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Colorado State Capitol Building Exterior Renovation Scaffolding

Overview:
Constructed during the early 1890s and opened in 1894, the Colorado State Capitol in Denver features a distinctive gold dome that commemorates the state’s gold rush. Constructed of cast iron and copper cladding, the dome was gilded with 200 ounces of 24-karat gold donated by miners in 1908.

Weather – chiefly the state’s intense freeze-thaw cycle – has damaged the iron columns, railings and facades of the dome. The observation deck has been closed to all visitors since 2007 due to the danger of falling cast iron. The structural metal fasteners holding the enclosure together has been cited by experts as a significant hazard to the building and its occupants.

Objective:
Provide work access to the dome’s exterior surfaces as part of an estimated $17 million renovation that includes lead abatement, structural repairs, gilding, window replacement and repainting.

Solution:
Brock Services, LLC (BSL) erected a scaffold system that rests directly on the capitol’s roof. An intricate web of aluminum beams, some cantilevered from the inner core, transfers the load of nearly 783,500 pounds of scaffold material to specific rooftop locations, as mandated by third-party engineers. By enclosing the scaffold structure with shrink wrap, BSL provided an all-seasons worksite.

Because there are no dimensional drawings of the capitol building, BSL relied on a linen cloth building layout from the late 1800s to design the scaffold system, which was field engineered as it was erected.

Evaluation:
Despite roof loading, weather and elevation challenges, the scaffold was safely erected to full height – 146 feet from the roof to the top of the dome – without a safety incident or damage to the dome structure.

 

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