Department will ensure a smooth yearly inspection process.  Each highly-specialized area is designed to address the essential services that are necessary to provide the expert service that our clients and industry expect.

In order to provide critical safety measures and due diligence on your rooftop please contact Pro-Bel for annual inspections, testing, safety assessments, rigging inspections or site training.

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