Going onstage (www.esplanade.com).


Backstage Pass: Rope Access Technician

What are RATs doing in Esplanade? Let's find out!


Published: 5 Jun 2023

Pen 2

Updated: 5 Jul 2023

Time taken : <5mins

What is a rope access technician, or RAT for short? What are some of the challenges of the job? Read on to find out, and then take our quiz!

This is Habibur! He is a rope access technician!

Have you ever looked up at the Esplanade and wondered how it stays squeaky clean? It has two domes that are made of glass and have many aluminium spikes. Doesn’t that sound difficult to clean? Well, that’s where Habibur comes in!

The 'spikes' on Esplanade's two domes are designed to let just enough light in while blocking out the tropical heat! Photo credit: Bryan van der Beek

So, what does a rope access technician like Habibur do exactly? Let’s watch the video to find out!  

Rope access technicians (RATs) carry out high access cleaning—where they clean from a high level, like the top of a building—and glass replacement works at Esplanade. They are responsible for cleaning the façade of Esplanade. If you visit Esplanade, you might be able to spot them cleaning the domed roofs, glass panels and windows. 

There are many types of cleaning technicians, but RATs are different from other cleaning technicians. They are called “rope access technicians” because they move around outside the building with the help of ropes.  

While other technicians are able to move up and down outside of a building with the help of machines, RATs only wear harnesses that are attached to ropes that are secured from the top of the building to move about. It can be scary to clean from a very tall height, so these ropes help to keep them safe!  

Scrub scrub! Let’s start cleaning.

The cleaning of Esplanade takes place all-year round with the domes being cleaned twice a year. It takes approximately one month to clean each dome.  

There are two types of cleaning—dry cleaning and wash down. Dry cleaning is when the technicians wipe the glass panels down with just a glass cleaner and towel. Let’s watch the video and find out from our RATs how wash down cleaning is carried out. 

How to become a RAT

As you can tell, the job of a rope access technician is not an easy one. So how does one go about becoming a RAT? For starters, technicians like Habibur need to undergo a week-long training by Industrial Rope Access Trade Association (IRATA) to become a certified RAT.  

They then need to spend a few weeks cleaning 2 or 3-storey buildings before they can advance to taller high-rise buildings or do high access cleaning. There are many challenges that come with the job.  

Not just one… but many RATs!

Esplanade has a cool shape—like a durian! But its spikes and curved domes means that it’s even more difficult to clean (and it can be quite dangerous too!). That is why it takes not just one, but many RATs to clean Esplanade. They also have the help of their supervisors like Project Manager, Yint Chit and Operations Supervisor, Shikder to guide them and make sure that they are safe. 

So, the next time you visit Esplanade and spot a RAT, make sure to wave hi and give them a thumbs up for a job well done!

Take the quiz!

Now that you know a little more about what it takes to be rope-access-technician, do you think you have what it takes to be one? Take the quiz below and help the froggy cross the pond!