In our last post, we covered the importance of preventing icicles before they become a problem. We also reviewed how to remove them if they are easily within reach. If you have tall buildings, however, icicles are going to be a real thorn in your side. In this second part about icicle-related building maintenance, we offer you some pointers for handling those pesky icicles that are just beyond your grasp.
Renting an aerial platform
It's time to pass over rakes and ladders for something a little more heavy-duty. Aerial work platforms will get you where you need to go. Unfortunately, facilities don't always have this handy piece of equipment lying around. If you do a lot of facility maintenance in hard-to-reach places, FacilitiesNet suggested that the purchasing cost, insurance and maintenance could be easily justified. However, if you don't find yourself in this position often, then your other option is to rent.
If you do decide to rent, be sure to get an outdoor lift that gets you high enough. It doesn't need to get you right next to the icicles - just close enough to safely knock them down. Like presents under the tree, there are plenty of options to unwrap when it comes to selecting lifts, including articulating, electric, towable, telescopic and scissor lifts. Each one has different strengths and weaknesses depending on the task being performed. For clearing icicles, you don't need a particularly large platform. However, you should figure out how much height and horizontal reach you have, as well as how much space you have to set up the lift.
Grouping your projects
Owners of maintenance management software can now take the time to be thankful. If you've been keeping record of your work orders, then you can easily see what other tasks around your facilities might be made easier with the help of a lift. When you rent, give yourself enough time to tackle all these work orders in one fell swoop, according to FacilitiesNet. If you're new to software such as MaintenanceEdge, you can now take the time to compile your aerial platform task list. You can even keep track of the projected and actual cost of your aerial platform endeavor to refer back to later on in the season and next year.
Maybe you don't have enough projects to justify the cost of an aerial platform. If your facilities are next to another building that needs icicle clearing, talk with the facility manager there to see if the cost can be split multiple ways. Of course, when taking this route, it's important you work out any potential insurance issues that come with sharing a rental. In that case, it's probably best to talk with the rental company.
Leaving it to professionals
Maybe you aren't comfortable renting a lift. Take comfort in the fact that some people spend a lot more time going up and down ladders and aerial platforms. Instead of renting, call up your friendly, neighborhood firefighters. If the icicles are bad enough to pose a public safety hazard, they may send out a truck to take care of the problem. Don't hesitate to give them a ring: safety first, as they say.
In the meantime, you should still take the necessary steps to prevent any icicle-related incidents. Put out signs warning passerby of the danger of falling ice. If possible, direct walkers along alternate routes that have them spending as little time walking underneath the edge of the roof. Also, keep in mind that cloth awnings aren't always thick enough to repel falling ice. Take measure of your ice threat and plan accordingly.