Scaling Heights! The craziest window cleaning jobs from around the world
Window cleaning isn't just reserved for the white van man cleaning residential buildings and homes in the local area; even the world's tallest skyscrapers and interesting glass structures need a crystal clear cleaning of their own.
From abseiling the world's tallest building to working in hostile weather conditions, large scale window cleaning looks like something out of a mission impossible film, when in actuality it's a carefully planned operation.
As each country tries to outdo the other in terms of scaling new heights with large scale skyscrapers and unique architectural structures popping up in almost every major city, the job of cleaning and maintaining the pristine look of the buildings gets harder and harder.
At Pure Freedom we’ve put together our top ten list of the wildest and most interesting professional window cleaning jobs.
1. The Burj Khalifa, Dubai UAE
Recently, Australian cleaning giant CoxGomyl finished cleaning the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, based in Dubai, taking a staggering three months to complete. Standing at a whopping 2,717 feet tall and containing 24,830 windows for a total of 1,292,500 feet of glass all of which had to be cleaned.
2. The Shard, London UK
The tallest building in the UK standing at 310 meters high, containing over 11,000 glass panes, gets cleaned in style. With a team of window cleaners abseiling the eye wateringly tall skyscraper four times a year with each one also taking a staggeringly long three months to complete.
Once the team have completed the operation its straight back to the top to start again keeping The Shard gleaming throughout the year.
3. The Empire State Building, New York USA
Constructed in 1930 The Empire State Building is one of the first skyscrapers built and has an interesting history when it comes to its cleaning process. In the past window cleaners would grip the window frame with one hand and clean with the other all while standing on the narrow window ledge. Nowadays electronic scaffolding and harnesses are used not only making the window cleaners job easier but a lot safer too.
4. One World Trade Center, New York USA
One World Trade Centre is currently the 9th tallest building in the world, built in 2014 and standing at 541.3m tall, the building contains offices across 94 floors with panoramic views of New York City.
Interestingly, skyscraper cleaning specialists across New York City refused to clean the gigantic building for over a year after its completion due to faulty track issues and cable malfunctions that prevented the safety of the cleaning being up to standard, the cleaning companies demanded the replacement of necessary rigs to keep workers safe and secure while cleaning.
5. Shanghai Tower, Shanghai, China
The Shanghai Tower is currently in second position for the tallest building in the world, standing at 632m; it dominates the Shanghai skyline. Boasting an outstanding 126 floors it is no small feat for professional window cleaners.
In fact finding a window cleaning team that can tackle this building can be hard in itself, building cleaners must obtain a special license to work at such a height and cannot suffer from vertigo or high blood pressure. Further restrictions on window cleaners wanting to take on the challenge must also be prepared to forgo wearing watches and taking their phones in case they fall or get dropped protecting the people beneath.
6. Lotte World Tower, Seoul, South Korea
The 123 storey Lotte World Tower is the tallest building in South Korea and the 5th tallest in the world, boasting 42,000 windows, it's a challenge for even the most experienced team of window cleaners! Opened in 2017 the building contains numerous offices, a hotel and even an observation deck known as Seoul Sky.
7. The Obel Tower, Belfast Ireland
Standing at 300ft tall The Obel Tower is easily Ireland's tallest building and requires a team of specialist abseiling cleaners to get the thousands of windows on this 28 storey building sparkling clean. The building towers above the Belfast skyline overtaking Windsor House to become the tallest in Ireland in 2008.
8. The London Eye, London UK
Compared to the other daredevil window cleaning jobs on this list you’d think the London eye would be relatively straight forward, after all the pods go to the ground level so how hard can it be to get them sparkling. However this iconic landmark comes with its own challenges, for even the most experienced professional window cleaners.
To keep the best views of London looking crystal clear year round, cleaning teams must avoid contaminating the River Thames which sits below with harmful chemicals, making the cleaning process slightly tricky.
Professional cleaners must use a water-fed pole system that connects to a tank that uses 94 to 98% pure water ensuring it is as toxin free as possible.
9. The Gherkin, London UK
Due to its unusual curbed design, cleaning the iconic Gherkin in London takes a little extra creativity on the part of cleaning teams. The building which contains 24,000 square metres of glass can only be cleaned by abseiling down the building, starting from the top the cleaning team must tackle all 744 windows of this unique building.
10. The Walkie Talkie, London UK
Another London landmark with an unusual design, the quirky top heavy walkie talkie building stands at 160m high. The building's unique design means using a cherry picker or cradle as cleaning apparatus is out of the question. Instead, abseiling once again saves the day. To clean each of the building's windows across all 37 floors, abseiling window cleaners must attach themselves to the top of the outer wall and clean each window by hand.
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