An Australian company has recently won the window cleaning contract for the 24,000 windows of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, formerly known as the Burj Dubai. The building extends 206 storeys into the sky and will be cleaned by both man power and machines. A squad of 36 window cleaners have been employed to operate the 12 machines which are anchored to fixed tracks on the exterior of the ‘superscraper’. These 13 ton machines will attempt to purge the building’s facade of dirt despite the inhospitable working conditions of Dubai’s desert climate. They will be up against the scorching sun, raging dust storms and high winds of the desert, alongside the force of gravity acting upon them from their perch half a mile above the ground. It should also be noted that the window cleaners operating the machines themselves will be harnessed to the machine for the duration of the cleaning process.
Alongside these machines ladderless window cleaners equipped with electrolyte packs and specially developed suits to combat the desert’s fierce heat will clean the lower levels by hand. Even with both man and machine working in harmony the process of cleaning the Burj Khalifa’s 120,000 sq metres of glass is expected to take around three months. Due to this the window cleaners and their £4.6 million washing system will be operating for the majority of the year. However, when the state of the art cleaning system is not in use the machines are to be concealed at various heights behind specially constructed glass panels in order to keep the building’s facade looking pristine. Despite the multimillion pound equipment being employed to keep the pearl of Dubai’s windows clean it is important to remember that the window cleaners will be armed with nothing more than the conventional squeegee, soapy water and elbow grease.