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
The NFL is a cash cow and nothing makes that more evident than the soaring costs to build the newest NFL stadiums. The past four stadiums to open were the Minnesota Vikings’ US Bank Stadium (watch timelapse here), the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium, the New York Jets/Giants’ MetLife Stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. All four surpassed $1 Billion in construction cost. The first stadium to open after the Millennium was the Cincinnati Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium, which only cost a miniscule (relatively) $455 million ($626 million in 2016 dollars) to build. The oldest stadium still in use by any NFL team is the Oakland Raiders’ Coliseum, which was completed in 1966 and cost $25.5 million ($186 million in 2016 dollars). That stadium also spent $200 million ($302 million in 2016 dollars) in renovations in 1995 and 1996. As you can see, dollars spent on NFL stadiums have increased significantly in the past few decades and there’s no end in sight.
Not all demolition videos can be implosions and that’s OK, because each type of demolition is its own art form. Sometimes contractors are bound by the constraints of the job, especially when located in an area with a large concentration of pedestrians and other public areas. That was the case for the construction site of the future One Vanderbilt Tower in New York City, which just completed the demolition of five different buildings covering an entire city block.
The number one goal on every construction site should be that all workers make it home safe at the end of the day. The sad reality is that hundreds of construction workers are killed on the job site every year. Last year, contractors were working on an indoor activity center for a high school in Argyle, Texas, when the 30 foot tall structure quickly collapsed, killing one man in the process.
Construction work can be a workout in and of itself many times. The hours are long, the tools and materials are heavy, but that’s not stopping a young worker in central China from adding some additional exercises to his daily routine.
The weight of dirt is serious business and the force it provides should not be underestimated. Depending on the moisture content, soil can weigh around 2,000 pounds per cubic yard. Many construction workers die each year from trench collapses due to improper shoring and benching techniques, but weight and force calculations are also extremely important in the design and construction of retaining walls.
It’s not often that a gigantic pack of construction vehicles are seen on the same site together, been when they do, it’s pretty memorizing. Some of our favorite construction videos of all time involve more machines than you would think could fit in one space, like this 10 hour demolition of a Canadian Overpass or this video of 116 excavators working side-by-side in China. Very few jobsites have the luxury of throwing a bunch of machines and labor on a project, but, if performed correctly, it can get a job done pretty quickly.
China builds infrastructure…and some of the world’s most impressive infrastructure, at that. While the United States’ latest grade for bridges, roads, and other transportation systems was a D+, China keeps plugging away on upgrades and new construction. Some scholars have started to question China’s spending on infrastructure, some going as far to say that it’s forcing itself into financial ruin, but, as of right now, there are no signs of slowing down.
Just because construction work happens every day, doesn’t make it any less thrilling of a job. Some people like to climb mountains, others like to climb building that are under construction and bridges that need maintained. Some people don’t like looking over balconies a few stories off the ground, yet many times construction and maintenance workers have to actually do work while dangling 500 feet up in the air.
There are people who spend their lives searching for Big Foot or the Lock Ness Monster, but sometimes humans only find legends when they’re not specifically looking for them. Reports have surfaced this week of a construction crew in Altamira, Para in Brazil which has apparently found the largest snake in history on their job site.
Last year, we shared a video of 6 Scottish high rise buildings that were imploded simultaneously, which was one of our favorite demolition videos of 2015. The problem, however, was that only 4 of them actually fell completely, causing delays as crews had to use high reach machinery to complete the job.