Norwich University Crawford Hall Roof
What do you do when you need to add an extra floor to fit the expanding student ranks at your university? Well, you can either tear down the roof, or you can raise it. Norwich called us in to do exactly that.
The building had to be usable by the start of the next semester, so we had to move quickly and with minimal damage to the rest of the building. We manufactured our own scaffolding, an industrial strength version that could handle tons of beams, blocking, and hydraulic equipment.
We built a beam network augmented with eight and ten foot long blocking (to distribute the load). Cables anchored the roof when we weren't jacking to prevent any wind gusts from turning the roof into an impromptu wing.
The Lois McClure
The Vermont Maritime Museum called us in to look at an interesting project. They were hand building a full-size replica of an 1860s canal schooner that had once transported cargo across Lake Champlain. Unfortunately, there was no easy access to lake outside the structure they were constructing it in. We worked out a plan to lift, support, transport, and launch the boat for them.
The work of several years took three days to actually move. The first day we drove the boat out through the just big enough door and onto the adjacent parking lot.
The next day was the big move. We had one day to move the Lois McClure over the railroad tracks, down a narrow road, through an S-turn and back it into the boat launch. A rather eventful mile. The railroad tracks came first. The oblique angle required careful adjustment of the dolly hydraulics to keep the boat level. Without these adjustments, the flex created by the angle would be transferred into the boat, potentially ruining years of work.
The road was relatively straight, but narrow and lined with trees, rocks, and other obstructions. Minor steering corrections with the dollies allowed us to avoid them. The steering ability of the dollies also allowed us to navigate the the S-turn at the end of the road.
We finished the day backing into the boat launch.
July 3rd, 2004 was launch day. Since we could not back our semi truck into the water, we switched over to a dolly in the front. A cable restraint system tied to two semi trucks provided additional brakes in case the slope of the boat launch became too much for the Dollie brakes. A front end loader provided the push to get the boat into the water. It took the entire morning to rig up the system and back the boat to the edge of the water, where the move was stopped for the formal launching ceremony.
It took several more hours to ease the Lois McClure into the water, with Scott Berky, Norman Messier and his brother Joe providing the final push to float the schooner off our trailer and into Lake Champlain, where it today serves as a traveling museum piece. (Vermont Maritime Museum)