BMUs vs. Rope Descent System


When it comes to working at substantial heights, each company faces numerous options. The variety of equipment available to get the job done is impressive. The major factors that affect the choice are budget and safety.

Building maintenance units are among the safest and most convenient pieces of equipment for climbing high buildings. Rope descent systems have been around for centuries. Which one is better? Let’s find out.

  1. Price

Installing and maintaining a BMU is costly. Especially, if the building has some non-standard construction nuances. It requires long planning, large investments, regular maintenance, and much more.

Meanwhile, the rope descent system is the cheapest way to get the job done. All you need as an anchorage point for the system to work, regardless of the object’s height.

BMU’s average lifespan is about 25 years. The anchorage spot for the rope may need to be replaced once in a while but it generally stays in place for as long as the building is intact. The rope system itself is not costly either.

  1. Safety

When it comes to safety, both systems do a good job of protecting the worker. BMUs are designed to keep the worker safe at all times. The key to the worker’s safety on the BMU is the right equipment. Each building has its own tough-to-reach spots and requires different types of BMUs. If the BMU is chosen correctly, the worker will be safe.

Rope descent systems are also safe as long as the workers are properly trained to use them. Both systems require certain training before the operation.

  1. Convenience

When it comes to convenience, BMU is the big winner. It’s always available and doesn’t require any additional installations. It’s already tuned to reach all the hard-to-reach places. Any worker can take advantage of the BMU at any time of the day. Rope descent systems require additional installation every time they need to be used.

  1. Speed

BMU scores another point here. Using the rope to clean windows or paint the facades requires plenty of skills. Meanwhile, the speed of work is decreased substantially. When it comes to large window cleaning jobs or façade repairs, BMU takes the prize.

Overall, BMU is a better choice for all types of high-rise jobs. However, it’s costly and takes a long time to install. The choice between the two usually comes down to the size of the company’s budget.



The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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