Working on The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral at 38th and Chestnut is one of those once in a lifetime projects. Formerly known as the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Savior, it was built in 1855, renovated in 1898, and rebuilt in 1906, after a fire. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
So what does it take to be able to work on these historic structures? It takes skill, patience, customer service, more skill, and the ability to adapt quickly and think outside the box.
This particular job took three years to come to fruition. Yep. There are many unforeseen things that can happen when trying to negotiate a contract like this: changes in management, economic issues, ideas on how to best approach the job just to name a few. But in the end, it’s all worth it. Superior Scaffold got to say that we were an integral part of bringing back an historic building to its former glory.
The real credit goes to Mara Restoration and their crew. They do all of the hard work we just safely get their crews and material to where it’s needed.
There are so many challenges on these old buildings like where to tie-in without damaging masonry, where to stage equipment, how to scaffold impossible alleys and chimney areas and how to keep everything open so business can continue as usual.
This was a 100% restoration including window repair, pointing, repairing damaged artifacts and more. Look closely at some of the photos. It was our job to give crews safe access to the entire exterior of the church and also make it presentable while it was business as usual inside. They were still having services, meetings and weddings everyday. We had to move our equipment staging area at least 3 times to tidy up the place while they hosted these big events. We worked with Mara and the Church when those events had to be put on.
We built a canopy out of system scaffold at the base of the structure to protect the pedestrians. We erected scaffolding around the entire building and then added debris netting and decked it in at every level to give crews complete access. The really cool part was getting crews to the top so they could work on the giant stone artifacts. We used a patriot 1000 and a rack and pinion hoist on one side. Mara crews used the Patriot to hoist stone and masonry up and down to the roof.
I just love seeing the tops of these old churches close up! The east side next to the house was one of our biggest challenges. It was narrow and impossible to get to. It was super tight and almost impossible to build a scaffold in there, but we did it. It’s really going to shine again once everything is completed.
We are proud to have played a small role in helping renovate this historic structure. Thanks to both the The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral and Mara Restoration for bringing us along and trusting us.
If you need access, scaffold, scaffolding call the “King of Swing”, Bob Sarkisian at 215 743-2200 today and let him get you “up air” or visit www.superiorscaffold.com for more jobs.