Global-MSI has trialled a new canopy installation method at a Shell site at Fakenham in Norfolk.

The first stage of the canopy assembly proceeded as normal, but instead of lifting it into place using a crane and then finishing it off in situ, it was raised using hydraulic jacks.

This meant that the canopy could first be raised to two metres so that the undersheets could be fitted from ground level. It also allowed the electrical contractor to install his cabling and put the lighting in place from ground level as well as the fascias and Shell imaging being fixed in place.

When this was completed the canopy, which had been assembled around the columns, was lifted up to its full height of 4.5 metres, and the only work that was then needed was the patching around the columns.

Martin Steggles, managing director of Global-MSI, said the method had a number of advantages over conventional installation using a crane.

He estimated that it was about a third quicker because installing the undersheeting and the other specialist contractors working at ground level takes much less time than if everything has to be raised and installed at height.

He added: “It also takes the weather out of the equation. We can’t use a crane if it is too windy and this can be particularly a problem in the winter, but using the jacks is not weather dependent.”

The quicker completion produces cost savings, but there was no additional saving on the cost of hiring a crane however, as this was cancelled out by the cost of the hydraulic jacks.

The other benefit was from a health and safety aspect it reduced risk at the site, because the amount of work that had to be done at height had been greatly reduced.

Steggles said he was now evaluating the results of the trial to see if there were ways to refine the method and to reduce the cost further.

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