Conventional wisdom would tell you that you would wait until the end to start building the roof of your high rise condo, but Upbrella Construction in Canada doesn’t follow the rules of conventional wisdom, apparently. The reasons behind their unusual building process are very intriguing, however.
The Upbrella construction method, developed by 3L Innogenie, based in Montreal, Canada, is currently being used on a 10 story condominium in Montreal, which is set to be completed by July 1st, 2016. As you’ll see in the video below, it looks like a normal construction video, until you realize the crews were building the roof first and then lifting it up to build the consecutive floors underneath.
To build the building, the roof structure is completed directly on the foundation. When the roof is completed, it can be lifted with the company’s patented lifting mechanism and a reinforced canvas is dropped down to seal the building and keep weather out. The hoist is also installed as part of the system, which adjusts in height as the building does and allows for materials to be lifted from ground to floors.
The process may seem silly at first, but it has a handful of potential benefits:
- Eliminates exterior scaffolding on tight construction spaces
- Bad weather does not cause delay due to site being covered
- The size and height of the building can be adjusted much later in the process
With a sort of recent urban revival, contractors are being tasked with building many more downtown buildings with tight lay down yards and, sometimes, being forced to close traffic lanes to complete their job. Closing roads and creating traffic nightmares is no way to make friends.
One of the biggest headaches of any construction project is protecting building materials from the exterior elements. It’s a happy day when the roof goes on and interior finishes can start. With the roof built first, though, interior finishes can be more tightly staggered and the fear of a job site shutting down due to wet or cold conditions nearly disappears. More comfortable employees mean more productive employees.
Banks can be very tentative to give out large, risky loans, which the construction industry has been hard by in the past decade. Upbrella flaunts the fact that their system can be adjusted as the market allows, which means the developer can stop at a certain floor if the housing market tanks in the middle of the project. The building can then be finished, rented out, and even have more levels added after the building is occupied. That’s a cool idea on the building side, but I’m not so sure I would feel great about living in a building that’s being raised 10 feet at a time.
The first video is a real quick, 22 second glimpse at the project. Scroll down past to see a longer 5 minute version and a video of how the system works.
5 Minute extended time lapse
How Upbrella Works
Buildings are demolished all the time in order to make way for new construction. The buildings that are demolished have usually lived out their useful life and are no longer functional. Recently a demolition video resurfaced, which shows a 27 story building in China being imploded. The strange thing is that, since it was finished in 1999, the building had never even been used.
There are a lot of people that would be pretty unhappy with whoever tears down a 98 foot tall, 105 year old tree to make room for a building expansion. In order for most projects to work financially, however, many trees are uprooted and replaced with smaller trees. That’s not what happened with what is believed to be the state of Idaho’s largest sequoia tree, however.
As recently highlighted by several multi-story building fires, contractors should always be prepared in the event a fire starts on a job site. There have been dozens multi-story building fires in the past few years and many were started when the building was topped out. In most cases, the project was completely destroyed, leaving developers and owners to deal with years of delays from insurance claims. A massive five-alarm fire at an Oakland construction site is one of the more recent examples.
Two construction workers in Sarasota, Florida were recently trapped 15 stories in the air after one of the lines on their suspended scaffolding snapped. One of the two men was able to be pulled to safety by some co-workers on site, but the second was stuck on the scaffold for an hour before the fire department could rescue him.
Since it opened its doors in 2010, the Burj Khalifa has been the world’s tallest building, one of the most coveted titles in all of the construction industry. If all goes according to plan, the Burj’s reign at the top will come to an end when Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Tower is completed in 2020.
A nearby office worker caught video of a dramatic demolition that showed the remains of an 11 story building collapse on top of the excavator performing the demolition.
Strange things are found on job sites across the globe all the time. We’ve shared plenty of stories in the past about the odd things construction workers have discovered, like human remains, 200,000 year old mammoth bones, ancient roman treasure, and more. When contractors dig in the dirt, there’s always a chance of uncovering history. Sometimes, though, the things found can be extremely dangerous.
In order to get the bad taste of last week’s botched demolition, in which an adjacent building also got destroyed in the process, we needed to share a highly successful one. Priestly Demolition, a Canadian demolition contractor, has been the subject of our articles in the past and the company has even won awards for the best demolition in the world.
While placing concrete on the second floor of a future seven-story mixed use building in Oakland, California, the concrete forms suddenly gave way, sending around 20 workers 10 to 15 feet below with the wet concrete. News reports explain the job site went into a panic, understandably so, and co-workers rushed to the scene to help.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.