Mast climbing work platforms: why they are essential tools

By Lindsey Anderson09 November 2021

Stucco and Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) applications on high-rise structures were transformed by the use of mast climbing work platforms (MCWPs) in the 1990s, and they are still a critical aspect.

Exterior insulation and finish systems used for stucco work.

The Stucco and EIFS industry require a number of key attributes from MCWPs to maximize productivity and profit.

Speed, flexibility and the benefits of a workshop in the sky

The transformational benefits of MCWP equipment for use in the stucco and EIFS industry is in fact a combination of three product features:

Speed – Many MCWPs used in the stucco and EIFS industry have a travel speed between 30-40 feet per minute providing personnel with the ability to achieve vast elevation coverage from a single moving work platform. At these speeds, the MCWP units will lift up to 8,000 pounds on a single mast unit and up to 13,000 pounds on a twin mast unit. This combination of speed and capacity has a huge positive effect on productivity and quality. The platform size and capacity also mean that modern application equipment can be easily placed in the platform to travel with the workers, and there is plenty of room in the working platform to move equipment and materials around easily.

Extensive elevation coverage – The combination of length and speed creates the ability for workers to access thousands of square feet from a stable, automated working surface.

Flexibility – MCWPs can be configured to follow the contours of the working face. Planking can be used to extend the front edge of the platform into step-backs, voids, and contours on the structure which positions workers right where they need to be for maximum productivity. Additionally, this ability to follow the building shape means that potential fall hazards can be addressed and the workforce is working productively in an ‘enclosed’ platform.

Exterior insulation and finish systems used for control tower work.

Any work at height requires increased emphasis on safety, safe working practice and fall prevention measures. There is an importance balance between productivity and safety that needs to be established. MCWPs have contributed hugely to increased safety when working at height, and the stucco and EIFS industry is a prime example.

Productivity and quality rely on skill, speed, and high levels of concentration and focus. MCWPs provide huge, stable, enclosed working platforms where workers can concentrate on the job at hand in the knowledge that they are protected from falls by the platform guardrails, and by the platform’s stability and security.

The ultimate mobile workshop at height

The benefits of a true ‘workshop in the sky’ are significant to the success of the project. And for the stucco and EIFS contractor, there are additional MCWP options which can produce amazing productivity and quality gains.

Weather protection – Providing protection against wind and rain increases productivity and additionally, with the introduction of portable heaters in the enclosed platform, workers are in a comfortable environment in inclement weather, keeping the job moving along. Critically, this weather protection system with heaters can maintain curing temperatures.

Overhead protection – Job-specific conditions may require protection from the possibility of falling objects. MCWP manufacturers have developed overhead protection systems for their products, further protecting workers and facilitating continued productivity in a safe working environment.

Additional protection can be attached under the platform to catch falling materials.

Material hoist – An optional material hoist can be used on the MCWP platform to bring materials up to the workers without having to bring the MCWP down to ground with the subsequent loss of continuity and productivity.

Expert advice and support

MCWPs can bring huge benefits to the stucco and EIFS industry, but good planning, installation and safety are vital to the success of the project. Contractors should take the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with a local rental company or manufacturer dealer to fully benefit from all that use of MCWP equipment can offer to the project, to safety and to profit.

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