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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Avalon Bay Communities operates a six-story apartment community with a courtyard, rooftop deck and green vegetation roof. The community contains 265 total units consisting of studio, one, and two bedroom apartments. The units in this community have large windows and glass railed balconies, all of which require frequent cleaning.

In order to allow for workers to clean these windows on each floor safely, tie-back anchors were installed to provide a complete system for rope descent system (RDS). Each tie-back anchor was placed on the roof such that one anchor can be used for the worker’s suspension line and another anchor can be used to secure the worker’s safety line.

Each drop and window location is shown on the design drawings so future window washers know how the tie-back system is to be safely used per the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA).

In total, 155 tie-back anchors were provided for both wood blocking and steel hollow structural section (HSS) attachment. Blocking reinforcement was designed and installed so that the structure could resist the design and working loads of the insulated tieback anchors. The tie-backs pipes were also insulated to prevent condensation and help improve the energy efficiency of the building.

After the engineering, fabrication, and installation was completed, the tie-back anchors were inspected and tested by Nathan Louws, an ESG Site Representative. During the test a proof load was applied to a select number of anchors per IWCA requirements. Each anchor passed the appropriate testing and the fall protection system was concluded as safe to use for future window washing workers.


Seattle, WA

System Designer

ESG Design Engineer, Stephanie Campagna - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Technical On-Site Specialists

ESG Site Representative, Nathan Louws - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.