Common Misconceptions Series – Part 1

I recently became aware of some very serious misconceptions within our industry and I thought that this would be a great platform to clear them up.

One of the most frequent misconceptions that I hear is that “we need davits” for a building/project to complete window washing and suspended maintenance.  In certain situations this is definitely the case; however, they are not the typical starting point for any design.

I think the misconception is that anchors and davits are the same type of equipment and function the same way.

Anchors and davits are not the same thing

Anchors fundamentally refer to a U-bar tie-off that can take many different shapes and are quite versatile.

Davits consist of multiple elongated pieces that primarily allow for rigging over unique structures.

  • Anchors usually come in two different styles: roof or wall.
  • Davits consist of three components: base, boom, and mast.
Davit Arm

3 components: base, boom, and mast

  • A roof anchor is a stainless steel U-bar welded to a cylinder shaped steel pier (usually 15” or 18” tall).  A picture of a roof anchor is shown below.
steel pier RA

Roof anchor

  • A wall anchor is a stainless steel U-bar welded to a steel base plate (varying in size but usually a few inches).  A picture of a wall anchor is shown below.

Wall anchor

  • The davit arm consists of an aluminum mast (varying in size but typically 5-6’ tall) and an aluminum boom (again varying in size but upwards of 8’ long).
  • Davits are quite large assemblies.
  • These components are pinned/secured together to form the “davit arm”

  • Anchors can (in both cases) be secured to structure in many ways.  Most commonly they can be bolted through structure, cast or embedded into concrete, glued into structure with adhesive epoxy, welded to structure, or wrapped around structure.
  • The davit arm is then pinned/secured to a davit base.
  • A davit base is a galvanized piece of equipment that is responsible for securing the davit arm assembly in place during use.
  • Davit bases can be secured to structure in the same ways that anchors are.


  • Anchors can be used in practically any rigging situation – fall protection, suspended maintenance, window washing, direct rigging, in-direct rigging, etc.
  • Davits are not a practical as anchors in the sense that there are very specific reasons and situations that you would use them (basically over tall parapets and non-structural structure).

Rigging scenarios

Davits are not the typical starting point for any design.  Pro-Bel will always look to include the most simple and cost effective system possible (which is an anchor based system) and build on the design from there based on the building/project conditions.

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