Industrial rope access started to evolve in the late seventies/early eighties and owes many of its techniques and equipment to caving and pot holing. Caving and pot holing relies on the single rope technique, whereas industrial rope access relies on a twin rope technique. This is a much safer way to work as you always have a back-up rope should your working rope fail.
Rope Access has and is still continuing to grow as a major technique for Working at Height, due to the cost effectiveness and high safety record. The IRATA safety record is unmatched by any other means of working at height.
The rope access industry is continuing to expand worldwide, in all sectors. The qualifications under the IRATA certification scheme are the only ones accepted internationally.
The UK construction industry is very varied and the types of work you could be undertaking are vast. The work tends to be less specialized as in the offshore industry and as such is less trade skill orientated.
You will have seen large expanses of mesh hung down the sides of railway and motorway embankments. These will, more than likely, have been installed using rope access methods. For many years into the future the cliffs of Gibraltar will continue to be systematically stabilized using some of the most complex suspended drilling systems ever deployed. The work is hard and during the summer months the long hours can take its toll on the unfit. The work, however, is some of the most satisfying. Many recent projects have been upwards of 12 months duration
Windows will always need cleaning & buildings always need maintained whether the task is small or large rope access can be suitable. Therefore there are an ever increasing number of companies providing local services.
There is currently an unprecedented amount of maintenance work being carried out on our aging fleet of offshore oil and gas installations. In order to gain employment in the offshore industry as a rope access technician, you may need to specialize in a particular field.
There is a reasonable amount of work for rope access electricians with suitable Ex. Electrical qualifications.
There is a constant requirement for offshore oil and gas installations to have a suitable and sufficient protective coating and to this end the North Sea summer months see rope access teams blasting and spraying the installation jackets from top to water.
Many of the large decommissioning projects currently underway require large scale lifting operations to be carried out by rope access teams.
Non Destructive Testing (NDT) is the most popular field for industrial rope access. It allows suitably qualified technicians to carry out essential thickness gauging of steel plate and pipe. It allows detailed examinations of welds by way of a number of different techniques.