Using New Ideas to Restore Old Structures
The goal of most construction projects is either to bring a new building to life or to help restore an existing structure that’s old and treasured. When starting a construction project from scratch, there’s no need to worry about harming the as-yet non-existent structure. However, careful attention is required to work around and protect unique architectural details when restoring old buildings
During restoration projects, many decisions are based on the ability to do the least—or preferably no—harm to the structure. Existing buildings also have residents and/or companies using the space, adding to the challenge of planning day-to-day operations while keeping the building functional and minimizing disruption.
BrandSafway works on many projects that require a delicate touch and creative, out-of-the-box solutions to provide scaffolding, shoring and other services to important restoration projects. Two recent examples include the Old Cathedral in St. Louis and Milwaukee City Hall.
Staying Open to Serve the Faithful
At first, it looked like the interior paintwork needed at the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (the Old Cathedral) would come with a heavy cost, both in terms of money and in serving church attendees. It was assumed the interior would be a maze of floor-to-ceiling scaffolding, meaning the church would have to close for the duration of the project. However, by using HAKISpan—lightweight, modular trusses from HAKI®—the Basilica was able to stay open throughout the work.
“With HAKISpan, we came up with a way to provide the necessary access without closing the church,” said Eric Thacker, BrandSafway’s project manager for the St. Louis Branch. “Plus, it was thousands of dollars cheaper to do it this way.”
HAKISpan is easy to handle and can be quickly connected to create long, strong spans. In this case, the HAKISpan was engineered to create a safe, solid platform that spanned the traditional scaffolding set on the sides of the church just outside the ends of the pews. The key was setting the platform on wheels on elevated rails. This allowed access to every part of the main ceiling during work hours, but once work was completed for the day, the platform could be easily rolled to the back of the church.
BrandSafway is the primary distributor of HAKI products in North America.
Challenges of a Historic Landmark
Milwaukee City Hall, a 120-year-old landmark, presented numerous access challenges, requiring the best engineers to forge novel methods for safe, productive work. From its inconsistent vaulted spaces below ground, all the way up to its steep copper roof in the sky, this access challenge was as tough as they get. It only got tougher with freezing weather, a dense urban work environment (sidewalks alongside the building had to stay open) and 19th century engineering specifications (or, more precisely, the lack of).
The complex access solution included BrandSafway’s SafRise®, a motorized mast climber that descends in a controlled manner, won’t leave workers stranded and offers the highest speed-to-capacity ratio on the market. With inward building slopes of as much as 13 feet, a traditional mast climber wouldn’t work. BrandSafway worked with Hydro Mobile, the designer and manufacturer of the equipment, to develop a custom-engineered solution: a forward extension creating walkways with guardrails that cantilevered toward the building from the mast climbing work platform (MCWP).
“The modified mast climbers were specifically adapted for the City Hall project,” said Chris Hastings, JP Cullen’s project manager on the job. “They provided exactly what we needed to get access to those difficult areas.”
For more information on how BrandSafway can put “Innovation at Work for You,” visit https://brandsafway.com/.