New safety platform for high-rise workers

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 November, 2007, 12:00am

Engineers at Polytechnic University have designed a building platform that improves safety for workers doing maintenance outside high-rises.

The rapid demountable platform (RDP) is intended to replace the platforms of bamboo scaffolding often used for work on air conditioners, building inspections, painting walls and fixing leaks.

Although the bamboo platforms are popular, they are risky because workers have to climb out of a building to erect them.

The new platform, which the university said was a world first, could be installed from inside a flat.

Albert Chan Ping-chuen, of the university's department of building and real estate, said the platform would cost from HK$6,000 to HK$10,000, while the bamboo alternative costs HK$2,000 to HK$3,000.

Although it costs more, Professor Chan estimated the demountable platform could last for five years if properly maintained. A bamboo platform could be used only two or three times.

'Given the price, an RDP costs only HK$2,000 every year,' he said. 'If it is used 10 to 20 times, every usage costs only a few hundred dollars - it's a good bargain.'

Professor Chan said the platform was quicker to install and dismantle than a bamboo one.

It could be put up in 10 minutes, while a bamboo platform could take three hours to build and two hours to dismantle.

Professor Chan said the platform could bear a weight of 200kg, enabling two people to work on it at the same time.

He said the platform was intended for use on buildings over 30 years old. It could not be used in bay windows or on windows with a planter, could not reach around corners and was not as flexible as a bamboo platform.

He said he expected the platform to get a mainland patent within nine months.

'Recently 10 parties, including property developers, housing estates and scaffolding makers, have approached us and said they are interested in purchasing the product.'