Words: Jacques Lainé
Construction projects at high elevation are often challenging and potentially dangerous. To avoid risky situations, mast climbing work platforms (MCWP) of mast climbers’ manufacturers propose a perfect way to transport materials and personnel to the high levels, providing contractors with versatility and convenience, gains in efficiency, adequacy, reliability, and safety, all ingredients of successful projects.
MCWP does not need an introduction, they have been in the masonry, construction, and building maintenance businesses for more than 20 years. They are equipped with a powered drive unit for propelling the work platform up and down a vertical mast structure. Compared to traditional scaffolding, MCWPs are capable of handling larger loads (up to 10,000 lbs per mast) and reaching greater heights (up to 500 feet), thus improving the efficiency of construction projects.
Benefits of mast climbing work platforms are numerous: they are simple and have a low number of components that allow for quick installation and relocation on jobsites. Stackable components make transport of MCWP easier. They can also position at precise elevation making material handling and transportation much safer and easier. Operation is made easy by the simple use of a push-button.
One of the main advantages of MCWP is the ability to combine two motorized units, extensions, and bridges to assemble a configuration that can extend 125 ft. without necessarily compromising the payload capacity. For example, two Fraco FRSM-20K units can be assembled with few picks of components in less than two hours to make a 126 ft. long set-up and keep offering a payload of 150 lbs per linear foot for a total payload of 20,000 lbs. No compromise is made for masons! The strong design and the rigidity of mast sections provide great stability. Flexible platform lengths and widths combined with ergonomic work positions make the workspace free and clear for efficiency and productivity.
The benefits generated by an FRSM-20K twin mast configuration can also apply to the ACT-8 model, Fraco’s leading model of mast climbing work platforms. With a travel speed up to 39 ft. per minute and a maximum payload of 16,000 lbs, an ACT-8 twin mast set-up is the perfect formula for general contractors and those specialized in repointing, glazing E.I.F.S., metal framing, etc., involved in wide span projects. Such a configuration allows the storage of material on the platform and easy and safe movement of workers on it.
Twin mast configurations are common and can easily be found through any metropolitan area. Recently, we drove through the streets of Montreal and located some building restoration projects characterized by the use of a double mast configuration. In all situations, we noticed that ACT-8 and FRSM-20K mast climbers make the difference. On every project, materials were moved independently of cranes and booms. On all jobsites, fall risks and protection gear were reduced.
Our journey through the streets of Montreal brought us to one of the most impressive projects running on the Mount-Royal, the restoration of the St. Joseph Oratory. Raising at 100 ft. of height, a 60 feet long bridge is installed between two FRSM-20K units and completed by 16ft. counterweighted forward extensions on each side of the units. That set-up facilitates the movement around the iconic building of Robert Hardy Inc.’s team, a heritage masonry specialist.
Keeping driving on Mount-royal, we found an ACT-8 twin mast set-up operated by Rainville Brothers at the Sporting Center of the University of Montreal. The MCWPs were used for a complete facelift of the extension built-in 1974. Few miles away, we stopped at the Fabrik8 project, a new commercial building that is still under construction. Two FRSM-20K are positioned (L-shaped configuration) in such a way that they combine a bridge and cantilevered extensions to complete a brick wall on the back of the building and glazing work on its side.
In the district of Notre-de-Dame-de-Grace, we finally discovered a few ACT-8 installed on an 18-story apartment building. Once again, the twin mast configuration appeared to be the perfect formula for Atwill-Morin, the contract mandated to complete the restoration work of the brick façade.
Fraco Products Ltd. is a Canadian manufacturer of mast access systems such as work platforms, construction elevators, industrial elevators and transportation platforms. This equipment is intended for building construction, as well as for industrial markets, infrastructure works and the electricity generation sector. Fraco also has a solid reputation in developing access systems for special projects. The company serves mainly North American and European markets.