|Instead, they’ll be retaining the services of a “Cirque du Soleil-style” company that specialises in super-high tightrope walking.|
Heathrow Airport Needs Tightrope Walkers Just To Change Its Lightbulbs: Heathrow’s Terminal Five was designed to be a soaring, light-filled tribute to the wonders of flight. Five years into its life though, 60 per cent of its lightbulbs are burned out — because there’s been no safe or cost-effective way to change them. Now, officials say they’ve found a solution: acrobats.
According to The Telegraph, Heathrow officials began examining, uh, unusual alternatives to the issue after cherry pickers usually and other specialised machines used by electricians proved to be too expensive or simply unsafe. Instead, they’ll be retaining the services of a “Cirque du Soleil-style” company that specialises in super-high tightrope walking. More than 35m above the floor of the terminal, these acrobats will replace every single light bulb in the 120,000-bulb array that blankets architect Richard Rogers’ soaring ceiling.
It sounds like an extreme oversight: Didn’t anyone on the design team think about the damn lightbulbs? In fact, this is far from the first instance of architectural grandeur trumping practical issues. A whole industry has been born out of new structures that are difficult to keep clean: From the ceiling of Daniel Libeskind’s Denver Art Museum, which is rumoured to be impossible to clean, to a new breed of window washers who must use advanced mountaineering skills just to clean the façades of buildings like London’s Gherkin. But… tightrope walkers? That’s certainly a new high.
The major bulb replacement task is expected to take nearly four months and cost several million pounds, according to an email sent to staff from Vicki O’Brien, head of Heathrow customer service at British Airways. Sixty per cent of the 120,000 light bulbs at Terminal Five have blown yet not a single one has been changed since 2008, faced with “no viable way to replace them”, according to O’Brien. Various ways of replacing them have been investigated, including gondolas and high-level cherry pickers, none of which were deemed “practical or safe”. Following months of discussion, the airport has finally found a “safe and robust way to replace all of the light bulbs” using ‘Cirque du Soleil-style’ high-level rope work done by a specialist company. The airport plans to re-lamp the entire ceiling of the departures concourse with environmentally-friendly LED (light emitting diodes) bulbs that will last up to five years, according to a spokesman for Heathrow.
The first first lower level Solution: Utilising a waterfed pole for the lower lights with correct risk assessment & method statement & preferably done at night with less foot traffic & cordoned off areas. Both products made by Unger.
Left: Light bulb changing fingers are two thirds coated with rubber providing excellent turning power and ease of inserting bulbs. Adjusts onto various shaped bulbs. Attaches easily to Unger poles. From the window cleaning warehouse UK.
Unger Flood Sucker Bulb Changer: Change recessed flood lights and light bulbs 300 watts & larger quickly and easily. This patented, insulated tool features 6 suction cups and replaces flat, beveled and round bulbs. From window cleaning resource.
Or failing that...
|The diesel and battery bi-energy power pack makes the lift suitable for indoors or outside work. It doesn’t have to be plugged into a mains electric supply, saving set-up time and the requirement for extension cables.”|
Paramount introduces Omme: UK-based Paramount Platforms has taken delivery of its first Omme tracked platform. The Omme Lift 3700 RJ has a 37 m compact, telescopic boom mounted on a crawler chassis with an outreach of up to 14 m. It has a 130° fly-jib jib, 180° platform rotation and a safe working load of 250kg, sufficient for two people with tools.
The diesel and battery bi-energy power pack makes the lift suitable for indoors or outside work. Designed to be compact, it has a 1.98 m stowed height and 7.78 m stowed length, while its 1.5 m width can be retracted hydraulically to 1.10m. Lee Kerr of Paramount Platforms said: “It is a very versatile machine, in particular the dual power train so it can work on the diesel engine outdoors and battery power indoors. And unlike its competitors it doesn’t have to be plugged into a mains electric supply, saving set-up time and the requirement for extension cables.”
Paramount’s first Omme will be used in telecommunications and for commercial window cleaning where narrow access is a challenge. The Chelmsford-based company purchased the lift from Access Platform Sales (APS), the official UK distributor for Omme products. Additionally Paramount has invested in a new Hinowa 20.10 tracked lift, adding to its existing fleet of products from the Italian manufacturer. APS is also the exclusive UK distributor for Hinowa tracked products. The company also recently took delivery of a 34 m Bronto truck-mounted boom and it has a Niftylift HR28 on order from APS.
Thanks Heathrow... that'll be million quid please. And if you still don't know how to do it.. please call me for the technicalities!