Shopping Centre

Mobility: Nationwide truck-mounted boom at Urbis

Access all areas

Published:  01 June, 2004

A new generation of access machines has risen to the challenge

Recent shopping centres illustrate a renewed focus on architecture and image. Dramatic constructions like the Bullring Birmingham are a far cry from early examples of retail destinations, which lack the space, light and height of modern malls. What does this mean for those who have to maintain and clean the buildings? Often, there is not only additional height to consider, but unusual interiors or different materials to look after.

At Bullring, the retail area fluctuates from ground to basement and first-floor levels, which may prove difficult if urgent maintenance is needed. The roof is constructed from glass panels to allow in maximum levels of natural light.

But as centres have become more user-friendly and appealing to the eye, the development of technology for access machines has also adapted. Machines have been developed not only to reach greater heights, but also to navigate narrow passageways at the same time, or to travel down or up slopes while accessing high levels.

The specialist contractor for the Urbis building in Manchester opted for a powered-access solution provided by Nationwide (01455 206719). The company carries out quarterly cleaning of the 2,200 glazed panels on the six-storey building.

Nationwide uses its truck-mounted booms from its Skylift fleet, which can provide 35m and 50m working height platforms. The decision was apparently greatly influenced by the ability to move the booms on, around and off the city-centre site quickly and efficiently and for them to be operational within minutes of their arrival. Another consideration was truck-mounts’ outreach capabilities, which enable the work platform to reach over pavements and other obstacles.

Another company that can provide a range of machines to suit different requirements is Access Platforms (01865 373566). The company can offer The Spider, which is a machine based on more than 40 years of development and manufacture of aerial work platforms.

The Spider is produced in working heights from 14m to 55m, which is apparently the highest compact platform in the world. All models are designed for maintenance work in tall buildings with narrow access and limited floor space.

UK-based powered access rental company Panther Platform Rentals (01582 842200) is relocating its Birmingham branch to a larger depot, in order to accommodate its expansion.

Additional staff have been recruited and an extra delivery vehicle has been purchased for the larger site.

“The new facilities are excellent,” comments Dave Williams, Panthers Birmingham branch manager. “Having the larger premises enables us to offer on-site IPAF training facilities as well as expand our fleet of truck mounts, all part of our ongoing commitment to service,” he adds.