Monthly Archives: January 2013

Franklin Institute and the Emergency Egress

Sounds like something from the minds of Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay

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The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.  They are currently hosting the Titanic Artifact Exhibition – and they are putting a new addition onto the side of the building.  This is where Superior Scaffold comes in.

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The needed an emergency egress – to put it simply, an emergency exit stairwell from the second floor down to the ground.  Sounds simple, right?  Of course not.  Why?  Because the ground beneath the proposed emergency stairwell is being excavated.  Something about spy tunnels from the old Manhattan project that run from the basement of the Franklin Institute across the street into the basement of another building.  Now, this is just conjecture offered up from some unnamed sources on the job.  But just think about it.  How cool would that be?

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Since I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations we can only assume that Oppenheimer and his crew were shuttling top secret plans back and forth while developing the world’s most destructive weapons.  Or it just could be that something beneath the ground needs to be removed or updated for structural reasons.  Stairs, water pipes, electrical, who knows?  You make the call???  Maybe Jerry Bruckheimer should make a movie.  Superior Scaffold stars in:   Ha.

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Either way, the egress could not be built straight from the second floor down to the ground.  This is where the creative chaps at Superior Scaffold come in and design a scaffold that spans the 36’ area that’s being excavated and then takes you down to ground level.  Since they had to span the gap – they designed a free standing 4′ X 5′ X14′ high unit that sits 40’ away from the exit of the building.

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You can see where Superior engineer Bob Robinson called for a thru-bolted channel on the side of the building to carry the giant 40’ steel beams.  Then on top of those beams they constructed a 5’ wide walkway that takes people out and over the excavation below.

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So when you look out of the second floor about to exit you will see a walkway that spans the excavation below, completely covered and hand railed.   On the other side of the deck are the stairs that take you down.  Problem solved.

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And since it was free standing, the guys put a roof on it, added hand rails and debris netting around the sides to knock down the elements.  It’s quite a lovely emergency egress.

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You see, it’s the simple things in life that make people happy.  Superior is the best at coming up with functional solutions that make clients happy.

http://www2.fi.edu/

http://www.visitphilly.com/museums-attractions/philadelphia/the-franklin-institute/

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A smoking hot expansion at Holt’s Cigar Company

When you are in Philly and you want a Cigar there is only ONE name – Holt’s Cigar Company in Center City.  Founded in 1898, Holt’s has been synonymous with the region’s finest imported premium handmade cigars.

Holt's Cigar Company, front-walnut-st

Nothing defines Holt’s Cigar Company more clearly than its Center City Philadelphia flagship retail location where for a hundred years, cigar lovers have flocked to the friendly confines and relaxing atmosphere of the company’s quality cigar shop. The ambiance and aromas, as well as one of the nation’s largest walk-in humidors and luxurious smoking lounge attracts thousands of cigar aficionados and novices alike to Holt’s Cigar Company.

Because of high demand they are expanding again.  And with space being limited at their Center City location (1522 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa 19102) they decided to extend out into the back alley.  To do this they needed some expert help – so they called Superior Scaffold.

superior scaffold, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, solutions, construction, inspection, PA, philadelphiaHolt's cigar company expansion, 32

What it looked like before phase 2 went up.

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Obstacles on the neighbor’s back wall.

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The entryway off of the street.

Look at the photos.  There is very little room to work with in that tiny little alley.  Access was a huge challenge.  As was the two sections that had to be built and then connected to make the finished product.  And on top of that – Superior had to go to the business directly behind Holt’s to see if they would let them erect scaffolding so crews could get to and finish the exterior of the new edition on the back of Holts.  I know it’s hard to see but just imagine, if you will, Holts blowing out the back of their warehouse and butting up right against the opposing neighbor’s back wall – Neighbor working with neighbor to get this done.

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Back of Holt’s where the expansion is – see the L shape to the right.

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Superior Scaffold’s engineer, Bob Robinson.

Superior engineer, Bob Robinson, and estimator Pat McAndrew, had to devise a way to get the support needed in around this existing roof without actually placing scaffolding on top of it.  Robinson devised a plan to rest the entire scaffolding on the existing capstone and actually bolt channels into the old brick of the neighbor’s wall. This would give necessary support and enough room for everyone to work comfortably in the confines of the alley.  They decided to erect it in two phases.

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Looking at phase 2 resting on capstones.

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Protecting the capstone sitting on the cement.

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Attaching channels to 100 year old wall – support rails in brick.

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A view below the stringers and deck – looking underground.

Phase one is the side where these photos were taken.  It’s looking out from Holt’s new addition.  This section was 4’ wide X 10’ long X 40’ high.  It faced the studded wall of the new edition, pretty straight forward stuff.  Phase 2 was the harder leg and would be connected by 3’ outriggers giving crews access to each section.
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New studs in place at the top level.

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Phase one completed.

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At the top in between the two buildings. The new addition on the left.

The second phase, the upper section, was 4’ wide X 23’ long and 30’ high and would be built over the existing roof.  (or onto) pic 33 and would go all the way up the side of the neighbor’s structure – about another 30 feet. It would allow crews to do the exterior finish work on the opposite wall on Holt’s new addition.

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The second phase, the lower section, was 4’ wide X 10’ feet long X 40’ high.

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Looking down onto phase 2 building up from the roof below.

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The top level of the expansion – 40′ high.

The two sections were connected by 3’ outriggers giving crews access to each section.

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Scaffolding around obstructions.

There were several obstructions that had to dealt with like the old exhaust unit.  The new steel for the wall was bolted to the old brick wall for support.  Crews will fill in the old brick wall when everything comes back down.

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Attaching channels to 100 year old wall – support rails in brick.

Every piece of gear, scaffolding, trusses, etc had to come through a tiny portal off of the side street and carried through a tiny access way into the back alley.  There, it had to be assembled and erected with great care.

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Entryway to the back of the building. Very narrow.

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The dungeon where all things had to pass.

Needless to say that both phases went up without a hitch.  Another Superior solution.

Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200

Going off the deep end with scaffolding…

The Princeton Medical Center at Plainsboro, NJ is adding on to their illustrious hospital with two new rehabilitation pools.   The crews needed to get access to the ceiling to do some repairs and additions.  Well, with swimming pools spanning the entire room it makes it a bit difficult to reach up that high.

So they called Pat McAndrew at Superior Scaffold and said, “Help.”   Since they had spent most of their budget on these incredible pools they were looking for a low cost alternative to just scaffolding the entire pools all the way up to the ceiling.   They also wanted to use Baker/Painter scaffolds to roll from one end of the pool area ceiling to another.

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So, they creatively devised a plan that would put an 8’ scaffolding tower down into the center of the large pool from the 3’ shallow end down to the 9’ deep end.  They used 8’ horizontal trusses at deck height and then ran aluminum joists from side walls to trusses at 16” centers.  The entire thing was then topped off with a deck of ¾” plywood.  This would allow the baker scaffold to roll freely around the entire room while allowing crews to reach to the ceiling.  You can see just how wide and deep this room is.

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Now, the small pool was a bit different.  They rested aluminum joists on the concrete side walls at 16” centers and then topped that off with plywood.  Since it was only 18’ in diameter the aluminum joists would be able to support all of the weight put upon them.

Bingo, bango, bongo… another Superior solution and satisfied customer.  Superior specializes in creative solutions for scaffolding problems.  Call 215 743-2200 to see what Superior can do for you.