Brian Micklethwait's Blog

In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Thursday January 17 2013

imageYesterday I posted a short photo-piece at Samizdata about the Vauxhall helicopter crash, but had difficulty with the photos.  Not having posted any photos on Samizdata for about a month, I had to rediscover how to do it.  I am definitely not going to be switching to Wordpress here any time very soon.  Although, come to think of it, maybe I will switch soonish, if only to be able to practice posting photos on Wordpress, here.  Given that here I allow myself to do any damn fool thing I feel like doing.  Like not post anything for a week, for no good reason.

So anyway, here is a photo (a slice out of the photo I did post at Samizdata) which I tried to post at Samizdata yesterday, late last night, but got in a muddle with and gave up on.  Now, I will embed a link to this, from there.

The problem with photoing this ruined crane is, for me, getting into a good position.  This was the best shot I could get yesterday, given that I was in a hurry because of fading light.  What I may now try is photoing it from one of the platforms of Vauxhall Station, which is the other side of the crane from where I was yesterday.  Station platforms being long, you can move back and forth until you get the best shot.  Today looks like nice weather, so maybe I’ll try that this afternoon.

I need more text here, to fit the photo into this posting without it bashing into the previous posting.  So, what else to say about this?

Well, one thing I can say is that I am extremely curious about how they will sort this out.  I guessed in my Samizdata piece that it will be a while before they get around to sorting out this crane, because on the ground they have other things to sort out, involving thousands of commuters going to and fro every day, on the road onto which the stricken helicopter fell, spreading flames everywhere.  The builders will just not be first in the queue.  The builders will be needing the road when they bring in whatever other cranes they need, to remove the ruined crane, and to put up another crane, so I’m guessing they’ll have to wait until the road is sorted and back in business.

Plus, do they mend the crane, or replace it?  Does anyone kinow what the routine is for fixing a crane in this state, on a site like this one?  As I understand it, the entire tower-building job depends on that crane, and now the entire job comes to a shuddering halt, until they can get that crane mended, or another crane into that same spot.  Heaven knows what that delay will cost, per hour.

I hope I get really lucky and get to photo them sorting this out, but am not optimistic.  Building contractors are not in the habit of drawing attention to themselves when they are busy building.  They just want to be left alone to get on with it.  The press-releasing, attention-grabbing phase only gets under way when the building is good and finished.

That ought to be enough text.

My guess is that they are not going to want to risk continuing to use a crane that has been damaged and weakened in unpredictable ways, even after ad hoc repairs. So I would think they will need to take it down and replace it with a different crane.

All horrendously expensive, no doubt. I hope the owner of the helicopter had good third party insurance.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 17 January 2013

Plus, do they mend the crane, or replace it?

Replace, for sure.  Cranes need to be periodically inspected and certified, this would need to be completely dismantled and reinspected before it could be used.

Does anyone kinow what the routine is for fixing a crane in this state, on a site like this one?

At a guess: ascertain whether the tower structure is stable, if so send rope access personnel up to inspect the damage and start the repair.  Secure with chains or ropes any parts which look as though they are about to fall off, and then start cutting the rest into small bits and lowering it down.  The hardest part will be the concrete counterweights, not sure how they’ll manage that.  They might bring a chopper in at some point.  Whatever happens, you can expect rope access personnel to be making some decent money of this job.

It is possible that they’ll erect a second crane on another part of the building to do the job, it will all depend on the results of the initial inspection.  Engineers generally love working on stuff like this.

Posted by Tim Newman on 17 January 2013

I hope the owner of the helicopter had good third party insurance.

Unless there were no lights on the crane or tower.  It is a new tower after all, and a crane is a temporary structure.

Posted by Tim Newman on 17 January 2013

They might bring a chopper in at some point.

Presumably the pilot assigned this job will be very careful indeed.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 17 January 2013

Brian--I really like this shot.  You say it’s cropped from the #1 on Samizdata?  I love the linearity of it--mostly the strong verticals, but with the complexes of cells made up by the horizontals; yet the thing is not boringly regular.  For instance, those box-looking things on the sides up above the last set of trusses.  It’s really hard to put it into words, go look at the picture.  *g*

Also the coloring is perfect.  :>)

Posted by Julie near Chicago on 18 January 2013

Cropped and also slightly rotated, to get the crane vertical.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 18 January 2013
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