Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall clock tower

Philadelphia’s historic Independence Hall clock tower

The birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention was due for a major renovation. Superior Scaffold was chosen to handle this 14-month, $5.6 million dollar venture because of their skill and experience with working with delicate historic projects. This current version of the tower, designed by William Strickland, was built in 1828, after the original, housing the Liberty Bell, was found unstable and had to be dismantled.

Several major challenges confronted the Superior Scaffold design team. First, scaffolding had to be erected so workers could get at every aspect of the building renovation, but priceless artifacts, like the copper urns, had to remain in-place. This meant that the weight bearing sections of scaffolding had to be shifted to accommodate the work – allowing access where normally there would be none. Second, Superior also had to provide workers with a clear and stable platform from which they could conduct the refurbishing of the giant, glass clock faces. And last, Superior had to erect scaffolding up the narrow spindle, holding the stylized weathervane, so renovations could take place.

These new renovations should give the historic building another 200 years of life.

And last, Superior Scaffold workers had to attach a scrim (decorative polyester panels) to the scaffolding built around Independence Hall. The scrim is actually a series of carefully designed and printed panels that are assembled to look like the real Independence Hall. There are 150 single panels in all. All labeled and graphed out ahead of time so the workers know where they have to go on the grid.

But strapping what amounts to a sail to scaffolding around a 250 year old building is dangerous business. Superior had to engineer the structure to withstand giant wind ratios that would pull upon the scrim material. Just like a sail on a boat, the wind will pull the sail and try to move the scaffolding in a number of directions. So Superior Scaffold Services engineered the structure to withhold tremendous pressure while keeping the integrity of the building stable beneath. Quite a feat for a structure that stands 12 stories into the sky.

Superior met the challenge and has gotten glowing reviews on their safe and sturdy structure. We encourage you to visit Independence Hall and have a photo taken next to the beautiful building.