Water Tower Inspection

Case Study:

How Alpha Platforms squeezed its 300-ft boom lift through a narrow mountain road to inspect a 200-ft water tower

What was the challenge?

Palmyra, PA’s 200-ft water tower is a part of the major water delivery system and sits atop a steep, narrow dirt road in a remote wooded area. The tower maintenance crew, subcontracted by the infrastructure owners, needed to inspect the tower’s wooden roof, determine the state of wear, remove unsafe material, and inspect the internal wall. In order to locate and remove fallen and rotting planks, the inspectors needed a full aerial view of the roof. The available fixed climbing ladders restricted the crew to just the wrap-around catwalk under the roof with no access or visibility over the roof to achieve their objectives.

The available self-propelled lifts could not provide inspectors with access up and over the roof at this height. Transporting a crane with a birdcage to this remote location would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Also, it would have been dangerous as the dirt road leading to the tower was precariously narrow, barely wide enough to squeeze a firetruck through vegetation.

Hanging in a bird cage over the roof would not have allowed easy and steady access to remove the unsafe roof planks. It’s likely, given the tower’s enormous size, that only partial access to the roof would have been possible. Communication between the crane operator and workers in a birdcage is never ideal: it’s typically confusing because the parties don’t see each other.

After extensive research of potential roof access methods, the client called Alpha Platforms for an estimate. Our estimator came on-site to evaluate the approach feasibility and measure the tower using a digital rangefinder to match available boom lifts.

What was the solution?

After evaluating site drawings and measurements, the estimator assigned the tallest man lift on the market: a 300-ft giant aerial platform. Alpha’s A-300 has a vertical reach of up to 300 ft and up-and-over reaches of 200 ft and 100 ft, respectively.
Given the tower’s remote location, it was risky to drive the 110,000-lb truck on the twisting mountain roads, Alpha Platforms’ operated rentals team dispatched the most experienced, IPAF- and manufacturer-certified driver and operator for this project.
The parking area in front of the tower did not allow for u-turns. As a result, the A-300 had to drive backwards, almost 3,000 ft, all the way up to the tower site.
The specs of our state-of-the-art A-300 lift:

What was the outcome?

Our operator smoothly maneuvered the giant 300-ft aerial lift to the tower and quickly lifted the maintenance crew up and over the roof. Having a full-time lift operator allowed easy access to its entire surface from a steady, stable basket, where the workers could solely and safely focus on the job at hand.

Inspectors removed the rotten wood and lowered remote-access cameras inside the tower to complete the inspection report.

The project finished in less than a week, on time and within budget, saving the project manager tens of thousands of dollars.

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.
Notable 300 Foot Boom Lift Capabilities
  • 12-foot extra large cage
  • 1,168 lbs lifting capacity for crew, equipment, and materials
  • Cage rotation 2 x 84°
  • Side reach up to 106 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 31’6’’
  • Parking in tight spaces 8’6’’ wide

Alpha Platforms has helped hundreds of teams like yours

Customer Testimonials
from Case Studies

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.

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.

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.

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