Utilizing a BMU to lift construction materials

  • Using a BMU to lift construction materials

It is a familiar sight in any metropolis; an abundance of cranes, high rise buildings under construction and facade maintenance works on existing buildings. During both construction and maintenance, materials need to be lifted and lowered. Lifting objects inside a building, however, is not always possible, so external options need to be used.

Lifting solutions

From the ground up you could work with a Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP), such as a boom lift, or a scaffold. These, however, have a limited reach and capacity. To our knowledge the highest a boom lift can go is 55 meters (180 feet). If we assume a floor is approx. 3 meters high (approx. 10 feet) that means you could only reach up to 18 floors. And a good amount of high-rise structures exceeds 18 floors. Lifting materials with a MEWP can lead the machine tipping over and overloading MEWPs needs to be avoided at all times.

Another solution could be a suspended scaffold. This system is lowered from the top of the structure and is anchored either with Davit arms or with, for example, a special outrigger. The use of a suspended platform however is also limited, as it has weight limitations. Plus this system is generally only useful on straight facades.

The most common solution to lifting (heavy) materials during construction is the use of a crane. Some cranes are grounded at street level, other cranes are built up on the structure under construction. This all depends on the size of the construction site. Crane solutions are only suitable for objects, not for lifting people.

Example of a roof car or building maintenance unit

Facade hoists help lift materials

Using a Building Maintenance Unit to lift materials (and persons) during construction is another solution. This type of height access solution is permanently installed on a building. Most often near the end of construction or when construction is finalized. However, there are situations in which we installed a Building Maintenance Unit (BMU) during construction so that it could assist in the building process.

These machines are engineered to fit the needs of the customer, and are often equipped with specially engineered lifting systems for glass panels. These, so called, Glass Replacement Units (GRU), can also assist in lifting other materials.

Real life examples

In London we installed a BMU, with a GRU, while construction of the building was still going on. The machine was installed early in the process so it could help with lifting construction materials.

During construction a different gondola was used as to not damage the specially designed final cradle. This cradle was made specifically to access all parts of the facade, while, during construction, the gondola was just used for lifting purposes. After construction was finalized the ‘construction gondola’ was replaced with the adjustable cradle for facade maintenance.

Another function that a BMU can complete is to help in removing construction materials. For example, during construction a crane was erected on a temporary platform atop a high-rise structure in Toronto. The crane was situated right on top of the post prominent feature of the tower, creating an eyesore in the skyline. With our BMU the crane atop the tower could be deconstructed and removed, lowering the pieces to street level. As our BMU can be ‘parked’ inside the structure our machine won’t be visible when it’s not in use.

So facade access equipment can be used for more than just maintenance and repairs. The equipment, if designed for the job, can be used to lift and lower people and materials during construction to help finalize the building.

Want to know more about how our facade access equipment helps building owners, architects and developers in delivering and maintaining world class structures? Download our innovations brochure and read all about our machine’s specifications.