Traditional Access v Rope Access

Whilst undertaking some NDT works in the boiler at Wallerawang power station, AIRA was asked to look at a tricky problem that could potentially cost 10's of thousands to resolve if we AIRA could not come up with an alternative.

Inside the parabolic cooling tower is a main water duct. At one end of the duct a water riser 25 metres deep joins the main horizontal duct. Alongside the top of the riser are 12 pipes that needed repair. The only access solutions proposed was either to completely empty the bottom of the cooling tower and build a tower up the inside of the riser or place a great deal of scaffolding inside the duct and build a counter levered scaffold all the way over the seven metre void.

AIRA was asked to come up with an alternative, considering access was limited to three metre lengths and time was a pressing issue to get the cooling tower back on line. We built a light weight bridge that was stayed out into place using mechanical advantage techniques. Temporary scaffold planks were laid onto the structure and a fall arrest system, incorporating rescue facilities was installed. This allowed the technicians to walk out onto the temporary structure whilst remaining safe. Once on the far side of the structure a permanent rope access system was installed to allow safe passage back and forth with limited fall tolerances and rescue facilities built into the system.

All pipes were removed, replaced and made good before the reversal of the installation was undertaken. What could have been a 6 day shutdown costing a vast sum of money, AIRA was able to complete in a 2 day turn around, costing less than 1/5th of the estimated traditional access installation.

AIRA's proud safety history was maintained with no injuries, near misses or safety breaches. Utilising rope access skills, rigging and scaffolding skills, AIRA technicians enabled this unique job to be undertaken in a timely, cost effective and safe method. Whilst not your traditional use of scaffold, our project managers planned a combined method that was not scaffolding, not entirely rope access or fall arrest but utilising a combination of all disciplines to safely complete the works.

Insurance & Compliance

Zero Accidents! Zero Injuries! Zero dangerous occurrences! AIRA can assist you with all of your works, access & height safety requirements.

Rope Access Training

The IRATA certified Instructors & an Irata auditor within the team, ensures that AIRA leads the industry with the latest rope access knowledge and expertise.


One company that supplies the access, trade skills, OH&S & documentation gives the client peace of mind. AIRA hold Irata trainer & operational member status and compliant to 9001 & 4801