Blog Archives

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.

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.

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.

Creative Scaffolding Solutions at Eisenhower Middle School, Norristown, PA

We get this call quite a bit.  And even though it’s a smaller job, we wanted to show you what can be done when there doesn’t not seem to be an easy solution.

The good people at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy were installing a new HVAC unit and couldn’t figure out how to make the tie-in at the top safely using their ladders and scissor lifts, so they called Superior Scaffold.

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Superior estimator and creative guru, Pat McAndrew, quickly devised a solution that put system scaffolding on either side of the unit and then added an access ladder and 2 decks for workers on the top so they could span the section across the apex of the HVAC unit.  Crews were then able to safely tap into the duct work up top and then down into the HVAC unit itself.

It looks simple, but trust us, it takes an expert designer to devise a safe and simple solution like this.

Call Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200 when you need creative scaffolding solutions.

How to change a light bulb – Scaffolding style

How do you change light bulbs on the ceiling above a giant spiral staircase that descends several floors?

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You can see the light fixtures just out of reach from the railing in the shot.  Sure, you could dangle precariously from several extension ladders, or you could cautiously lean over the edge while your coworker holds onto your belt loop while you reach with all of your might to grasp the super hot bulb and pray that you didn’t piss them off in the past.   But then, how would you get to the recessed ones directly in the center?  Hmmmm???  Or you could do it the Superior Scaffold way – using system scaffold.

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The Cira Centre is a 29 story glass high-rise in the Universal City area of Philadelphia.  You can’t miss the glass structure against the skyline.  They had a problem.   Several of the light bulbs in the ceiling had burned out and they couldn’t reach them to change them out.  They called Superior Scaffold to devise a creative way to breach the spiral staircase in between the 24th and 26th floors so crews could replace the old bulbs with longer lasting energy efficient ones.

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“The benefit of using system scaffolding in an area like this is that we can build the base around almost anything, even a spiral staircase.  It’s very versatile and stable, especially when you need legs of different lengths or heights,” said estimator, Pat McAndrew.

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You can see from the photos just how they built the scaffold to fit into and around the staircase.

So remember, when you’ve got something you can’t reach with a traditional ladder or other means – scaffolding just might be the trick.

More info on the Cira Center at 2929 Market Street  Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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.

Amazing uses for scaffolding. Calpine energy turbine repair.

Every now and then, a really cool use for scaffolding comes across my desk, and this is one of those times.  Maybe I’m just genuinely curious as to how stuff works but I thought I’d pass this along.

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This is the top of giant electric turbine at the Calpine Energy, Delta, PA power plant.   The plant is a state-of-the-art, combined cycle, power generating plant powered mainly by natural gas.  The plant consists of 8 electric generators – and these photos are of one of those turbines!  Basically, these gigantic turbines spin around at amazing speed to produce electricity for cities and towns.

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Calpine called Superior Scaffold out to construct support scaffolding around one of the giant Siemens V84.2 turbines so the top could be removed and stored while work was done inside.  As you can see from the photos, just the top of the turbine is enormous.  Once inside the turbine, crews had to pull the entire thing apart to find the problem.  Once that was addressed workers had to reassemble the entire unit – but this time they welded counter weights on the turbine to keep it spinning up to a tolerance factor of 1000th of and inch.

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It always amazes me at the different uses for scaffold – and this is just another in a long list of cool applications.

For a more technical description of how their plant converts energy read this blurb from their website.

The plant works like this:  Steam for the steam turbines is generated in heat recovery steam generators – unfired boilers that get their heat from hot gas exhaust leaving the gas turbines. The combustion turbines, which primarily burn natural gas, can also run on low-sulfur diesel fuel oil. When combined, these two power cycles (the gas turbine and the boiler/steam turbine) create a highly fuel-efficient plant, consuming significantly less fuel than needed by a traditional fossil-fired boiler/steam turbine generator plant.  This conversion spins the turbines which in turn convert steam into electricity for Delta, PA customers.

Superior scaffold (215) 743-2200

A unique before and after look at Boathouse Row repair, Philadelphia, PA

courtesy of LGpano, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, sales, service, installation

Superior Scaffold at Bachelors Barge Club (Est 1853), Philadelphia, PA.

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Bachelors boathouse #6, (built in 1893) is repairing part of the exterior of their house on Philadelphia’s historic Boathouse row.   Superior provided canopy protection for the side of the building while erecting system scaffold above – so crews could get access to the spots that needed repairing without hindering daily operations.

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This is a unique opportunity to see a before and after view of the repair process.  As you can see in the first series of photos taken by Superior estimator, Pat McAndrew, there are large cracks in the facade of the structure.  And you can see just where they are located on the building and where crews will have to get access to affect repairs.

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It’s Pat’s job to estimate the amount of man and materials it will take to finish the repairs.  And in many instances, it’s also his job to configure the best scaffolding approach to access the job.

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Here, he chose 767 Philly frames to construct a canopy (sidewalk shed) over the entryway so Bachelors members could use the building on a daily basis while work continued overhead.  This is a great way to keep business as usual for the buildings being worked on while creating a very stable platform for the work crews to complete their tasks above.

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Pat also chose a series of system scaffold on top of the canopy to create different levels, in essence, for better access.  He also added a hoist and access ladders on the ends giving the scaffolding two separate levels.  It’s all very stable and easy to get equipment up and down.

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We will provide you with the finished photographs once the work is complete.

If you need an estimate for anything scaffold related (scaffolding, scaffold services, shoring, facade work, inspection) just give Pat a call.  He’s one of the best in the business.  (215) 743-2200.

A brief history of Bachelors Barge Club.

The club originally housed its boats in a wooded shack on the north side of the Schuylkill River constructed for the imposing sum of $67.85.  Today its over 150 members row out of a stately brick boathouse constructed in 1893 on the original site, now known as #6 Boathouse Row.  The boathouse is also home to four high school rowing programs and the Wharton Graduate Crew.

Bachelors Barge has hosted high school rowing on a continuous basis since 1948 when Lower Merion initiated a rowing program.  Lower Merion was subsequently followed by Harriton High School, The Baldwin School, and Conestoga High School in that order.  Wharton Graduate is the most recent tenant to join Bachelors Barge however they have historical ties to the club going back to 1864 when George W. Wharton was an active member.

Home of Drexel crew.

Boathouse Row is a historic site located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on the east bank of the Schuylkill River, just north of the Fairmount Water Works and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It consists of a row of 15 boathouses housing social and rowing clubs and their racing shells. Each of the boathouses has its own history, and all have addresses on both Boathouse Row and Kelly Drive (named after famous Philadelphia oarsman John B. Kelly, Jr.).

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.