High-Rise Boom Equipment

High-Rise Boom Equipment Used For Cleaning And Repairs

Back in the day when their windows could still open, skyscraper facades were definitely easier and simpler to clean. In fact, the whole of idea of facade cleaning before 1950 really just meant window washing. A dedicated team of laborers would get strapped into their leather harnesses and then hook up to the sides of the windows of skyscrapers in order to do their work. Even though they stood on rather tiny window ledges, they felt like they were safe, because if one of the hooks failed, they’d still have the other one left to dangle from.

highrise and boom eqmt

In the 1950s we saw the advent of glass curtain wall buildings being constructed, meaning that windows were now essentially the facade of the building. Given how this facade would be fixed in place and couldn’t open, then access for window washing now had to come from the exterior, and that made things a whole lot more complicated. In order to let window cleaners have outside access, buildings needed flat roofs so that window-washing equipment could be accommodated, either mobile or fixed. Many different mechanisms saw development in order that window-washing platforms might be suspended on tracks or rails on the building roof so that they could move up and down as an operator decided.

When window-washing techniques got more advanced, it was possible for glass curtain wall structures to get away from the requirement of having a flat roof. Multiple recesses and slopes, which were very prominent in designs of the 1900s – 1930s, such as the Empire State Building or the Chrysler Building, started showing up again in the skyscraper designs near the end of the 20th century. In order to serve such buildings, many new kinds of facade-access equipment saw development, including things like arms that might act as potential supports for doing things like hoisting and window-washing. Today, window washing is still at the core of any structure’s regular maintenance routine. The majority of windows get washed two times a year, although lobby entrances and ground-level retail spaces might be done a lot more frequently. Most of this work is still done manually, but of course, there is experimentation with automation and cleaning robots, especially in Europe and across the Middle East. These often rely not on guardrails but on vacuum-powered suckers to attach to the buildings they work on.


These are designed specifically for high-rise structures. A good boom system can let workers have total maintenance access to the facade without having to put anything together or take it apart on the roof.

window cleaner on boom

Davit Carriages

A powered davit carriage unit saves crew members from having to move portable davits, which is quite a labor-intensive activity. Just like a standard davit system, it’s possible to lower the mast out of view.

davit carriage

Portable Davits

Portable davit masts might honestly be one of the more affordable solutions for facade access. These can move between any fixed davit bases that are pre positioned. They can also get lowered out of visual sight when they’re not in use.

Portable Davit Equipment

Bosun Chair

A single cleaner can use a powered bosun chair, and he or she can typically operate from thing from the very chair itself.

high rise window cleaner in a Bosun Chair


Accessing the sides of any skyscraper is crucial, and that’s not just for doing things like high rise window washing. It’s also essential for metal cleaning, hoisting up replacement panels, and inspecting the conditions of curtain walls. Buildings that have straight sides will typically provide this access courtesy of a rig mechanism which gets anchored to the roof and is capable of moving up and down with ease.

Here’s a video of a local GTA crew and some of their equipment used for high rise window cleaning and exterior repair …

On the other hand, a growing number of skyscrapers, especially GTA Toronto area, don’t have straight sides all the time, if any, and they distinguish themselves by using twisting curtain walls or by having multiple setbacks. As a consequence, building designers need to pick a certain facade access technology, and typically at a very early design stage, so that they have something that is going to work in conjunction with the distinct geometry of their building.

The building in the above picture illustrates the complexity of this rather well. Given how the tower has a multitude of setbacks, it wouldn’t be much use having traditional window-washing systems in place. Rather, there are telescoping booms coming out of hidden panels placed close to the top of the building, and they extend as far as is necessary to let each cleaning rig get access to the levels protruding out down below.

The Excavator and Archaeology

Archaeological Excavation

Archaeology is a perennially popular subject for fictional stories, but a thrilling plot doesn’t usually have much use for fiddly details like fundraising drives. Indiana Jones has to hurry because he has to beat the Nazis to the treasure – not because his funding runs out in a few short weeks. Real-world archaeologists love a good story as much of the rest of us, and they’d love to be involved in a high-stakes life-or-death adventure. When it comes to the realities of their jobs, though, funding is the dominant factor that dictates the pace of their work.

How Long Does It Take?

The amount of time needed to excavate a particular dig site depends more than anything else on the financial resources available to the dig team. In an ideal world, the diggers would be working around the clock. Science, like every other skilled profession, costs money. In the overwhelming majority of archaeological excavations, the details of funding the work have to be worked out before the first shovelful of earth is moved. Surprisingly, the budget allotted to a dig may end up setting the schedule completely.

A generous budget would give the dig team the time and tools they need to unearth everything of scientific interest on the site. Outside of treasure-hunting movies, archaeologists are rarely after a single precious artifact. Dig sites are often picked out because they present good odds of yielding up lots of interesting items. This is not to say that real life NEVER works like the movies. On rare occasions, an archaeological dig is directed toward finding a single item. In these cases, the archaeologists pray for sufficient funding to cover the amount of time required to find it.

Here is a very general timeline illustrating how an archaeological dig is put together.

It starts with an interested archaeologist who targets a specific site for investigation. How she gets the funding to get there and start digging depends on where she works. Some archaeologists work for museums or universities; others are freelancers. Archaeologists working for institutions often have access to dig funding through their institution’s budget or via grant programs.

The University of Pittsburgh, for instance, receives 10 grants worth $8,000 each every year from the Heinz Grant Program for Latin American Archaeology. If you were a researcher working at Pitt, you’d be able to apply for one of the Heinz grants. Site selection, grant size, and dig time all influence each other significantly. If you’re interested in a nearby Native American site, one of those grants could cover two months of digging. If it’s Egypt that interests you, the same funding may only cover a week on your site. Sometimes you can set up an open-ended dig, but you’d need to get your funding through a deep-pocketed organization.

excavated land site

The amount of prior work done on your site also matters a great deal. Breaking ground on a brand-new site is always slower and more costly than reopening an existing excavation. Remember that archaeological excavation is very different from, say, digging a foundation. Individual layers of earth need to be opened up, examined, and then removed one after another. Cataloging the depth of every item of interest is extremely important because depth is a strong clue toward the age of a find.

Developing a new dig site is a complex process. The necessary staff and equipment need to be procured and brought to the site. Sometimes everything and everyone can be kept on-site in tents, but in other cases, separate accommodations are required. The area needs to be cleared of all foliage so the archaeologists can survey the ground. This involves mapping the dig site in detail and setting up an excavation plan. When the dig begins, progress is kept slow to ensure that the site isn’t damaged and the workers don’t overlook any important finds.


Every bucket of earth removed has to be sifted so that no artifact is missed. On many digs, finds will be documented in place (with photographs) before they can be removed. Even on the smallest of sites, a proper excavation will likely take more than a week. In cases where the excavation is potentially newsworthy, press attention will need to be coordinated at a local, national, or even international level. Sufficient interest can slow down the excavation process significantly.

On large sites that enjoy government protection, digs may continue as long as the archaeologists’ funding holds out. San Francisco’s Presidio is a useful example of this sort of excavation. The site’s 18th-century fort is set up for continuous year-round excavation. The dig’s ongoing labor needs are met with the help of a National Park Service volunteer program. Volunteer organizations are a common way to keep scientific activity going after the end of primary excavation.

At the Cortez, Colorado’s Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, for instance, has a still-ongoing volunteer program even though the site’s main dig was concluded in 2007. In the end, it is not the specific site that sets the amount of time required for excavation, but the interest and funding available to study it.

How Caterpillar Backhoe Loaders Work


Backhoe loaders are widely known for not only their unique appearance but also their large components which jot out in about almost every direction. And while we can readily spot a huge dump truck coming our way, what exactly are the different components on a backhoe used for? Well, loaders are indeed an interesting contraption, and this is due to the fact that three important construction equipment pieces are all compacted into a single unit. A backhoe can be used as a backhoe obviously, a loader and a tractor.

The pieces of equipment previously listed are all designed for their own particular type of job. However, on the average job site, these components are used by a trained operator to safely and effectively get the job at hand completed.

The Tractor

When it comes to the overall machine, its core structure is known as the tractor. And, in a similar fashion to that of the tractor used by a farmer on his field, the tractor part of the backhoe has been designed to maneuver through the toughest of terrain while removing heavy loads. The tractor has been fitted with a state-of-the-art diesel turbocharged engine, heavy duty tires and a cab that has been fitted with the basic controls for steering the machine. The cab of a backhoe has been designed to fully protect its operator and as a result it is either fully enclosed or it can be somewhat open with a canopy structure.

The Loader

The loader component can be found at the front of the machine whereas, the backhoe has been placed at the rare. As previously stated, they both serve different functions. The loader can be used to perform several functions, and for many of them, it can be used in the same way as that of a coffee scoop or a huge dustpan.

However, this component isn’t used for digging but rather to carry large quantities of material after they have been gathered. It can also be used to smoothen surfaces as well as for the purposes of plowing dirt. And, the loader is controlled by the operator as he drives the tractor.

The Backhoe

The main component of the backhoe loader is the initial backhoe. However, it is used for digging into compacted, hard material which is simply that of the earth, and, it is also used for lifting heavy loads. And, it can also be used for the purpose of moving the material and placing it into a pile on the side of the created hole.

Simply put, backhoes can be classified as a bigger, more powerful version of someone’s finger or arm. And it contains three additional components. These being the bucket, the stick and the boom. In essence it is thought of as your hand, forearm and your upper arm.

The components of the backhoe when connected can also be used in the following illustration as being your shoulder, elbow and your wrist. And, it moves in the same manner and form like that of someone’s arm. Specifically, within Caterpillar backhoes, the booms are bent upward for making digging motions easier in the presence of obstacles. In addition, their design has been made to support extra bucket space when it moves into a curled position with a full load.

Backhoes have been designed with every hole in mind, however, they are best suited for ditch digging.

In order for the operator to use the backhoe, the tractor must firstly be parked and the seat must then be turned in the other direction.

In case you’re wondering why these pieces of equipment are connected together, simply put, the overall movement from one spot to another is done by the tractor as the operator skillfully maneuvers it along with the loader. The backhoe and loader also function as a combination for the purposes of digging and moving material from the job site, and it is even used for filling previously dug holes after pipes have been laid.

The Stabilizer Legs


In addition to those already mentioned, backhoes contain two stabilizer legs which have been placed at the back of the rear wheels. These are also important in operations due to the fact that they can support most of the weight while digging is taking place. Without the stabilizer legs, the constant weight would strain both the tires and wheel, and the tractor would constantly bounce. Simply put, the main purpose of the stabilizers is for keeping the tractor steady and they also secure the machine by preventing it from slipping into a hole or ditch.

At the bottom of the legs, there are two shoes which can be used on both pavement and dirt. However, the side containing the grouser easily digs into the dirt where as in the case of the pavement, the surface would be destroyed. So when it comes to getting a proper grip on asphalt surfaces, the operator can simply flip the padded rubber shoe into action.

You may also be interested in… Heavy Equipment and Mainstream Construction

Waterloo Horse Drawn Carriages

Waterloo Horses and Carts

One of the most basic forms of transportation known to man is the horse and cart, which was used through history from the fifth millennium BC on. Although the way this vehicle was made differently through the centuries, it maintained a role as an important form of transport.


The horse and cart has been used in tandem since around the time when the wheel was invented, close to the fifth century. These vehicles were basically constructed with wooden stakes or boxes made from wood, then were hooked up to the horses by leather straps or sturdy rope.

Artwork and historic writings from Assyrian and Greek culture from as early as 1800 BC show that horse drawn carts were used for transportation and were vital to transportation and agriculture at the time. They were also used for warfare through Europe and the Middle East, although the horses used were less powerful and smaller than their modern day counterparts.

Early Days

The horse and cart were very important to medieval European culture. Individuals who weren’t walking often used these carts, pulled by horses, as their main method of transport, and merchants often used the carts to carry their wares from one place to another. Individuals who owned more than one horse usually paired two animals to use as a team as they hauled heavy loads. It wasn’t until around the 1500s that upper class citizens in Europe started using closed carriages, pulled by horses, for regular transportation.

Later Years

During the 17th century, horse and carts developed better engineering and were safer, providing a smoother ride for passengers. Starting in the mid-1700s, the carts were frequently built with a lighter structure, so they were faster. Across Europe, professional painters, upholsterers, and carriage builders worked together to create carriages that were far more elegant and comfortable for carrying passengers. Also, horse breeders and owners worked to raise faster horses. As the railroad began to take hold in the late 19th century, wealthy Europeans began to use the carriages less. Use of the horse and cart sank even lower as the West began using automobiles after the 1890s.

vintage antique automobiles

Modern Day

Draft horses are still displayed for special events, like when the Queen of England is showcasing her horses and carriages. They’re also used for shows of competition, pulling various weights in horse Draft shows as a demonstration. One other way that horses and carts are commonly used in modern times is for getting around cities, either as paid tours or as taxis.


Horses and carts vary in style and tradition throughout the world over time. For example, the British and the French required a coachman to drive the carriage from the front. In Spain in the 19th and 20th century, though, the cart and horse were driven by riding the horse itself. In South Africa at the same time, teams of as many as six horses were used to plow tough soil for gardening.



Horse drawn carriages or carts have been around in various forms throughout history and around the entire world. By the 1800s, the choice one made in a horse drawn vehicle was viewed as a status symbol reflecting one’s income and personal preferences.

Heavy Equipment and Mainstream Construction


Common Forms Of Heavy Equipment Used In Construction

Modern construction jobs rely on heavy equipment no matter how large or small they are. From major civil engineering projects to commercial development to humble home-building, heavy equipment is essential. A significant amount of the equipment required falls into the category of earth-moving equipment. These are machines that move soil and rock around to make excavations and change grades. Other pieces of equipment are vital for handling building materials, demolishing existing structures, and erecting new ones. On many job sites, multi-function machines fill a variety of different roles.

1) Excavators


An excavator is a versatile piece of heavy equipment suitable for a range of jobs. Most examples are built on a pivoting central cab capable of rotating through 360 degrees of motion. The excavator’s work is done by a long bucket arm; the machine is controlled by an operator seated in the cab in a position of maximum visibility. Excavators can be either wheeled or tracked, with tracked models being slightly more common. In order to extend their utility, excavators can be fitted with many different attachments. Common tasks handled by excavators include:

  • Digging holes, trenches, and foundations
  • Moving building materials
  • Cutting brush (hydraulic attachments required)
  • Demolition
  • Rough grading
  • Pipe installation
  • Mining
  • River dredging

2) Backhoe Loaders


“Backhoe loader” is the proper name for the piece of equipment commonly called a backhoe. These machines have a general tractor-type body. Most examples have an adjustable shovel in front and a smaller digging bucket in the rear. Many backhoes are classed as “medium-sized construction equipment,” and they often work on smaller jobs where bigger machines will not fit. Backhoe loaders are capable of moving earth, digging holes and trenches, placing pipes, and backfilling excavations. Most backhoes are mounted on wheels. This gives them another significant advantage; their maneuverability makes them a good fit for congested urban job sites. A backhoe’s rear bucket can be replaced so that it’s equipped to dig a trench of a specific width.

3) Bulldozers


A bulldozer is a common, powerful, and reliable piece of heavy construction equipment. Typically one of the largest and heaviest machines used in construction, bulldozers are ideally suited to moving large quantities of earth across large open spaces. The bulldozer’s primary tool is a wide front-mounted blade. The blade’s angle and height can be adjusted thanks to a pair of hydraulic pistons. Bulldozers are best suited to earth-moving. Bulldozers are capable of rough or fine grading, although the size of the machine limits its precision. Heavy bulldozers are even capable of crushing large boulders.

4) Skid-Steer Loaders


The skid-steer loader is a hugely versatile machine, and this has made it extremely popular on modern construction sites. Small and highly maneuverable, skid-steer loaders are able to turn a full circle inside their own footprint. This makes them perfect for use in confined spaces or areas where delicate construction work has already been completed. Driven by wheels, skid-steer loaders retain good traction in adverse conditions, e.g. snow or mud. The vehicles’ small size and wheels keep their ground weight low. This reduces the amount of damage and soil compaction they cause when they’re driven over a surface. Skid-steer loaders can be equipped with many different attachments to expand their functionality. They can handle digging, compacting, drilling, jack-hammering, snow blowing, log grappling and more with the right equipment.

5) Crawler Loaders

crawler loaders

The crawler loader is a hybrid piece of equipment that combines features of the excavator and the backhoe. Crawler loaders are always tracked, giving them the greatest possible amount of stability. Crawler loaders are typically used to move soil, debris, or building materials. On a smaller site, a crawler loader may be used to handle modest excavation work. Hydraulic excavators typically take over in situations where great amounts of excavation are required.

6) Motor Graders

grader tractor

A motor grader is a machine designed for precision grading work. They can also move earth is small quantities. The primary tool of the motor grader is a long blade with fine angle adjustment. Some graders may also mount a secondary blade ahead of their front axle. Specialized motor graders are designed for use in underground mines. Motor graders are most commonly seen being used to finalize the grading of dirt or gravel on a rough road or preparing a road base for asphalt application. In some situations, graders are also used to create slopes and ditches for drainage. The machine is capable of cutting a ditch with a shallow v shape.

7) Trenchers

The primary purpose of the trencher is clear from its name. Trenchers are most often used to cut narrow trenches used for laying pipe or cable. Trenchers come in a very wide range of sizes. “Walk-behind” trenchers are available for the smallest jobs, while much larger models are built tough enough to cut straight through pavement and other such hard materials. Larger trenchers are equipped with an integrated conveyor system to deposit the material they excavate next to the trench. Digging implements on trenchers can be changed out to match the material being cut through and the depth of the trench required.

8) Scrapers


Scrapers are designed to move earth and aggregate material around a site quickly. They are ideal for digging, leveling, and grading on an industrial scale. Scrapers are generally very large and intended for use on wide-open sites where they can operate at high speed. Self-propelled scrapers may be called “motor scrapers” to distinguish them from “pull scrapers” that need to be towed behind another vehicle.

9) Dump Trucks

mining dump truck

The dump truck is a necessity on almost all job sites. Dump trucks are capable of moving and depositing all sorts of material, including very heavy loads. Dump trucks are road-worthy, allowing them to remove and deliver material virtually anywhere. Dump trucks are built at many different sizes to suit the needs of different projects. Their scale stretches from the commercial utility truck fitted with a dumping bed to the enormous heavy trucks built for use in mines.