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.