If you’ve driven past the Landmark in Barton lately, you may have witnessed something unusual: a team of tradies, armed with brushes, rollers and containers of paint, abseiling down the sides of the building.
After a competitive tendering process, Sydney painting company CPR Painting has won the contract to repaint the prestigious eight-building Blackall Street development.
Work began last month, but unlike typical building repainting projects, CPR Painting didn’t start by assembling scaffolding. Instead, its workers use ropes and portable elevators to make painting safer, faster, cheaper and less obtrusive.
“We do come from left of centre,” CPR Painting owner and director Mark Smith explains.
“From a worker’s point of view, ropes have been proven to be safer time and time again. From a client’s point of view, it’s more affordable and less noisy. Scaffolding is loud to assemble and disassemble. Our process is quiet.”
Mark estimates it will take between 12 and 14 weeks to repaint the Landmark, with ten tradespeople on the job.
“If we used scaffolding for this job, it would take double or triple the time. Our process is speedier because we don’t need to get a third party in to put scaffolding up, then do the painting, then get the scaffolding taken down.”
All we have to do is get to the roof, attach ropes and be ascending in as little as one hour. The Landmark already has stainless steel anchors on the roof, which makes it even easier.”
He says the benefits of using rope access for the Landmark repainting job will continue for many years.
“When people get a building painted, it’s warrantied to last about ten years. The beauty of our access process is that we’re able to give good after care service. With traditional access using scaffolding, fixing peeled or cracked paint is totally unaffordable, as is washing the building,” he says.
“We recommend washing buildings every three to four years. With rope access and portable elevators, we can come back and wash the whole property for around one-fifth of the cost of a repaint.”
So why aren’t more painting companies swapping scaffolding for ropes? Mark says it’s a case of sticking with the familiar.
“Window cleaners have used rope access for the last 20 years or longer, and for obvious reasons. It’s quicker, cheaper and safer. It’s very acceptable in that industry.
“What hasn’t changed is that painters and remedial builders stick with the system that they’ve got, and they know. It’s a different process and involves different training. People get stuck in the groove and do what they’ve always done.”
Off the back of the Landmark repainting project, CPR Painting has opened a Canberra office. It also plans to recruit a local project manager and business development manager to help establish a permanent presence in the nation’s capital.