One-Day Facade Inspection of historical landmark building

Case Study:

How to Inspect All Four Sides of a Historical Landmark Building with Just Two Lift Moves

What was the challenge?

A national structural engineering and consulting firm was hired to inspect the historical John Wanamaker building, an abandoned railroad station turned by the retail pioneer into one of the first department stores in the United States in 1861. The 12-story, 223-foot-tall Wanamaker building with almost 1,600 feet of street frontage is located in downtown Philadelphia across from City Hall.

Inspection of this building was challenging because areas on all four sides of the building could not be accessed with the inspector’s 150-foot JLG lift. And renting a taller lift would force the city to close four streets, disrupting downtown traffic. Also, the cost of closing four roads would run up to $10,000 per day.

Another option was to use hanging baskets or ropes. But given the building’s protruding roof fascia, dropping swings or rappelling would not get adequately close enough to the walls. Plus, this option would cost over $60,000 and would take several days to set up and take down. In addition, S. Juniper Street’s narrow 18-foot passageway required a low-risk access method that would not endanger the precariously close walls.

What was the solution?

So, the client turned to Alpha Platforms for several reasons. Our boom lifts are famous for their extreme heights and side reach capabilities. The client would also save money on street closure and a swing basket, and were curious about trying the next generation height access lifts with our all-inclusive service.
Alpha Platforms dispatched an A-250, its 250-foot-tall boom lift, capable of 125 feet of side reach. To reach all four sides of the building, our boom lift needed only two parking spots at each corner of the building.
The client also appreciated time and cost savings as their rental included a full-time IPAF-certified lift operator, the permits, street closures, and traffic management around the worksite.
The specs of our state-of-the-art A-250 lift:

What was the outcome?

With permits in place and a 10-minute setup, Alpha's IPAF-certified operator lifted the building inspector and reached all areas of interest on all four sides of the building from just three parking spots. In addition to being the safest, quickest, most convenient, and most comfortable façade inspection option, Alpha Platforms' contactless height access was also the cheapest, eliminating the cost of hanging swings, ropes, and insurance.

As a result, the job was completed in one day.

The engineering team discovered a new safer, more convenient, and cost-effective height access method to perform façade inspections.

Our precise German-made lifts have become the height access method of choice for those who try them, as they combine unmatched productivity, safety, and reach.
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Notable 250 Foot Boom Lift Capabilities
  • 12-foot extra large cage
  • 1,322 lbs lifting capacity for crew, equipment, and materials
  • Cage rotation 2 x 200°
  • Side reach up to 130 feet
  • Unique "under and up" or "up and over and back" access
  • Smooth controlled motions to move close to and around glass and fragile structures
  • Jib length 49’2’’
  • Parking in tight spaces 8’3’’ wide

Alpha Platforms has helped hundreds of teams like yours

Customer Testimonials
from Case Studies

Carlos Honorio Jr.
Honorio Designs

Great experience! First time on the 300 foot boom for a Local Law Facade Inspection. Vadim, the operator, was in complete control of the equipment and made the whole process smooth. Flagmen secured the area below and allowed my Client to operate their hotel without any disturbance. Honorio Designs Architecture, PLLC

Brian Rosado Hernández
The Telecom Company Foreman

Excellent service, arriving on time every day, responsible with the load limit, very attentive to the lubrication and controls of the crane.

Thomas Inciarte
Telecom Company Representative

Excellent team working with us, always willing to do anything for the best

The Signage Company Owner

It was a pleasure to work with Alpha Platforms, the crew was skilled and helpful, the equipment was top-notch. Our installers appreciated the security of the platform vs working off of a swing stage, it made their job easier and more efficient. From the first meeting thru to the end of the work day everything ran as smoothly as it could. We will definitely be partnering with Alpha Platforms on future projects. Thank you for your help!

Ryan Hughes

I had an emergency project on a 140' high voltage tower and needed Alpha Platforms next day. They were so helpful and expedient walking me through the entire process so I was comfortable with the deal. They showed up to my site next day and cut about 2 days off of the project due to the safety, speed and efficiency of their lift and operators. I'll never rent or hire another lift company. I would recommend Alpha platforms for all your high reach needs.

Liz Jones

Jon told me that it was a pleasure to work with Alpha Platforms, the crew was skilled and helpful, the equipment was top notch. Our installers appreciated the security of the platform vs working off of a swing stage, it made their job easier and more efficient. From first meeting thru to the end of the work day everything ran as smoothly as it could. City Sign Service, Inc. will definitely be partnering with Alpha Platforms on future projects.

Justin N.

That is a fine piece of equipment! And the competent, professional group that goes along with it is just the cherry on top. I really appreciate everything. I'm sure we'll be able to use Alpha again in the future as we get these opportunities. In fact, it will only help our business knowing we have a safe, reliable solution to these over 50‘ height challenges.

Byron Nivelo

We had an exceptional experience with Alpha! They are professionals, great operator team. Overall reliable, recommended will certainly return for my future needs hands down.

Nick Muhlon

My company used alpha lifts to clean a 14 floor building and they were great. Very accommodating, always on time, and will work with you to get the job done safe and sound. The lifts they provide are state of the art and can pretty much reach any low rise building under 250 feet. I’d recommend them to anyone doing window cleaning or facade cleaning, or anything king of height access work!

Mike P.
Building restoration services family business owner

We wanted to give it a try and see what this boom truck could do. We loved the idea of a wide basket that could reach up to 30 feet and get to the brick wall over the roof. The main reason we loved the truck was how it maneuvered the boom to lower the bricks inside a dumpster, which was located behind the truck. It saved us at least one extra day of work. It all went great.

Jason A.
Director of operations, family-owned regional electrical services provider

Alpha has the most efficient and leanest site setup time I’ve ever seen. My brother, who is the top climber of our group, first struggled to understand how this cage could go around the tower better than the crane - and when it did the whole 360°, he became a believer. Also, each laborer said how incredibly safe they felt - very different from the small crane basket. We were able to secure and push back the panels in place without the basket ever moving.

Joseph A.
Head stone mason, national cathedral

The project was performed successfully, and we were really glad to have contactless means of reaching the building, as we all know that pipe scaffold might damage the structure, in this case, very very sensitive.

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