Superior Scaffold Blog
(All things scaffolding...)

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Superior Scaffold is proud to be working on the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Philadelphia.

We are providing scaffolding support for a complete facade and masonry restoration on this church constructed after the civil war.

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Superior was called in because of our experience working with historic buildings, especially ones that might have delicate or sensitive objects.  This particular church was no different – they have one of the most extensive stainded glass window collections on the east coast.  See it here.

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The First Presbyterian Church also has some beautiful artifacts and spires at the top of their steeples that required a special touch.

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We also provided debris netting around the scaffolding for added protection as crews performed their restoration.  And we installed a canopy, sidewalk shed, for pedestrian protection and so the church could remain open while the restoration work went on.

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This wonderful church is getting back to it’s full glory.  Superior Scaffold is proud to have been a vital part of the restoration process.

This church has an incredible history.  The First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia was organized in 1698, just 16 years after the arrival of William Penn.  For its first hundred years, the church occupied a site on High (now Market) Street, and both the first American presbytery and the first synod met in the church’s meetinghouse.  In the 1820s the congregation moved to the south side of Washington Square where it remained until the late 1920s, when it moved to 15th and Locust Streets.

After the Civil War, the Second Presbyterian Church constructed a new building at 21st and Walnut Streets. (201 South 21st Street (at Walnut) • Philadelphia, PA 19103 • 215.567.0532)  In 1949 the two congregations reunited to form one church, retaining the name First Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia though occupying the building of the Second Presbyterian Church.

If you have an historic building that needs scaffolding support – call the best – Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200.


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Superior Scaffold Sidewalk Shed: The key to commerce.

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To some this might seem a bit commonplace, since you see them everywhere, but to us it’s the key to commerce.  These canopies are what keep industry rolling.  Just think about it for a minute.  If we didn’t construct these sidewalk sheds around buildings that were doing façade work or window replacement or brick and mortar repointing, everything would shut down.  No food for the tenants, no around the corner morning coffees, no treats or ice cream – nothing.  These are our very own little stimulus package.

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Many times, just like with this canopy, it serves a dual purpose; one, keeping the building and byways open for business while protecting the patrons and two; it also works as a platform for our swing stages.  (We will have some additional pics later).

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These are known by a couple of names – Canopy, sidewalk shed, overhead protection.  It really doesn’t matter which one you use or prefer but the result is the same.  I never really understood the term “Sidewalk Shed”.  Maybe it’s because it’s shaped like a shed and provides protection overhead and from the sides?  It’s sits on the sidewalk, that part makes sense but it’s really not a shed, it’s more of a walkway, a passage, a throughput… Hmm????   I looked up the term Shed in the dictionary and this is what it said: a slight structure built for shelter or storage; especially :  a single-storied building with one or more sides unenclosed.  Someone in the office suggested that the term might have come from train shed, or snow shed.  He mentioned that it might be anything with sides and a roof and then said that it could have come from NYC – back when they used to use corrugated metal on the sides so they looked like a shed.  I don’t know.  Googling around really didn’t produce much – other than: A sidewalk shed must be erected whenever materials will be hoisted over the sidewalk, regardless of building height or horizontal distance between building and sidewalk.

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This is a very well designed and constructed canopy at the corner of 20th and JFK, in Center City, Philly.  It’s what we call an extra-tall canopy to clear the giant storefront windows.  Superior Scaffold can accommodate any scenario – large, small, medium, wide, short, we customize them to every job.  We can add different colors that accent the building (see our Amtrak canopy blog) put debris netting around the top for added protection, and even completely enclose the sides to protect against the elements.

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So, the next time you are walking through Philadelphia or any city, for that matter, take a moment to thank your scaffolding company (Superior Scaffold on the East Coast) for their work helping to keep your city moving and open for business.

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And if you find yourself in need of a Canopy, Sidewalk Shed, Overhead Protection, or sidewalk bridge – pick up the phone and call Superior Scaffold today at (215) 743-2200 or visite www.superiorscaffold.com.

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Superior Scaffold doing double duty

In this edition of “Scaffolding Philadelphia” we get to show you how we can do double duty with our scaffolding creations.

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This particular story was previously documented in the number 1 hit blog “Bend Me, Shape Me” that detailed the versatility of the altrex staging used by our suspeded scaffold division.  But this soon to be number one blog hit “Double Duty” (I can see Foreigner singing the theme song here or since this is a Tony P job – even Journey with Steve Perry) details the lower half of the job at City View.

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Scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, sidewalk shed, overhead protection, canopy, swing, suspended scaffold, Philadelphia, PA

Not  only did this overhead protection have to protect the general public from all of the window and facade work going on above them but it also had to become the platforms for the swings to sit on at the end of the day.

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This is a fairly extensive canopy that had to allow for the entire walkway, entryway, and even shops to remain open during the entire phase of renovation.

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The people at 2001 Hamilton St, Philadelphia, PA 19130 were more than gracious while Superior Scaffold erected this sidewalk shed out front.  Here’s a shot of the  job as it is being built.

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Here’s a shot from the roof where you can see the outrigger for the swings dangling below.

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Scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, sidewalk shed, overhead protection, canopy, swing, suspended scaffold, Philadelphia, PA, superior scaffold

And this is a shot of the building’s setback that the swing department had to negotiate.  See the shots below on how they managed that – or read the “Bend Me, Shape Me” blog.

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The day I was “up air” super salesman, Anthony Pini, provided coffee and donuts for the crew.  It obviously paid off because not only did the overhead protection do the job but it looked great as well.

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You can see the extensive work crews did to keep this patio restaurant open for business.

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If you need a sidewalk shed, overhead protection, a canopy or even a custom swing (Suspended Scaffold) job call Superior Scaffold today at (215) 743-2200 and ask for Tony P.


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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


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.


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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


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Amtrak rides the Superior Scaffold rails around the entire building

Superior Scaffold is proud to be providing scaffolding support for Amtrak’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.
Amtrak, Superior Scaffold, rental, scaffolding, Philadelphia, construction, inspection, 215) 743-2200, 36
After.

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

Amtrak, Superior Scaffold, rental, scaffolding, Philadelphia, construction, inspection, 215) 743-2200, 55

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.

 


This is the last phase of the scaffolding and exterior renovations.

It’s also a follow up to our original post.  (scroll down for link)

Princeton University has committed to a comprehensive renovation of Firestone Library
and Superior Scaffold has been there every step of the way.  The entire building is scaffolded
and debris netting has been added.

Superior Scaffold was selected to help in the renovation of Princeton’s Prestigious Firestone library because of its long history working with historic buildings on the campus.

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Superior Scaffold provided netting around the entire structure so that the Firestone Library could remain open during renovations

The renovation is a long-term project that is being done in multiple phases and will take almost 10 years to finish, during which time the library will remain open, and its collections available during normal hours of operation.

This the back of the library. You can see just how large the scope of this scaffolding job is.

Superior erected as system scaffold allowing crews to get access to all areas of this monumental restoration.

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This is directly above the main entrance.

As stated above, the library has to remain open while crews do the work.

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This is the right side of the Firestone Library – scaffold continues all the way around.

Superior also provided a series of debris netting and trash chutes to the project.

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Directly above the main entrance. The masonry work is outstanding. Everything will look like new when crews are finished.

The Harvey S. Firestone Memorial Library opened in 1948 as the first large American university library constructed after World War II.  Roughly 1.5 million volumes were moved during the summer of 1948 from Pyne and Chancellor Green Halls, which until then had served as the University’s main library.  The library building was expanded in 1971 and again in 1988 and currently has more than 70 miles (110 km) of bookshelves, making Firestone one of the largest open-stack libraries in existence.  Though not the largest university library in the world, the library has more books per enrolled student than that of any other university in the United States.

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A view of the entire Firestone library from the back.

You can keep tabs of the multi-phase renovation here:

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The stair tower up to the top.

You can see our original post about the Firestone library here:

Renovation at Princeton University Firestone Library

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

or visit www.superiorscaffold.com

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Superior Scaffold Shoring up the Mid-Atlantic

Can you say needle beam?  I just love that word.  Needle beam, needle beam, needle beam.

Did one just appear?

It did.  (See the photos below.)

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That is a needle beam.  I know, like me, you probably thought it would resemble an actual needle but no.  It’s just a term that the engineers like to throw around loosely anytime a beam needs to be put through something for support.

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Here’s the actual definition of needle beam from the free dictionary:  in shoring, the horizontal cross timber which goes through the wall or a pier, and upon which the weight of the wall rests, when a building is shored up to allow of alterations in the lower part.

Well that makes sense.  So now look at the picture.  You see the needle beams?

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A store in the Hillview Shopping Center in Cherry Hill, NJ wanted to expand the front entrance to their building so the call went out to Superior Scaffold, who are experts with all things shoring by the way (shameless plug).  So the grand wizard of engineering, Bob Robinson, devised this nifty bit of shoring using 20 kip heavy duty post shores to support the exterior walls with needle beams sticking through.

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And on the inside, Superior used their hi-load shoring frames with aluminum joists to support the bar joists.

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How about that?  I just realized that I’m going to have to do a post just dealing with scaffold terminology.  Kind of like the urban dictionary for scaffolding.  I’ll get to that so you all know what 20 Kip means, and what Bar Joists are, etc.

Anyway, the job went swimmingly and the client was thrilled.  And I am happy to report that there were no Beetlejuice sightings or random appearances of needle beams either.

Needle beam, needle beam, needle beam….

Poof.


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 www.superiorscaffold.com for all of your scaffolding and shoring needs.