Hawk Attack! -The dangers and perils of window cleaning

Written by Roberto Castillo


It started off as a regular morning. We worked from morning until noon, and went for lunch as usual. After lunch, we stepped into the swing stage and began going up to continue our window washing work. Our job was to clean the windows from the 21st floor, all the way down to the bottom. But when we passed the 16th floor, we saw an excessive amount of feathers floating down from the sky.

We continued up until we reached the 19th floor, and at that point we saw the head of a giant bird, peering down at us. We frantically pressed the buttons to go up faster but upon reaching the 20th floor, we saw the bird in its entirety. It’s beady eyes were looking straight back at me. It was huge! It flew towards us, with its claws still firmly gripping the dead body of a half eaten seagull.

It circled around and proceeded to fly directly at us. We started to freak out and our survival instincts clicked in. Immediately I grabbed my squeegee, while my coworker, Cesar, grabbed the scraper as his first line of defense. We braced ourselves and prepared for attack. But when we looked up the huge bird flew away.

It was a scary sight: the blood, the feathers and the seagull remains, scattered about on the side of the building. We went downstairs to inform the building manager,  just in case the bird decided to come back to finish his lunch. When we spoke with the head of security, he let us know that what we actually saw was a hawk. Certain species of hawks will pluck their prey before eating. And you know they are around when you see a pile of feathers on the ground or floating down from a tree limb. Even though they can be dangerous, hawks are protected by the BC Wildlife Act and hurting one can result in fines or even jail time.

Jail or no jail, I would never want to pick a fight with such a scary animal! I figured the hawk was at least 2.5 meters with outstretched wings.

Out of curiosity though, I looked it up and found that under the BC Wildlife Act:

All birds are considered wildlife and are afforded full protection under the BC Wildlife Act.  A person commits an offence if the person except as provided by regulation or by an issued permit, possesses, takes, injures, molests or destroys a bird or its eggs.

Fair enough. Let’s leave those beautiful birds alone.

Our workday was put on hold and we played it safe by waiting about an hour before continuing the job. And then it was just work as usual, except this day I got to go home with an exciting new story that only gets better over drinks!

My advice to anyone who comes face to face with a hawk, is  to try to have quick access to your phone so you can take pictures.  Just kidding. But on a more serious note, don’t try to be tough and just let the animals do their thing.  They have a right to be there too. The hawk is a beautiful animal but it can also be extremely dangerous. Did you know that the Red-Tailed Hawk is on the list of Top 10 Birds most likely To Kill You? I feel lucky that nothing happened to us!

Please stay safe out there.

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Introducing the fantastic Kim Daigle!


We are excited to introduce our full-time office manager, Kim Daigle. Kim has been with Black Tie  for a little over a year now, and if you currently do business with us, there’s a good chance you’ve spoken to her already. Already handling the bookkeeping duties, Kim’s role has now expanded to include payroll, accounts payable and receivable and customer relations. She will be your first point of contact for handling quote requests, customer inquiries and follow-up calls. Kim brings over 15 years of experience to the table. You can read her bio by clicking here.

Kim is efficient, organized and has a wicked sense of humor.  She’s a pleasure to work with and we hope you enjoy working with her as much as we do!


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New Post-Construction Video & Pictures

2014 was a busy year for our post-construction crew. They worked on several projects for Ledcor, Bosa, Axiom and Polygon, to name but a few. Our in-house videographer extraordinaire, Rob, has put together a short demo video, explaining our procedures.

We are excited to share the video and the “Best of“, hand-picked from all our construction site pictures from last year. Enjoy!

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 1

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 40

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 15

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 51

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 19

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 30

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 7

Construction Projects 2013-2014 - 63



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Giving back: how Black Tie supports not for profit housing in Vancouver

Vancouver has its fair share of non-profit housing and associations managing their real-estate portfolios. Over the last 4 years, Black Tie Property Services has been asked to quote on several projects for non-profit organizations.  We are grateful to have had the chance to work with quite a few in the past years.

One that stood out for us last year, was the Vancouver Native Housing Society. Managing over 20 multi-unit residential properties, located on Vancouver’s East side, VNHS offers affordable housing and social programs for the underprivileged, chronically ill or handicapped in the Native community. Upon our first meeting, we immediately noticed their high level of professionalism and it quickly became clear that their internal systems and organization would put to shame some of their corporate counterparts. Their buildings were well managed and properly maintained.

Over the following 2 months, we worked in conjunction with VNHS and cleaned most of their properties, following a strict schedule. Working closely with Patrick Snowwolf, Building and Asset Systems Manager, we managed to deliver all aspects of the projects on time, and on budget. Seeing how much dedication was going into their work, and what a great impact it had in their community, we started brainstorming ways to also give back and support their efforts.

After discussing this at length, we decided to test out a credit program that would give back 10% of all money spent on our services within a calendar year.

Here’s how it works: say VNHS spends $20,000 on services for spring-cleaning. We would then issue a credit for $2,000, eligible to be spent between January 1, and March 31 of the following year. This is a significant boost for organizations operating on limited budgets and allows them to schedule services that they would otherwise need to hold off on. It’s a Win-Win situation because it also keeps our crews busy during times that are typically slow for us.

This credit program is currently being tested out with VNHS and we are getting ready to offer it to all non-profit housing organizations in 2015.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Black Tie Property Services at


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First rule of safety: Never stop learning!

        SPRAT Certification course at Pacific Ropes

BT Pacific Rope worksJanuary is typically a very slow month in the window cleaning industry. Due to the seasonal nature of our business, our rope access staff usually has a much lighter workload during this time. What better time to delve deeper into safety protocols, and advance our training and expertise? .

This year, Pacific Ropes, a Richmond based company headed by young entrepreneur Tim Zaigel started offering rope access training. We attended an open house tour of their facilities and were so impressed with their professionalism, and willingness to tailor to our training needs, that we decided to attend their new rope access program.

It is important to note that rope access training is not required by Worksafe BC in order to perform maintenance work from ropes in the province of British Columbia. “When I started in the business, 15 years ago, I was shown how to put on a harness, how to tie a half-hitch knot and was told to get over the side of a 10 story building. That was the extent of my training, and it was terrifying!” says Sebastien Nault, owner and CEO of Black Tie Property Services. “Even if it isn’t mandatory, it’s nice to be able to provide our staff with training that will minimize risk to themselves and give them the knowledge necessary to work safely. From an employer perspective, it also provides peace of mind, knowing that our crew is abiding by the highest level of industry guidelines, going above and beyond what is required from Worksafe BC.

IMG_0608This January, five of our rope access staff attended a weeklong course at Pacific Ropes’ facility. We are proud to report that all 5 passed with flying colors. The week was spent practicing different types of rigging, learning about the science and physics behind rope work, and rehearsing various rescue scenarios. The last day consisted of one-on-one examinations with a SPRAT assessor flown in from the US. The partner work required throughout the course served as a great team-building exercise, which also furthered trust within our team.

We would like to congratulate our new graduates:

Rob Baril: SPRAT Level 1

David Inzunza: SPRAT Level 2

Phillip Walter: SPRAT Level 3, IRATA Level 2

Mark May: SPRAT Level 1

Roberto Castillo: SPRAT Level 2

SPRATT Instructor Bodhi Somersun Also, a huge thank you goes out to the Pacific Ropes staff, in particular instructor Bodhi Somersun, for making this a seamless and valuable experience.

We look forward to bringing you another year of world-class, safe services in 2015!

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6 Reasons why Black Tie Property Services is your best choice for window cleaning!



  1. Best Performance – We’ll leave your property looking bright, shiny and new.


  1. Experienced & Well TrainedBlack Tie has been established for 4 years. Our senior technicians have over 10 years window cleaning experience. Our team is educated and certified in rope access training. We are proud to say we always keep up to date with industry training standards.


  1. Professional – Our team is dedicated and professional. We will always show up clean cut and in uniform. Not only are we smiley and helpful, we also adhere to the highest in safety standards.


  1. Competitive Pricing – Top notch service at reasonable prices.


  1. Satisfaction Guaranteed – If you are not satisfied with our service, we will be happy to come back and address any deficiencies reported. We may not be perfect, but we try our very best to keep our customers happy.


  1. Open to communication – Relationships depend strongly on communication. We will always listen to your suggestions and respond to your emails and phone calls as quickly as possible.


Call us at 604-629-9055 to book your free no-obligation quote with us today!


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Happy Holidays from our family to yours at Black Tie!


Happy Holidays!  The Black Tie team would like to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. We look forward to bringing you more shiny windows in 2015!



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Black Tie partners with Change Heroes to raise $ for a village in Ecuador


This holiday season, Black Tie is teaming up with social enterprise Change Heroes to transform a village called Mondaña in Ecuador.  Instead of giving gifts like chocolates to our clients, this year we decided to allocate our Christmas budget towards positive social change.

Please join us in our initiative to raise money that provides the following to children and families in Mondaña, Ecuador :

  • Education
  • Clean water
  • Sanitation
  • Healthcare initiatives
  • Alternative income programs
  • Food security

Here is a link to a personalized video created by Black Tie’s Founder Sebastien Nault.

If you’re interested in finding out more, here’s a quick video that shows you more.

Let’s start a #MINGA! The gift that keeps on giving.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!



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Why we LOVE Sovereign: Metrotown’s Newest, Highest Landmark building





At Black Tie we are proud to take part in working with the latest exciting projects, especially when they are forecasted to become B.C. landmarks!  Here’s the latest project feature we’d love to share with you.  Currently we are working on the post construction clean on Sovereign by Bosa.

Built by one of our favorite, highly reputable construction companies – Bosa Construction, it is  located on Kingsway and Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby B.C.

“Rising a majestic 500-feet into the Metrotown skyline, Sovereign boasts 202 luxury residences, 169 guest rooms and over 100,000 square feet of prime retail space. Destined to become a B.C. landmark, Sovereign heralds a new era of sophistication and style at the gateway to Metrotown.”

DSC_3772edProject Details

Location: Burnaby, BC

Homes: 202

Retail: 100,000 sf

Hotel: 169 rooms

Height: 45 floors, 511 Ft







Being one of the tallest towers in the Lower Mainland, Sovereign poses some interesting technical challenges for our crew. Being outside of the height allowed by Worksafe BC for rope access work, we have to use suspended scaffolds (swing stages) to gain access to the glass. Once the building is completed and occupied, a permanent system will be installed by Tractel to allow maintenance crews access to the exterior of the building.

Sovereign_DavidThe hotel portion, located in the bottom part of the building, will need to be ready for occupancy before the residential portion of the building. Therefore, our team has been hard at work, using rope access and aerial lifts to clean the lower 5 levels of the tower. Meanwhile, the crew working on the top portion of the tower is following closely behind the painters, giving the windows and balconies their final clean.

We are proud to work in partnership with our good friends at White Knight Janitorial, and to be part of this landmark project.



If you would like to receive a free, no-obligation estimate, or see one of YOUR projects featured on this page, please click here.



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How Black Tie will keep you from getting stuck in the snow

Now that the trees are almost bare, the Christmas decorations have popped up with a vengeance, and the 1st snow has fallen,you might want to  consider  your snow removal options. After all, it could snow more any day now, and freezing temperatures have already arrived in the Lower Mainland.

Do you have a plan in place for snow removal and deicing for the buildings you manage? Are you thinking about how to protect your strata residents from slip and falls on the icy roads? Most large stratas have contracts in place to make sure they’re covered in case of freezing rain or snow, but if you manage smaller properties that rely on residents and on-site caretakers for sharing of shovel duties, you might need extra help in a significant snowfall. And when the cold wind blows, we at Black Tie Property Services would love to help!


Over the last few years, our valued customers continued to ask for snow removal services.  And since we aim to please,  we are pleased to announce the launch of our new Full-Service Snow Removal Division so that we can offer our services to customers in need of help. Starting today, December 1st,2014 we have 4 vehicles and 10 technicians equipped with shovels, salt and a great attitude, ready to be dispatched anywhere between West Vancouver and Langley.

Please contact us here, if you would like to receive more information or inquire about pricing. Please note that we do not offer contractual agreements for snow removal. This service is purely on call and offered on a first come first serve basis.

Cheers, and let it snow! Don’t worry we are ready & and we got your back!


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