11 Brindley Place – ‘Smashing’ Success thanks to Insightuk

This week Insightuk’s Specialist Access Division received an urgent call out by its 11 Brindley Place customer, this prestigious building in Birmingham found two broken external glazing panels on its 5th floor, that were literally about to fall to the pedestrian area below.

The call was received by Insightuk at 8.00am on Wednesday 24th October and by 8.45 a full team of Insightuk’s Specialist Access engineers were onsite to control the situation and cordoned off a safe working area.

With its extensive teams of Level 3, 2 and 1 Abseil engineers situated throughout the UK, one of Insightuk’s Level 3 Rope Access Supervisors was on site to ‘take charge’.

Insightuk’s experienced abseilers were put into action straight away, having ‘kitted up’ and ‘connected up’ these professionals were abseiling down the facade of the building in record time. Two glass panels had completely shattered and had, what is known in the trade “bellied out”, this means that the glass panels were beginning to bulge and could fall out at any time, bursting shards of glass all over the busy street below.

All in a day’s work…right? Maybe, but with wind speeds increasing up to a recorded at 20 mph, Insightuk had to act fast.

The glass panels were so badly broken and the wind speed so high that the abseilers could not risk their own safety by attempting to remove the panels whilst ‘on the ropes and the panels were too far gone to make any sort of temporary repair.

Insightuk had to do something, this was about to become a Health and Safety risk, the glass was going to fall out all over the road and all over the footpath.

Fear not - Insightuk had the answer – time to call in the big guns.

Insightuk’s Specialist access engineers established that a very select Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) could withstand these wind speeds, could reach up 5 floors and could reach over the road to gain access to the glass. Michelle Adams, one of Insightuk’s Directors checked the charts and confirmed the MEWP would be on its limits, but it could be done safely.

Due to the position of the building, on one of Birmingham’s busiest main roads, the MEWP could only be positioned on the footpath and to gain access to the glass it would have to literally reach over the main road.

Insightuk needed authorisation from ‘Birmingham City Council Highways Department’ to close the Road and close the footpath……….. things just got interesting.

One call to Insightuk’s highly trained Helpdesk was all it took (seriously One Call). Insightuk’s helpdesk was amazing, ‘Birmingham City Council Highways Department’ was contacted and informed of the situation at 11 Brindley Place and after a little persuasion The Highways Team authorised Insightuk to proceed with the emergency closures, but stipulated that Insightuk supply adequate Safety Marshall’s to ensure the road and footpath were kept closed throughout the duration of works and that the public were suitably protected.

No problem for Insightuk, oh and just to make life a little more interesting Insightuk only has a 30-minute closure window….

45 minutes later and the MEWP was on site and positioned in a designated safe area ready to spring into action. Insightuk’s Technicians, Road Marshals and Operations Manager had arrived on site were all in position.

The Road was closed and the clock started, 30 minutes and counting…

The MEWP’s position would have been way too far away for any standard machine, but this MEWP was not standard, but things were close, as the MEWP began to extend its reach towards the panels everyone held their breath, no one more than Michelle Adams, if she had miss calculated by even a few centimetres the MEWP could miss its mark and be useless – all would be lost. When the engineers gave the thumbs up “perfect position” the sigh of relieve could be heard throughout.

Insightuk’s Technicians started to break out the glazing in small sections. Care had to be taken to ensure there was no damage or impact to the internal glazing panel that would be remaining in situ until the new panels could be installed.

20 minutes later and all the broken glass had been removed, the building remained watertight and secure and all with 10 minutes to spare.

The Road was thoroughly swept and free from glass and re-opened without delay. The overhead reception canopies on the neighbouring buildings were found to have glass shards from when the panels broke and so a deep clean was instigated by Insightuk’s Reach & Wash cleaning crew. The footpaths were swept to remove all signs of the broken glass and re-opened.

All in all, a complete success, but considering the resources that Insightuk needed to pull in, it makes you think how many other companies could have pulled this off so quickly and so professionally……

Update: Insightuk is currently having the new glazing panels made by the original manufacturer to ensure a perfect colour match. Given Insightuk’s performance removing the broken panels, we have no worries that the installation will go ahead smoothly and efficiently.

Well Done Insightuk !


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