Posted by Peter McConnell on 6 February 2014 | 0 Comments



Image sourced from the Daily Mail.

New York City has some of the tallest buildings in the world, so imagine being one of the brave construction workers who built these incredible structures only made possible by structural steel. From 88 floors up, this cheerful worker gives a friendly wave while doing structural work on the Empire State Building.


The view atop the world’s tallest building is pretty remarkable – particularly from the outside. The men in this photograph stand on top of beams while working on the construction of what would become the world’s tallest man-made structure. Today the Burj Khalifa stands at 829.8m and has more than 160 stories. Dubai has a reputation for having the biggest man-made structures. Along with the Burj Khalifa, the country is also home to the world’s tallest hotel at 355m (JW Marriott Marquis), biggest mall, biggest aquarium and second biggest man-made marina.


Image sourced from the Daily Mail.

What better place to have lunch than with your feet dangling 256 metres above the New York streets? ‘Lunch atop a skyscraper’ is an iconic image that features eleven men casually eating lunch on the RCA Building during its construction at the Rockefeller Center in New York. Although it has recently been said that this photograph was staged for publicity, I think we can all still agree that sitting on that beam without safety gear would not have been an easy task.


Two builders during the construction of the Empire State Building, Lewis Hine, c 1933.

If you are working on the construction of the Empire State Building, you may as well take a break where you can enjoy a great view right? In this photograph, taken by Lewis Wickes Hine, two workers wedge themselves between a couple of beams to take a break from a hard day’s labour. It took 57,000 tons of steel to construct the skeleton of this building, 7,000,000 man hours and cost $40,948,900 to build.


Lifting roof section over Sydney Cove, 1967, by David Moore.

The Sydney Opera House is Australia’s most iconic creative and technical achievement in construction history. It took four years to solve the technical challenge of how to construct the roof sails and 16 years to complete the entire building. Photographer David Moore watched as the Opera House slowly came into being and documented the process, capturing the human endeavour and daring efforts.


Power grid workers on the world’s tallest electricity pylons, Anhui Province, China. (Photograph sourced from HAP/Quirky China News/Rex Features)

Working on top of the world’s tallest electricity pylons certainly isn’t a job for those with a weak stomach. To give you an idea of just how high up these workers are – the structure is painted red and blue to make them highly visible to passing air traffic. Their only mode of climbing the last few metres to get to the top of the structure is by using rope ladders. The Chinese project involves building a 270m high electricity pylon between Anhui province and Shanghai (a distance of 430km).


Innovative or dangerous? I think we’d definitely go with the latter. A few years ago images were caught of a Chinese construction worker being lowered down the side of a building in an excavator scoop to dislodge a piece of debris. A mini-excavator sitting on the edge of an 8 storey drop, lowering a worker off the edge – what could go wrong? Thankfully the worker managed to get back to safety and will hopefully choose other modes of transport next time.


In Hong Kong bamboo is used for the majority of scaffolding because it is strong, flexible and low cost due to its abundance in China. This type of scaffolding is made up of multiple layers of bamboo poles that are tied together with bamboo string. Hong Kong has lower level regulations for bamboo scaffold construction, so it generates a higher rate of accidents than steel scaffolding. Here’s some footage of bamboo scaffolding in action: Bamboo Scaffolding


A photographer caught this image from the 15th floor of a residential block, making these nimble workers approximately 25 floors high. The workers climb the scaffolding with bamboo rope hanging from their belt and fasten the poles together as they go. This is a common thing to see in Hong Kong cities and is an impressive sight for visitors.


Image sourced from the Powerhouse Museum.

Workmen stand high, attaching supports to a pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. As the world’s largest (but not longest) steel arch bridge, the top of this structure stands 134 metres above the harbour. The bridge took 1,400 hundred men, 8 years, 53,000 tonnes of steel and 4.2 million dollars to build.