Once reserved exclusively for mountaineers and/or aerial acrobats, the profession of rope access technicians is making a strong comeback in the construction industry, particularly in the masonry sector. Atwill-Morin has taken on the mission of reviving this specialty, restoring its noble titles and making it a profession that is rapidly becoming more democratic in Quebec and Canada.
Unknown to the general public, these acrobats from between heaven and earth are, in fact, leading-edge specialists in envelope and structure, experienced in the very specific requirements of working at heights on multiple superstructures, which are difficult to access, moreover, with conventional means: cranes, gondolas or other alternative equipment. Viaducts, bridges, hydroelectric dams, internal areas of large heavy equipment; nothing resists these artists of the air who perform, between sky and earth, masonry work, non-destructive inspection, concrete, welding or other maneuvers to restore structural elements of any kind. Even the spires of cathedrals, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre pyramid in Paris have not resisted these sky climbers in the past.
“We have a brand new and very well trained brigade of rope climbers who are currently working on the walls of the following buildings, just to name a few: 441 President Kennedy Avenue, Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal, Verdun Hospital, Phillips Square Hotel & Suites, 1420 Mount Royal Boulevard and 200 René-Lévesque West in Montreal alone, and all indications are that their exceptional specialty will soon take them to many large construction sites throughout Quebec and even Canada,” said Matthew Atwill-Morin, President and CEO today.
Although spectacular, and considered by the uninitiated as perilous, the profession of rope accessor is one that relies, Mr. Atwill-Morin continued, on the rigorous respect of rules of practice and strict safety standards enacted by the CNESST in particular.
The company trains its own rope access technicians to meet the most stringent industry standards and encourages them to join various worldwide accreditation organizations such as the International Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) and the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT).
As in an aerial choreography where nothing is left to improvisation, rope access technicians work as a team using techniques and procedures that meet the highest standards, no matter what the nature of a given work site, safety is the primary concern. Like firefighters in spider-man squads, they ensure the integrity of the required equipment, starting with ropes, carabiners, descent dies and lifting tools, harnesses, harnesses and self-locking handles so that nothing is left to chance.
Like test pilots themselves, Atwill-Morin’s rope access technicians must deal with the weather in order to maneuver only in favorable conditions, which is even more delicate in the North American climate, compared to the European continent, for example, where there are historically about 8,500 rope access technicians, 170 of whom are women, in the construction and public works sectors.
Mr. Atwill-Morin finally indicated that the company was in an active recruitment phase and that many candidates had already expressed their interest in this exciting profession, which is far from being only for the intrepid.