Monthly Archives: November 2013

Stop and smell the construction site – Philadelphia, PA

I am a reminded of a quote by Prince Phillip, “I declare this thing open – whatever it is,” while opening a new annex at Vancouver City Hall…  Now, why you say?  Well, because when I first saw this – I really didn’t pay much attention to it – other than what it would seem to be, on the outside; a couple of  mast climbers and some overhead protection. (which really worked well – see pic 5)

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But if you dug deeper into the first photo you would see, as I did, a much more complex set of circumstances at play here.  Not only did Superior Scaffold master estimator, Tom Cruise, aka Tony Pini, have to get the mast climbers up to the sky and into the stratus to do facade restoration but he had to build a custom entryway that would allow delivery trucks to maintain their daily routes in and out of the back of The Dorchester Apartments.

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So, you will see two different levels of overhead protection going on here.  Subtle, yes, but there nonetheless.  If you look carefully, there are two sections of the loading dock that needed constant access, the main dock and smaller trash pickup area.  And then the mast climbers sit on top of the overhead protection – all out of the way.

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If you actually take a minute to stop and smell the roses or construction dust – you might see something deeper than it appears on the surface.

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Like this shot.  Seems simple right?  You bet.  The debris netting that is put up to capture falling debris and prevent it from landing on the ground has done it’s job.

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Here you can also see the single mastclimber MC-10 (with platforms) on the left that fits nicely into the smaller recessed area of the building.  And to the right is the larger mastclimber that provides access to the entire wall and even around the corner with the added return.

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I am reminded of this quote:  “Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic, and so am I.”
Oscar Levant

The Dorchester on Rittenhouse Square sits directly in the middle of the world famous Rittenhouse Square, 226 West Rittenhouse Square Philadelphia, PA 19103 (215) 546-1111

People just rave about The Dorchester – but don’t take my word for it – or mine… read this:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-dorchester-condominiums-philadelphia

And if you should require custom built overhead protection while doing facade repair or mast climbers call Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200  or go to www.superiorscaffold.com

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Superior Scaffold hangs a whopper of a job at Seneca Niagara Casino, Niagara Falls, NY

This is a monstor of a job.  We promised some photos and since we, at Superior Scaffold, keep our promises – here they are.

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It’s hard to believe that this all hangs 40 feet ABOVE the entire gaming room floor while people are hustling and bustling about underneath.

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They sit above the interior that is the size of 2 full length football fields.

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These wings or fingers are 300 and 400 feet long!

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What this project entails is getting crews up underneath the ceiling while the casino remains open for business as usual so they can get the new HVAC and mechanicals installed.

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The solution came in the form of what is called a multi-point suspended scaffold.  It’s not only wide, but stable enough to hold equipment, rolling towers, HVAC piping, etc.

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These giant work platforms actually hang from chains from the arched trusses at the ceiling.  It’s netted in so nothing can fall off of the sides and its sturdy enough to support just about anything you can put onto it.

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We’ve done these before (see blog on Hanging bridge platform) but never at this scale.

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The ceiling has giant arches which of course curve and give different elevations along that curve.  So the challenge for our crews was to get the lengths of chains correct over the entire spans of this platform while they were assembling them to keep the platform perfectly level.

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The segments had to hang at different elevations from the trusses to accommodate the particular ducting and venting going on up there.  Some lengths would be 20 feet while others would be 10 and so forth.  But once our guys go the proper lengths in place the platform was installed, level and sturdy.

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Here is a video so you can see in real time what these platforms look like.

There aren’t many comapanies that can or will undertake an immense job like this.  Our star estimator, Anthony Pini, made it his personal mission to come up with solutions to solve this engineering problem – and his team succeeded without incident.

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The new HVAC and mechanicals are installed and everyone at the Seneca Niagara Casini can literally breathe easier!

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Call Superior Scaffold today at (215) 743-2200 for solutions to your unique scaffolding project.  Ask for Tom Cruise, AKA Tony Pini.

How to have a positive experience with a setback – Porch brackets at 1900 Rittenhouse, Philadelphia

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It’s time to pay tribute to the outsiders in our company.  Yes, it’s the swing department.  In fact, I hate to admit this but they came up with that very clever headline.  I wish I could take credit for it but I can’t.

Is our swing department the “bad boys” of the company?  You tell me?  In their spare time all they do is race cars (fast cars) build hot rods, snowmobile through the frozen tundra (very fast) talk about driving fast, and taking chances.  Have you detected a theme here?  All except for the one VW building hippy who just likes to putter around at 50 brake horsepower thinking he’s going really fast…  But then again, he’s got the pop-up camper lid and big screen TV in case he wants to take a nap.  He’s the exception. (Also the one who came up with the headline – not to name names) He actually said, “Some might think that in this day and age of airbags and crumple zones driving a vintage VW bus is kind of  living on the edge.”  He’s a rebel..

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I just thought about it for a second – and maybe I’m bestowing too much onto their “bad boy” image.  It seems to me that the regular scaffold guys are just as loony.  I mean, you would have to be to climb around on the outside of buildings held on only by a harness and your brute strength.  At lest the boys in the swing department have a (sort of) cage to protect them AND motors to elevate them up and down whereas the scaffolding men have to climb up and down under their own power.  Hmmmm.

I guess this debate could rage on for pages.  Can we at least agree on one thing?  No matter what reputation our guys have off the job – they do some pretty incredible work and they won’t take chances with safety.

Which brings us to the actual job.

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I posted this because this isn’t something you see everyday.  While doing facade restoration and window replacement at the high rise at 1900 Rittenhouse Square – our guys at Superior Scaffold used 3 foot and 6 foot porch brackets to allow contractors access to the setback facade of the building without having to reach out dangerously or make additional drops  in work cages.

What are porch brackets, you ask?  They are those unique pieces that so handily clip right into the Altrex staging that fill the gaps.   In the photo above you can see one single 3 foot section on the left and two (3’ sections side-by-side) to make the 6’ section. They not only save time and money but also make it much safer for crews while working on buildings with setbacks and bump outs.

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This 50’ section of staging spans the entire façade and fits perfectly on either side of the window balconies.  The porch brackets allow workers direct access to the façade in one sweep.  This superior scaffold is also rigged with the Bisomac 210 hoist for super strength and reliability.  We can give a shout out to our supplier BeeAccees who provides us with all of these cool items.  This just goes to show how versatile accessories like porch brackets can be when planning out a restoration project.

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In this photo you can see the guys working on the windows actually standing on the porch brackets.  Without them it would be an infinitely harder job and certainly more time consuming.

So, as the debate rages on – swing department = “bad boys” or not – we can be assured that the crews of this job at 1900 Rittenhouse had a positive experience with a few setbacks!

A bit of history on 1900 Rittenhouse:  1900 Rittenhouse Square Apartments is a historic high-rise building on Rittenhouse Square in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was built 1923–1926. The 58-meter-tall, 18-story building has been converted to condominiums.

If you need a positive experience with a few setbacks call Superior Scaffold today – (215) 743-2200.

www.superiorscaffold.com

Amtrak rides the Superior Scaffold rails around the entire building

Superior Scaffold is proud to be providing scaffolding support for Amrak’s renovation of their 30th St. Station in downtown Philadelphia.  The historic building that opened in 1933 will get a much needed facelift.  It’s an incredible looking structure and can you just imagine what it’s going to be like when it’s finished?  Wow…

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Amtrak wants to make the neoclassical 30th Street Station a more welcoming gateway to West Philadelphia and Center City.  The 30th Street Station handles 120 Amtrak trains, 960 SEPTA trains, and 26 NJ Transit trains each weekday. More than four million Amtrak passengers went through the station last year.

Superior’s first order of business was to erect canopies and sidewalk protection around the entire building – and that’s a good sized building.  The station is a hustling, bustling metropolis all of its own with cars, buses, and lots of people all the time.   Those are just some of the challenges faced when erecting scaffolding around a busy building like this.  For that reason, most of the work was done at night as pedestrian and vehicle traffic was diminished.

I love this part of the description because we actually get to see BEFORE and AFTER shots of the scaffolding (something we don’t always get).  But this gives you an insider’s look at just what goes into scaffolding an historic building like this.  It also lets us see some the challenges crews face.

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The jersey barriers on each side were quite the problem.  Superior had to scaffold around all the physical obstacles, lamp posts, bollards, parking meters, taxi cabs, pedestrians.

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All of 30th Street Station is hollow underneath so Amtrak required Superior to build canopies on top of barriers to distribute weight load.

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This was done so scaffolding can be installed on top of the canopy to do facade restoration.

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Amtrak even specified the type and color of paint…a beautiful soft green. Customizing the look and color of a canopy is an option that many of our clients choose.

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This is going to be an 8 – 10 year project.

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Superior had to construct overhead protection at different elevations for buses, cars and pedestrians.

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The biggest challenge was finding jersey barriers with one flat side as Amtrak mandated.

Biggest challenge was finding jersey barriers with one flat side as Amtrak mandated.  Fortunately Rob Buckley from Buckley had what the doctor ordered.  177 - 12' barriers.   Next challenge was setting them in place. We used a lull and a unique clamp made just for lifting the barriers.  We had to cut many of the barriers to fit into Amtrak's layout (parking meters, doors, etc.) It is not easy cutting concrete barriers!, 45

Fortunately Rob Buckley from Buckley Construction had what the doctor ordered.  177 – 12′ barriers.

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Next challenge was setting them in place. We used a lull and a unique clamp made just for lifting the barriers.

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We also had to cut many of them to fit into Amtrak’s layout (parking meters, doors, etc.) It’s not easy cutting concrete barriers!

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Some shots to give you an idea of the scope of work with the canopies and overhead protection.

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Before.

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After.

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Some of the detailed work that goes into doing an extensive job like this.

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Amtrak, Superior Scaffold, rental, scaffolding, Philadelphia, construction, inspection, 215) 743-2200, 40

These structures are just the first phase in an extensive renovation.  They have to be strong enough to support additional scaffoling when they start renovating the facade of the building.

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Superior provides scaffolding for renovations, inspections, new construction – just about any type of project.

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Give us a call today at (215) 743-2200 or visit www.superiorscaffold.com for more information.

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