Abseil Façade Access Systems – Learn The Different Systems Available and the Advantages & Disadvantages of each

June 28 2021

Façade Access Systems are becoming increasingly critical to maintain building façade glazing, green walls, and other vertical areas that require hands on access for regular cleaning and or maintenance. There are three main types of Industrial Twin Rope Abseil systems available in the marketplace today to perform these tasks safely. Each system has a varying degree of functionality and operator skill requirement. All of these systems require highly trained personnel to design, install and operate them.

Types of Abseil facade Access systems:

  • Monorail or Rigid Rail
  • Davit Arm Systems
  • Anchor Point Systems


Monorail or Rigid Rail

Monorail Saferail
RISsafety Monorail

Monorail or Rigid Rail Systems can be superimposed onto a building or structure to provide continuous access for multiple operators between several access locations. Operators can attach to the rail via a trolley system that can pass through the structural connection points without needing to disconnect or re-connect to the rail system thereby resulting in more efficient movement around building facades, and reduced labour times due to eliminating the need for re-rigging of ropes to gain access to all areas to be maintained.

Mounting options for the rail can include soffit or face mounting where connection of the rail system to the building is via structural steel or concrete. Structural loads must be taken into consideration for all monorail systems. The typical fall arrest requirement under Australian Standard AS1891 is 15kN for one operator plus 6kn per additional operator, with this load being the ultimate load required at each connection point to the structure. RISsafety can offer a monorail system up to 4 operators per span.
RISsafety has the capability to design a bespoke Monorail solution that complies with AS1891 and AS4488 including configurations that allow attachment of a swing stage cradle, needle, or davit system to assist in glass replacement. This allows us to ensure the best approach is recommended to provide a safe and compliant system that meets the building maintenance requirements.


Davit Arm Systems

Davit arm systems are becoming increasingly common in today’s building environment due to modular and evolving building methods and types of building materials used. Davit arms are designed to suspend the operator out from the edge of the building façade whilst re-directing the rope load from any fragile surface such as glazing, light weight curtain wall, heritage facades and decaying brickwork and or fragile roof capping.

Davit Arm System
RISsafety Davit Arm

The RISsafety davit arm is capable of slewing 360 degrees on a series of base plates that are positioned at regular intervals around the building’s roof level. Base plates can be top mounted, side mounted, or cast into the building slab and feature a secondary rope connection point or backup anchor to enhance operator safety. Rope Rigging and De-Rigging is minimised due to the configuration and location of the base plates around the building perimeter resulting in reduced setup time for the operators. The RISsafety davit arm is designed for 15kN load with a maximum 1.95m reach from the centre of the base. The resultant moment load at the base must be taken into consideration when designing the structural capacity of any secondary steel or concrete slab.

Davit Arm In Action
Davit Arm System

RISsafety Davit Arm systems are designed and installed to meet AS1891, AS4488 & AS5532 and can be custom engineered to provide support of additional requirements such as for glass replacement and swing stage cradles.



Anchor Point Systems

Although one of the more cost-effective solutions for Rope Access Applications, an Anchor Point system requires a much higher level of operator training and a significantly larger work area to achieve the correct rigging angles for rope drops.

An Abseil Anchor Point system requires two anchors per rigging location and the use of two sets of ropes (the working and secondary safety line). It is always recommended that both lines are attached to both anchors to protect against injury in the unlikely event of equipment failure. It is recommended that single anchor point for rope access applications should never be surface mounted directly onto roof sheeting or cladding and should always be installed into structural steel, purlins, or concrete. RISsafety anchors that meet relevant Australian Standards AS5532 and AS1891 achieve a load rating of 15kN for one person and 21kN for two persons. This means the structure too must be able to sustain this load.

An effective facade access system requires detailed planning at the project’s early design stage to ensure the structural elements required for the system can be factored into the roof and façade design.
The difference between carefully planned and executed industrial rope access solution and a poorly thought out system installed as an after-thought is massive and will impact on the safety, operating cost and aesthetic for the lifecycle of the building and can result in overall increased costs Ultimately, you are ensuring you have the right Abseil Façade Access System for your end user, giving you peace of mind your building is safe, compliant and workers are kept safe.

At RISsafety we are complete solutions provider for all height safety requirements from design and manufacture to installation and inspection, everything we do meets and exceed AU & NZ standards and maintains our ISO9001 accreditation. If you require expert height safety advice contact us today.

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