In the heart of Kuwait’s financial district, a new architectural masterpiece will rise up on the skyline:
The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK). The 300 meter (984.3 feet), 62 storeys high building has been designed by world leading architectural firm Foster + Partners. We were asked to see to the design of the NBK’s facade access equipment from scratch. The iconic design and challenging construction of the building inspired us to come up with a highly innovative facade access solution.

We were given the order to create a true marvel and complex installation for the National Bank of Kuwait. With a weight of 123300 kg (271260 lbs) our Building Maintenance Unit was the heaviest building maintenance unit ever designed and realized.

BMU with maximum reach

The NBK building will be equipped with a BMU at level 52 and two BMUs at level 41. From the beginning of the process, we took the perspectives of all parties involved into consideration, like the client, consultant and architect. For example, we’ve taken the following requirements and specifications into account:

  1. The top-level machine must both reach out to the crown of the building and contain a glass replacement unit.
    Important detail: there is no roof to install the machine on.
  2. The amount of openings in the facade, that allow the BMUs to come out of their parking position, should be reduced to an absolute minimum.
  3. Operating the BMUs should be as logical, user friendly and safe as possible.

Facadexs heaviest and most complex building maintenance unit:

The Crown unit on Level 52 of NBK

Crown unit – Level 52

Because of the absence of a roof, we designed a BMU that is integrated in the building, invisible in parking position. It will turn to its operating mode by moving out through a panel that mechanically opens and closes. When the operators push a button the machine will automatically move outwards to its erected position. From this position the operators have control of the machine and can reach any location, from the crown of the building down to level 41. Apart from using the machine for cleaning purposes, the BMU also has a Glass Replacement Unit with a lifting capacity of 1300 kg (2866 lbs).

Digital monitoring system

At the base of the roof level BMU, a monitoring system is installed to ensure ultimate safety of the workers inside the cradle. With this system, other workers can monitor the status of the cradle and at which floor it’s located. In case of a malfunction or an emergency, the monitoring system provides valuable information to prevent accidents.

We are proud to have provided this innovative facade access solution for this eye-catcher of Philadelphia’s skyline, facilitating maintenance work to the entire FMC Tower in as little time as possible.

Knuckle jib machines – Level 41

The machines on level 41 are so called knuckle jib machines. These jibs allow the operator to position the cradle around the perimeter of the building – especially around the shape of the ribs. The machines at this level are also fitted with a glass replacement unit.

As you can imagine, we are very proud the National Bank of Kuwait has opted to work with us. They praised us for the high level of quality and creativity we consistently show. This project is a perfect example of how we are able to offer unsurpassed solutions that perfectly fit the unique situation and needs of the client.

National Bank of Kuwait:

The Crown of our Facadexs Engineers

National Bank of Kuwait Headquarters is not just about the need to build taller, it’s a story of heritage and who they are. The iconic seashell design from Foster + Partners and engineering by Buro Happold, is an expression of Kuwait’s economical progress evolved through several stages.

In this documentary each stage of the build is shown including the Building Maintenance units. See how its been made and what the result is.

This video was produced by QCPTV for NBK, All rights reserved.

Summary of all work
on National Bank of Kuwait

  • One Crown unit

  • Telescopic base height of 38 m (124.7 ft)

  • A glass replacement unit with a
    max. load of 1300 kg (2866 lbs)

  • One two-part knuckle jib with reach of 16m (52ft)

  • One three-part knuckle jib with reach of 14m (45.9 ft)

  • An aerial working platform for cleaning
    the inside of the crown

  • Outrigger hoists (5 MT)