When introduced, crane loading platforms revolutionized the construction process of high-rise buildings. Renowned for its global shake-up over 25 years ago, the Preston SuperDeck® system has been transforming worksites across the USA for over 10 years thanks to the team at PRESTON RENTALS.
Markus Preston, Preston Group CEO, and Jake Moore, Preston Rentals Logistics Operations Manager, discuss the evolution of the SuperDeck® system, the industry and future plans for this product.
Preston, the original inventor and designer of the SuperDeck®, manufactured the first unit after significant research, innovative thinking and persistence to create a product he believed would transform building site productivity and improve safety for site personnel.
“Building sites that use fixed, non-retractable platforms, largely made of scrap steel are really unsafe and put staff and workers at risk. Although the advent of the fixed platform has improved over the years, they still need to be staggered on every floor level to allow access and to avoid crane rope hinderance. This approach obstructs the closing and waterproofing of the floor from the weather, therefore builders need to remove fixed platforms as soon as they can to “close the building,” he said.
The first evolution of an improved loading platform was in Australia in 1994 when the Transformer Platform was born. This was the first commercially successful, easy to use, vertically stacked retractable platform available on the market. The Transformer Platform offered many improvements compared with previously used platforms, however, Preston believed a safer and more effective loading platform could be created. He knew there was a better way and rather than thinking of a single unit basis he would create a “system”. A system that would revolutionize construction delivering improvements that would be realized in high rise building construction methodology as well as safety for all those working on construction sites around the globe.
Significant reviews and analysis of the Transformer Platform ensued in the following years. After a great deal of imagination, effort, and investment around design, engineering, manufacturing and testing, the Preston SuperDeck was successfully launched in 1998 in Australia and subsequently followed in the United States, New Zealand, Europe and more recently in Canada.
“The SuperDeck® retractable loading platform system can be stacked vertically and rolled in and out as required as opposed to traditional fixed or static platforms that must be staggered throughout the building;” explained Jake Moore, Preston Rental’s Logistics Operations Manager. “It also doesn’t require any hydraulics or electricity that could potentially add greater risk greater risk of breakdown and costly delays to construction. The ability to ‘stack’ the retractable SuperDeck® vertically simplifies material handling by allowing cranes uninhibited access to the platforms above or below,” he said.
From its initial launch, the team at Preston Rentals recognized that the SuperDeck® would transform the industry, yet it would require guidance, expert knowledge and training to ensure the product could reach its full potential and that customers were supported in their adoption of the product.
“Customers quickly recognized they were making an investment in the success of their site by using the Preston SuperDeck® System vs previous fixed platforms. This required a significant mind shift when the cost of the SuperDeck® vs a fixed platform was significantly different, so much of the formative years after the product’s development was spent educating the market of its benefits,” explained Preston. “Decades later we can proudly say the Preston SuperDeck® is a market leader with over 3000 Preston SuperDecks that have been manufactured and used worldwide.”
Jake Moore works directly with construction companies who can benefit from the capabilities of the Preston SuperDecks. “I really enjoy demonstrating to customers how our platforms can help them. The first time a new customer uses our gear and experiences first hand the ease of installation and the time savings that come as a direct result of using our design, is awesome! They are genuinely impressed that we deliver everything we say we will … and more! In many cases our SuperDecks have sparked a completely new approach to site management and the construction process,” explains Moore.
“Platforms are referenced under many names depending where you are located in the country” said Moore. “We get requests for outriggers, flyers, look-outs, flydecks, loading bays and loading decks. Regardless of your preferred name, SuperDeck is the name we believe everyone will be saying when they truly understand the gains and efficiencies high-rise construction can achieve when they use our system.”
“Installation, relocation and removal of a SuperDeck® from a building can take as little as 20 minutes per movement, depending on the level of experience and skill of the installers and the installation methodology ie. prop or bolt down method. Unlike other products, the Preston Rentals SuperDeck® can be installed using just two props or two bolts when the bolt-down method is required. This alone delivers massive time efficiencies and we all know how precious time is!” said Moore who has used this major point of difference as a lead selling point discussing the product with customers across the United States.
“Clients can also benefit from hidden cost savings thanks to the SuperDeck® system. The simplicity of our design allows a single person to operate the retractions. In addition to the obvious speed advantages, labor costs can be reduced to perform each retraction. Keeping it simple has always proved our greatest design asset.”
“Interrupting and changing the way builders had always planned their construction process was initially difficult and required creative thinking to cut through and encourage trial of the SuperDeck® system. We are always working to expand the awareness around our innovative products and educate our customers, especially around the benefits of renting equipment vs owning equipment,” said Moore.
“Renting equipment from leading providers like Preston Rentals puts the responsibility of servicing, maintaining, fabrication, storage and certification of products on us – a responsibility we gladly accept. The time, cost and logistical savings of this alone is a huge benefit to those willing to change their current methods” he said.
“The maintenance of our fleet is very important. We have trained warehouse staff as well as a welding and fabrication team. All equipment is quality controlled with an extensive pre-delivery and return delivery process ensuring all damages are repaired prior to the next hire. We respect the appearance and quality of both our own products and our customer’s sites, therefore every delivery of a SuperDeck® to a new site receives freshly painted, full functioning SuperDecks that always look brand new,” said Preston.
All Preston Rentals SuperDecks have certified engineering and are quality and safety checked before dispatch. The entire fleet are capable of 11,000lbs loads as a standard – this is a significant improvement from the majority of US platform providers offering only 2500lbs – 4,000lbs load capacity. The fleet consists of four primary sizes 7’2”, 8’6”, 10’6” and 13’9” wide allowing for the different demands of customers.
“At our core, innovation has always been key at Preston Rentals. We have always sought to be an initiator of change in our quest to improve the way things are done” said Preston. “Our view is that there will be continued growth in the construction sector as multi-level buildings will continue to get taller as urbanization continues. Additionally, there will be continued pressure to construct faster and cheaper as well as more safely. We are here to provide a service and product to the US market that we know will play a key role in its continual evolution and development. We are excited for the opportunities ahead and look forward to continuing our work with innovative, forward-thinking business across America!”