Tough Spot #47: Elevator Shafts
Photo 1: Seedorff Masonry used Non-Stop scaffolding in a 90-foot-high elevator shaft. The masons outriggers and Inside Corner Arms were used to fully plank the inside of the shaft.
How many times has this happened to you: You land a multi-story commercial job. You arrive on the site and find that all the steel is up, the floors are poured, it’s 90 feet high, and you’ve got to build block walls around five stairwells and two elevator shafts.
This turned out to be no real problem for Daryl Gamm, project manager for Seedorff Masonry Inc., on a recent job in Fort Dodge, Iowa. “We used our Non-Stop in the shafts, because it’s so easy to set up,” he says. “We used the corner brackets and adjusted the scaffold to fill the entire inside of the shaft.” (See Photo 1.)
The only other option was to use conventional scaffold frames.
Photo 2: The walls were rubbed down as the scaffold
Gamm continues, “I couldn’t see how we could make frames fit in some of them. And then, think of all the boards you’d have going 90 feet high and all the board hops. These safety people out here call a meeting if I leave one brace out, but they just walk by the Non-Stop and say, ‘Looks good.’”
Gamm’s men built the scaffold in place, planked the one work platform, and simply added tower sections as they went up the full 90 feet high. They fed the scaffold off the floors. Some of the stairwells were fed by a Betamax hoist mounted to the Non-Stop Overhead Bracket. After they topped out, they cranked the scaffold back to the basement, (see photo 2) rubbing the walls as they went down.
Problem solved with two crane picks
Mike “Whitey” Koontz, a foreman for J. H. Fendorff in Madison, Wis., recently used Non-
Stop inside elevator shafts on a power plant 72 feet high.
Koontz says, “We assembled the scaffold 45 feet high on the ground and flew it in with the crane. We planked it and immediately started working. That saved a ton of time over trying to do it with frames, and a lot less expensive crane hours.
“We flew in full pallets of block, and grouted with a Grout Hog with the crane,” he continues. “It’s really easy to crank fully loaded. We flew the rest of the towers in in one shot to take it up to 72 feet high.”
After topping out, Koontz’s crew rubbed the walls down as they lowered the scaffold, taking the tower sections off and stacking them on the platform as they went. The crane lifted the components out in two picks.
To sum up, Koontz says, “It turned out to be a lot more flexible than frames. The learning curve was very short. Jay from the factory told us exactly how to do it. They’ve all got their place: frames, crank-up, and mast climbers. In all these tight spots and on tight job sites, the Non-Stop is a lot more flexible and easy.”
Crank-up scaffolding solves material stocking problem
Judd McDonald, a field superintendent for BMC Contracting out of Colchester, Ill., ran into a similar situation on job with a 36-foot-high stairwell, except it had to be built from the outside.
|Photo 3: Flexible planking is standard. The top and
bottom masons outriggers adjust for 0 to 5 boards to
fill the inside of an elevator shaft.
“Using crank-up scaffolding was a heck of a lot easier than using frames,” McDonald says. “We only had access on two sides, and ducking and weaving the blocks around the scaffold would have been a real pain. With the Non-Stop, we had a wide-open platform to walk around. We put four towers around the stairwell, planked it, and went on up.”
The walls went up quickly on the stairwell. “The embeds slow you down, but we actually got good production,” McDonald continues. “Using crank-up scaffolding, I usually put one bricklayer where I would normally put two, if I’m using frames. I hope I never have to use frames again.”
How it works inside tough spots
The usual configuration when using Non-Stop along a wall is to plank the upper level, which consists of the laborers’ platform and the bricklayers’ workbench (see the planked area in Photo 3), and two or three walk boards on the lower slide-out outrigger for the bricklayer.
When placed in an elevator shaft, the top planked area in Photo 1 is seven feet, one inch X nine feet, two inches (along the length of the boards). The nine-foot, two-inch way can be shortened with shorter x-braces. To fill the inside of the shaft, an Inside Corner Arm is installed on the top masons’ outrigger (see Photo 4) and on the laborers platform. The upper masons’ outrigger (“A” in Photo 5) can hold as many as five boards, and the Inside Corner Arm (“B” in Photo 5) can also hold as many as five boards.
Photo 4: An Inside Corner Arm hooks over the masons outrigger.
Photo 5: The Inside Corner Arm can be adjusted for 0 to 5 planks (area “B”).
The flexibility of crank-up scaffolding surprises most people brought up on frames. Being able to customize the platform to any configuration you need just might help you out of your next tough scaffolding spot.
Justin Breithaupt Jr. is co-owner of Non-Stop Scaffolding Inc. Breithaupt’s involvement in Non-Stop Scaffolding goes all the way back to the ‘70s, when he and his dad developed Non-Stop for their own masonry contracting business. He is a frequent speaker at local and national masonry association meetings, and a founder of the ANSI Adjustable Scaffolding Safety Standards committee. Breithaupt can be reached at email@example.com or 800-845-0845.