30 Mar Spiderman scales walls for business' sake
Cost of negligence high in construction industry
By MIKE BEGGS
When a piece of metal dangled dangerously from Toronto’s Royal Plaza office tower last year, it was Ivan Kristoff’ who came to the rescue – fixing the problem in about 20 minutes.
Dubbed “Spidennan” by local media, Krlsto!l’ has become an easily identifiable figure scaling up and down T.O. skyscrapers in hls hlgh·tech garb.
An ex-private In the Bulgarian army, he started hls company- Eiger Rope Access Work Inc. – shortly after coming to Canada In 1998, and has swiftly made a name for himself.
Eiger Rope Access offers more than your standard hi-rise window washing service, also handling renovations, wall inspections, caulking, painting, billboard installations, anchoring, and photography – and offering 24-hour emergency services.
As such, Kristoff routinely cllmbs with a walkie talkie, camcorder and laptop computer in tow.
“Basically for what I’m doing, I’m the only one. I can do anything outside on a rope – wall inspections with a video camera, or fibre optic lights,” he says. “I’m not listed anywhere; I’m just known by reputation.”
His client list includes Labatt’s Ltd., Del Property Management, Menkes Development, Family Trust and The WT’F Group.
And while his resume includes a stint with Bulgaria’s Mountain Rescue Patrol, and interests such as paragliding, rock cllmblng, and skiing, Kristoff’s not just a daredevil.
He holds a Machine Engineering degree speaks six languages, and now sits on Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Window Cleaning Industry Health and Safety Liaison Forum, which sets window cleaning and construction regulations and standards.
Kristoff says that with his 12 years of training and cutting edge equipment, he can offer clients big improvements in efficiency and safety. He uses ropes which are four times stronger than those of many competitors, and allow him to move in any direction – eliminating the need for expensive scaffolds or swing stages.
“The thing right now is, people are spending tremendous amounts of money for jobs that are not cost-efficient,” he states. “Basically, the price of negligence is high.”
He cites a recent job, installing double anchors at a Mississauga oftlce tower. While he finished up in five days for just $1,000, Kristoff says it would well have taken months of preparation, “headaches”, and labor costing upwards of $80,000.
He videotapes all hls work, for clients to keep on file. “So, in the future if something goes wrong, they can go look and review the matter, without having to hire a consulting company and start from scratch,” he explains.
His company also uses a variety of devices to protect against abrasion and other damages to a building’s roof, windows, or railings.
While the province runs a mandatory, three-day Window Washer’s Training Program, Krlstoff has serious concerns about the safety and equipment standards found within this highly competitive business. (He claims price gouging often compromises safety standards).
And on March 2 at Lionhead Golf and Country Club in Brampton, he outlined his proposal for the formation of the (CREST), which would work with 911 emergency services to rescue endangered workers, and strive to put better standards in the workplace.
Kristoff says CREST’s Board of Directors would be comprised of representatives from industry, government, police, the medical world, and property management.
CREST would work to improve safety and product standards, provide rescue training, and maintain records of fines, accidents, and fraud within the industry (in a manner similar to that of the Better Business Bureau).
“You need an independent organization which can constantly upgrade everything that’s on the market,”he comments.
“lnspectors could call CREST and check on the safety level of the equipment being used on a job.”
“Saving a life would probably be the last resort, CREST would be called for. Basically, if there was an accident, CREST would not be doing it’s job. It would be preventive i n nature.
For more Information, call Elger Rope Access Work, www.eiger.cc
PHOTO: Ivan Kristoff, who speaks six languages and holds a machine engineering degree, works at establishing, regulating and improving standards for high-rise work in the construction industry. Popularly known as Spiderman because of his uncanny ability to perform work at high altitudes, his major concern is safety.