32 Grenville Street M4Y 1A3



Christopher Greaves

9_21_Grenville Street

This web page documents the exterior construction of the building at 9_21_Grenville Street.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

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Yesterday a crew came in, dug a few holes with a back hoe and apparently filled them in again.

Who knew this was a government project?

Monday, September 10, 2012

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Keep your eyes on the two-storey pale yellow building that fronts onto Yonge Street. It will soon be gone ...

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And then this morning we are treated to an excavator. Excavating holes, of course.

Are we witnessing the start of foundations, or just another exploratory dig?

I realize that once construction starts the street will be crowded with dump trucks and flatbed trucks, as happens with every construction site in downtown Toronto.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

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Work is underway to sink girders vertically for some kind of support. I suspect that these are to be used like a coffer-dam to hold the real support structures as they are fabricated.

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The pile-driver-look-alike drills with an auger about six feet in diameter, then dumps the soil nearby. A front-end loader builds the soil into a pile ready for movement off-site.

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Here the auger is drilling down, takes about two minutes, then the auger is withdrawn and shaken to loosen the soil that sits on the screw.

Sunday, December 25, 2012

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The screw is dismantled. Hurray! I can sleep in in the mornings!

Wednesday, 16 January, 2013

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Now work begins excavating the sub-levels. A backhoe scrapes soil away from the concrete wall formed by the girders and concrete poured over the past few months. Trucks carry away the muck, depositing some of it in a landfill site known as “our street”.

Tuesday, 5 February, 2013

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The historic building is to be moved - shifted to the east. This promises to be a great day.

Steel girders have been threaded under the brick building in preparation for the move.

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And as I stand there I wonder how on earth "they" managed to plaster and finish the east side of the building next door when it was erected.

It doesn't appear wide enough for a guy to squeeze in there, let alone work on the face of the building.

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Here is a view of the work site, quiet today.

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A close-up shows that a large back-hoe is busily excavating a pit about 30 feet deep across most of the building site.

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Here is the data for the movers of the historic building.

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And here is a better view of the transporting girders.

Monday, March 04, 2013

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It seems as if a large wooden platform is being built to receive the historic building.

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The move may be only days away!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Well yesterday's deadline is gone, as well as come.

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The long rails are delivered, although they don't look long enough. Maybe they need only a pair for support.

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If so, two rails, and to end, will do the trick.

I'm apprehensive now that the move will take place this weekend while I'm away.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The building move has begun!

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While I was minding my own business today, the contractors quietly budged the building about twenty feet to the east.

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Here is a zoomed-in view. I daren't go and take a close-up shot before dark, I have a dinner guest due to arrive at 4 p.m.

With some luck I'll get better images tomorrow.

Or later tonight:

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Here is a view of the rails with hydraulic rams extended. The bases of the rams are bolted to the rails, hydraulic pressure is applied and the pistons extend to push the sled on its rollers.

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Here is a first-time-in-years view of the upper part of the west face of the building.

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And here is a view of what is left behind on the more recent building. Does the framework protect some potential weakness in the newer building?

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Here we see that the building has been moved about as far as it can go on these rails. Shades of "Oklahoma!".

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I don't believe this is number 21 Grenville Street; 17 more like it.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

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The concrete blocks are almost solid from the concrete pad up to the lower rim of the house.

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The yellow girders are ready to be withdrawn, after which I assume the remaining holes in the concrete walls will be filled in.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

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Work has begun on the real excavation. An excavator has painted its way back to a corner of the lot. A steady stream of trucks is parked, up to three at a time opposite McDonalds, hindering access to Grenville Street. The photo shows a truck edging forwards to back into the lot where it will be filled with chunky Toronto glacial debris and drive away again within three minutes.

Another truck waits, ready to crush idiot drivers who poke their heads out of "The Gallery" residence, and refuse to back down, forcing trucks to make a 99-point turn instead of the faster 3-point turn, thereby holding up the Impatient Driver by an extra two minutes.

The Impatient Driver then zooms off to be met by a wall of eastbound traffic waiting to turn north up Yonge street. (Sigh!)

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Here's a close-up. Our sidewalk has disappeared. Our interim sidewalk has been commandeered to the extent that a yellow pickup truck can park at right-angles. Space has been set aside for generators and air pumps. Trucks block the eastbound lane.

Our next ploy, once the north-side sidewalk is taken over, will be to tramp through the coroner's court and the credit union offices.

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Here is a photo, looking north, of the columns on which the old building stands.

Atop the pillars are large concrete-cased beams. Above them cross-girders, painted red, running east-west towards St Luke's lane.

Over that is the concrete "pad" on which the building sits.

By the time you read this, you'll probably have parked your car near these pillars!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Excavation continues.

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During a break in the rain I got two photographs of the tail-end of the excavation. For over a month now trucks have been backing down the ramp and loading up with muck.

Now we are down to a large long-limbed excavator atop the site loading trucks by reaching down and chipping away at its base.

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At the big excavator's base is a smaller excavator, doing its best to make a pile that the bigger guy can reach and load.

I assume that once this job is done the little chap will be lifted out by the big chap, or else be hauled out by a crane.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Excavation continues.

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The base level is deeper. Check the apparent size of the two contractors to get an idea of the depth of the pit. The old building looks quite precarious perched on its pad of concrete on a couple of concrete pillars.

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The lower excavator piles muck where the higher excavator can reach it.

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The upper excavator loads muck into trucks. The latest truck is pulling out westwards with a full load. The next truck creeps up ready to reverse into position.

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The first truck continues westward, the second truck prepares to back in, and a third truck is creeping forward. Trucks are lined up back to Yonge Street, and Grenville street is reduced to one lane for both directions of traffic flow.

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The upper excavator begins to load the next truck with muck.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

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Excavation continues. The interior excavator is standing on a platform that is about half the depth of the cavity; it looks as if it is on a staging-post, excavating itself into a corner!

For scale, note the worker climbing down the ladder in the north-west corner of the pit.

Monday, August 12, 2013

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Work continues excavating the remaining small pyramid of fill at the north-west corner of the site. The yellow excavator grabs fill from below and dumps it into a waiting truck.

The tip of the red excavator’s boom is visible below and to the right of the “no access” sign.

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In this image the loaded truck is pulling out of the bay while the queued truck approaches to reverse in to the bay.

The boom of the red excavator is seen dumping another load for the yellow excavator.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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Work continues excavating the remaining small pyramid of fill at the north-west corner of the site. The smaller of the two excavators continues to mull over muck but the large excavator has been trucked away from the site.

For scale, try the group of men sitting down on their coffee break!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

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By the time I set off for my morning paper, a flatbed truck loaded with reinforcing bar is facing west in the eastbound portion of the street.

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Meanwhile another flatbed truck has just finished unloading at the site. Or is it waiting to collect a load?

And how will that west-facing truck jockey into position eastwards at this hour of the morning?

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Meanwhile eastbound traffic is held up; yes, that’s the huge pit dug yesterday while our water was cut off.

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Ah hah! The second flatbed appears to be loading up sacks of unused cement, or filler of some sort.

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Hooray! The crane is being dismantled. The late afternoon sun has eclipsed detail, but if you look closely you will see that the crane jib is hinged in the middle; the three workmen at left are standing near the elbow of the jib.

Monday, September 30, 2013

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For the first time in months, there is no crane on the street, no excavator.

Just a flatbed unloading a pile of reinforcing bars.

Thursday, November 06, 2013

Work continues on the foundations.

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A large concrete bin is prepared in the base; I suspect this will be sumps, elevator mechanisms, or the like.

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The mobile crane on Grenville street has its boom fully-extended to operate.

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Here’s another view of the subterranean cavern underneath the old building 9-21 jacked across the site last year. Or was it early this year?

Monday, December 02, 2013

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The essential foundation work is complete, and over the weekend the road was closed off while the first installment of a tower crane was, well, installed.

Yes, that’s a member of the operations crew walking down the jib, close to the stubby tower.

The old 9-21 building, jacked and moved to the eastern end of the site, is peeking coyly out from behind the building on the SW corner of Yonge and Grenville streets.

In the foreground, the Yonge Street branch of The Royal Bank is getting ready to unhand its shingle.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Not much is happening visibly above street level, but work proceeds apace, albeit a slow pace during this winters record-breaking cold snaps.

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The central core – presumably elevator shafts and fire escapes – is taking shape several stories down. Concrete trucks block the streets, but we have been spared the flood of flat-bed trailer trucks – difficult to park and move during business hours.

Friday, June 20, 2014

You’d think nothing has been done in three months. Well much of the below-ground structure has been built and this month the structure is visible as it approaches ground level.

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The street site has been cleaned up, mainly because there has been little in the way of truck traffic, so the stop/go guys have to push brooms.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

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Construction proceeds apace. Reinforcing bars, and hence concrete, are now at street-level.

Here’s a view from above:

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Thursday, August 07, 2014

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Lest you think everything is automated, tall buildings are built one nail at a time.

The workman in the centre of this photograph is hammering two pieces of wood together to build up a wooden form which will hold fluid concrete until the concrete sets.

Some fifty feet behind him, and at right-angles to the form he is working on, is another form that holds set concrete from a few days ago; this wall of concrete is the first truly above-ground concrete of the new building.

The building has a ground floor of concrete, and so it has a defined basement structure.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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The basis for the ground floor is completed and work has begun on the second floor. I think they really intend to go ahead with this building and the car park will not return (grin)

Our view of the backsides of the smaller buildings is going, Going, ...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Work continues.

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The second storey is built. You can’t see it in this photo, but the internal pillars are poured and work has started on the third floor on the southern side of the building.

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In this zoom shot on the extreme right you can see one of the poured pillars that will be within the third floor of the building.

This past week the Royal Bank moved out of the building on the corner; another high-rise will go up there.

And in Saturday’s Toronto Star there was an article about the block-long development that will be going up on the north-east corner of Alexander and Yonge, just two blocks north of here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

For a different posting I took these screen snapshots from Google maps. They are Street Views from the time before construction began.Christopher Greaves Grenville_21Grenville.png

The area was a car park and the old red-brick building stood at the western end of the lot.

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College Park and the building on the south-east corner of Yonge/Carlton was visible from here.

The yellow-brick façade of the southern building will be lost to view by now ...

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Strictly speaking not 9-21 Grenville Street, but you don’t mind, do you?

The building on the SW corner of Yonge and Grenville has been demolished to make way for more condominiums.

For the first time since I moved here I can see across Yonge Street!

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Here the flagman for 9-21 stands in front of the bomb-site that was the two-storey RIB bank building. The old building that was sledded across the 9-21 lot is visible in the right-hand edge of the image.

That’s Shoppers Drug Mart on the east side of Yonge.

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And here is the view across the bomb-site. A pneumatic hammer is breaking up the concrete floor of the RBC basement.

Police headquarters peeks shyly through the gap at the left-hand edge of the new building for 9-21 (look just above “Michael Brothers) on the back-hoe arm), and my building glares brazenly through the gap at the right-hand edge of the new building for 9-21 (two-tone-tan – and how often to we get to alliterate like that nowadays?).

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Work continues on the building; they are now up to the 5th or 6th floor.

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Midday Saturday the crane swings a skip of concrete against a backdrop of the building on the east side of Yonge.

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I suspect that this weekend sometime, “downtime” for the crane will be “uptime”, time to extend it another three or more storeys.

This time next month I expect the building to exclude the upper floors of the Yong Street building, except for the northern edge, and the new building on the SW corner will cover that over soon enough.

Then (sniff!) very little direct morning sunlight for me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Up she goes!

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About a week ago I thought the crane tower would be jacked up a notch or two. Sure enough it was so.

From my point of view the cab is now above the skyline of the building (across Yonge Street) that houses Shoppers Drug Mart.

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I took these photos late afternoon when the light from the sun was helping my shot.

Immediately below the top of the tower is a powerful halogen light designed to keep us all awake. (grin!)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

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I returned westward from a walk.

Here is the new building seen from Wood Street, outside the Marriot Courtyard hotel.

Work is on the 9th floor (I find it difficult to be sure; the ground floors seem to be either spacious or cramped).

The building will shut out direct sunlight into “The Gallery” residence to the west of it.

To the left of the photo, near the Shoppers Drug Store sign you can see the auger and crane poking their noses into the shot. These are on the second construction site which is, I suppose, 1 Grenville Street, or else something-Yonge Street.

The building in its turn will shut out direct sunlight into the new building at 921 Grenville Street!

And both buildings will blanket, almost from human sight, the presumed-heritage building on which so much money was spent to rail it eastwards! (Please see above “Tuesday, 5 February, 2013”).

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another milestone reached:-

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The top line of the building now rises above the Shoppers Drug mart building, from my not-so-lofty perch.

The crane has been jacked up another few notches ...

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The building on the south-east corner of Yonge and College makes a last tentative peek over the top, then it’s goodbye forever!

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Part-pallet is raised by the crane a few slabs at a time.

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The new building now exceeds (from this point of view) the height of the building on the East side of Yonge Street.

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Glass panes are installed in some windows. The glass is heavy.

Flatbed trucks arrive with what looks like a small load, but each load is small in volume as it is hoisted above the street.

Friday, June 05, 2015

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Work continues. The upper floors are now easily visible from a few points around the district.

Glass panes are installed on lower floors, but the – presumably commercial – space on the lowest floors is not enclosed.

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Here the crane begins moving the wooden framework up for the next level.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

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I haven’t been counting, but it seems as if they add two floors every week.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

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A novel way to check progress is to count the number of elevator levels above the concourse levels. Today there are sixteen sets of yellow doors for the construction elevator. I am not including the larger floors near ground level; to my mind this means that interior construction work is taking place on 16 residential levels as of today.

On June 16th there I reported only ten residential levels, so roughly six floors every 30 days; one floor every five days.

On May 6th I reported only five residential floors sporting construction elevator gates.

On April 18th I reported only one residential floor sporting construction elevator gates.

My reporting dates are often later than the date the photograph was taken, still over an interval of 87 days 15 floors have been added.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

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The top of the new building is now level with the top of its old neighbour. That’s the tower crane to the right; a concrete pump snorkel appears to rise from the centre of the floor.

The wooden shuttering which has been in most of my photos is seen to extend right around the building.

This photo was taken during my walk home with the paper, in the loading court that runs west of the Aura building looking towards College Park.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

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On my walk back from the Eaton Chelsea with the papers I took this shot from the west side of the Aura building, looking north across the park(?) behind College Park shops.

Monday, October 12, 2015

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Nobody appears to have told the builders that today is a public holiday!

Admittedly we aren’t being woken to the screeching and rumbling of the elevators as they scurry up and sown the side of the building.

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The flatbed truck holds what appears to be a set of wooden forms for concrete laying. What will they do with them without the crane operator here to help them?

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Four jacketed guys hang around, with what looks like an innocent spectator (could be me!)

The truck looks suspiciously like the sort that might pump out the toilets from the first twenty floors; it is clean enough.

Later That Same Day ...

Monday being a Public Holiday, it’s a good idea to block the street completely and raise some expanding framing to the sky.

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Four straps are enough to support the frame.

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And while one truck is being emptied a second truck sits waiting to be called up.

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The worker hops off the truck ...

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The framework is going “up there”.

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This frame begins its journey

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Up ... Note the yellow-jacketed guy on the right. Once the load begins its ascent it is ignored by workers on the ground. These loads never fall once they begin their ascent, and you gain nothing by watching them rise.

Near the left of the bottom margin of my photo you can see two guys still holding on to the guy(!)-ropes.

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And up ...in this shot the two guy-ropes are swinging free. They are too fine to show up in the photo.

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And up ...

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The first truck has pulled out and away, the next truck crawls in, rinse and repeat ...

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Four months list my latest entry. It’s not as if nothing has been happening (terrible double-negative, I know), indeed we have had Sunday work this winter. It’s just that with the main construction activity so high in the sky, it always looks like just-another-day-of-street-blockage down on the ground.

Compounded now that excavation has been underway on the adjacent site.

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And then my eye was caught by some extraordinary motion in the street.

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The driver of the little mobile crane has jumped out of the crane cab, vaulted the gap between the trailer and the tractor, leapt onto the large dumpster, unhooked all but two of the six chains which link the skip to the tower crane, and he is now busy angling the skip before he retraces hoist steeplechase and regains the cab of the mobile crane.

The cab is out of the left-hand side of the photo.

And yes; that is a Brinks Truck in the foreground. Great plot for a robbery here. The street is blocked at one end by the mobile crane, the van is full of money, a tower crane is available, ...

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This shot (and the one above) were the second time the crane operator skipped across to the skip.

The stop-go guy is keeping an eye on things ...

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Almost done!

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The crane operator is back in his cab, so the bobcat loader can block the street, after waiting so long for the street to be cleared.

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Here is a shot of the building.

What I failed to capture was the time it took for this operation.

We think “It’s a skip, right? Unhook the chains and tip it out and get on with life”.

But preparatory steps are:-

(1) Warn the ground crew that the skip will be lowered and that the street must be blocked while the skip is in transit; the tractor driver is told to bugger off while the skip is being lowered directly above his cab. That’s more good news for McDonalds!

(2) Hook up the skip on the 99th(?) storey, check for balance and that the contents will not shift during transit.

(3) Conform the movement with the ground crew.

(4) Lift, swing out, and lower the skip. On my Meccano cranes this would have taken me about ten seconds; just release the brake and let ‘er drop, but in real life the skip proceeds down in a very stately manner, about one story every two or three seconds. Men are working on the balconies on intermediate floors.

(5) As the skip nears the ground, the out-of-sight operator makes slow and measured movement of the kip: Around a bit, draw in a bit, lower a bit, a bit more, in a bit more.

For the life of me I don’t understand why a second operator uses a WiFi set of controls at ground level, in sight of the skip.

(6) Once the skip is balanced on the edge of the large dumpster skip, mode delicate controls are used to position it directly over and in line with the skip, after which the skip is lowered to the floor of the dumpster, or to the existing bed of debris.

(7) Then the mobile crane operator hops across (twice) to unhook chains.

(8) Then the mobile crane operator tips the skip.

(9) Then the mobile crane operator hops across to retook chains. And hops out of the way.

(10) Then the tower crane operator gingerly hauls the skip up a dozen feet or so, swings out, swings around, and begins the haul back up to the construction level.

I estimate that the entire procedure takes twenty to thirty minutes.

It is nowhere near as simple as “Dump the skip into the dumpster”!

Monday, February 29, 2016

My how time flies when you’re blocking out the sun!

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From a few days ago, a panel-sided truck is delivering fittings to the building.

Nothing unusual in that.

Except that it marks a shift from activities three years ago. Can it be that long? Yes. March 2013 was my first recorded sight of concrete being poured.

The concrete-pouring is finished now (except for the occasional cry of “You missed a bit!”) and we have been in the fitting-out phase for a year or so.

Nowadays concrete trucks are rarely seen on our street.

But that will change next month when pouring begins on the second condominium site, so I anticipate that I can just copy-and-paste this paragraph in March 2019.

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Just for the record, here is the building late February 2016. Construction continues on the top floors; the crane is still working, hauling up loads of who-knows-what and deploying loads of a different-who-knows-what into the dumpsters.