Superior Scaffold Blog
(All things scaffolding...)

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.

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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.

Tiles being assembled inside
Tiles being assembled inside

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.

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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.


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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.

http://www2.fi.edu/

http://www.visitphilly.com/museums-attractions/philadelphia/the-franklin-institute/


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A smoking hot expansion at Holt’s Cigar Company

When you are in Philly and you want a Cigar there is only ONE name – Holt’s Cigar Company in Center City.  Founded in 1898, Holt’s has been synonymous with the region’s finest imported premium handmade cigars.

Holt's Cigar Company, front-walnut-st

Nothing defines Holt’s Cigar Company more clearly than its Center City Philadelphia flagship retail location where for a hundred years, cigar lovers have flocked to the friendly confines and relaxing atmosphere of the company’s quality cigar shop. The ambiance and aromas, as well as one of the nation’s largest walk-in humidors and luxurious smoking lounge attracts thousands of cigar aficionados and novices alike to Holt’s Cigar Company.

Because of high demand they are expanding again.  And with space being limited at their Center City location (1522 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa 19102) they decided to extend out into the back alley.  To do this they needed some expert help – so they called Superior Scaffold.

superior scaffold, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, solutions, construction, inspection, PA, philadelphiaHolt's cigar company expansion, 32
What it looked like before phase 2 went up.
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Obstacles on the neighbor’s back wall.

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The entryway off of the street.

Look at the photos.  There is very little room to work with in that tiny little alley.  Access was a huge challenge.  As was the two sections that had to be built and then connected to make the finished product.  And on top of that – Superior had to go to the business directly behind Holt’s to see if they would let them erect scaffolding so crews could get to and finish the exterior of the new edition on the back of Holts.  I know it’s hard to see but just imagine, if you will, Holts blowing out the back of their warehouse and butting up right against the opposing neighbor’s back wall – Neighbor working with neighbor to get this done.

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Back of Holt’s where the expansion is – see the L shape to the right.
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Superior Scaffold’s engineer, Bob Robinson.

Superior engineer, Bob Robinson, and estimator Pat McAndrew, had to devise a way to get the support needed in around this existing roof without actually placing scaffolding on top of it.  Robinson devised a plan to rest the entire scaffolding on the existing capstone and actually bolt channels into the old brick of the neighbor’s wall. This would give necessary support and enough room for everyone to work comfortably in the confines of the alley.  They decided to erect it in two phases.

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Looking at phase 2 resting on capstones.
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Protecting the capstone sitting on the cement.
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Attaching channels to 100 year old wall – support rails in brick.
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A view below the stringers and deck – looking underground.

Phase one is the side where these photos were taken.  It’s looking out from Holt’s new addition.  This section was 4’ wide X 10’ long X 40’ high.  It faced the studded wall of the new edition, pretty straight forward stuff.  Phase 2 was the harder leg and would be connected by 3’ outriggers giving crews access to each section.
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New studs in place at the top level.
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Phase one completed.
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At the top in between the two buildings. The new addition on the left.

The second phase, the upper section, was 4’ wide X 23’ long and 30’ high and would be built over the existing roof.  (or onto) pic 33 and would go all the way up the side of the neighbor’s structure – about another 30 feet. It would allow crews to do the exterior finish work on the opposite wall on Holt’s new addition.

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The second phase, the lower section, was 4’ wide X 10’ feet long X 40’ high.

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Looking down onto phase 2 building up from the roof below.
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The top level of the expansion – 40′ high.

The two sections were connected by 3’ outriggers giving crews access to each section.

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Scaffolding around obstructions.

There were several obstructions that had to dealt with like the old exhaust unit.  The new steel for the wall was bolted to the old brick wall for support.  Crews will fill in the old brick wall when everything comes back down.

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Attaching channels to 100 year old wall – support rails in brick.

Every piece of gear, scaffolding, trusses, etc had to come through a tiny portal off of the side street and carried through a tiny access way into the back alley.  There, it had to be assembled and erected with great care.

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Entryway to the back of the building. Very narrow.
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The dungeon where all things had to pass.

Needless to say that both phases went up without a hitch.  Another Superior solution.

Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200


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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.


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Scaffolding the Cancer Treatment Center of America, Philadelphia, PA

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern), a state-of-the-art cancer hospital in Philadelphia, has been offering patients integrated, patient-centered cancer care since 2005.
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When they needed the best multi-trade scaffold to complete their renovation they called Superior Scaffold.
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Not only did they need to get glazers, carpenters, painters and inspectors access to the exterior of the structure but they needed to wrap the top half of the building with weather protection so they could work through the winter elements.  It’s a pretty common practice for the cold months.  It really helps keep the elements out while keeping a warm, safe environment for the crews.  Superior also installed a stair tower and large debris chute.

The biggest challenge with this job was securing the scaffold to the structural steel.  It’s another shinning example of Superior craftsmanship.

If you need scaffolding, shoring, canopy / sidewalk sheds, or suspended scaffold, call Tom Creighton at Superior Scaffold (215) 743-2200.

We will have more  photos as the job progresses.


I love it when we can help someone out in a pinch.  That’s why we have the emergency services line.  (215) 743-2200.  Kind of like the Bat phone for scaffolding.  I’d like to think that our very own Bob Sarkisian is Batman (in a way).  But really, the only time he’s like the caped crusader is when he’s climbing the side of a building in one of his swing stages or answering the Bat phone, like this case.
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We say it – and we mean it.  We will have crews on-site within 24 hours and the problem solved or at least in motion shortly thereafter.  We really do have the fastest response teams in the industry.  And I’m not just saying that because Batman (Sarkisian) and his trusty partner Robin (Shawn MacDonald) have me squeezed tighter than Anita Bryant and some Florida orange juice.  But it’s true.  In reality, it’s mostly MacDonald who acts more like Batman on these emergency service calls.  I guess trusty sidekicks are always quick to slip into their leader’s shoes when they aren’t around.  But I digress…
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The guys over at 13th and Chestnut needed to get to the top elevation for some cornice repairs and reconstruction.  And they needed to get up “air” fast.  The job was put into overdrive.  From the time Batman (Sarkisian) at Superior Scaffold took the call – all the way through design, engineered drawings, approval, and erection it took only 7 days.   We even added containment netting too.
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Bam!  Pow!  Zap!  Done!  Holy Bat Erection.

Yes, another satisfied customer.  So when you need something in an emergency situation – don’t turn on the Bat signal (Sarkisian or McDonald will never see it – too busy analyzing what effect Bat guano has on steel cross braces) make the call to Superior Scaffold’s emergency service line (215) 743-2200.  You won’t be disappointed.

More pics to come, as the job continues.


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Shoring up the Ben Franklin Museum, Philadelphia, PA

The new Benjamin Franklin museum just off of 4th & Market in an area known as “Franklin Court” is under way.  This will be Philadelphia’s newest exhibit about Ben Franklin and when completed, the new Benjamin Franklin Museum will be underground!

The exterior or top of the Benjamin Franklin Museum.
Ben Franklin Museum – new concrete slabs and support steel.

Yes, an underground museum.  And that’s all well and good but it posed some real challenges when it came time to do the expansion.  You just can’t take a hundred and fifty year old building and slap a bunch of exhibits inside.  You need a complete redesign to support the architect’s vision.  And that exactly what they got.

If ever you wanted to see what shoring actually does – this is the time.  You can clearly see the work going on above the shoring and below the shoring.  It always amazes me at the sheer weight that these post shores can hold when you take in consideration the cement and steel necessary to make a job like this happen.

Beneath the concrete slabs you can see the shoring necessary to hold up the new steel and cement.

This was an extensive demolition of an old structure to open up the building.  Walls had to be removed, ceilings had to be shored up so new steel and concrete could be poured to support the new additions.

The view from below the concrete pour going on above in the first shots.
Another view from the basement.

15” thick Concrete slabs were poured and giant concrete beams were brought in to help support the weight.  That was probably the biggest challenge on the job.  The steel was so long it took several cranes and expert crews to get them in through the alley and into place.  Superior Scaffold shoring guru, Bob Robinson, had to calculate all of the weight loads so the proper equipment could be utilized and the work done safely and up to code.

The underneath shot.
What’s going on above the shoring.

Some of the concrete beams in the new design were 36” wide X 42” deep and spanned 42 feet  column-to-column!

When it’s all done, the exhibits will be divided up into different rooms that reflect various aspects of his personality and his life.  The museum will feature interactive displays exploring his life as a private citizen and statesman through individual, room-like installations. The library is intended to be the culminating experience.  Other 21st century additions to the underground museum include interactive elements like touch screen kiosks, a computerized version of Franklin’s glass armonica a musical instrument employing glass and water to create sound, and two-minute animated vignettes designed to help visitors understand critical turning points in Franklin’s life.

A clear view of the shoring necessary to support the work going on above.

More information:

CBS local news coverage on the job.

Click here for news on the construction job.


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Truly amazing 4 story shoring project in Princeton, NJ

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Surprise, surprise, surprise.  I walked into this old building thinking I would find a few dirty post shores holding up a section of calapsing entryway or maybe even a portion of cieling that needed support but what I found was truly amazing.

Now, shoring isn’t the most glamourus sector of the construction industry – relegated to dusty old basements and haunted houses deep in the underbellies where ghosts and spiders live…  So this renovation at  the Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart  at 1128 Great Road was a pleasant surprise.  They are expanding this old structure in a big way, updating the old 4 story brick school building to a more open style learning environment.   But to do that – they needed to take out most of their support walls and put new steel and concrete in to carry the weight.  Normally, not a big deal because you do it one floor at at time.

But this job was doing it ALL AT ONCE…  Yes, 4 massive floors of concrete and steel being supported or shored up at once.

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These old buildings once had many rooms and walls that would support the weight of the ceiling/floor above them.  Take a look at these pictures and see just how incredible a task it was to support the floors above one another simultaneously.

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The really unique challenge here was that most projects like this work on one floor at a time as the new steel and concrete are added.  Once that structure is stable and in place you move to the next floor up the line.

superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia, 337  superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia, 329  superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia ,359

But with this project, Superior Scaffold engineer, Bob Robinson, had to design a shoring system that supported the existing steel and concrete for ALL 4 FLOORS AT ONCE!  Crews could then modify and add the new steel and supports needed for the additional weight.

superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia ,362  superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia ,356

You can see the bottom floor in the photographs.  This was where the bulk of the support weight was being carried from the floors above it.  Robinson had to calculate the weight loads and provide the proper shoring equipment necessary to keep this project standing.  All of the architectural drawings had to be PE stamped in NJ before the project could begin.

superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia ,340  superior scaffold, shoring, scaffold rental, scaffolding rental, PA, NJ, Phildelphia ,345

Currently, the bottom and the second floors are complete.  We will bring you updates and photos as the job gets closer to completion.

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Superior solutions for shoring projects call (215) 743-2200

http://www.princetonacademy.org/main/index.html

http://www.facebook.com/PrincetonAcademy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Princeton_Academy_of_the_Sacred_Heart

Additional information on the school.

Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart is an independent all-boys Catholic school located in Princeton, New Jersey and is part of the Sacred Heart Network of Schools. Princeton Academy serves students from Junior Kindergarten through grade 8 and is the only all-boys Catholic primary school in the state of New Jersey.[2] The school operates within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton.


Oscar Niemeyer Architecture

How cool is this? Just amazing stuff.


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.