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Skys the limit – Highwire ltd interview in The New Scientist

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Our director Liz was pleasantly surprised that the interview she did with New Scientist was published this month:

Don’t look down

It takes a team of 11 people a whopping three months to clean the windows of the world’s tallest building, the 828-metre-tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The task is not for the faint-hearted.

It is Liz Rickard’s job to ensure that people working at height are kept safe – although she keeps her feet firmly on the ground. “I hate heights,” she says. “I couldn’t even climb to the top of the climbing frame when I was little.”

Rickard is head engineer at Highwire, a height safety consultancy and supplier based in Manchester, UK. “We provide equipment and systems to make sure that people cleaning windows, servicing roofs or clearing gutters are kept safe from falling,” she says. After studying for a degree in civil and structural engineering, Rickard worked on ensuring that historic buildings meet modern-day safety regulations before starting her present role.

A real danger of working at height is being blown away, says Rickard. To prevent this, her team advises businesses on suitable harnesses and abseiling equipment.

But supertall buildings will require further measures. “At a kilometre high, Kingdom Tower in Saudi Arabia will face immense challenges,” Rickard says. “I imagine that, if you were to access the roof, you’d need to do so from a protected cradle attached to the top of the building that cannot be blown around or swung involuntarily.”

The best part of her job, says Rickard, is overcoming the challenges to create a safe, yet aesthetically pleasing, structure. “It really is very nice when you can go and look at a building and see something that looks well-designed and think ‘we did that’.”

Click for the full article on super high buildings

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Testimonial

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“Extremely professional service from all of the team. Outstanding paperwork and very helpful. They are committed to health and safety and always produce outstanding work. Very pleased with the service they have provided”

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#faceofconstruction – Giving the industry a human face.

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The Face Of Construction Seeing -Diversity in the Norm

Usually when people refer to diversity they talk about the diversity that they see or recognise; someone’s race, sex or disability. In an industry like construction where visiblediversity is often lacking there can be a tendency to see everyone as the same: – the builder becomes a stereotype of a macho, hardened man; the QS, a staid controlling introvert; or the architect becomes a pair of fashionable glasses.

I happen to think these stereotypes are not only outdated but damaging – people who I know to be warm, caring and compassionate can act out of character in order to fit the norm imposed upon them. Whilst there is obviously a need to recruit, retain and support minority groups in industry, is there not also a need to celebrate and encourage the diversity we already have in the sector – even if we can’t see it?

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