Monthly Archives: October 2011

Saving Our Lady of Lourdes

TIMELINE OF HOW A SCAFFOLD COMPANY SAVED AN ICON – in less than 24 hours!

At 1:51 pm on Wednesday 8/23/11 an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude rocked the east coast.  It was followed by two smaller aftershocks of 2.8 & 2.2.  On the whole, structural damage was fairly limited – given the wide scope of the quake.

Immediately, inspectors were sent out to every scaffold job site to make sure nothing had shifted, moved, or changed with the scaffolding around any of the structures.  As the world found out – there were a few national structures that were damaged, such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.  But up in Camden, NJ a national treasure was teetering on the brink of disaster.

Medium Shot of the statue on top of the building with scaffolding

The statue on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center had shifted and broken.  The big fear was that an aftershock would topple the statue of Mother Mary – not only breaking the iconic figure but endangering patrons at the medical center.  The call went out to Superior Scaffold’s emergency services unit.

Our Lady of Lourdes Shift and CracksChips from the statue

Timeline for a rescue:

7:30am – Superior received the call the morning after the quake.

8:30 am – Superior was on site assessing the damage up on the roof.  A material list was sent out, as well as calls to team members who assist in erecting the scaffolding on top of the roof.  A truck was loaded at the yard and sent to Camden.

11:00 am – The equipment truck as well as 6 team members arrives.  A plan was in place to get the scaffolding to the roof – not an easy task (which I will detail in another blog about access).  Crews would have to use freight elevators to the highest point and then all of the necessary equipment would have to be taken up several staircases that wind up through the hospital to the second roof.

Access to the roofAccess for crews to get to the statueRoof Access to Lady of Lourdes statue

Once to the lower roof, a stockpile scaffolding to be used up on the next level was made.  Portions of the scaffolding were actually assembled in the very small second roof and then handed up to the top section.  Crew members had to climb through several more narrow areas of the hospital just to reach the statue on the roof.  Once there, a rope and wheel hoist were used to get the scaffolding up to the statue where it could be put into place.

The superior team worked until the wee hours erecting the scaffolding and securing the iconic statue to make sure no further damage could be done should there be more aftershocks.   Guy-wires were strapped all around the statue and tied down to make sure she couldn’t and wouldn’t topple over.

Guy-Wire all over the statue of Mother Mary

3:00 am – Less than 24 hours after receiving the emergency call Superior’s team finished the job.

Our Lady of Lourdes ScaffoldingOur Lady of Lourdes in place

In the oncoming months, restoration crews will come in and repair the damage that was done.

Even though the images of the guy-wires strapping her down are intense – the statue of the Mother Mary on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center is safe and secure.

Top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical BuildingOur Lady of Lourdes statue on top of the Medical Center in Camden, NJ

Mother Mary looking over the city of Philadelphia

Hospital administrators could now rest safely, knowing that one call to Superior scaffold saved an icon. (Our Lady of Lourdes)

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New article in ALH magazine features Superior Scaffold

Access, Lift & Handlers magazine’s September – October 2011 issue features a wonderful article by Lindsey Anderson.  In her Scaffold Market report she take a look at how the recession has affected the overall scaffold and scaffolding industry and how companies are adapting to be successful.

She features several heavy hitters in the industry including Superior Scaffold, Philadelphia, PA.   The article also features several job photographs taken by Erik Highland.   Photographs include the renovation at Temple University’s Baptist Temple Church into the new performing arts center, the new Capital Health Hospital in Hopewell, NJ, and the renovation of Independence Hall tower in downtown Philadelphia.

You can read the article titled, Shifting Markets here.

 

Scaffold Industry Report

There are also several great quotes from CEO, Guy Bianchini on the long term outlook for Superior and others in the scaffolding industry.  Thanks to Lindsey for featuring Superior in ALH – and kudos for a great job on the Magazine Article.

Cool Technology X-Ray for a facade renovation at the Golden Nugget Hotel Casino! Why?

Now I’ll be honest with you.  I’m a sucker for cool technologies being used in innovative ways (just see my previous blog entry about the hanging scaffold system).  But when I learned what Superior Scaffold had to go through to get their giant mast climbers up to do the renovation work, I had to blog about it.

Did you  know that they actually had to X-Ray the cement on the side of the building to locate floor slab tie locations?  Yep.  And after having it explained to me it makes total sense.  You see the tall (dual) masts for the Mast Climber 3615 have to be anchored to the building at their highest point (for obvious reasons) while also being stabilized on the ground.  This allows for the platform to climb up and down the masts effortlessly.  Now, I never gave much thought on how they did it – just that they had to be attached somehow.  But logically, you just can’t go drilling into any place on the side of a building.  You need a very sturdy anchor point.  But since the Trump Marina was constructed with post tension floors there was the possibility of having steel reinforcements inside the slabs. Thus – the X-RAY machine!

The X-Ray technician had to xray specific points on the building to determine if they were free of steel so the anchors for the mast climbers could be installed.  And while he was up there, he also Xray’d the masonry condition of the exterior so they would have a better idea of what needed to be repaired before they put the new facade on.

Once the technician gave the approval for the mast climbing anchor point – the crew had to cut out the exterior brick exposing the cement floor slab tie location so they could install the fasteners – and then the masts.

Here’s a great shot of the crew installing one of the masts at the Golden Nugget.

And here’s the underside of the MC-3615 platform.

And once both masts are anchored and the platform is in place – it can be put into service.  Here it is going up for the first time.

And once all of the 8 masts were anchored to the exterior of the Golden Nugget.  This is what it looks like.

If you look carefully, you can see the fourth unit on the right side of the building.  An X-Ray machine?  Who would have thought a scaffolding company would be so hip.

The work continues on the facade renovation.  The workers used the mast climbers to install a unique scratch coat of a new type of material (specifically designed for this job) over the existing brick – essentially giving it a facelift.  I’ll have more shots in my next entry.

Ever wonder how they do bridge repairs over water? A hanging scaffold system!

This is very unique way to get beneath bridges to make repairs. Instead of anchoring a barge in the water beneath the bridge, or parking a giant truck with a bridge inspection bucket (like a cherry picker with a platform)  above it they can suspend a platform from the steel beams and girders beneath the bridge itself.

Superior Scaffold hanging scaffold system

Beam Clamp

I was on it yesterday and it’s as stable as traditional ground based scaffolding.  I was shocked.  Those brackets essentially hold the weight of the scaffold platform beneath it and all of the workers, equipment, and parts necessary to make the repairs. It’s really a very cool way to get beneath a structure like that.

This photo shows the pipe that was leaking and is now being repaired.

This way, entire crews can work beneath the bridge without being limited to a small platform on a bucket truck.

For instance, on this job, crews are removing and repairing large sections of pipe over the river. This hanging platform system prevents leakage into the water below and allows for much greater mobility.  It also allows the bridge and waterway to remain open for business as usual.  Superior guys did a heck of job on this one.  Really smart and stable!

Independence Hall Update – 10.4.11

Well, things are surely coming along at the Independence Hall Tower.  Crews have really done a terrific job getting the spire repainted, the ball and weather vane re-guilded, the roof flashing in place.  It’s looks great.  They have even taken most of the decorative urns down to have them repainted as well.   I saw it with my own eyes.  It’s been a good 6 months since I was last up on the scaffold.  I do have photos and will post them up tomorrow.   We got to see inside the bell housing as well.  They have put new metal flashing down in there as well and completely repainted the surrounding bell housing.  This new refurb should last another 100 years.  It’s pretty cool to see how the tower is taking shape as they move down further towards the ground and take down the decorative scrim.  We did notice that they are getting the gold colors in the clock faces as well.  Just a quick entry here but I will post more details when I get the photos up.