Skyscraper Behind the Scenes: How SUMMIT One Vanderbilt Is Maintained

It’s easy to take the maintenance of a space like SUMMIT One Vanderbilt for granted. When the views are unobscured by smudges and the balloons of Affinity are always buoyant and reflective, it may be easy to assume that SUMMIT maintains itself.


Nothing could be further from the truth! The immaculate upkeep of SUMMIT is actually a testament to the skill and dedication of the professionals charged with the preservation of mirror skyscrapers in NYC like One Vanderbilt. As you might imagine, skyscraper maintenance is no easy feat. It goes beyond keeping the building structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing, presenting a complex — and sometimes dizzying — array of unique logistical, regulatory, and environmental challenges.

The Skyscraper Behind the Scenes

There is a lot that goes into the maintenance of a structure as large and sophisticated as a skyscraper. While One Vanderbilt has its own specific maintenance requirements, much of the work that goes into keeping it in good shape is common to all skyscrapers.

Here are some interesting aspects of mirror skyscraper maintenance that you might not have known:

1. Countless factors influence skyscraper maintenance protocols.


How often are skyscraper windows cleaned? It depends. Cleaning a skyscraper is very different from cleaning a house or apartment. Maintenance experts have to take quite a bit into consideration when planning their cleaning schedules.

Consider SUMMIT’s height and location. One Vanderbilt is 1,401 feet tall and stands in the very heart of midtown Manhattan. When you visit, you may notice that outside maintenance staff use all kinds of ropes, harnesses, and specialized equipment.

This is where regulations come into play. NYC is very specific about skyscraper safety standards and maintenance rules. These must be followed to the letter, right down to the requisite skills and certifications of the laborers working on specialized maintenance tasks. As a result, One Vanderbilt’s skyscraper maintenance routines can look a lot like complicated blueprints and diagrams to an outsider.

2. Technology affects maintenance. 


From its state-of-the-art elevators to its futuristic art installations, SUMMIT is all about innovative technology. As you might expect, these high-tech features need customized maintenance.


How these technical elements are sanitized and maintained depends on what and where they are. Take the security cameras as an example. These devices are a part of everyday life across all the skyscrapers throughout NYC.


These gadgets need to be monitored, occasionally adjusted, and regularly cleaned. The wiring must also be tested and evaluated. All this has to be included in the maintenance and operational plans — and that’s just for security cameras!


3. Architectural choices influence skyscraper maintenance in NYC.


What’s your favorite skyscraper in NYC? Most residents and visitors have at least one. It may not be obvious that the visual design of a skyscraper can impact the way it’s maintained, but that’s very much the case.


This is why true maintenance pros will always think about the internal and external architectural choices when devising their maintenance road maps. For example, they have to think about the logistics of when and how to bring in cleaning and maintenance equipment. When a site like SUMMIT is open throughout the day, it’s necessary to determine how to transport and use maintenance equipment without disturbing guests.


Depending on how a building has been engineered, this might not be easy. Sometimes, maintenance personnel need to get creative and come up with innovative techniques to gain access to hard-to-reach areas. Fortunately, maintenance experts can meet these challenges and ensure the properties for which they’re responsible stay clean and functional.

4. Weather changes everything. 

Because weather conditions aren’t always predictable, skyscraper maintenance crews must always be on guard.

Even a modest amount of sleet can prompt maintenance teams to get out their specialized cleaning agents and double down on their duties. Sleet doesn’t just stick to the windows — it can find its way into every part of a skyscraper via shoe soles. The faster cleaners can make it disappear, the better.

Summer, on the other hand, brings its own harsh weather patterns. Heat can lead to humidity, which may accelerate normal wear and tear on external materials. It can also put more pressure on internal HVAC systems, which, like security cameras, have specialized care routines.

The next time you visit a skyscraper, take a moment to admire the laborious and skill-intensive work that goes into its everyday maintenance. These massive structures wouldn’t be standing without the dedicated professionals who strive every day to ensure their safety and cleanliness.

SUMMIT is no exception, and guests who understand this can develop a more profound appreciation for its art and its views. If you’re ready to experience SUMMIT from this new perspective, you can purchase your next ticket here.