Happy Holidays at the Construction Site

Posted on December 17th, 2012

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By: MiaSci

On the surface, construction sites may look they change very slowly. But if you really know what’s going on, or if you just ask questions, really pay attention, or even just read the blog about the construction process (hint hint), you’d see that every day, little things change in what seems like the blink of an eye. In the panorama picture above, the  circular foundation for the planetarium section of the new Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is already clearly visible, as well as the bottom sections of the two cranes.These two cranes, shown in the photos below, have now been fully built. They will help in the next stages of building and will stay erected until nearly the last stages of construction. One of the cranes is higher than the other so as to help more with latter stages of building. The two cranes stand at roughly 230ft and 165ft, with the horizontal beams at about 205ft and 140ft respectively.

One of the fully erected cranes. For scale, you can see several people standing near the base.

A piece of equipment slides along the arm of the crane, which rotates to the desired drop-off point.



















If you’re wondering how heavy of a load the cranes can carry, the answer depends on where the load is carried on the crane’s horizontal arm. Think about how much weight you could carry on your arm if you held it out horizontally. How much could you carry if the weight was near your shoulder? How much could you carry if the weight was out near your fingertips? They are probably very different answers. For the cranes, if the load is close to the central vertical part, it can hold an amazing 20,000 pounds. If the load is carried far out on the end of the arm, the limit is much lower – around 2,000 pounds.

Safety is also the number one priority on the construction site. Construction workers are dealing with massively heavy structural pieces, as well as equipment and machinery with a lot of moving parts, while at times standing on top of a partially built structure. So workers are often harnessed to cables tethered between two stabilized structures (kind of like a zipline), so that they can securely move while they work.

For safety, the worker here is tethered to a cable between two structural columns.

While always keeping safety in mind, millions of tiny details need to be kept at the forefront of everyone’s minds. For example, the structural columns that are distributed throughout the building and parking garage need to be of a specified smoothness, with a limited number of air holes (or “bug holes,” in construction-speak), as determined by Museum management and the architects. A few sample columns have been made, and they serve as a reference point for all the others. In the photo below, anyone could appreciate the high standards to which this building process is subjected. One column is satisfactory, the other is not. The difference between the two? A few extra bug holes.

The mock-up structural column on the left is not satisfactory, due to the large number of air holes; the one on the right is a model for what the rest of the columns should look like.


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