There’s no doubt that construction is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but there was a time when power tools and heavy construction machinery didn’t even exist. Even with those tools being absent on job sites, amazing structures were still built for thousands of years and with extremely intricate detail. SO how exactly did they do it? Tons of manpower and tons of time, something that many modern jobs don’t have the luxury of. Ignoring all of today’s modern conveniences, a group of French construction workers and other skilled tradesmen and women have teamed up to build an authentic 13th Century style castle.
The Guedelon Castle, located in Burgundy, France, has been under construction since 1997 and it’s still not expected to be complete until 2020. Even though the construction process is spread out over nearly 25 years, it’s an incredible feat to complete this project completely from scratch, with a team of on-site quarrymen, stonemasons, woodcutters, carpenters, blacksmiths, tile masons, and rope makers. That’s right, they even have to make their own tile and ropes; there aren’t any Home Depots available on this job. In total, the project employs 70 craftsmen, 40 of whom work on-site. Not all of those tradesmen came with years of experience, as many had to hone their skills in the field. In to the 70 the project employs, around 600 people spend time throughout the year learning the tricks of the trade.
In order to determine how the castles were actually built centuries ago, a team of achaeologists and historians examined illustrations on medieval manuscripts, financial records, and other 13th century castles that are still standing. Not only has this project been an extremely interesting experiment for today’s people to see with their own eyes how these structures were built, but it also helps researchers fill in the blanks on ancient construction methods.
When Michel Guyot, who owns and restores Saint-Fergeau Castle, originally thought of building this authentic 13th castle, many laughed at him, but he soon found a partner in Maryline Martin. The team worked for months planning and fundraising to make the project a reality. One year after construction started, in 1998, the site was opened to the public, so that visitors could see the amazing process. In 2015 alone, 300,000 people visited Geudelon Castle and the project is now completely funded by tourism.
This is an absolute must see if you ever happen to visit France.
In the video below, by Latvijas komanda, you’ll see some incredible footage of many of the processes, from hoisting large stones by hand with rope, to shaping stone and milling freshly cut timber. There’s even a human hamster wheel to help lift materials and supplies to the upper levels.
For some additional history of the project and even more details on the construction techniques, check out this video by La Culture du Vin
Construction sites can be a difficult place to work, for more than one reason. There are plenty of job site hazards to avoid on a normal project, but those issues are compounded when your co-workers are acting recklessly. As smartphones have become commonplace on site and in public, job site videos have also become increasingly available. Many of these videos below can raise awareness for how not to act, especially when heavy equipment is involved.
If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters, obviously. But, If there’s a large animal stuck in the ground, who ya gonna call? Construction workers. Earlier this year, construction workers were able to rescue a small deer that had gotten stuck in some pretty deep mud with an excavator, but just recently construction crews were called in to rescue a much more terrifying animal: a gigantic bear.
Last week, there was a giant hole in the middle of a Fukuoka, Japan street, spanning 98 feet long by 88 feet wide by 50 feet deep, due to underground subway work causing a sinkhole. Less than 7 days later, all the utility lines were repaired, the hole was filled, the asphalt laid, and the road is back open. It was a true testament to what a considerable amount of manpower and money can do in a short period of time.
One of the challenges with construction is determining how your work can and will affect the existing conditions surrounding your job site. That’s why it’s increasingly important to not only perform proper due diligence procedures, but also react to the findings. That, unfortunately, doesn’t always happen and could potentially be what caused a massive sinkhole in Fukuoka, Japan, last week.
There’s no doubt that Liebherr, the popular manufacturer of cranes used throughout the world, works on some of the coolest projects. Last year, the company shared a video of one of their cranes working 10,000 in the air on top of the Wetterstein Mountains, which also happens to be the highest point in Germany. They also created one of our favorite construction videos ever when they displayed one of their gigantic cranes lifting three other cranes at the same time. This time, Liebherr is showing off their swarm of 58 tower cranes gracing the skies of the new largest airport in the world in Istanbul.
Imagine working on a building for an entire year, only to come to your jobsite and find that it had burned to the ground. That was the reality for a construction crew in Oakland last week, when a massive five-alarm fire started overnight and completely destroyed all of their hard work.
We here at Construction Junkie headquarters enjoy a good demolition video. We’ve shared implosion videos, timelapse videos, and even demolition fails, but since our inception, we have yet to share a wrecking ball demolition video. Growing up, I thought my adult life was going to be littered with wrecking balls (and anvils, for that matter), because of all the cartoons I watched, but as our industry’s heavy machinery and explosives have become more precise, the need for wrecking balls has slowly diminished.
The SLJ900 was the 580 ton Chinese bridge girder erection machine that almost broke the internet in 2015. Videos of the massive piece of equipment have been viewed millions of times and the process has mesmerized viewers from across the globe. Now, the video has even prompted someone to build a working model of the machine.
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.