x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Weather that leaves UAE men swinging in the rain

If the rain begins to fall in the middle of a job, the cleaners sometimes have to start all over again.

Last week's thunder and lightning had window cleaners in teh UAE abseiling down to safety.
Last week's thunder and lightning had window cleaners in teh UAE abseiling down to safety.

Window cleaners who hang from ropes outside skyscrapers in Abu Dhabi and Dubai are constantly watching for change in the weather.

"The last time we saw rain like this was a few years ago. In 2012 it only rained once. It's not the hard rain that cleans things, it's a muddy rain and things get even worse," said Alain El Tawil, the managing director at Gecko.

If the rain begins to fall in the middle of a job, the cleaners sometimes have to start all over again. Gecko cleaners were halfway through cleaning a building in Abu Dhabi when it started to rain. The job that should have taken 20 days will now probably take 30. "We have to do it again," Mr El Tawil shrugged.

Rain is not their only problem. Amel Vriesmann, head of the rope access division at Megarme, said: "We need to stay within the parameters of the winds. The limit is 20-25 knots depending on the scope of work you do. When the rain becomes severe, we pull out. But a few drops don't stop us."

Last week's thunder and lightning had cleaners abseiling down to safety. "Once we saw lightning, we were off the building. We have a daily weather forecast email among all the management. Rain is OK but thunder and lightning is a no-go," he said.

eharnan@thenational.ae