by Frederike Berg
The world’s largest scaffolding projects in construction and renovation
Extraordinary large buildings and structures are always an impressive sight and they almost automatically become tourist magnets. But while we are craning our necks to see the top of them, hardly anyone thinks back to the building phase. Today we want to change that and introduce you to a few of the biggest scaffolding projects in construction and renovation. Because the enormous architectural and structural achievements behind the world's most impressive buildings would hardly be possible without scaffolding.
Burj Khalifa: Construction of the world’s tallest building
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai must not be left out of the list of the largest construction projects. At an impressive height of 829 m, the 163-storey skyscraper has been the tallest building in the world since it’s opening in 2010. And the records don't stop there: Burj Khalifa also has the world's highest observation platform, the world's most floors, the fastest lift and the world's highest restaurant - to name just a few. During the 6-year construction period, scaffolding was used not only for the usual logistical reasons, but also as a cladding to keep the final height and design of the building a surprise to the public.
Hangar One: Most complex scaffolding without the modern tools
Originally built for housing the airship USS Macon, Hangar One is still one of the largest freestanding structures in the world. In fact, the airship hangar, built in 1933 in California's San Francisco Bay Area, stands out as a special scaffolding project not only because of its size. The curved shape of the hangar required custom scaffolding. An enormous achievement by the scaffolders responsible at the time - especially when you consider that in the 1930s they had no access to the software for planning the scaffolding that we no longer want to do without today. Even with modern technology, the replacement of the hangar's outer panels in 2011 became a complex major project.
London’s Victoria Station: Roof refurbishment with customized scaffolding
Anyone who has ever boarded a train at London's Victoria Station knows how busy it gets. Around 80 million passengers pass through the gates of one of the UK’s most important rail terminals every year. When renovation work on the about 150-year old roof was due, there was no question of closing the station for the duration of the work. Scaffolding was needed that would not interfere with ongoing operations. Definitely a big challenge and at that time one of the biggest scaffolding projects of this type in Europe. To keep the paths clear for commuters, a customized scaffolds were hung over the train tracks. Also, in order not to interrupt the ongoing operation due to noise or dirt, temporary roof structures were built which also gave support to the access scaffolds.
Without a doubt, the renovation of London’s Victoria Station was one of the most impressive scaffolding projects of the last decade. For a full project report on the Victoria Station renovation works, click here.
Manhattan Municipal Building: Highest scaffold in the world
But what is the tallest scaffolding ever built? Guinness World Records has a clear winner here: The scaffold that was erected at the 180 meter tall Manhattan Municipal Building in New York City in 1988. This scaffolding project corresponded to a whopping 135,900 m3 of scaffolding, 12,000 scaffold frames and 20,000 aluminium planks.
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