Seattle City Hall Project Challenges

Every part of the building required the ability to be accessed by workers needing to wash windows or maintain the building envelope. The sunshields on the west side made it difficult and dangerous for the window washer to descend from the roof in a traditional manner, as they push the ropes away from the window, and their sharp edges can cause damage to the rope—potentially severing the line. Each sunshield required a separate system and a means by which to transfer to the next system.


On the north side of the building, a davit on the roof with a tieback was used to access the windows for cleaning. A rigid rail system was designed that attached under the overhangs located on the west and north faces of the building. It is unique because of its use of clamps instead of drilling into the existing structure. This system consisted of slotted rigid rail sections connected with sleeves so trolleys could move between them. Several portable systems were also provided to allow workers to access all areas of the building. Gravitec provided a detailed plan of service and trained personnel on all aspects of each system.

End Result

Seattle City Hall required a variety of fall protection systems and access solutions to be designed to effectively address the needs of the project. Gravitec determined the best system for every type of issue by identifying the challenges of each area of the building and combining several solutions to allow window washers and maintenance workers access to necessary areas.