Lift Removal from BT Tower

In 1988 Liftout was charged with the task of removing the redundant Express gearless machines from a building in the heart of London. On the face of it, nothing too out of the ordinary. However, this was no ordinary building – it was one of London’s most famous landmarks, the BT Tower – and the circumstances of the project presented particular challenges.

Firstly, the BT Tower is located in one of London’s busiest areas. Secondly, the building is 56 floors high. Thirdly, there are only two lifts (one of which just happened to be out of action at the time due to a refurbishment scheme). And finally, the total timescale for the project – including the removal of steel facias the full height of the lift shaft – was only three weeks.

It was obvious that the redundant 3-ton machines would need to be broken down into smaller, lighter parts so they could be safely transported to the ground in one available working lift. The concern however, was how to cut through 300mm cast iron shaft material both quickly and economically. Normal heat-based cutting equipment tends to melt cast iron and progress is slow. Grinding wheels would be even slower.

Having undertaken several rigorous Risk Assessments to ensure that all eventualities had been covered, Liftout decided the only practical way to undertake the project in order to meet all the strict programme requirements would be employ state – of – the – art specialist cutting technology in the form of a Thermic Lance.

In the right hands the system can cut, burn or pierce virtually any metallic or composite material (even concrete or brickwork). It can be up to three times faster than oxyacetalene relatively ineffective, such as cast iron, there’s no contest!!

Using the Thermic Lance cutting equipment, Liftout’s highly qualified engineers set about the task of cutting through the massive shaft. The unmanageable mass of the redundant gearless machines soon become manageable and was transported safely in small pieces to the ground.

Due to Liftout’s innovation and professionalism, what too many would have been deemed an impossible project, was completed efficiently, on time and on budget.