Installing access solutions on the roof without construction cranes

Manntech’s designers, engineers and project managers have stepped in to deliver improved building access systems where the current equipment is no longer fit for purpose.

In a number of projects all over the world, Manntech’s 60 years’ of experience, expertise and creative problem solving have been called upon to provide facade access solutions where the use of construction cranes is not an option. Manntech’s designers, engineers and project managers have stepped in to deliver improved building access systems where the current equipment is no longer fit for purpose. This can be due to a variety of reasons including aging and deteriorating machinery, specific damage or the systems in place lacking the required functionality to ensure complete coverage and maintenance of the building. 

Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai 

Only after construction was completed on this landmark building and tenants had already up taken residence, it became apparent that the existing access system did not provide sufficient coverage. Manntech were therefore called in to solve this issue with additional BMUs which were required to integrate with the finished building. The project called for the additional BMUs to be transported to the roof and accommodated within very limited space left available whilst also retaining the existing track layout. 

These challenges were met with two compact crane type BMUs which were able to operate within the confined space available and without adjustments or reworking of the existing track layout. The design of the machines was specially tailored to this project so that all the component parts could be hoisted in a material lift and assembled in situ on the roof. In addition, all the work took place at night to avoid disturbances to the tenants of this already vibrant, working building. The compact and component-based design of the Building Maintenance Units in no way hampered their functionality. The coverage issues were fully addressed with an outreach capable of providing access the entire facade down to the ground floor. 

Q1 Tower, Gold Coast 

This supertall skyscraper, completed in 2005, is the tallest in Australia and an iconic part of the skyline. However, several years after opening, it became apparent that the existing facade access equipment did not have sufficient reach to service the full exterior of the building and was also seriously corroding. Manntech’s experience and expertise was required to address these issues and ensure Q1 Tower would remain a celebrated landmark and focal point for many years to come. This was achieved with a new crane-type BMU travelling on a horizontal track at roof level. Advanced scanning of the building and 3D modelling of the system ensured it would operate effectively within the existing parameters. Again, the BMU was designed specifically so that construction cranes would not be required and all the component parts of the jib could be transported to the roof using the goods lift. Final assembly was then completed on the roof itself, making ingenious use the old BMU as a crane to install the new and improved facade access solution. 

Fulbright Tower, Houston 

Since completion in 1982, Fulbright Tower has been a key part of the downtown Houston Center complex, with many big-name owners and residents over the years including ChevronTexaco, Crescent, GE Asset Management, J.P. Morgan Asset Management, and Fulbright & Jaworski which has its headquarters in the building. The building itself, and in particular the old Building Maintenance Units, were seriously damaged during a hurricane. A new and effective building access solution was required in order to complete major work on a number of floors, as well as to allow regular maintenance tasks to resume and keep building tenants happy. 

Manntech were tasked with developing a single, roof-mounted unit to navigate the complex architectural forms of the building and provide complete access to all areas of the facade. The solution provided was a custom-made BMU with a telescoping jib capable of reaching all exterior walls, drops and steps. On this occasion, the component parts of the tailor-made BMU had to be transported to the roof using a helicopter crane. As part of this bold installation, the telescoping steel components of the BMU were specially finished to lighten the overall weight and reduce costs. After months of careful planning and collaboration, the installation (and the installation of another BMU on an adjacent tower) was completed in just two and a half days. 

Projects such as these are part of a growing aspect of Manntech’s work involving refurbishment or replacement of ageing or otherwise poorly-performing systems. These challenging projects show how the benefits of Manntech’s experience, ingenuity and resources can deliver design, production and installation of improved facade access solutions that meet the client’s requirements while working within the parameters of an existing building and without the benefit of construction cranes on site.