It seems unimaginable, but this is the typical day in the life of this team of experts hired to maintain the iconic Elizabeth Tower, better known as the Big Ben.
A team of experts has begun a job that requires a head for heights and the ability to keep a close eye on the clock at one of Britain’s most famous landmarks. The specialists abseiled by rope to clean and inspect the faces of the Great Clock at the Palace of Westminster, and they wear ear defenders to protect their hearing from the chimes of Big Ben. A working week has been set aside for the job, one day for each of the four clock faces, with a contingency day in case the weather makes it too risky to work on the 95.7 metre high Elizabeth Tower. There are steel girders and lintels to support the tower, with copper clock hand that have been frozen in place to avoid injuring the cleaners.
This prompts memories of the photograph of eleven men eating lunch, seated on a steel girder with their feet dangling 256 meters (840 feet) above the New York City streets without harnesses. The Daily Mail recently reported that, although the models were real workers, the moment was staged by the Rockefeller Center to promote their new skyscraper 80 years ago. Nonetheless it was no mean feat.
Another daring act that I am sure required the same bravery would be the two Russian men Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov who scaled Shanghai Tower. The building is set to be completed in 2014 to be China’s tallest building at 632 metres (2073 feet), and the second tallest in the world. Shanghai tower used 25% less structural steel than a conventional design of a similar height. As a result, the building’s constructors are expected to save an estimated US $58 million in material costs. In an interview, Vadim claims the ascent was ‘to see the city from an unusual angle’, as part of his photography, and not a feat to be proud of or to have repeated by others.
If you’re interested in these buildings or how they are made, why not check out our website, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Or you could try our new mobile app by scanning our QR code. Shanghai Metal manufactures value added steel products used when building skyscrapers. As Stainless Steel Industry Professionals, we take pride in the manufacturing of those products which are held to such esteem in the architecture industry .
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Siobhan R.// SMC Editor