Superior Scaffold Blog
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Guy-Wire all over the statue of Mother Mary

Saving Our Lady of Lourdes

TIMELINE OF HOW A SCAFFOLD COMPANY SAVED AN ICON – in less than 24 hours!

At 1:51 pm on Wednesday 8/23/11 an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude rocked the east coast.  It was followed by two smaller aftershocks of 2.8 & 2.2.  On the whole, structural damage was fairly limited – given the wide scope of the quake.

Immediately, inspectors were sent out to every scaffold job site to make sure nothing had shifted, moved, or changed with the scaffolding around any of the structures.  As the world found out – there were a few national structures that were damaged, such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.  But up in Camden, NJ a national treasure was teetering on the brink of disaster.

Medium Shot of the statue on top of the building with scaffolding

The statue on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center had shifted and broken.  The big fear was that an aftershock would topple the statue of Mother Mary – not only breaking the iconic figure but endangering patrons at the medical center.  The call went out to Superior Scaffold’s emergency services unit.

Our Lady of Lourdes Shift and CracksChips from the statue

Timeline for a rescue:

7:30am – Superior received the call the morning after the quake.

8:30 am – Superior was on site assessing the damage up on the roof.  A material list was sent out, as well as calls to team members who assist in erecting the scaffolding on top of the roof.  A truck was loaded at the yard and sent to Camden.

11:00 am – The equipment truck as well as 6 team members arrives.  A plan was in place to get the scaffolding to the roof – not an easy task (which I will detail in another blog about access).  Crews would have to use freight elevators to the highest point and then all of the necessary equipment would have to be taken up several staircases that wind up through the hospital to the second roof.

Access to the roofAccess for crews to get to the statueRoof Access to Lady of Lourdes statue

Once to the lower roof, a stockpile scaffolding to be used up on the next level was made.  Portions of the scaffolding were actually assembled in the very small second roof and then handed up to the top section.  Crew members had to climb through several more narrow areas of the hospital just to reach the statue on the roof.  Once there, a rope and wheel hoist were used to get the scaffolding up to the statue where it could be put into place.

The superior team worked until the wee hours erecting the scaffolding and securing the iconic statue to make sure no further damage could be done should there be more aftershocks.   Guy-wires were strapped all around the statue and tied down to make sure she couldn’t and wouldn’t topple over.

Guy-Wire all over the statue of Mother Mary

3:00 am – Less than 24 hours after receiving the emergency call Superior’s team finished the job.

Our Lady of Lourdes ScaffoldingOur Lady of Lourdes in place

In the oncoming months, restoration crews will come in and repair the damage that was done.

Even though the images of the guy-wires strapping her down are intense – the statue of the Mother Mary on top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center is safe and secure.

Top of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical BuildingOur Lady of Lourdes statue on top of the Medical Center in Camden, NJ

Mother Mary looking over the city of Philadelphia

Hospital administrators could now rest safely, knowing that one call to Superior scaffold saved an icon. (Our Lady of Lourdes)


New article in ALH magazine features Superior Scaffold

Access, Lift & Handlers magazine’s September – October 2011 issue features a wonderful article by Lindsey Anderson.  In her Scaffold Market report she takes a look at how the recession has affected the overall scaffold and scaffolding industry and how companies are adapting to be successful.

She features several heavy hitters in the industry including Superior Scaffold, Philadelphia, PA.   The article also features several job photographs taken by Erik Highland.   Photographs include the renovation at Temple University’s Baptist Temple Church into the new performing arts center, the new Capital Health Hospital in Hopewell, NJ, and the renovation of Independence Hall tower in downtown Philadelphia.

You can read the article titled, Shifting Markets here.

 

Scaffold Industry Report

There are also several great quotes from CEO, Guy Bianchini on the long term outlook for Superior and others in the scaffolding industry.  Thanks to Lindsey for featuring Superior in ALH – and kudos for a great job on the Magazine Article.


Now I’ll be honest with you.  I’m a sucker for cool technologies being used in innovative ways (just see my previous blog entry about the hanging scaffold system).  But when I learned what Superior Scaffold had to go through to get their giant mast climbers up to do the renovation work, I had to blog about it.

Did you  know that they actually had to X-Ray the cement on the side of the building to locate floor slab tie locations?  Yep.  And after having it explained to me it makes total sense.  You see the tall (dual) masts for the Mast Climber 3615 have to be anchored to the building at their highest point (for obvious reasons) while also being stabilized on the ground.  This allows for the platform to climb up and down the masts effortlessly.  Now, I never gave much thought on how they did it – just that they had to be attached somehow.  But logically, you just can’t go drilling into any place on the side of a building.  You need a very sturdy anchor point.  But since the Trump Marina was constructed with post tension floors there was the possibility of having steel reinforcements inside the slabs. Thus – the X-RAY machine!

The X-Ray technician had to xray specific points on the building to determine if they were free of steel so the anchors for the mast climbers could be installed.  And while he was up there, he also Xray’d the masonry condition of the exterior so they would have a better idea of what needed to be repaired before they put the new facade on.

Once the technician gave the approval for the mast climbing anchor point – the crew had to cut out the exterior brick exposing the cement floor slab tie location so they could install the fasteners – and then the masts.

Here’s a great shot of the crew installing one of the masts at the Golden Nugget.

And here’s the underside of the MC-3615 platform.

And once both masts are anchored and the platform is in place – it can be put into service.  Here it is going up for the first time.

And once all of the 8 masts were anchored to the exterior of the Golden Nugget.  This is what it looks like.

If you look carefully, you can see the fourth unit on the right side of the building.  An X-Ray machine?  Who would have thought a scaffolding company would be so hip.

The work continues on the facade renovation.  The workers used the mast climbers to install a unique scratch coat of a new type of material (specifically designed for this job) over the existing brick – essentially giving it a facelift.  I’ll have more shots in my next entry.


This is very unique way to get beneath bridges to make repairs. Instead of anchoring a barge in the water beneath the bridge, or parking a giant truck with a bridge inspection bucket (like a cherry picker with a platform)  above it they can suspend a platform from the steel beams and girders beneath the bridge itself.

Superior Scaffold hanging scaffold system
Beam Clamp

I was on it yesterday and it’s as stable as traditional ground based scaffolding.  I was shocked.  Those brackets essentially hold the weight of the scaffold platform beneath it and all of the workers, equipment, and parts necessary to make the repairs. It’s really a very cool way to get beneath a structure like that.

This photo shows the pipe that was leaking and is now being repaired.

This way, entire crews can work beneath the bridge without being limited to a small platform on a bucket truck.

For instance, on this job, crews are removing and repairing large sections of pipe over the river. This hanging platform system prevents leakage into the water below and allows for much greater mobility.  It also allows the bridge and waterway to remain open for business as usual.  Superior guys did a heck of job on this one.  Really smart and stable!


Independence Hall Update – 10.4.11

Well, things are surely coming along at the Independence Hall Tower.  Crews have really done a terrific job getting the spire repainted, the ball and weather vane re-guilded, the roof flashing in place.  It’s looks great.  They have even taken most of the decorative urns down to have them repainted as well.   I saw it with my own eyes.  It’s been a good 6 months since I was last up on the scaffold.  I do have photos and will post them up tomorrow.   We got to see inside the bell housing as well.  They have put new metal flashing down in there as well and completely repainted the surrounding bell housing.  This new refurb should last another 100 years.  It’s pretty cool to see how the tower is taking shape as they move down further towards the ground and take down the decorative scrim.  We did notice that they are getting the gold colors in the clock faces as well.  Just a quick entry here but I will post more details when I get the photos up.


The earthquake did more than rattle buildings up and down the east coast.  It also toppled figurines at churches in Washington DC, and damaged statues and monuments as well.  One of them was the giant statue at the top of the Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden, NJ.

Superior Scaffold was called because of our super fast response times (within 24 hours).  We got the call and within 24 hours we had an emergency scaffold in place to start repairing the cracks in the statue.

It’s one of the services that we pride ourselves on.  We have the fastest turn-around times in the business.

You can see the statue here in this photo from a very cool service from Bing Maps.

I will include the link too because it’s a great service that I never knew about.  It’s called Bird’s eye view  I would normally use google.


It’s crazy just how the world works sometime.  We had just gotten our stuff to Vince at Scaffold Industry Magazine and the article hadn’t even come out yet when someone in our office remembered being contacted by Lindsey Anderson over at  Access Lift & Handlers Magazine (part of KHL group).  Again, we turned her name over the Erik who told her about the work we were doing over at Independence Hall.  She was excited when she saw the images.  She even thought that we would get the cover shot of the magazine.  Yeah!

So, we went back to the press release and tweaked it a bit so it wasn’t the exact same as the one we sent to scaffold magazine.  By the way, I did inform her that we had already had an article coming out in the other periodical – it’s just good business to be honest about where you stuff is being seen.  She assured us that there were no worries.  We went back and forth a few times as Lindsey prepared the article and layout… She was very cool and professional throughout the entire process.  And a few weeks later… Bam.

The cover of Access Lift & Handlers Magazine.

The article inside was great and we had accomplished our goal.

See the article inside – here.

A giant shout out to both Lindsey over and Access Lift & Handlers Magazine, and Vince at Scaffold Industry Magazine for the work they did on the Independence Hall project.

We thought that this worked so well that we are now making this part of our over-all marketing strategy.


How we got Press for our Company – Part 3 (Success)

Everyone will tell you, that in business you need a bit of luck once in a while – and this was no different.  We had everything together and ready to go but who would we get it to?

And as bit of luck would have it, while going through our contacts, we remembered an email we had gotten from Vince Brennan, the editor at Scaffold Industry Magazine a few months prior, asking what we had going on.  Bam.  We gave Erik Highland, our photographer and marketing guy,  Vince’s name and number and said – “have it him.”,  which he obviously did, because a week later we were answering a list of questions he had prepared for us about our roll in the Independence Hall renovation.  Erik sent him some of the photographs (with and without the scrim) and Vince thought they might even be good enough to garner the cover shot!  How cool would that be?    We were all very excited about this opportunity.

For several weeks we went back and forth with the photographs and text that Vince had written for the article.  It was a terrific story and the photographs really helped accentuate the work we had done.

We crossed our fingers that our scaffold and scrim project would make it onto the cover of one of the biggest magazines in our industry.  But as fate would have it – we lost out to a man wearing a safety harness.  The issue was all about safety so they went with a logical choice.  But Vince did an awesome job with the article!  Superior Scaffold from Philadelphia got a 4 page spread on the inside of the magazine.

 

It worked.  Our small idea about documenting the job we did and then finding an angle for the story paid off.

And that wasn’t the end.  There was more to come!

See part 4.


Okay – we’ve made our plan.  We’ve picked the project that would be great for all of America to talk about (the renovation of Independence Hall) and we’ve gotten some fantastic photos of both phases of the job site.

Now what?

How do we get press for the scaffold work we’ve done?   We started by compiling a list of contacts that we have had over the years.  Some are still valid and some are not – but we look at them as possible leads to run a story on us.  While we are culling through our possible contacts we write a press release detailing our role in the renovation process.  Since we were not the general contractor (GC) but the scaffold company, we have a slightly different role in the process (mainly designing, renting, transporting and erecting the scaffolding).

So we come up with our angle on the story.  Every press release needs an angle.  Since the major papers in the area have all done a generic story on the renovation of the beloved landmark we need something new, something fresh that will still tie into the overall renovation project.

We find it in the decorative scrim that was added to our scaffolding.  That’s a cool story because, not only does the scrim add a great look to building while renovations are taking place but the structural engineering changes that had to be made to accommodate it were pretty significant.  So we detailed the equipment, the procedures and even include a few quotes from the engineers and the CEO of the company – and boom.  We are ready to get it out to the public.

For the correct format of writing a press release and/or what to include you can google or hit any of the search engines “How to write a good press release” and you’ll get plenty of guidance.

We knew that we wanted to be placed in some of the industry magazines so that’s where we focused.

A home run.  See part 3.


The former Trump Marina hotel and casino, in Atlantic City has been purchased by Landry’s Inc., an international gaming and restaurant operator and is being rebranded with the Golden Nugget name.

Superior Scaffold has been brought in as part of the $100 Million renovation to help restore the facade with an EIFS (Exterior Insulated Finishing System), restoration of the 90′ high Crystal and 220′ high Bay Towers of the Golden Nugget.

Superior’s rental department will be installing 18 swing stages and 4 mast climbing platforms!  They will also install 170′ of overhead protection for the Atrium glass on the pool deck and stair towers for access to the sixth floor roof.

We will post pictures soon – as it should be quite a site.

Here is an artist rendering of what the finished renovations will look like.