This month, Derren and his team have been working alongside Integral Cradles to drill 600 holes for their latest project. Integral Cradles (or I.Cradles, for short) make façade access equipment for new buildings, refurbishments and ongoing exterior maintenance. They’re industry leaders in facade access, having designed and installed the bespoke facade access system for The Gerkin (now an iconic part of London’s skyline) and The Cheesegrater which was designed by the prestigious Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
I. Cradles have been installing access cradles to a new luxury apartment building in London this month, with the help of the Castle & Pryor team. So the maintenance team can navigate the building’s facade safely, and the residents can have clean windows!
Facade cradles are attached to the building’s exterior using davits. The davits are secured by solid threaded bars which are fitted into 180mm deep holes. Each hole must be drilled with exacting precision and rigorously pull-tested, to guarantee that the fittings can easily stand up to the crane's load. And - most importantly - that everyone using the cradle can carry out their work safely.
We drilled about 600 holes in the slabs around the perimeter of the building. Each at around 180mm deep with a 28mm diameter. Next, we secured the threaded bars in place using a special, super strong Hilti resin HY 200A. These davits are responsible for keeping workers safe when they’re carrying out maintenance work on the building’s facade - so there are no shortcuts. Once fitted, each bar is pull-tested ready for the davits to be secured and to hold the crane in place.
We used a combination of percussion drilling, hand held diamond drilling and a mini-rig/diamond drilling bit-combination. Percussion drilling is ideal for getting holes started but if we hit steel - it’s time to break out the diamond drills!
I. Cradles needed about 600 holes drilled into slabs surrounding the outer facade of the building. That’s four holes to each pad. But not all of the slabs are a uniform depth; each hole has to be checked individually to ensure minimum anchor embedment.
We also had to watch out for tension bars. If we touched a tension bar whilst drilling, we had to go back and reposition the holes. Even if a hole is 1mm too shallow - it has to be re-drilled. It’s real precision stuff!
The maintenance team at this new, luxury apartment block can carry out their work safely. All the fixings have been embedded to a safe depth and each fitting individually tested. So we know it will be safe for the teams going up in the cranes. And the new residents can have clean windows!
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