Platforms and platforms and platforms

The audit went really well, and after the first course, our platforms arrived. Took us about 4 days to build one over an existing room and another over the operations area, increasing the training footprint and still allowing operations to organize jobs and equipment underneath.

Liftsafe engineering did an amazing job designing them to fit like a glove to our existing structure and meeting our deadlines and needs .

Cellphone tower: check

Platforms: check

Horizontal and vertical aid climb stations: check

All ropes rigged: check

lets focus now on the classroom and office ;)

Fred Missick
Boxes and boxes and boxes...

As the facility was taking shape, all the equipment started arriving. Hundreds of anchors and many, many, many boxes of shiny, clean, beautiful, pristine rope access equipment.

Serializing, inspecting and adding everything to the registry is a time consuming process, although it is crucial for tracking and inspecting life safety equipment.

All we had to do was finish the construction, finish inputting all the new equipment and then pass the new training centre audit, again.

In the meantime, courses were being booked and everything was coming together. We were excited to show off the facility and have the first few waves of training sessions coming in as we still had more steel coming!

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Building it up!

With a good chunk of the structure in place the next two steps were installing the cellphone tower and mag drilling the anchors.

Big shout-out to Phoenix Broadcast! We got a decommissioned cellphone tower and had it inspected and engineered to fit our free standing structure. A brand new ladder was designed and welded as well as tie-in points to connect the cellphone tower to our steel. Once tower was up, we installed the DBI fall-arrest cable and, voila, ladder access to the structure was ready. And we got satelite dishes and antennas for hauling exercises!

Next step was fun. Planning, drilling and installing more than 130 throughout the ceiling I-Beams and the new steel was a big undertaking. All bolts were planned to be used in a specific way in training, so that re-anchors would be a certain distance, deviations a certain angle, rope transfers a certain distance, etc.

And then aallll the equipment started arriving. Inventory time…

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And the steel arrived...

And so the great day arriveth…

The beautiful, beautiful steel finally arrived. All trades work was finally dome and we could install the new steel in a well lit, insulated, heated and powered up facility!

After we unloaded 3 flat bed trucks full of steel and arranged them on the floor, we measured everything, marked on the floor where they would sit and began drilling. The holes in the concrete would house the epoxy and threaded rod to be used as anchors for all the steel.

Once they cured over night, we started playing I-Beam LEGO and bolted all the components together. They fit like a glove, a 2000 pound glove :)

Painting time!

With the drywall crews almost finished, HVAC flipped around and access to electricity, it was now time for surface prep and paint.

The unit used to be a fabrication shop and was covered with a couple decades worth of welding dust. After vacuuming, dusting the ceiling and the beams, we sanded them and cleaned them again.

We were then ready to start painting. First coat. Then second coat. Then third coat…

That included the big I-Beams, the ceiling, walls, new drywall, offices, bathrooms, kitchen, hallways. The combination of rolling/brushing and spraying kept us busy for a long time, but it finally started to look like a real training centre.

Let the trades begin!

That was it, RAM got flooded by workers. We went from rope techs to construction site managers, as we facilitated the work of a drywalling crew, electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians.

First came the electricians to completely re-wire the entire facility: from the junction box they overhauled a mumbo-jumbo of old useless wires dangling from the ceiling.

After walls were re-wired, came the god-sent drywallers. Multiple walls had to be re-framed, insulated and properly drywalled.

After the drywallers made some progress, we rolled in the plumbers, who had to work both in the main training area, kitchen and bathrooms. Our requests of where pipes could and could not run definitely made them scratch their heads, which also happened with the HVAC crew.

We had an existing heater in the unit. But the exhaust pipe was 6 feet too low, as it was previously anchored to the fake ceiling that got removed. It’s exhaust was also blocking our future platform location, so the entire gas heater had to be removed, deconstructed, flipped, raised and once the wall was cut through, reinstalled higher.

Things were starting to look better. We no longer needed generators and flood lighting, as now we had lights. Insulation was keeping the place slightly warmer and the heater was about to be turned on again.

Lots of progress, and a lot more to do…

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Planning time!

Once we knew what the existing structure looked like and we load ratings and measurements, we could finally doodle what we wanted to add to it.

After many many many iterations of planning custom steelwork with cellphone towers, horizontal, vertical and diagonal I- beams , platforms, ladders and stairs. We wanted a seamless integration with all the existing building structure when rigging for techniques like re-anchors, deviations, rope-to-rope transfers, hauling/lowering exercises etc. And we daydreamed about a lot of shiny and clean new steel in what was, at this point, a dusty construction site full of trades men and women doing what they do best.

Contact with fabricators and close consult with the training team finally enabled us to pick an incredible design that was simple but still gave us 3 structures: A free standing custom structure, two platforms and a cellphone tower.

Our design went to the engineers that put our doodle into an actual autocad structure and it went to fabrication… Check. Now it was time to go back to the dusty construction site again :)

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Fred MissickComment
Time to inspect what we found

After taking a deep breath, next thing to do was inspect and make sure all the existing structure was sound.

So we set out to measure, photograph, inspect and report everything to our engineers for their final approval. All welds, bolts and rivets were checked, the roof for the future equipment room, the leaks behind the insulation, the thickness of the concrete floor…

Once all the measurements and photos were checked by the engineer, we finally heard back: the structure is sound, floor in great, platform is solid and up-to-code…

Step one, breaking it all: Check!

Step two, inspecting: Check!

Now was time for the big one: Transforming this mess into a kick-ass Rope Access Training Centre. Now that we knew what we were working with, we could doodle how we wanted to training centre to look like…

All we had to do first is: rebuild the walls, insulate them, drywall, vacuum the ceiling and existing steel beams, redo the entire plumbing, move the heater and redo the HVAC, re-wire the entire place for electricity then install lighting, paint…..

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Demolition time....

Every story has a beginning, and ours, was breaking stuff… A LOT of stuff….

Our new home was subdivided into smaller nice little offices so, first order of business, was to destroy it all with sledgehammers so we can actually map out what was behind it, revealing that A LOT of work needed to be done: Complete electrical re-wiring, plumbing, heating and cooling, HVAC, framing, dry walling, painting, which is always fun to do on rope. Off rope, not so much :)

On top (literally) of all the work needed, it also revealed amazing 4 ft thick horizontal and vertical I-Beams as well as C-channels for a lot of cool rigging later on.

And, did we mention the fact that Canada has this little thing called SNOW AND ICE? Well, it does make moving heavy machinery and supplies harder. Also, working in a dark facility with no insulation or heat, not that fun either.

A lot of hard work, but our new home slowly started coming together…

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The times they are a-changing

This is the official kick-start of RAM’s new blog!

Here we will share news regarding Rope Access, post jobs when we require rope techs, share course and hangout sessions dates, shout-out to our incredible (not to mention smart) trainees and, in the meantime, have some fun with it all :)

We are very excited to finally share a lot of what has been happening here in RAM world. New home, new life.

Often, destruction is the first step to rebuilding and growing. We have a lot to share so strap in and follow us on this adventure of building our new home!