Mast climbers' delicate touch

By Maria Hadlow20 November 2008

Mast climbers help restore landmark church with minimum disruption

Mast climbers help restore landmark church with minimum disruption

The Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Guelph, Ontario, is undergoing a three-year restoration expected to cost $10 million. The 120-year old gothic-style church is more than a place of worship and a designated National Historic Site; it is recognised as a landmark by the whole region and therefore had to stay open during refurbishment.

The Limen Group Ltd is experienced in renovation projects and in putting its bid together for the contract contacted its access equipment dealer Du-For. Du-For helped Limen develop a solution combining Hydro Mobile mast climbers with swing stages and tubular scaffolds.

"I think there are several reasons why Limen Group got this contract", says Sylvain Cloutier from
Du-For. "First of all, their estimate was about US$75000 below the price of those of the other bidding contractors, mainly because Hydro Mobile's mast climbers cut down installation time and increase workers' productivity. On top of this, while traditional scaffolds would have required shore poles to be installed inside the church's roof to support the load, mast climbers did not even touch the fragile roof. Finally, the diocese was delighted to learn that with this method the church's facade and painted ceilings would remain visible during renovation."

Jason James, manager of the restoration division at Limen Group said. "The first benefit of mast climbers on a renovation job is that they require fewer bolt holes than traditional scaffolds. The platforms allow access to every square foot of the building's exterior, even to the narrowest corners. Finally, the work area is much larger and the work environment is consequently much safer."

Hydro Mobile's M-Series, mast climbers measure 7 ft wide up to 60 ft long and carry 22000 lb. Workers could remove stones from the facade, using Hydro Mobile's hoist system for heavier pieces, then land them on the work platform where a workshop and tools were preinstalled. The stones were cleaned and cut on the decks before being replaced. Additionally, weather protection and heaters installed on the platform, allowed work to be performed all year long, even during the harsh winters in Ontario.

Limen Group had 45 workers on the job, including sub-contractors. The company used 13 mast climbing work platforms from Hydro Mobile, and rented this equipment to a few subcontractors. Seven M-Series were used for their high capacity and two P-Series were used to access the most restricted locations. Four F-Series were used for their versatility and because they can operate in split mode, which allowed Limen Group to bring one side down to load material while the other side stayed above the church's roof.

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