The creation of a new, iconic development in the heart of Manchester’s vibrant
student district has been aided with an innovative double-decked mechanical
access solution from Harsco Infrastructure.

Working with main contractor Shepherd Construction Ltd on the prestigious Student
Castle project, Harsco designed and supplied a bespoke system using solutions
from its range of construction access equipment to provide access to all
external elevations, allowing the architectural panels to be easily applied to
the 31-storey student accommodation block.

The Student Castle, which towers over Manchester Oxford Road rail station from its
Great Marlborough Street location, proved a complex building profile with
variations in height, projections and recesses. Harsco’s team proposed the use
of mast climbing work platforms to provide clear, unobstructed access to all
areas of the facade, while allowing the transport of materials to the working
area to be unimpeded.

Harsco installed a mix of single and double masted platforms in 17 positions around
the exterior of the building, with some reaching up to 100m in height. Of the
17 platforms, 6 were ‘double deck’, allowing two different operations to take
place simultaneously with two independent platforms on the same mast. Several
of the mast climbing work platforms installed were mounted on roof areas at
various points around the structure, requiring carefully engineered load-bearing
support structures.

The team innovated further, with the introduction of a unique safety gate system.
While most platform access solutions force the user to lower the whole platform
to base level to enter and exit the platform, Harsco’s system allowed the team
working on the Student Castle to access platforms from the upper
floors of the building. As a result, the Shepherd team reported improved
efficiency on the job thanks to increased speed of access to the working area.

Cameron Reid, UK Mechanical Access Director at Harsco, said: “We pride ourselves on
being able to provide innovative solutions to complex, interesting challenges
and feel that we delivered the ideal solution to the Student Castle brief. The
building is a unique design, meaning traditional access installations would
have been difficult to use. By working closely with our partners on site and
having a wide range of creative solutions open to us we designed and installed
a range of access solutions that proved successful.”