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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.

Triple the action for Superior Scaffold at the Old Dublin Pike Bridge in Doylestown, PA.

The stone arch bridge was originally constructed back in 1875 and then rehabbed in 1947.  So it was time for a reconditioning – seems that this old bridge still has over 5,000 cars travel over her every day in Doylestown, PA.  Crews needed a way to support the structure and to get into the arches to repair the stones and masonry while keeping the road open above.

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This was the challenge for Superior Scaffold.

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First order of business was diverting the river through two of the arches so one could be fairly dry while the scaffolding was erected.  Then, once that was built, the water had to be diverted again so the second, and then third arch could be constructed.

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The next challenge was how to best shore up the arches so work could be completed but also support enough weight for heavy machinery traveling the road over head.  Superior engineer Bob Robinson decided on 20k scaffold frames to hold up the shoring beams and wood supports.  It allowed the road to remain open for business while construction crews completed the work below.

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It’s a unique way to solve the problem and keep a major thoroughfare open.

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The job went off without a hitch and the mighty river is flowing once again and cars are happily traveling over the old bridge in Buck County.

Call Superior Scaffold at 215 743-2200 or go to for all of your scaffolding and shoring needs.

Superior Scaffold and the historical Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ

This neat old church at 1064 Penn Ave, in Wyomissing, PA, that began its life in 1909, needed some repairs to the high vaulted plaster ceilings – so they called Superior Scaffold.

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Photo courtesy of Ed Reneger

Superior is known for its skill working with historical buildings and the care it takes around one of a kind artifacts and structures.  This was no different.  We had to construct some cool system scaffolding up, over and around pews, alters, and priceless objects at Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ

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The ceiling was divided into sections with flying buttresses, so the layout had to be spot on accurate.

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We used system scaffold with joists and plank to not only get to the hard to reach places but to also build a solid platform or dancefloor for the workers.

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The steep, sloped, plaster ceilings had new sheetrock added over the old plaster, and then they were textured and painted.

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This gave the old girl the dress up she needed for the next 100 years.

We were proud to bring our skills and experience working with historic buildings to Bausman Memorial United Church of Chris.

Here are some articles detailing Superior Scaffold’s work with historic buildings:

A little history on this church.

Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ is part of a denomination which is a merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the General Council of the Congregational Christian Churches of the United States.

Construction of a small church began in 1909 and it was dedicated in 1911. As the congregation grew, members decided to complete the church building with an addition begun in 1922. The completed building was dedicated in 1924.

1064 Penn Ave  Wyomissing, PA 19610
(610) 375-9790

Bausman Memorial United Church of Christ is a church of diverse learners seeking answers to life’s questions based on the teachings of Christ. We nurture each other with respect, share with each other as family, and engage God and others in worship, music, study and in service. Every Sunday we offer Church School programs for all ages at 9:00 a.m. and gather for worship at 10:15 a.m.

Nothing’s easy – The Road from Israel to South St. Philly for the famous LOD Mosaic

On January 26th, Superior Scaffold was proud to help bring to the East Coast one of the most incredible Roman Mosaics ever unearthed.  The challenge to get them inside the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology was something of an engineering marvel taking scaffolding teams, crane operators, art curators, engineers, and scores of people.

Waiting at the door

But first…      A real-life “Cover up”.

In 1996, workmen constructing a new highway in Lod, Israel (near modern-day Tel Aviv), made a shocking discovery: a 1,700 year old Roman mosaic under the surface of the road. At that time, the Israel Antiquities Authority conducted a rescue excavation that revealed a full series of mosaic floors, measuring roughly 50 feet long by 27 feet wide. Conservators provided preliminary treatment of the mosaics, but they were then reburied until funding could be secured for the full scientific excavation and conservation. In 2009, excavators unearthed the Lod Mosaic once again. The mosaics were then separated into panels and rolled away from the earth.  Today, they remain in near perfect condition.  Three of these panels are on display in Unearthing a Masterpiece.

This piece is very unique because it lacks human figures.  It was likely commissioned by a high-standing Roman official for his private home. Alluding to gladiatorial games, the mosaic panels depict scenes of hunting, trading, and marine life.

And because these tiles date back to 300 CE and are some of the most complete, well-preserved, and largest Roman mosaics ever found, everyone involved wanted to keep them that way.  So the call went out to Superior Scaffold to help get them into the building.  Piece of cake, right?  Wrong.  Follow the photos below to see just what was involved.  Now, we were just one cog in a very important machine.  But our piece was of utmost importance.

A crane hoists a crate onto Superior's platform

A crane hoists a crate onto Superior’s platform

These tiles were so large that they had to be placed into 7 gigantic wooden crates and shipped to Philadelphia.  And on the morning of January 26, 2013 two large box trucks arrived and blocked South Street in front of the Museum.

Crews position the first crate

The biggest challenge on this job, that required weeks of careful planning, was that these crates couldn’t just be waltzed through the loading dock and up to the third floor where they were going to be displayed.  They were way too big and heavy to fit.

A crane hoists the crate to the platform

Another crate coming over

They had to be hoisted by a 100 foot crane up off of South Street and deposited onto a giant 16’ tall platform that Superior built over the main stairs and Warden Garden Coy pond that straddled two giant sliding wooden doors accessing the grand staircase on the third floor into the Pepper Gallery.  Wow, that was a mouthful.  But seriously, look at the photos.  Superior’s platform allowed the giant crates to be maneuvered directly inside to the display area where curators could uncrate the masterpiece and put it together for display.

Platform at Museum  Plaform from 3rd floor looking out  Platform from 3rd floor looking in

Sitting on top of the system scaffold, Superior used 9’ aluminum stringers crossed with solid plank and then topped with plywood.

Then entire unloading process took approximately 6 hours.  Of course, our part started long before the trucks arrived and lasted well after the crates were unpacked.

Here is a sort of chronological assembly, if you will (from Superior Scaffold’s POV)

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In the end, the Museum safely unloaded, unpacked, and assembled the Mosiac in time for their ribbon cutting ceremony on February 10, 2013 to start the exhibit (Unearthing a Masterpiece:  A Roman Mosiac from LOD, Israel) which runs for a limited time.

Estimator Pat McAndrew not only oversaw the installation but also attended the opening where he took these photos of the famous Mosaic.

Superior will be back out assembling the same scaffolding in May when the exhibit is packed up again and shipped to the Louvre in Paris.  After a short time there, it will make the trip to Israel and it’s final resting place in a specially built museum.  So see it while you can

And a shout out to Bob Thurlow in charge of Traveling Exhibits at Penn Museum for some of the great photos of the crates going in.

If you would like more information about the unearthing of the LOD Mosaic click here.

Have scaffolding but aren’t sure how to use it?

Let Superior Scaffold train your workers on the proper use of that equipment.

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It sounds really simple, but every year we get photos like this one.  Our experts are the best in the business and can quickly train you on the safest way to utilize the equipment.

Call Superior Scaffold today at (215) 743-2200 to set up On-Site training or a class at our facility.

We are the scaffold industry leader in the tri-state area and with over 50 years in the business, and an impeccable safety rating, we know a thing or two about proper end user training.

Safety and use training is available for suspended scaffold, fixed scaffold and even mast climbers.

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Don’t win one of the scaffolding Darwin Awards.  Or worse, lose your life because you didn’t properly use the scaffold.

Call Superior Scaffold today.  (215)743-2200
520 East Luzerne St.
Philadelphia, PA  19124

Our Lady of Lourdes blessed morning photograph

Superior Scaffold estimator Pat McAndrew was at Our Lady of Lourdes medical center early last week and snapped this gem of the Mother Mary statue in her full glory.  Yes, it’s an iphone picture but you can clearly see that she’s up and beaming once again.

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I particularly like the halo at the top.

Pat was at the medical center for another scaffold install we are doing up “air” (as they say in Philly).  I’ll get you details on that just as soon as them become available.

Until then – enjoy.

You can read the original article about saving our Lady of Lourdes here:

And the follow up article in scaffold magazine – here.

Superior Scaffold uses unique earth anchors to hold canopy in place.

So, not only did we help scaffold the building for the new support steel but we just installed the canopy at the entryway.  In the background, you can see the 5 story steel structure where our scaffolding used to be.  They are making great progress on the new addition at the Chester County Hospital, and we are grateful to be a part of such a unique project.  (See the original blogpost here.)

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And speaking of unique, this was a very cool and innovative way to tie-down a canopy.  It’s not something you see everyday.
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Normally, there are many places to tie-down a canopy to keep it stable and secured from the elements.  But as you can see from the pics there wasn’t much to hold on to out here in the front of the hospital.  On the one side, you see the large cement Jersey Barriers (no problem) but the opposite side just had blacktop.  And how would we tie into that?

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So our super duper team of engineers and builders came up with an awesome system to keep this baby anchored properly.

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Look at this little gem – called an Earth Anchor.  Aptly named for its ability to anchor just about anything down to the good ole’ blue planet.  If you look carefully, you will see an X type of bracket that has two tubes on it at 45 degree angles.  X.

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Long steel rods (about 2′ – 3’) are driven through those X tubes and down into the ground itself.  The idea is to create an apposing force in the soil that is virtually impossible to pull out.  “You would literally have to move something like 40 square feet of dirt to pull one of these ties from the clutches of mother earth,” said Superior Scaffold’s main man, Shawn MacDonald.

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And then, at the top of the X bracket is a fastener where the tie-downs hook in.  The canopy then can be ratcheted down to these brackets making it super stable and virtually impervious to high wind.

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Here are a few photos of the canopy (sidewalk shed) in place.

Superior Scaffold – innovative scaffolding solutions.  (215) 743-2200.  Philadelphia, PA

Chester County Hospital in West Chester, PA is embarking on a $45.2 million building project to increase inpatient bed capacity with 72 new private rooms and to install a new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator for the treatment of cancer.

Superior Scaffold helps the Philadelphia Eagles Go Green!

Even more green than the city is currently used to.

Superior Scaffold is helping NRG install new solar panels and micro wind turbines on the roof of Eagles Stadium, or better known as Lincoln Financial Field.

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A rendering of what the stadium will look like.

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Micro wind turbines – How cool are these!

These names just kill me.  What ever happened to Lambo Field, Giant’s Stadium, Mile High Stadium, Veteran’s Stadium, Soldier Field?  Big, powerful, sports names…Okay, don’t get me started.

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Anyway, to upgrade to a greener stadium the Philadelphia Eagles have partnered with NRG to install 11,000 solar panels and 14 micro wind turbines that will provide about six times the power (annually) used during all of the Eagles home games.  That’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me.

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Superior faced some pretty interesting challenges on this job.  “Look at the pictures and you will see that we not only had to account for some pretty steep angles but we also had to build the scaffold to move and to fit precisely in between rows of seats,” said Superior estimator, Pat McAndrew.

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It’s always fun to get to work in a cool place like Eagle’s Stadium.  Now, we did get down to business too but who gets to say that they were on top of Lincoln Financial Field?  (Okay, Eagles Stadium!)  We do.

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Superior brings its scaffolding experience and support to solar crews (see post about Camden County Wastewater treatment plant) so we were called in to provide access to the upper part of the Eagle’s nest where, on this day, crews installed new electrical conduit as part of the green upgrade.

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The plan calls for the panels to be placed along 11th Street and the south façade of Lincoln Financial Field, and in the stadium parking lot.  The micro wind turbines will be positioned along the top of the stadium on the north and south sides.  I can’t wait to see what that’s going to look like.

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We will provide you with photographs right here at Superior Scaffold blog as they become available.

You can learn more at the following links.

Scaffolding Sculpture

Artist Ben Long’s ‘Scaffolding Sculptures’ are series of three-dimensional constructions made from conventional scaffolding components.  By using these builder’s materials out of their everyday context, Long creates meanings and symbols an audience would not normally expect.  In this exhibit he creates the words Art and Work.

The word ‘ART’ embodies the creative thought-process inherent in the conception of a piece as well as the practical skill required to physically make it.
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Likewise, the word ‘WORK’ describes not only the intellectual endeavor in pursuit of a final idea, but also the effort involved in an artwork’s construction.
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By separating the word ‘artwork’ into its two component words, Long leads us to contemplate the key ingredients required in the making of any work of art; the initial spark and development of an idea, and the productive course of activity that makes an idea into an artifact. (from the Man&Eve exhibit blog)

He does amazing things with scaffold materials that we, at Superior Scaffold, use everyday.  Here are videos of him assembling his gallery pieces.

Superior Scaffold adapts scaffold for shoring at CHOP (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the oldest and top ranked children’s hospital in the United States, called Superior Scaffold to first come out and scaffold in a stairwell for removal of lights and mechanicals in a research center building on their new campus.

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The hospital, located next to the University of Pennsylvania, then called Superior to return to the stairwell to see if they could adapt scaffolding, already in place, to provide shoring so a portion of the 8” concrete ceiling slab could be cut out and removed.  Estimator and scaffolding expert, Pat McAndrew, took one look at the job and said, “no problem”.  And then quickly came up with a solution to adapt the existing scaffolding into a superior shoring device.

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The resulting design allowed the scaffolding to shore up the slab so it could be removed.  It’s this kind of quick thinking and customer service that makes Superior Scaffold number one in the Tri-State Area.

For all of your scaffold and scaffolding needs call Superior Scaffold at (215)743-2200.