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Special Build Projects - Leadenhall Building

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Project Brief

In order to hand the building over to the client’s facilities managers, the main contractor, Laing O’Rourke had to provide maintenance equipment for various tasks. Access was required for removal and cleaning the front honeycomb filters on the upper tier of the air handling units (AHU) located on the 49th floor of the building, more than 3.5m above the floor level. A very narrow access walkway, less that 600mm wide runs in front of the AHU’s with a steel handrail on the outside of the building and a completely open aspect open to the elements with clear views over the City. Various discharge pipes and other inlet and outlet ducts (some running up 1.7m above the floor), as well as light fittings and other services also project out into the walkway making the use of a conventional scaffold tower impossible. The AHU’s, which are each 3.5m long, are set back from the walkway requiring a cantilevered platform for access. Larger diameter ducts also project out from the AHU’s at 4m above the ground giving rise to further obstructions to any tower installed. The resulting access solution must be quick and easy to erect and work along the entire line of AHU’s.

The Solution

An ultra narrow 3.2m long tower was designed using high clearance frames coupled between the end frames to bridge over the obstructions in the walkway. In order to comply with the Working At Height Regulations, a safe means of erection had to be devised using a very narrow intermediate erection platform from which the higher level components of the tower could be fitted. This platform needed to be adequately guard railed to protect operators from the forty nine floor drop on the outside of the tower. Thus, virtually all the frame work was capable of being installed by operators on the ground where it could then be stabilised by tying it in, with aluminum couplers and tubes, to the fixed steel walkway hand rail as well as to the steelwork supporting the AHU’s. With the basic structure in place and tied rigidly to secure points on the building, safe access to the erection platform through the end frames, which had swinging arm braces/rungs in place, was now possible.
The upper section of the end frames had a built in cantilever allowing the edge of the tower to be aligned close to the filters, which need to be removed for cleaning and maintenance periodically. A wide platform fits on to the cantilever with trap doors at both ends and operators can access this platform from within the tower by climbing the end frame rungs. High level horizontal guard rail braces were attached to the end frames above the cantilever platform using the approved Through The Trapdoor (3T) erection method, ensuring the safety of the tower erectors.
In order to make handling and storage easier, the 3.3 long high clearance bridging frames had the lower legs hinged by a locking knuckle joint so they could swing back up and reduce the overall stored dimensions. The hinges locked the legs down into position when needed for erection.
When erected, the whole structure was completely rigid and stable with no further fall arrest systems required by users or erectors and the client expressed themselves delighted with the solution. The client required an on-site demonstration of the erection method as well as full erection instructions before hand-over to the building’s facilities managers


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Podium mkI   and   Podium mkII,  work-platforms,   scaffold-towers,   mini   fold away scaffold working solutions,    stair span   access towers,    stair deck systems    and    'special build'  solutions  for one  off applications.

Interlink Alloy Systems Limited Southend Farm . Southend Lane .  Waltham Abbey .  Essex . EN9 3SE - tel  01992 716509 - fax 01992 652500

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