Mast Climbing Work Platforms used on Frankfurt’s tallest skyscraper

The Grand Tower in Frankfurt is the tallest residential building in Germany (2018). Scanclimber by Tractel delivered 12 customised units of Monster SC8000, 2 units of Maxus SC5000 and 4 units of Kosmos SC4000 mast climbers for challenging facade work on this construction project.

Frankfurt’s tallest skyscraper

The Grand Tower is a huge residential apartment building in Frankfurt. Standing at an impressive height of 172 meters, it is the tallest residential building in Germany. Comprising 47 floors, the building has a total of 401 apartments ranging between 41 m2 -300 m2. Located in the heart of the city, the project includes many premium features such as a private sunset deck on the 43rd floor, a roof top garden of almost 1000 m2, lounges and swimming pools that resonate with the ambience of a five-star hotel. Being a part of this mega project is a matter of immense prestige for Scanclimber, considering the scale, location and complexity of the building design. This has been one of the most challenging assignments in terms of developing specialized additional configurations for the mastclimbers employed.

Challenges

grand tower balkonies

The project includes installing balconies, and façade elements such as railings and glass panels that cover the balcony. This project entails many challenges with respect to vertical access due to the unusual layout of the building.

  • The structure of the building is very irregular, with uneven surfaces and a number of corners and edges. Accessing every nook and corner on such a complicated design requires extremely specialized MCWP configurations.
  • The balconies on which the majority of the work is done are not of the same size or evenly spaced.
  • Installation of façade elements under and above the balcony construction presents its own challenge.
  • There are many corners on the building that are inaccessible using standard MCWP configurations.
  • Covering the height of 172 meters on a tight timeline requires a systemic change in vertical access solutions. When building such high structures, frequently moving platforms up and down can impact on efficiency. Platforms are also sometimes used to store uninstalled scaffolding and railings.

Scanclimber has several kinds of platform extensions such as the SDE (Sliding deck extension) and ARE (All reach extension) that cope very well with spaces that are usually inaccessible. In this case however, the requirement exceeds the existing extensions’ capacity and reach.

The solution

After months of rigorous brainstorming, R & D and testing, Scanclimber’s innovative team came up with what can be called a showcase of customized and specialized solutions for this project. As can be seen in the layout above, each platform configuration is unique. Even the traditional platform extensions like the ARE are customized for their jobs on three different platforms.

grand tower drawing a

The following table contains the details of the composition of each platform.

Unit no.MCWP arrangement (SC8000)Extensions / Add-ons usedAdditional info
Unit 1 Single
  • SDE
  • MACB
  • SDE 1: 0.2-1.6 m x 5.2 m
Unit 2 Single
  • 2 X SDE
  • MACB
  • SDE 2: 0.2-1-6 x 3.2 m
  • SDE 3: 0.2-1.7 x 5.2 m
Unit 3 Single
  • 3 X SDE
  • SDE 4: 0.2-1.7 x 1,2 m
  • SDE 5: 0.2-1.4 x 2 m
  • SDE 6: 0.2-1.4 x 5.6 m
Unit 4 Single
  • Fixed extension
Unit 5 Single
  • ARE
  • 3.6 m deck
Unit 6 Single
  • Standard platform
Unit 7 Single
  • 1 X SDE
  • MACB
  • SDE 7: 0.2-1.6-3,6 m
Unit 8 Single
  • 2 X SDE
  • MACB
  • SDE 8: 0.2-1.7 x 5.2 m
  • SDE 9: 0.2-1.7 x 5.2 m
Unit 9-10 Twin
  • 2 X SDE
  • MACB
  • ARE
  • SDE 10: 0.2-1.6-4.4 m
  • SDE 11: 0.2-1.6-4.4 m
  • ARE: 7 m deck
Unit 11 Single
  • EE
Unit 12 Single
  • ARE
  • EE
  • ARE: 7 m deck

Scanclimber’s special product configurations

12 SC8000 units with varying degrees of modifications were used for this 172m-high project. Some of them included MCWPs with Scanclimber’s well-known extensions such as the ARE and SDE.

  • Six MCWPs were equipped with a total of 11 sliding deck extensions of different lengths and arrangements.
  • Three MCWPs were equipped with All Reach Extensions (ARE). There were two different kinds of ARE used for this project; one with a 7m-long deck and the other type with a 3.6 m- long deck.
all reach extension front1

The ARE with a 7m-long deck is a standard product from Scanclimber’s catalogue. It has the ability to rotate ±45° and has a payload capacity of 240 kg (i.e. two persons with tools).

grand tower are

The ARE with a 3.6 m deck was a special design conceived for this project. This ARE can rotate 360° and has a payload capacity of 120 kg (i.e. one person with tools).

grand tower balkonies with platforms

An SC8000 with twin mast arrangement with both the sliding deck and the All reach extensions on it.

Innovations

The unusual structure of this project provided an opportunity for innovation in the form of new kinds of platform extensions at Scanclimber. The following is a list of new add-ons and extensions used in this project.

  • Mast area covering bridge (MACB) is a device used on MCWPs that are equipped with a sliding deck or other manual extensions. The purpose of an MACB is to cover the area behind the mast. It forms a bridge between two adjacent extensions. An MACB can withstand a payload of 120 kg.
  • grand tower bridge drw
  • Edge extensions are special sliding extensions that allow access to the spaces below and above the crane anchorings. These extensions are fixed on both sides of the platform and allow the platform to extend up to a length of 2m (1m on each side). The Edge extensions have a maximum payload capacity of 240 kg i.e. two persons with tools.
  • grand tower edge ext drw
  • Buffer transport platform is additional equipment placed under the MCWP and is used to carry or store façade elements that may exceed the payload capacity of the MCWP. The buffer platform is connected to the lifting frame of the MCWP with steel ropes. The service ladders present on the MCWP provide access to the buffer platforms. The buffer platforms have a payload capacity of 240 kg.
  • grand tower buffer transport pltf
  • Ramp / Walking platforms: These are a new type of add-ons that provide workers access from one MCWP to another MCWP. The new ramp doors are like small bridges between two MCWPs.
  • grand tower sc8000 with walking ramp
  • Fixed extensions: There were also a few customised fixed extensions on some of the MCWPs. These extensions were mainly used for accessing the corners on the building.

Conclusion

Providing vertical access to high rise buildings with irregular layouts is always a challenge. The Grand Tower project was no exception to that. This is by far the toughest project handled by Scanclimber in terms of the extent of customizations. It has led to the creation of new kinds of MCWP extensions which will now be a part of our extensive product catalogue.

Project Facts 
Location of the Project Frankfurt
Main Contractor gsp Städtebau GmbH
Machines used MCWP with several add-on extensions
Models
Length of the platforms Different lengths for different platforms
Max. working height 172 m
Platform payload Varying payloads
Main use of the platforms Façade work, balcony installation
Special extensions used
  • Sliding deck extension
  • All reach extension
  • Mast area covering bridge
  • Edge extension
  • Buffer assembly platforms
  • Ramp / walking platforms
  • Fixed extensions
Project timeline December 2017- October 2018 (expected)

Construction References

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