Using mast climbers to build by water

How work platforms supported speedy Canary Wharf development

Gaining access to buildings in tight spaces or challenging locations requires modern methods and expert planning.

Working in busy city centre locations or over water is made possible by modern methods of construction – from off-site methods to on-site solutions like mast climbers.

Mast Climbing Work Platforms (MCWPs) – commonly referred to as mast climbers – are alternatives to scaffolding which offer access, safety and cost benefits. These mast-mounted, elevated platforms are installed perpendicular to a building, travelling up and down its structure or facades to grant safe, stable access for workers.

They are able to handle heavy loads and travel freely up high-rise developments, moving materials and workers easily. With a powered drive unit, they allow operatives to position the platform precisely to aid trades, and as spacious platforms, rather than enclosed spaces, they grant flexibility in use.

Able to be used both in isolation or alongside scaffolding, mast climbers can also be quickly installed and dismantled to offer time and labour saving benefits.

Mast climbers are increasingly being used as a safer, more flexible and convenient alternative to scaffolding, cranes or staging. And in certain locations they can grant access where other solutions are unable.

Mast climbers in action – Wood Wharf

Utilising mast climbers allowed us to safely install structural steel for the development of an ‘aparthotel’ in London’s Canary Wharf. The plot sits beside the Blackwall Basin, meaning one side of the new building is over water.

This challenging location of the Wood Wharf development meant mast climbers were an ideal solution. We installed four work platforms – two projected out over the water and one apiece by the East and West sides of the building.

With these in place we were able to have the pre-assembled frame – eight tonnes of structural steel – safely lifted into place by cranes. The mast climbers overcame the challenge of granting access the building’s core from the waterside.

Developers behind the 21-storey building, Wood Wharf, are intending to have the project complete in little over 12 months, using off-site construction methods – modern methods of construction (MMC) – to achieve this.

Mast climbers support MMC, allowing precise planning of the time required for installation and removal and programme sequencing for trades using them to access facades.

Working in urban locations and to tight deadlines requires understanding, experience and expert planning. Elland Steel are experts in delivering complex structural steel projects. Contact us today for advice or guidance on your projects.


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