Transport Yourself to a Better Bottomline
One of the most efficient and beneficial access product inventions on the market today isn’t that well known yet. It’s called a Transport Platform (TP) and it offers a number of benefits that create an improved and safer workplace for the jobsite while also helping your bottom line.
What is a Transport Platform?
Transport Platforms were created for the construction jobsite in the 1990s. They were specifically developed by scaffolding industry experts as a true “tool of the trade” to fill an unmet jobsite need. Ideal for mid-level construction projects TPs are a cost-effective alternative to current ‘personnel and material’ access systems, such as cranes, hoists, boom trucks and elevators.
Typically, Transport Platforms, such as those manufactured by Hydro Mobile, are similar in design to mast climbers. They have guarded platforms with integral access gates with guardrail systems, attaching directly to the structure or building, and are designed to be used exclusively by specially-trained personnel. The Transport Platform can be used from the beginning of the job during formwork all the way to the end of the job during interior drywall or painting.
Transport Platforms allow the transport of equipment, material and trained personnel from the ground to the desired height inside the building. Any material required by a subcontractor can be easily and rapidly transported, such as internal framing and finishing, doors and windows, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and more, including debris removal. They can travel at up to 40’per minute – fast enough to provide excellent productivity, but because they require a less sophisticated operating and drive system, they are easier to control.
The Difference Between a TP and a Construction Elevator
It may sound a bit like a construction elevator, but it isn’t. Transport Platforms are different in that they do not need to comply with CSA Z256, nor with the CSA Z185 standard, and they meet ANSI 92-10 in the US. They also are not replacements for an elevator, but they can be an ideal addition to your handling and access equipment fleet. They allow for multiple configurations, designs and car sizes not possible with standard construction elevators.
In most cases, construction elevators are not used on mid-level jobsites and contractors typically find any way to get material inside the building, such as with cranes, staircases and inside elevators, etc. These ways are not only inefficient, but also often come with health and safety risks.
Using a Transport Platform makes the transport of materials faster and safer while also allowing for better and easier job coordination. Plus, they represent a potential revenue stream for the general contractor.
The Affordability Factor
On smaller projects with their associated smaller labor force, a construction elevator is overkill. Construction elevators are way too expensive for use on these projects and they don’t really provide any operational benefit to justify the huge cost.
On small to medium projects the workforce tends to be made up of small teams of specialist sub-contractors, many of whom are scheduled sequentially with minimal overlap, keeping the day-to-day personnel numbers on the job at a low level. The ability to provide your own operators to run the platform as needed while being able to perform other tasks has played a role in allowing this type of equipment to work with tight budget constraints.
Our customer, Massaro Company from Pittsburgh, PA found that the cost benefit of utilizing a Transport Platform saved them nearly 50% in rental fees. Once trained, they were also able to operate the unit with their own manpower. The unit went on to serve their 10-story, 180 room hotel project without issue for a 10-month duration.
Instant Revenue Stream
A construction elevator would have been an unnecessary expense for the Massaro Company. We have also found that using a TP for only two days a week will allow a GC to break even. Not only is that a pretty good cost saving, it creates a revenue stream. Also, it allows the GC the possibility to propose hourly, daily, weekly or monthly rental solutions to his subcontractors.
The Ups and Downs – in a Good Way
As opposed to a material hoist that delivers only materials, Transport Platforms accommodate both materials and personnel typically in a 516 cubic feet platform space with various capacities up to 4975 lbs (2257 Kg) and can travel at a speed of up to 40’ per minute. Worker fatigue goes down while productivity goes up.
Their capacity is limited, and this is a good thing. The TP is usually capable of lifting personnel to only 50 percent of its capacity, with capacity typically around 4,000 lbs. This, and the other limiting factors of the TP, are important because the combination of capacity reduction, live load reduction, and reduced speed offer important benefits. Load reduction means no requirement for a steel reinforced concrete pad below the chassis, the tie-backs require less robust anchoring, the drive system is less sophisticated and benefits like these reduce complexity, and cost. Additionally, most TPs can be used as ‘material only’ units. Personnel/material hoists don’t have this ability.
Free the Crane’s Time, and Yours
The Transport Platform can be a useful companion to a Tower Crane. It can free up crane operation time so you can use it when you really need it while minimizing worker downtime while they are waiting or handling material. It can even allow for an earlier dismantle of the Tower Crane on the jobsite.
Training and Safety
Transport Platforms are also a safer option. They allow for the expedited process of loading an entire building and removing debris without having to designate an operator at the controls full time.
The unit’s frequency of use doesn’t typically require a full-time operator, and subsequently, everyone who uses it has to be trained, with many trained as an operator. This helps ensure the safe operation by all users. Most rental companies provide training for free as an added benefit.
Transport Platforms are a huge benefit to GCs on mid-level jobsites. They are simply an excellent vertical transportation option that puts both people and materials into place with maximum efficiency and safety. They are readily available through rental stores such as Hydro Rents in the US or AGF Access in Canada, among many others.
Thierry Lachapelle, Executive Vice President, AGF Access Group