Facing the elements

December 21st, 2015 Posted in: Lakesmere

When it comes to creating a new city landscape, the sky is the limit but bad weather can be a real force to be reckoned with when you are working over twenty storeys up.

We are currently on site at two high profile high rise developments in London – Elephant Road (formerly known as Tribeca Square) and the Pinnacle building at Battersea Reach. McMullen Facades is delivering the full vertical envelope at both sites and the recent high winds and heavy rain have created a very challenging work environment.

The West block at Elephant Road is 23 storeys high and although we have experience of working on projects higher than this, the one thing we can’t control is the weather. We have now installed all of the unitised panels but work on delivering the balconies has been seriously affected by the recent strong winds, which in line with health and safety guidance, has made working at height unsafe and the operation of cranes impossible on certain days.

It’s actually the intermittent gusts that are more of a problem than the wind itself and so we work closely with an external company that can calculate the wind and gust speeds at a specific location and at different heights to advise if it’s safe to work. If you can’t use the crane because of bad weather, this has a knock on effect as you can then lose your ‘slot’ to other trades in the queue. However the benefits of using unitised systems means that as soon as the weather picks up, so too can the installation programme.

On average we can install around 15 to 16 unitised panels per day but on a really good day, this can be closer to 27. Such speedy installation means that we can quickly catch up on any delays caused by the bad weather. Another benefit is that as the panels are installed from the bottom up, the internal fit out of the lower floors can be completed while we work on the higher storeys so that the whole job can be delivered faster and more efficiently.

Another way we can minimise any further delays is to keep the production of the unitised panels going even when the installation process is on pause. As the factory is working on producing panels for several jobs within an allocated time period, it just isn’t feasible to put production on hold until the weather improves so we are then sometimes faced with finding suitable storage of the panels until installation can start up again – we’re never short of challenges on site!

Despite all this we’ve made good, steady progress on site at Elephant Road and we are still on track to be have 90% of our package completed by the end of January.

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