The Swing Stage

Suspended Access Equipment has completely changed how contractors access an exterior building envelope project. The swing stage business is in full swing and is now the most common way to access any building envelope project. So let’s go over a few of the “ups and downs” of using a swing stage.

The Down-side

There is never an option that is perfect, never one without challenges, swing stage included. As a Project Manager here’s a few points to consider:

  1. The Roof:
    • Roof anchors are generally installed for the completion of window cleaning purposes. Anchor inspection reports that are done yearly, will clearly write that the anchors are for “window cleaning purposes only” and a second inspection for swing stage use will have to be completed, prior to the project starting.
    • Power is one of the most common limitations found on the roof. There may not be any power set to run the 220V powered swing stages. Or there may only be one and the contractor wants to run 2-3 swing stages. An electrician will have to install more outlets in the mechanical room of the roof, an additional cost to keep in mind.  
  2. The Ground
    • Landscaping will be affected by swing stages. Trees too close to the building will have to be trimmed. Bushes on the ground will be scaffolded over. Grass will be flattened from worker travel, swing stages sitting on the grass, fencing will be put up surrounding the work area. Landscaping will almost always have to be done after swing stage projects.
  3. Weather delays
    • Wind and rain is the swing stages greatest foe. There are laws that contractors are at the mercy to. Wind limitations at 40 km/h, safety issues like electrocution hazards in the rain, affect the schedule of a project. This must be understood and planned to ensure the safety of the workers as well as the patience and understanding of the residents of the building.

The Up-Side

Having a swing stage can be an extremely efficient way to access a building, allowing contractors to put out the best quality possible. Here’s why:

  1. Access
    • With a swing stage spanning a length of wall, you now have access to every square inch of the work area. Compared to scaffolding or a boom, there is less reaching involved and the contractor will have an easier time giving their best quality work. 
    • Reviewing your building is now easier. On an engineered driven project or not, a contractor can now review the wall and communicate any issues found. No guess work required!
  2. Set up has a smaller impact on residents. Instead of scaffolding blocking all the windows, or large booms and cranes, swing stage equipment is set up on the roof, all that stays on the ground is the swing stage. Windows can remain useable and the residents view isn’t obstructed.
  3. There are certain areas a boom or scaffolding will never be able to access! Swing stages are modular and there numerous varieties that can be brought to site to allow every corner of a building covered. 
  4. Price! Swing stages are a very cost-effective way to access all locations surrounding the building. Booms and scaffolding will be far more inefficient, causing longer rental of the equipment and lengthening the schedule of the job as well.

Swing stages are the new way to completely access your building envelope projects. They are efficient and can lower the cost of your next building envelope project. With proper planning and execution, you will see that there are only “upsides” to having a swing stage on your next project.

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