WHY DO FLOOR LOADS MATTER?

Traditionally used in computer rooms and telecom facilities to distribute HVAC and wiring, access floors have gradually moved into office buildings, thanks to their long list of benefits.  A leader in manufacturing access floor panels, Tate Access Flooring provides panels made of welded steel that are filled internally with lightweight cement for strength and sound proofing.  Bick Group, a dealer for Tate Access Floor, has provided access floor solutions since the mid-1960s.  Since converting a 49,000-square-foot printing facility into its Gold-Level LEED-certified headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., Bick Group is not only a distributor of access floors but also a user.

Access floor panels are elevated to route power, wiring, and ductwork underneath, and they have a concentrated and a rolling load rating.  For example, Tate’s CCN1000 access floor panel can support a concentrated load of 800 pounds and a rolling load of 600 pounds.

A common question for Bick Group is which aerial work platforms are light enough to travel across access floor panels. “Invariably, it comes up in every meeting, ‘What can we put on this floor?’” Says Rick Mahoney, project manager and safety director for Bick Group. “You need a lightweight machine to ride on our floors - the lighter, the better.”

Hy-Brid Lifts PS-1030 scissor lift, weighs 1,500 pounds with a rolling wheel load of 375 pounds per wheels.  This is determined by dividing the total weight of the machine by the number of wheels.  The 1,780 pound PS-1430 has a rolling load of 445 pounds per wheel and the 1,985 pound PS-1930 has a rolling load of 496.2 pounds.  By comparison, other scissor lifts with similar platform heights can weigh up to 3,500 pounds with rolling loads of 875 pounds.  All Hy-Brid Lifts Pro Series machines are well below the load rating of the Tate CCN1000 panel.

Mahoney says Custom Equipment’s Hy-Brid scissor lifts are the only aerial work platforms he is aware of that fit within the rolling load capabilities of Tate access floor panels.

CONSIDERING ENVIRONMENTAL RESTRICTIONS

Structures in eastern Missouri follow earthquake construction parameters because of the New Madrid fault line.  Specifically, buildings have weight limitations on concrete floors.  On the $230 million SSM St. Clare Health Center construction job in Fenton, MO., Alberici Constructors’ response to the floor-loading issues on the hospital campus was simple: Use lighter weight machines.  Alberici specified that all sub-contractors use either rolling baker scaffolds or Custom Equipment’s Hy-Brid scissor lifts.

More than 50 of Midwest Aerials & Equipment’s 200 Custom Equipment Hy-Brid HB-1030 and HB-1430 scissor lifts were used by six different subcontractors at the peak of construction. “Its not uncommon for 12 lifts to be one one floor,” says Linda Weber, St. Louis sales manager for Midwest Aerials & Equipment.

St.Claire Health Center is the second hospital project for which Alberici has specked Custom Equipment Hy-Brid scissor lifts.  Not only are these units lightweight, but James McGuirk Jr., project superintendent for Alberici Constructors, says these units access the site well and easily move through doorways.  McGuirk says the St. Clare Health Center is a LEAN Construction job, and the overhead was roughed in before the framing.  Subcontractors are using the Hy-Brid Lifts to put in ceilings and finish the walls.

According to McGuirk, LEAN Construction can put a project ahead of schedule if it’s done correctly.  Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital - the other construction project that Alberici specified Hy-Brid Lifts - finished three months ahead of schedule.

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