Floating aerial boom delivers perfect Dockland paint job

An aerial boom supplied by powered access hire specialist JMS has been lifted onto a river barge to allow contractors to paint a railway bridge in London’s Docklands.

The highly unusual approach to working at height meant the bridge could be painted with no disruption to train services and passengers and without erecting extensive and costly scaffolding.

JMS boom on barge – watch stunning aerial video

JMS Sales and Marketing Director Scott Walker said the innovative floating powered access solution could be used to maintain many other structures over water.

He added: “This was an excellent example of a facilities maintenance contractor working in partnership with the powered access hire specialist to deliver an all but unique solution.

“In 20 years working in powered access, I haven’t come across an aerial platform being placed on a barge to carry out work like this. But now we’ve shown in can be done, it clearly has many more applications.”

Barge operation – safe and productive

JPV Painting Ltd called in JMS to advise how it could best use powered access to safely and productively clean and paint the bridge on the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).

The structure forms part of South Quays Station on the Isle of Dogs, just south of Canary Wharf.

It was critical to identify a working method that caused the least inconvenience to rail passenger, and to businesses and residents, in one of the most vibrant areas of London.

The answer was to use a 90-tonne mobile crane, supplied by Nationwide Lifting Services, to lift a Genie S-60 diesel telescopic boom onto a 60-tonne motor barge supplied by WHH Barges.

Innovative approach ‘most viable’ solution

JMS Regional Account Manager Sean McNamara was tasked with selecting the right mobile elevating working platform (MEWP) to meet the project’s exacting requirements.

He said: “With the restrictions in place and taking account of all types of MEWPs this was the most viable practical solution.

“The Genie S-60 boom has exceptional reach and working height yet is highly-compact. At just 2.49 metres wide it was narrow enough to fit inside the barge and be operated as required.”

The 10-tonne machine was lifting onto the barge at West India Dock Quay, with the assistance of the Canal and Rivers Trust. The barge then travelled the one kilometre to Millwall Inner Dock.

Powered access capabilities proven

JMS advised that IPAF’s regulations for working over water should be applied. This meant boom operatives did not wear harnesses but did wear life jackets.

The programme to clean and paint the south-facing side of the bridge, inside Millwall Inner Dock, was completed safely and on schedule in two weeks.

Scott Walker said: “The success of this project depended on excellent partnership working involving many stakeholders, not least the DLR’s operators, KeolisAmey Docklands, who needed to be sure the approach was safe.

“Sean McNamara has done an excellent job of demonstrating the capabilities of powered access equipment in an unusual and challenging environment. I’m sure that, now the case is made, it is not the last time we will see one of our booms take to the water in this way.”