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. 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 soundproofing. Bick Group, a dealer for Tate Access Floor, has provided access floor solutions since the mid-1960s. Since converting a 49,000 sq ft 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. Due to this, access floor panels have a concentrated and rolling load rating. For example, Tate’s CCN1000 access floor panel can support a concentrated load of 800 lbs and a rolling load of 600 lbs.
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.”
The Hy-Brid Lifts PS-1030 scissor lift weighs 1,500 lbs with a rolling wheel load of 375 lbs per wheel. This is determined by dividing the total weight of the machine by the number of wheels. The 1,780 lb PS-1430 has a rolling load of 445 lbs per wheel and the 1,985 lb PS-1930 has a rolling load of 496.2 lbs. By comparison, other scissor lifts with similar platform heights can weigh up to 3,500 lbs with rolling loads of 875 lbs. All Hy-Brid Lifts Pro Series machines are well below the load rating of the Tate CCN1000 panel to ensure the flooring's integrity long after a project is completed.
Mahoney says Hy-Brid Lifts by Custom Equipment are the only scissor lifts he's 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 due to the New Madrid fault line. Specifically, buildings in the fault line's surrounding area enforce weight limitations for concrete floors. Alberici Constructors’ response to floor loading issues on the $230M St. Clare Health Center construction job in Fenton, MO, was simple: use lighter weight machines. Alberici specified that all subcontractors use either rolling baker scaffolds or Hy-Brid Lifts by Custom Equipment scissor lifts to put in ceilings and finish walls.
More than 50 of Midwest Aerials & Equipment’s 200 Hy-Brid Lifts HB-1030 and HB-1430 scissor lifts were used by six different subcontractors at the peak of construction for the hospital campus. “It's not uncommon for 12 lifts to be on one floor,” says Linda Weber, St. Louis Sales Manager for Midwest Aerials & Equipment.
The St. Clare Health Center is the second hospital project for which Alberici has requested Hy-Brid Lifts. Not only are these units lightweight, but James McGuirk Jr., Project Superintendent for Alberici Constructors, says these units access jobsites well and easily move through doorways. McGuirk also says that the St. Clare Health Center is a lean construction job and the overhead was roughed in before the framing. According to McGuirk, lean construction can put a project ahead of schedule if done correctly. Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital—the other construction project that Alberici specified Hy-Brid Lifts—finished three months ahead of schedule following lean construction guidelines.