We are proud to have recently completed a major retrofit and refurbishment of our first World Record Monumental™ Flagpole located near the Heritage Village site on the breakwater in Abu Dhabi. When it was originally constructed by us in 2001, this flagpole was the World’s Tallest Flagpole (Freestanding) at a height of 123 meters as recognized by Guinness World Records®. Recently, under a contract with the UAE’s Command of Military Works (GHQ-DMW), our team planned, designed and executed a major effort that involved completely removing the upper 10 meters of the pole and replacing it with a new and improved top section and cap assembly which brought the fifteen-year-old flagpole up to current standards and operational features.
Several technological improvements in flagpole design have occurred since the pole was originally constructed, which made it possible and desirable to update and retrofit the flagpole with newer components and design features for better reliability and ease of maintenance and operations. When the flagpole was originally designed, it had a “fixed truck assembly” (the component that operates the flag raising mechanism), that was necessary to accommodate the electrical connections for the large aircraft warning lights that needed to be installed on top of the pole. That meant that the flag was positioned in only one direction, and couldn’t rotate around the flagpole during changes in wind directions. The flag frequently wrapped around the flagpole as the wind shifted, and a maintenance team was needed to reposition the flag manually. Also, the aircraft warning lights on top of the pole consisted of three large, heavy fixtures which used older xenon flash tube technology which was the standard at the time to provide the 360-degree coverage with the proper intensity. These flash tubes regularly burned out and had to be replaced, meaning a major maintenance effort was needed to reach the top of the flagpole. Unlike our current Monumental™ Flagpoles, this pole was not designed to provide internal access to the top of flagpole and anytime maintenance was required at the top of the pole, the team either needed a crane other creative efforts to reach the top from the outside of the pole.
So, in order to improve on these maintenance and reliability concerns, we designed and fabricated a completely new top section of the flagpole that incorporates our current proprietary “rotating truck assembly” which uses slip rings to allow the electrical current to pass to electrical components on top of the pole, but still allows the flag raising assembly to rotate. We also incorporated the latest state-of-the-art LED aircraft warning light to provide the necessary day and night warning flashes and lighting intensity on top of the flagpole. And, we incorporated internal ladders and a hatch assembly on top of the pole to allow maintenance technicians to reach the top of the pole without the need for a crane or other external access methods.
At the start of the project and throughout, our team worked with our clients and the local authorities to provide proper safety and security and planning agreement prior to any work commencing. Although a lot more was involved from an actual execution standpoint, the following highpoints hopefully give a brief idea of what all was involved for this major effort. After all approvals were in place, we mobilized to the site, and our crane team moved into place and set up. The first major effort involved lifting and installing a temporary work platform on the outside of the pole at approximately the 95 foot level to allow our rope access technicians a secure area to rig and cut the top section of the pole that needed to be removed. After the top section was cut and lowered to the ground, we began lowering pre-fabricated ladder sections into the pole and welding them throughout the pole internally to allow access from the bottom of the pole to the top. Finally, we lifted the new top section of the pole into place and welded it to the existing lower section. All the internal cables were then re-run and positioned and connected, and the temporary work platform was removed and lowered. To top things off, the entire flagpole was repainted by our specialized rope access team to make the flagpole as good as new.
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Although this is a very abridged explanation of a very complex project, the follow photos should give you a better idea of the intricacy and difficulty of the work. All told, we were only on-site for seven days from mobilization to completion, mainly due to the detailed advance planning and superb execution that went into the project. Again, we are very proud of these accomplishments and the performance of our specialized team. We are also very proud to have been part of this prestigious project for the Command of Military Works and continuing our involvement with our First World Record Monumental™ Flagpole!