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Engineers on rope

A conversation with Stantec's Ryan Nataluk about our Rope Access Engineering services

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<p>Ryan Nataluk</p> <p>There’s many ways to access bridges and structures. Some bridges are set up more traditionally where we have to use more mechanical access equipment and ladders and bucket trucks and things like that, and many engineering firms can do that. But where my niche lies and our group lies is we use rope access techniques on bridges that are more suited for climbing</p> <p>My crews and I, we inspect bridges all around the US and sometimes help our Canadian offices to look at them for safety to ensure they’re safe for the travelling public</p> <p>We are structural engineers on rope, so we are engineers that know the background of structures, how they’re built, and we know how the materials deteriorate over time. We can specifically tell a client how to repair something, how to fix it, and how to keep it in service for longer.</p> <p>our climbing techniques are fast and efficient. We don’t need any traffic control which costs a lot of money to set up. We don’t need mechanical equipment which are large pieces of equipment to put in the roadways. We don’t utilize that so we’re out of the way and we get it done faster and cheaper</p> <p>Most of our clients are departments of transportation, and then we have a lot of private clients. We’ve been doing work for railroads and other infrastructure holders or owners, tower owners, tank owners, things like that. People that have infrastructure that are hard to access and can utilize our structural engineering services along with our rope access services to evaluate their structures</p> <p>So really what we do is we try to help the client plan for maintenance and rehabilitation over the life of the structure to make sure their investment, they get the full life out of their investment.</p> <p>A typical climbing team is a&nbsp; minimum of four people, but we’ve had climbing teams of up to eight people. For instance we just inspected a bridge in west Virginia that took a team of eight people. We had eight different engineers from five different Stantec offices around the United States and Canada. It was our a-team climbing team you should say, and it took eight of us seven days to climb a bridge in west Virginia over the ohio river.</p> <p>Safety while we’re out in the field is the number one thing we think about. Bridge inspection can be hazardous because you are working in traffic, you’re out and about, there are a lot of things going on both physically and with the weather environment, it could be very cold, it could be very hot, it could be windy and rainy, but we take a lot of precautions to ensure our safety.</p> <p>Right now we have a 100% safety record, but we have a very detailed process, assembling site safety plans, we have team meetings on how we’re going to go about climbing and repelling each element. We talk about each situation you could get in doing that, and what a rescue would entail if someone got in trouble in some certain situations.</p> <p>you are hanging by ropes, but as long as you know what you’re doing and you know the gear and you have the right training, it’s probably safer than walking across the street.</p> <p>The work we do, it’s very exciting, and there’s always different challenges day by day. One day I might be in the office checking a report or checking calculations, and the next day I might be using rope access techniques to inspect bridges in Nevada, or Colorado or west Virginia, or even Canada.</p> <p>we work very close together and so we really have formed a good bond, with our clients and within the group, so that’s why I stay at Stantec.</p>

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