Rostek News and Blog

Suspended platforms – safe and efficient access for facades

[fa icon="calendar"] 15/05/17 13:15 / by Niko Siltanen

Niko Siltanen

Suspended platforms, cradles, gondolas, access platforms or BMU’s. Whatever you call them, these working platforms offer reliable and safe working conditions in every building. The working platforms are divided into two categories; the self-powered platforms and the roof powered platforms. On the self-powered platforms, the hoists are on the platform and the roof powered version has the hoists on the roof, in the roof machine.

The self-powered platforms are very versatile as there are no hoists on the suspension point on the roof.  They can be suspended from almost everywhere, from suspension systems on the rooftop, ceiling, or the facade. The roof powered platforms are ideal for the biggest facades when big outreach is needed and if there is enough roof space for the roof machine. This text will focus on the different uses of the self-powered platform. The roof powered platform will be explained in the text about BMU roof machines.

Roof powered platform Self-powered platform
Roof powered platform with BMU roof machine Self-powered platform suspended from monorail


Best of both worlds

Maintaining and cleaning the high-rise building facades has been the job of the bravest (or craziest) people of them all. Sometimes you can still see people sitting on a small wooden plank and hanging 100 meters from the ground level. The job of these “spidermen” (officially Rope Access Technicians) is considered to be hazardous and inefficient. The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has confirmed that “No rope descent system is used for heights greater than 300 feet (91 m)” and European Safety Codes have a similar attitude.  

A safe option for facade access is a ground-up aerial work platform. This mobile platform is a good alternative for any temporary access, if there is possibility to drive it next to the building and the building is not too high.

The self-powered platform is basically a combination of these two. The agility of the rope access as well as the efficiency and safety of the aerial work platforms.

Aerial work platform Rope Access technicians.
Aerial work platform used for facade access “Spidermen” - Rope Access technicians


Not just for facade access

Normally the suspended platform is suspended from a monorail, a roof trolley or a davit and used for interior and exterior facade maintenance and cleaning. In addition, there are also other uses for these platforms. It is possible suspended a cradle under a gantry – together they can be used to access the ceiling and the interior facades of an atrium. One other common use is to use the platform during the construction phase. Installation of windows or other parts of the facade is possible from the suspended platform. This will significantly decrease the costs of scaffolding during construction.  BMU cradles can carry  2 men and a reasonable amount of tools and material. The working load limit is usually 250 kg (550 lbs.) and it can be extended to 360 kg (790 lbs.). Therefore, it is possible to move different goods up and down the building.

Rostek_BMU_cradle_under_gantry.jpg Rostek_Cradle_and_light_roof_trolley.jpg
Cradle under suspended from a gantry Cradle and light roof trolley used for facade repairs


Cradle and modular suspended platform

There are two main types of self-powered platforms: The smaller cradles and longer modular suspended platforms. The cradle is a one- or two-hoist platform that can carry up to two people and normally suspended from a moving trolley. Therefore there is no reason to make it long; the length of the cradle can be from 0.7 meters (2 ft. 6 in) to 3.0 meters (10 ft.). The idea is that the cradle moves around the facade and people are not moving in the cradle. The modular suspended platform consists of different sized pieces and the length can be adjusted from 1.5 meters (5 ft.) up to 12.2 meters (40 ft.). The modular suspended platform is suspended from fixed suspension systems and are made to move only up and down and the people move sideways within it. The modular suspended platform is mostly suspended from two davits whereas the cradle can be suspended from every type of a mobile suspension alternative. The cradle is the best solution for smaller and complex facades and on the other hand the long modular suspended platform can be the solution for straight and high facades.

Rostek Modular suspended platform 16ft Rostek BMU cradle suspended from roof trolley
16 feet modular suspended platform Cradle suspended from roof trolley


If you want to read more about the suspended platforms, download the datasheets

 Download BMU1 cradle datasheet ›Download BMU2 cradle datasheet ›Download MSP datasheet ›

Topics: Facade and glass roof access systems

Niko Siltanen

Written by Niko Siltanen

Niko Siltanen is in charge of the Marketing of Rostek. At the same time Niko is involved in everything from Sales to Production. His main goal is to modernize Rostek and the whole industry.