By Thierry Lachapelle, Executive Vice President, AGF Access Group

Transport platforms (TPs) were created for the construction jobsite in the 1990s. Developed by scaffolding industry experts as a true “tool of the trade,” they are ideal for mid-level construction projects. TPs are a cost-effective alternative to personnel and material access systems, such as cranes, hoists, and elevators.

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@ Studio Graetz.com Britton_Place Ville Marie

TPs, such as those manufactured by Hydro Mobile, are similar in design to mast climbers. They have guarded platforms with integral access gates and guardrail systems, attach directly to the structure or building, and are designed to be used exclusively by trained personnel. They can be used from the beginning of the job to the end.

TPs transport equipment, material, and personnel from the ground to the desired height inside the building. They can travel up to 40 feet per minute - fast enough for excellent productivity, but easier to control than a traditional construction elevator thanks to a less sophisticated operating and drive system.

TPs are similar to a construction elevator, but different. On smaller projects, a construction elevator is overkill—too expensive for use on these projects and don’t provide operational benefits to justify the huge cost.

On small to medium projects, the workforce tends to be made up of specialist subcontractors, many of whom are scheduled sequentially with minimal overlap - keeping the day-to-day personnel numbers on the job at a low level. The ability to provide your own operators to run the platform as needed while being able to perform other tasks has played a role in allowing TPs to work within tight budget constraints.

The TP is usually capable of lifting personnel to only 50 percent of its capacity, with capacity typically around 4,000 lbs. This is important because the combination of capacity reduction, live load reduction, and reduced speed offer important benefits. Load reduction means no requirement for a reinforced concrete pad below the chassis, the tie-backs require less robust anchoring, and the drive system is less sophisticated; benefits like these reduce complexity and cost. Additionally, most TPs can be used as material-only units. Personnel/material hoists don’t have this ability.

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TPs are also a safer option. They allow for the expedited loading of an entire building and removing debris without having to designate an operator at the controls full time. The unit’s frequency of use doesn’t typically require a full-time operator, which means that everyone who uses it has to be trained, with many trained as an operator. This helps ensure safe operation by all users. Most rental companies provide free training.

Using a TP for only two days a week will allow a general contractor to break even. Not only is that a good cost saving measure, it also creates a revenue stream. It also allows the general contractor the possibility to propose hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly rental solutions to his subcontractors.

The Massaro Company from Pittsburgh, PA found that the cost benefit of utilizing TPs saved them nearly 50% in rental fees. Once trained, they were also able to operate the unit with their own personnel. The unit went on to serve their 10-story, 180-room hotel project without issue for 10 months.

TPs are a huge benefit to general contractors. They are an excellent vertical transportation option that puts both people and materials into place with maximum efficiency and safety. They are available through rental stores such as Hydro Rents in the US or AGF Access in Canada. For more information on the transport platform, please click here.