Keeping the windows clean on Ottawa’s tallest building

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At 45 storeys high, the Claridge Icon is Ottawa’s tallest building. And that means keeping the windows clean is no small task.

Some might think exterior maintenance technician for Performance Window Cleaners, Tanner Simser, has one of the scariest jobs in Ottawa.

“It’s honestly exhilarating once you get into the flow,” Simser says. “I’ve done the high-rises before and it’s a little nerve-wracking. But when you see this, it’s like, ‘Whoa, OK. This is a game changer.'”

Game changer might be an understatement. But Simser says he loves the rush.

View straight down from the Claridge Icon rooftop as crews clean the windows of Ottawa’s tallest building. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

“Once you get past the edge of the roof it just all comes to you,” Simser says. “You can’t be scared of heights. You just have to commit to it. It’s not something you really joke around with. You’ve got to be safe and all that.”

Cleaning the exterior of this building isn’t easy. Safety is the top priority.

“Our guys are in full uniforms. We don’t take safety lightly,” says Brock Beaulne, owner of Performance Window Cleaning. “We use all the necessary precautions to make sure that we’re doing the job properly and efficiently.”

Windows on a building this size can sometimes take weeks to clean.

“It really depends on winds and weather and being safe,” says Beaulne. “So anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month is what we presume.”

View overlooking the city from Claridge Icon rooftop in Ottawa. (Dave Charbonneau/CTV News Ottawa)

“The Claridge Icon stands 485 feet high and is probably the best view in the entire city. From this height, the traffic below can look just like toy cars. And looking out into the distance, it seems like you can see forever.”

“They’re very brave,” says Wayne Luchak, Claridge Homes Special Projects Supervisor. “It’s totally insane. I mean I certainly wouldn’t be doing that. But that’s the law today. You have to be qualified. You have to take a course and so on. Because in Ottawa in order to go any higher than 28 storeys you need to be certified.”

 But as nuts as this job might sound and look, Simser says it’s all in a day’s work.

 “Honestly, never really had a problem with it,” says Simser. “I’m kind of a bit of an adrenaline junkie as they say.”

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